Seeking Conviviality, Re-formation of Community Diakonia in Europe
This consultation process organised by the Lutheran World Federation in partnership with interdiac ´Seeking Conviviality: Re-forming Community Diakonia in Europe´ was launched in December 2011. The pan – European process which includes pastors, deacons and social or diaconal workers, students and teachers are exploring their work in diverse local contexts across Europe and in training and support for diaconia.
This process started with thematic discussions on:
- How Diaconia combats inequality and injustice.
- How Diaconia opposes the consuming society and market driven economy.
- Diaconia as a faithful response to God´s call through the ‘other’.
- Diaconia as an approach to life in community.
Following these discussions, the first three-year reflective process ended with the identification of the most relevant key issues in participant’s regional contexts, which were worked out in the following three years and resulted in the following collective publications:
- Seeking Conviviality: Reforming Community Diakonia in Europe. (Basic document available in English, German, Estonian, Norwegian and Russian versions. More language versions are in preparation.)
- Convivial Life Together. Bible studies on the theme, available in English.
- Towards a Convivial Economy, available in English.
- Seeking Conviviality, Evaluation and Commentary from the European Solidarity Group, available in English.
The meetings took place in Järvenpää (Finland), Odessa (Ukraine), Rummelsberg (Germany), Manchester (Great Britain) and Tallinn (Estonia).
The outcomes of the consultation process were presented at the LWF pre-Assembly meeting in Höör (Sweden) and the LWF Assembly meeting in Windhoek (Namibia) May 2017.
The third phase of the process started with a kick of meeting which took place in November 2017 in Balatonszárszó (Hungary) and the group focus is on Faithful Living in a Diversifying Europe. The first pan European meeting was held in Sibiu, Romania in December 2018 and focussed on issues related to ‘People on the Move’. Participants reflected on the concrete situations and responses across the region. These reflections were strengthened by local visits. The second workshop in Door, the Netherlands in March 2019 focussed on ‘Responding to Diversity’. This deepened the reflection and explored creative responses to diversity in the Dutch context as an inspiring impulse to future work. Four themes were worked on:
- Seeking Conviviality in practice.
- Seeking Conviviality by creating safe spaces.
- Working towards a theology and spirituality for conviviality.
- Developing a convivial pedagogy.
The Group is also working collectively, under the guidance of interdiac, to produce an inspiring book of ‘stories’ which demonstrate conviviality in local contexts, related to Biblical and theological themes and a range of other resources and pedagogical tools.
- Drawing out the Lessons.
The next meeting in the process will be held in Iceland in March 2020 and will work on the book of stories, and in particular drawing out the lessons of the whole process for theology and practice. The follow up will include creating pedagogical material which will make the findings accessible to many in the churches and specific introductory material on issues such as ‘radical welcome’, ‘church as a safe space’ and ‘diaconal practice for conviviality’.
- Follow up.
The present phase of the programme ends in December 2020 and the follow up will be decided in mid 2020. The results will be presented to a church leaders meeting of LWF in September 2020.