European Diaconia in Poland to shape the future of social Europe
The 2018 Eurodiaconia Annual General Meeting officially opened today in Wroclaw, Poland, with an ecumenical service led by Diaconia Poland President Bishop Ryszaes Bogusz and a plenary session attended by more than 90 participants representing European social and health service providers based in the Christian faith.
This year’s Annual General Meeting will provide the opportunity to reflect on the future face of social Europe in a fast-changing continent. The rise of inequalities and unemployment, as well as the demographic change and the political instability across Europe, are only some of the issues representing a great deal of concern for Christian based organizations. We will, therefore, look into today’s European religious, cultural and political background to analyze what social Europe means from a diaconal perspective, as well as its different meanings for who is in and who is out in the different European macro-areas.
Following the opening service and session, the three-day programme will allow participants to take part in member and partner-led workshops, broaching themes relating to social Europe, access to social and healthcare services, political change, the upcoming EU Parliament elections and the role of religious social service providers in today’s Europe. Building on the concerns regarding the risks of increasing social exclusion and extreme poverty, the programme will, in addition, give participants the opportunity to visit nine services and projects delivered around Wroclaw by our hosts, Diakonia Polska, to gain a better understanding of how social and health care services being run in Poland and are serving the most vulnerable.
In her welcoming message, Eurodiaconia Chairperson Romana Bélová expressed how “The recent proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights represents for us diaconal actors across Europe a new and stronger opportunity to reassess our fundamental role in fostering social cohesion in the face of increasing polarization and social exclusion. As social service providers founded in the Christian faith, we believe we have a special message and a specific view of social Europe underpinned by our faith to share.”
Eurodiaconia is a network of 46 Christian organizations that provide social and health care services and advocate for social justice. Together we work for just and transformative social change across Europe, leaving no-one behind.
An official declaration is expected to be issued by Eurodiaconia at the closing session on the 15th of June, the final day of the Annual General Meeting.