LWF Second Virtual Conference on Diakonia to Link Participants on September 18

Children’s Climate Day 2011 organized by the Evangelical Church in Central Germany. Photo: LWF
Children’s Climate Day 2011 organized by the Evangelical Church in Central Germany. Photo: LWF

Called to be Transformed and Transforming, Diakonia in Context

GENEVA, 2 July 2014 (LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation’s (LWF) second Virtual Conference on Diakonia in September will connect some 500 congregational leaders, pastors and diaconal workers from around the world to share experiences and explore subjects such as mission in context, transforming conflict, gender justice and climate change.

The theme of the conference, which takes place on September 18 and is organized by the LWF Department for Mission and Development (DMD), is “Called to be Transformed and Transforming.” It will include workshops and presentations, and also enable live video responses to questions from participants and video commentary.

The keynote address will focus on the theological understanding of God’s continued presence from a Lutheran perspective and how member churches can and should be part of God’s action. Participants will also gain an overview of the sociological and psychological backgrounds to current conflicts and shared insights of churches working to find solutions in countries such as South Sudan.

“Transformation engages and changes all who are part of it. In that manner, transformational diakonia helps to overcome so-called helpers’ syndrome, practices and relations that separate “we” from “they,” said DMD Secretary for Human Resources Development Abebe Yohannes Saketa.

“In the end, no person escapes vulnerability. We all need to be transformed, reconciled and empowered. For that reason, we are all in need of diakonia as revealed in Jesus Christ, and then as mutual care and accompaniment of one another,” he added.

Case studies presented during the conference will include Bolivia and the rights of indigenous people from the perspective of the Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church President Rev. Emilio Aslla and how the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada sees diaconal involvement as part of their renewal process.

Participants of the first virtual conference in 2013 are invited for further reflection and learning, with the aim of enhancing the contextual and thematic understandings achieved last year. Invitations will also be extended to first-time attendees who can access videos and reports as part of their preparations.

The DMD plans to hold follow-up virtual conferences in 2015 and 2016, focusing on relevant themes that help to promote peace and justice in society.

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