LWF commends new ‘conviviality’ resources to all churches

Members of a “Shared Table” team that collects and distributes food in Vantaa, Finland. Photo: Jani Laukkanen
Members of a “Shared Table” team that collects and distributes food in Vantaa, Finland. Photo: Jani Laukkanen

New publications: Four storybooks from the European Diaconal Process

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has thanked diaconal workers in Europe for producing new resources that offer all member churches inspiration to incorporate the concept of conviviality into diaconal ministries.

Four storybooks on conviviality—the art and practice of living together — are the latest results of the LWF European Diaconal Process that began in 2010. It is led by a “Solidarity Group” of diaconal practitioners, some of whom have authored the 16 stories in the booklets. They focus on what is at the heart of conviviality, being a diaconal church, people on the move, and a radical welcome.

Speaking during the 16 November online launch, LWF General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt said she was convinced the conviviality process and its outcomes were of “great benefit” not only to the three LWF European regions involved but to the entire communion.

“Conviviality as the art and practice of living together in solidarity is urgently needed in today's world with many divisions based on ethnic background, race, gender or origin, or on different worldviews,” Burghardt noted. She hoped the resources would “inspire many LWF member churches, who are seeking not to build or maintain the walls, but to reach out the right hand of fellowship to the other.”

In the regional process, the LWF works in collaboration with the International Academy for Diaconia and Social Action (interdiac).

Ms Eva Christina Nilsson, director of the Department for Theology Mission and Justice emphasized LWF’s commitment to offering resources on diakonia, saying she hoped the four conviviality storybooks would be “inspiring for the life-giving work that diakonia is about.” For the diaconal work of the churches to be relevant, “it must be conditioned and challenged by concrete contexts that raise critical questions and include voices that often tend to be neglected in both church and society,” she added.

For the diaconal work of the churches to be relevant it must be conditioned and challenged by concrete contexts that raise critical questions and include voices that often tend to be neglected in both church and society.
Ms Eva Christina Nilsson, Director, LWF Department for Theology, Mission and Justice

The storybooks’ editor and Head of Education at interdiac, Rev. Tony Addy and the organization’s manager, Ms Janka Adameová, explained the background for the latest and previous resources and future plans. “The number one question emerging from more than 10 years of work with over 40 diaconal workers was: how can societies and people live together in dignity and justice,” Addy said. Whether in times of increasing diversity, rising fear and polarization, new technological changes, growing inequality from dominant economies and political structures or since the COVID-19 pandemic, the dominant factor is human relationships, he noted.

At the launch, diaconal practitioners from the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, Church of Czech Brethren, Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Church of Sweden shared stories of how congregations and communities are engaged in convivial diaconal life in contexts of diversity.

Further work in the European Diaconal Process includes a fifth storybook and development of an on-line course.

LWF/P. Mumia

 

Read the Conviviality storybooks

LWF Conviviality


Since 2010, diaconal actors in LWF's member churches in Europe, have been searching ways to express the core meaning of diakonia in relation to increasing diversity and growing inequality in society. The diaconal activities among churches in the three LWF regions – Central Eastern Europe, Central Western Europe and Nordic countries – continue to affirm diversity, being open and making a contribution to public discourse and policy.