Welcome to join in mutual learning and discussions on this important issue for diaconia and Christian social practice, theology and theory.
The present crises of growing inequality and marginalisation as well as global heating, the pandemic and war and civil conflict are big challenges which affect those with whom diaconia works. They also present a challenge for diaconal identity and practice. As one response to the challenges, nationalism and populism are taking root and it is important to develop responses which also address this issue.
The webinar will focus on these and related questions which affect the security and well-being of societies:
What theological approaches are relevant to meeting these challenges?
How do diaconal actors analyse the situation?
Are there special challenges for the church and diaconal actors?
How does diaconal practice react to these changes and act with and on behalf of marginalised people and groups?
Practitioners, students, researchers and teachers are invited to the webinar which will share inputs and promote dialogue across national and confessional boundaries.
The keynote speaker at the webinar will be Sturla J. Stålsett, Professor of Diaconal Studies, Religion and Society at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society. He will introduce the theme based on his present research on diaconal practice and his most recent book, entitled A Political Theology of Vulnerability (Brill 2023).
The theme: ‘Diaconal practice as a political theology of vulnerability: Contemporary challenges and responses’.
There will be time and space for discussions and questions after the input.
The Challenges for Diaconal & Christian Social Practice: presenting local cases
The second part of the webinar will consider practice in relation to the key themes with the following three contributors:
Rev Kate Gray, minister of The Dandelion Community, which is a church of the URC in Manchester. The Dandelion Community is a church and community hub in an area facing marginalisation and poverty. She is also a doctoral student at Coventry University researching Christian responses to austerity and poverty from theological perspectives.
Katri Valve, a Deacon of the Lutheran church and is the leader of diaconia in the Vantaa Parish Association in the capital area of Finland. Vantaa is an urban area where people face many issues including poverty and food sustainability and living with diversity at a time when there are big changes in national policy.
Rev Marta Bolba leads a church community in Budapest which runs two social centres. One is focussed on neighbourhood ministry and community organising, working in co-operation with 12 NGOs. The other hub serves about 6,000 refugees.
The CODE Forum is an international and interconfessional group bringing together practitioners, researchers and academics involved in the field of diaconia and Christian social practice. It has a special interest in community development approaches.
The webinar programme is an activity of the CODE Forum and is jointly organised by Diaconia University of Applied Science and the National Church Council (Finland), VID Specialized University (Norway), the Protestant Theological University (The Netherlands) and the International Academy for Christian and Social Action in Eastern and Central Europe (interdiac).
For more information about this webinar, please get in touch with Oksana Prosvirnina, Programme Leader in the International Academy for Christian and Social Action, Central and Eastern Europe.
9.15 – 9.45 – Keynote input ’Diaconal practice as a political theology of vulnerability: Contemporary challenges and responses’ (Sturla J. Stålsett, Professor in Diaconia, Religion and Society.)
9.45 – 10.15 – Break out rooms
10.15 – 10.30 – Plenary feedback
10.30 – 10.45 – Coffee break
10.45 – 11.30 – Presenting ‘local cases’ and perspectives
Rev Kate Grey (UK) – minister of The Dandelion Community, which is a member church of the United Reformed Church in Manchester.
Katri Valve (Finland) – a Deacon of the Lutheran church and the leader of diaconia in the Vantaa Parish Association in the capital area of Finland.
Rev Márta Bolba (Hungary) – leads a church community in Budapest which runs two social centres. One is focussed on neighbourhood ministry and community organising, working in co-operation with 12 NGOs. The other hub serves about 6,000 refugees.
11.30 – 11.50 – Panel discussion with Q&A to the speakers