European Diaconal Process from 2010

Conviviality, “the art and practice of living together” has become a core concept and guiding vision for local diakonia in the three European regions of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) since 2010. Based on vocation, justice and dignity, conviviality invites churches to jointly reflect on the meaning of a diaconal church and diaconal life in diversity. Three core thematic components—conviviality in practice, convivial economy and convivial theology—have been identified to further the work with the conviviality concept. Activities that affirm diversity, being open and making a contribution to public discourse and policy are part of the ongoing work among churches in the regions. The LWF works in partnership with the International Academy for Diaconia and Social Action (Interdiac), the Těšín, Czech-based agency that promotes learning, networking, and research and development for diakonia and social action among churches in Central and Eastern Europe.  

First stage: Solidarity Group 2011-2013

The LWF in partnership with the Interdiac developed a process with a resource group of 25 participants from 16 countries including local diaconal actors, educators, and concept makers from the three European LWF regions. The process focused on developing the concept of conviviality – “the art and practice of living together” in context of diversity. The first general conceptual outcome was published in 2013. 

The work in progress was shared in a workshop at the European Church Leaders’ Meeting.

Timeline:

  • 2011 – First meeting of the European solidarity group (Järvenpää, Finland)
    The concept of conviviality has started to be explored.
  • 2012 - LWF European Church Leadership Consultation (Ostrava, Czech Republic)
    Seeking Conviviality. Re–formation of Community Diakonia in Europe.
  • 2013 - Second meeting of the European solidarity group (Odessa, Ukraine)
    Theological reflection on conviviality leading to the elaboration of a book Bible studies for local groups to use.

Publication:

Second stage: Renewed Solidarity Group 2014-2016

Three core thematic components were identified to deepen the work with the conviviality concept, as an overarching theme: conviviality in practice, convivial economy, and convivial theology.

The work of the group was presented at the European Preparatory Meeting prior to LWF’s Twelfth Assembly.

At the Assembly in 2017, the work of the group was featured in preparatory papers and presented in plenary sessions.

Timeline:

  • 2014 – Third meeting of the European solidarity group (Rummelsberg, Germany)
  • 2015 – Fourth meeting of European solidarity group (Manchester, Great Britain)
    Analysis of the economy and encounters with local projects led to the elaboration of the meaning of ‘convivial economy´ 
  • 2016 – Fifth meeting of European solidarity group (Tallinn, Estonia)
    Evaluation of the 1st phase of the joint consultation process

Publication:

Third stage: Renewed Solidarity Group 2017-2020

The working group chose the title ‘People on the Move’ to continue the process of Seeking Conviviality – Re-forming Community Diakonia in Europe. The aim of the third stage of the European diaconal process was to develop the practice of encouraging Lutheran churches to affirm diversity, being open and diaconal, as well as contributing to public discourse and policy. People on the Move implied not only those who were literally ‘on the move’ (migrants and refugees for example) but also the fact that people are ‘on the move’ in terms of their understanding of identity.

Timeline:

  • 2017 
    • LWF European Pre–Assembly, Liberated by God’s Grace Seeking Conviviality, Re–formation, (Höör, Sweden) 
    • LWF European Assembly, Liberated by God’s Grace version Seeking Conviviality, Re–formation of Community Diakonia in Europe (Windhoek, Namibia) 
    • Kick-off meeting for the third phase of the consultation process (Balatonszárszó, Hungary)
      3 themes to follow up the process were defined:  
      • People on the Move – Bridges or Walls?  
      • People on the Move – Responding to Growing Diversity 
      • People on the Move – Creating Convivial Theology 
  • 2018 – Sixth meeting of European solidarity group (Sibiu, Romania)
    People on the Move – Bridges or Walls?  
  • 2019 – Seventh meeting of European solidarity group (Driebergen, The Netherlands)
    People on the Move – Responding to Growing Diversity 
  • 2020 – Seventh meeting of European solidarity group (online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, originally planned to be in Iceland)

Publication:

Fourth stage: ‘Conviviality – Diaconal Life in Diversity’ 2021-2022 and 2023 LWF Assembly

The fourth stage of the European Diaconal Process is called ‘Conviviality – Diaconal Life in Diversity’. The aim for the period 2021-2022 is to harvest the fruits of the conviviality process by making use of materials produced, raising awareness on the concept of conviviality, and supporting member churches to develop ideas of diaconal life in diversity in their regions.  

The “Conviviality Group” comprising representatives from the three European regions will guide the process and enable the expansion of the concept and practice of conviviality into new contexts.  

The concept of conviviality and the results of the process will be presented at the LWF Thirteenth Assembly in Krakow, Poland. 

LWF Conviviality

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