The study document “Called to Transformation – Ecumenical Diakonia” aims to clarify the understanding of ecumenical diakonia and to provide a common platform for acting and reflecting together for the churches and ecumenical partners worldwide.
The historic publication outlines the theological components of diakonia and offers practical content for those engaged in the service of diakonia. The study document is intended to be used for formation and training in ecumenical diakonia, to strengthen the institutional capacity of those involved in diakonia, and to foster dialogue and cooperation between churches, ecumenical partners, ACT Alliance and the WCC.
Even if the publication has been long-awaited, it is especially relevant for churches in the current state of the world, says WCC deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri. For more than a decade the working group has been observing and forming the descriptions and examples that went into the publication. The work included site visits to observe effective diakonia practices in places such as Malawi. “Even within the fellowship of the WCC, we didn’t have a common understanding on diakonia - but now we do, and that should take churches and their partners toward the next level of ecumenical cooperation in diakonia,” says Phiri.
"In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, much is needed to address social care globally. Collective effort is needed to improve the living conditions of the one billion poorest people in the world, and churches have a key role to play in this,” says Rev. Matthew Ross, WCC programme executive for Diakonia and Capacity Building. “With resources under increasing strain, co-operation is essential to provide effective diaconal care for people in need.”
According to Ross, the publication is not intended to be in any way prescriptive, but aims to stimulate ideas for future work and areas in which co-operation may develop between churches, diaconal agencies and church-related development organizations. “In learning from each other, and in sharing, we can make a real difference to the lives of many people,” says Ross.
The presentation of the “Called to Transformation – Ecumenical Diakonia” publication will take place on 9 June 2022 at 15.00 CET online, and everyone is invited to follow it on the WCC youtube channel.