Sr. Noreen Stevens and Sr. Malinda Lando with the international group at the 2018 Kaiserwerth General Conference. International attendees were from Tanzania, South Korea, Brazil and the U.S.

Hosted by the Sisters of Sarepta and the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel, Sr. Melinda and I joined 130 members of the Kaiserswerth General Conference (KGC) for the triennial meeting in June. Our surroundings were beautiful and historically diaconal.

In 1865, Dr. Eulenberg, a government medical officer, and Pastor Balke, from the town of Rheydt, gave lectures on the topic: “What does Christian Care Require for Epileptics?” and the Foundation, which now consists of 4,000 employees was born. (Visit their website to see a film on the comprehensive diaconal services they provide today: http://www.bethel.eu/home.html)

In this historic setting, we had opportunity to worship together, listen, reflect and learn from one another – as our diversity in diakonia was revealed.  Our Community had two specific opportunities to speak into the theme – Community – now more than ever! Contributions to Society in Turbulent Times.

Sr. Melinda, a member of the Presidium (KGC international houses/organizations), responded to a lecture on Church and Health, which provided a North American health perspective and I provided a presentation on our Mission Grant partnerships.

Grounded in II Corinthians 5:14, the love of Christ compels us, the conference did not dwell on Who we are, but rather motivated us to focus on our vision and mission, in light of our assets and center, and examine where are we (click here for a summary of the conference)?

I would add: Where are we, now and into tomorrow? This is an important question for our Community to ask and spend time in proactive dialogue as we consider our vision and mission and examine our core values.  This proactive dialogue has stirred us in assembly and motivated new work groups.

Compelled by the love of Christ, committed to diakonia and beautifully blessed, our conversation is ripe for communal listening with the Spirit and discernment.
What a holy gift to ask together: Where are we … into tomorrow?

Please click to read an English translation of the official press release.
Note: This translation was made by Google Translate.