Late last month, our member Diaconia Switzerland held its general assembly in Berne. The conference was organised around two main themes: the current state of diaconia in the German-speaking churches of the Federation of Protestant Churches of Switzerland and their affiliation to Eurodiaconia.
During the assembly, our Secretary General took the floor and stressed a certain number of key elements in relation to our organisation and members’ work.
“All stakeholders in the rapidly growing diaconal sector must consider the opportunities that originate from collective actions. Despite the disparities that might exist between different countries in Europe, every actor must acknowledge the transnational nature of certain challenges”, said our Secretary General, “Together, we can fight to redefine the balance between economic and social issues which unfortunately remain treated as secondary today.
“Moreover, it appears crucial for us to be able to make our struggle more visible while maintaining our Christian identity in a society increasingly wary of religious labels.”
During the assembly, our Secretary General also had the opportunity to express concerns about the recent European elections results, notably addressing the rise of far-right movements in the European Parliament.
Many citizens seem to feel threatened by a perceived loss of their identity and a growing experience of alienation from the deciding elites. There furthermore appears to be a growing desire among European societies to punish certain populations for their weaknesses. Our actions towards Roma, migrants or the long-term unemployed are sometimes put into question.
Eurodiaconia’s Christian background, however, prevents us from considering people in the margins as a burden for society. Diaconal organisations across Europe must speak out where they see injustice, sharing their voices with those who may not be heard.