The World Council of Churches has produced a significant, key document ‘Called to Transformation:  Ecumenical Diakonia’.

A joint publication of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ACT Alliance, this study document aims to clarify the understanding of ecumenical diakonia and to provide a common platform for acting and reflecting together for the churches and ecumenical partners worldwide.

The major publication outlines the theological components of diakonia and offers practical content for those engaged in the service of diakonia. The study document is intended to be used for formation and training in ecumenical diakonia, to strengthen the institutional capacity of those involved in diakonia, and to foster dialogue and cooperation between churches, ecumenical partners, ACT Alliance and the WCC.

Common understanding on diakonia

Besides adding the geographic and confessional contexts of practicing diakonia, the study document also addresses the diaconal response to COVID-19 pandemic, including examples of diaconal ministry from every continent.

With this publication, we now have a common understanding on diakonia – and that should take churches and their partners toward the next level of ecumenical cooperation in diakonia,” said
Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary, presenting the publication.

The publication is not intended to be in any way prescriptive, but aims to stimulate ideas for future work and areas in which co-operation may develop between churches, diaconal agencies and church-related development organizations.

Witness and service are crucial for the Church: mission, diakonia, and ecumenism belong together and to the heart of what it means to be Church. The World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance have worked together to produce this resource, which we offer for the churches and their diaconal ministries throughout the world. We hope that it will lead to the sharing of ideas across confessions and borders to serve people in need. – Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, Acting General Secretary, World Council of Churches

Diakonia is ‘an integral part of the church’s being and mission’. There is no church without diakonia, and no diakonia without ‘the distinctiveness of its faith-based action’. In this context, there is no contradiction between a faith-based and a rights-based approach in diakonia, as they are mutually reinforcing: “faithbased and rights-based actions affirm each other.” Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, General Secretary, ACT Alliance

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