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Lutherans in Asia Encouraged to Lead in Diakonia and Diapraxis :: Asia Lutheran Communion :: Communication Creates Communion

Topic: 3.Church

Lutherans in Asia Encouraged to Lead in Diakonia and Diapraxis

Posted by: LWI on Dec 12, 2009 – 08:27 AM | Read 1285 times

Discussion Group on DiakoniaLWF Regional Meeting Calls for Education and Resources to Enable Active Engagement

BANGKOK, Thailand/GENEVA, 10 December 2009 (LWI) – Diakonia is the gospel in action. Diapraxis is interfaith diakonia. But, as participants at the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Asia Pre-Assembly Consultation (APAC) and Asia Church Leadership Conference (ACLC) deliberated further, they agreed these expressions of church mission encompassed much more.

Members of a group discussion on "Diakonia as Reaction to Exclusion" at the 6-9 December regional LWF meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, concluded that diakonia is service that reconciles, empowers and accompanies. Diakonia, they agreed, is prophetic when it announces an alternative way of being or denounces injustice in defense of marginalized people.

Another group discussed diapraxis, based on a report about
local communities’ response to the devastating impact of the 2004 tsunami in southeastern Asia. Formerly separated by religion, Muslims and Christians there found themselves
working side-by-side to help each other. They discovered compassionate human beings behind religious stereotypes. The friendships and mutual cooperation that resulted inspired subsequent LWF seminars on a "dialogue for life." The discussion group concluded that diapraxis provides a platform from which co-religionists can jointly address common goals such as poverty, unemployment, corruption, human trafficking, HIV and AIDS, and domestic violence, among others.

The diakonia discussion group members drew from previous LWF statements and shared their experiences from nine different Asian countries. In response to the challenges identified, they suggested that education, resources and awareness are needed for Asian Lutherans to become more engaged in diakonia.

Group discussion on DiapraxisMalaysian Bishop Dr Solomon Rajah, who led the diapraxis discussion, emphasized the urgent need for additional education on the subject. If Christians lead the way in diapraxis, "this is one area (where) we can make our presence known," he added.

In the plenary session following the group work reports, questions were asked about the risk of "speaking about our faith" in diapraxis. "Lutherans should not be afraid of interfaith dialogue, because our theology of grace is so wide that it allows for the role of mediator on many issues," said Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan, LWF vice president for the Asian region and head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.

Younan encouraged LWF member churches in Asia to speak out about their faith in the respective contexts. "What we try to do in dialogue is to find the common values of living together, coexisting, and working across faith traditions" to alleviate suffering, eradicate poverty and resolve other shared concerns. It is natural for people of faith to be engaged in diakonia and diapraxis. "If we love God fully, we must love the neighbor," he added.

Delegates to the APAC and ACLC were drawn from the 47 LWF member churches in 16 Asian countries, which represent more than 8.5 million Lutherans. (510 words)

Read more about the Pre-Assemblies under the "Journey" section of the LWF Assembly Web site at: www.lwf assembly.org

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