As the days tick down to Christmas and the start of a New Year, it often feels like time is rushing by even faster than it normally does in the busy lives we lead. We are racing to finish our work and projects before the holiday break, we are dashing to catch trains or flights to visit friends or loved ones, and hurrying about to buy presents, find a Christmas tree, post cards. Although the flurry of the holidays and the hurtling towards 2018 can bring excitement, anticipation and restlessness, it is rare that it brings calm, quiet and stillness.

It occurred to me though that the end of the year is the best time to take a moment to reflect, to think about the achievements, challenges and experiences of the past year. I began the year at Eurodiaconia with a feeling of optimism, and as the year draws to a close I have the same sentiment. In a world where realities of violence, terrorism, fear and war reach our ears and our screens on a daily basis, staying positive can be a challenge. However, having seen a year’s worth of engagement from Eurodiaconia members who relentlessly work to combat poverty, and to tackle discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnic origin, disability, age, sex social status and in fact, any ground, my optimism has not been thwarted.

This year has seen exchange, learning and sharing among our network on many topics including Roma, marginalization and exclusion, migration, and healthy ageing and long-term care. We have also visited the work among our membership from Sweden to Armenia, from Spain to Hungary. Our Annual General Meeting focused on the issue of precariousness, and looking at ways to stop insecurity and fragility threatening people’s rights and wellbeing.

Being part of a network and a community who shares the sames goals, values and mission gives us the strength, the motivation and the hope to continue working for a better, fairer and safer world. I have faith that whatever 2018 will throw at us, then diaconal organisations will be ready to speak out, to provide vital services and to continue their work supporting the most vulnerable in our communities. Our Christmas wishes encourage everyone to seek the light that shines in the darkness, and to not be overcome by it. Eurodiaconia will carry this message into a hopeful New Year. I encourage everyone therefore to take some time to take a moment of stillness, of calm and of quiet, and to reflect on the achievements and the light that has shined in 2017. Finding the time among the noise and the haste of this time of year will enable us to reflect on the work we have done and the challenges we have overcome, and to trust that whatever the new year brings, we will find the positivity and optimism to keep doing the same.

Have a nice weekend, and a joyous Christmas break,


Please note this is the last newsletter before the Christmas break. The next newsletter will be issued early in January.