Tag: DIAKONIA World Federation

400 DEACONS: SHAKEN IN CHICAGO

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To see the presentations, go to the Diakonia website:  http://www.diakonia-world.org/

 

 

 

 

DIAKONIA Prayer letter July 2017

These last few days, more than 400 deacons and deaconesses have gathered in Chicago for the 22nd World DIAKONIA Assembly, exploring the theme, ‘Shaken by the Wind’. There have been many highlights: making new friends, learning together, singing, dancing, sharing in worship, tuning our ears to languages and accents not our own, celebrating the 70th anniversary of DIAKONIA. It has been a time to re-collect ourselves in prayer, to re-imagine how the world might be, to re-connect with each other. What a great community this has been. Truly memorable. Photos will be uploaded to the DIAKONIA website and the DIAKONIA World Federation Facebook page – you may be able to see for yourself how wonderful this week has been.

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Fijian deacons lead morning prayer

And in the midst of this, we have dared to name some of the chaos ‘out there’ – policies and practices in the political and business realm that deny human dignity and worth, that diminish the integrity of the earth and care for the environment, that enslave, imprison and denigrate people, that force people to struggle just to survive – rather than flourish. Jesus said, I have come to give you life and life in all its abundance. But, not all leaders make decisions shaped by the values of God’s reign. Our speakers have taken us on a journey that speaks truth to power and invites us to tell a different narrative to that of fear, fear which has trumped hope. (You can read their presentations on the DIAKONIA website, http://www.diakonia-world.org, and click on Chicago Assembly on the right)

The caring community that has been created this week has drawn us together in ways that contrast with much of what is happening in the world, where division and suspicion are normal. And so we have treasured our time together, for we have experienced some of the richness and diversity and joy of our global Christian community. We want to hang on to that!

At the same time, we are disciples of Christ, those who are ‘sent’. The ministry of diakonia beckons us out into the world where God already is, to be in the world of human concerns and needs, and to be in service in solidarity with others in ways which reflect the special concern of Jesus for them. Our world needs to hear a different story other than fear, retribution, division, hate, violence and chaos, and to know the gospel practices of love, hospitality, peace, joy, generosity are not only possible, but are the only hope for the future.

“The holiest thing we have to offer the world is a ‘broken-open’ heart, emptied of fear and vengeance, filled with forgiveness and a willingness to take the risks of love”. (Parker Palmer in his book, The Politics of the Brokenhearted).

We can feel overwhelmed by a world of fear and chaos. Or, we can be open to hearing the message of Jesus who says the reign of God has come into our midst – where peace and justice meet, with the promise of a whole new future for our world graced and animated by the Holy Spirit.

Wherever you are in the world, may the peace of Christ be yours.

Rev (Deac) Sandy Boyce President, DIAKONIA World Federation

Facebook Link::  https://www.facebook.com/groups/262487100432637/

Website:  http://www.diakonia-world.org/

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MONTHLY PRAYER LETTER FROM DIAKONIA WORLD FEDERATION

The DIAKONIA World Federation Prayer Letter for June has been written by Deaconess Ulrike Kellner from Deaconesses’ Institute of Kaiserswerth.

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DIAKONIA Prayer Letter June 2017

In my church tradition we like to choose words from the bible for special occasions. Of course we know very well that you have to consider all the verses around to get to a proper interpretation. But still, the word you get at your baptism, your confirmation, your wedding often enough fits amazingly to you as a person and to your life. You all have heard from the Moravian watchword that is chosen for every day of the year. For many Germans this is the first reading in the morning. In my own tradition, that of Kaiserswerth, we follow a cycle of daily bible reading that is chosen by the Ecumenical Commission of Bible Reading. They also choose a word for the month. For June 2017 it comes from Acts 5, 29: We ought to obeyGod rather than men.

But what is it that God wants us to do? Sometimes it is even hard to tell what is going on! Fake news and alternative truths mingle with real news, politicians of all sorts paint their own picture to get as much followers as possible. Social networks pretend to connect people more than ever, myriads of words are shared but few things really said. Political wings seem to be stronger than ever, extremists terrorizing people and states, causing thousands of people to flee from their homes. And in the midst of this turmoil we are, struggling to do the right thing, to help others in need, to be a voice for those who already gave up. Shaken by the wind of contradictory news, opinions, demands. From June 28 we meet in Chicago for the DIAKONIA World Assembly to ponder together what it means to face this world in turmoil as diaconal people, what it means to obey God rather than men.

In the meantime, as we struggle along in our daily lives, I find consolidation and strength in a word of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who showed in his life what it means to obey God rather than men: “I believe that God can and will bring good out of evil, even out of the greatest evil. forthat purpose he needs men who make the best use of everything. I believe that God will give us all the strength we need to help us resist in all times of distress. but he never gives it in advance, lest we should rely on ourselves and not on him alone. a faith such as this should allay all our fears for the future.” (D. Bonhoeffer, God Is In The Manger)

See you in Chicago!

Dc. Ulrike Kellner