Kaiserswerther Generalkonferenz 2015: "Diakonie, a strong brand?!"

Published on 29.09.2015

The 42nd Kaiserswerther Generalkonferenz, which took place in Gallneukirchen from September 24 through 27, 2015, explored the tense relationship between the conservation of diaconal values and the economical requirements of the houses following the Kaiserswerth tradition.

"Diakonie, a strong brand?! Between value orientation and profitability" was the Topic of the 42nd Kaiserswerther Generalkonferenz which took place in Gallneukirchen (Austria), from September 24 through 27, 2015, at the invitation of the Ev. Diakoniewerk Gallneukirchen and its President Rector Christa Schrauf. "Part of our self-conception is that in a time where a vast number of people try to escape war, terror and violence, we make our contribution to charity, by opposing anti-refugee slogans and providing actual diaconal help using the possibilities we have". Those were the welcoming words of Rector Schrauf for the about 130 participants from 12 countries.

The General Assembly confirmed the members of the Executive Committee that have been elected in their regions for the next six 6 years. The following members were elected: Mother Superior Rollaug Waaler (Bergen) and Deaconess Terttu Pohjolainen (Lahti, both Northern Europe), Pastor Annette Goll (Strasbourg, Western Europe), Director Pastor Marek Londzin (Dzi?gielów) and Rector Mag. Christa Schrauf (Gallneukirchen, both Central and Eastern Europe), Sen. Sr. Roswitha Buff (Neuendettelsau), Chief HR Officer / Mother Superior Dr. Gundula Grießmann (Teltow), Sen. Sr. Anke Frickmann (Bielefeld), Board Spokesman Klaus Riesenbeck (Kaiserswerth), Chapter Provost Jürgen Stobbe (Ludwigslust), Proxy Karsten Stüber (Eisenach, all Germany) as well as Deaconess Vilma Linda Reinar (São Leopoldo) and Sister Melinda L. Lando (New York, both institutions outside Europe).
The sisterhood Ushirika wa Neema from Tansania was unanimously welcomed as a new member of the Kaiserswerther Generalkonferenz.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Körtner spoke about "Human Care – nursing ethics and Christian image of humanity". "In medicine and care, all people are entitled to our attention, whether they are rich or poor, whether they have an Austrian passport or not, whether they believe in the God of Christians or Muslims, or believe in nothing at all. Everyone has the same right to our consideration and respect", emphasized the theologian and medical ethicist from Vienna. The Norwegian economist Prof. Dr. Torger Reve, in his lecture on "Diaconal institutions: Sustainable values in a market-oriented economy", questioned whether denominational institutions per se would provide better care and supplied, with a test of diaconal excellence, a catalogue of questions for examining the services of diaconal institutions. "Go the extra mile", demanded Prof. Reve. Best practice examples from the houses of the General Conference underlined the motto of the General Conference.

The Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Austria, Hon.-Prof. Dr. Michael Bünker and Dr. Klára Tarr Cselovszky, Department Head for External Relations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary both led Bible studies during the General Conference. The sermons of the services were held by the Director of Diakonie Austria, Pastor Michael Chalupka and the Spiritual High Consistory of the Lutheran Church in Austria OKR Prof. Karl Schiefermair. The General Conference received words of greeting from the Secretary General of Eurodiaconia, Heather Roy, Deaconess Ulrike Kellner, board member of the DIAKONIA Weltbund and Maria Loheide, board of Sozialpolitik Diakonie Deutschland. "We want to shape Diakonia and we don't want to be reduced to the role of a charitable stand-in for a welfare state that is failing in some places", emphasized Loheide.

The participants of the General Conference also visited the special exhibition "Help. Life risks, life chances" at the Diakoniewerk Gallneukirchen. Covering 1,000 square meters, the exhibition shows the development of social security systems in Austria and solution strategies for people in need.
The conference also presented the upcoming diaconal study tour to Poland, from September 21 through 25, 2016. The participants will learn about different diaconal fields of activities in Wroclaw. The diaconal study day at the Mother House Eben Ezer in Dzi?gielów will, among others, be accompanied by the retired President of EWDE (Protestant Agency for Diakonie and Development) Pastor K.-D. Kottnik and by Director Wanda Falk, General Secretary of the Diakonia of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Poland.

The 43rd Kaiserswerther Generalkonferenz will take place in Bielefeld in 2018 at the invitation of the Chairman of the Board of the von Bodelschwinghschen Stiftungen Bethel, Pastor Ulrich Pohl.

The Kaiserswerther Generalkonferenz is an association of more than 100 Deaconess Houses, diaconal communities and diaconal organizations from Europe, Nord and South America, Asia and Africa. Members of the Executive Committee of the KGK are: Rector Mag. Christa Schrauf (AT), Deaconess Terttu Pohjolainen (FI), Mother Superior Rollaug Waaler (NO), Director Marek Londzin (PL), Sister Melinda L. Lando (North America), Chapter Provost Jürgen Stobbe (G-North), Sen. Sr. Deaconess Anke Frickmann (G-West), Sen. Sr. Roswitha Buff (G-South), Chief HR Officer / Mother Superior Dr. Gundula Grießmann (G-East), Proxy Karsten Stüber (G-East), Theol. Chairman Pastor Klaus Riesenbeck (G-West), Rector Pastor Annette Goll (F), KR Dr. Christine-Ruth Müller (Secretary General).

Berlin/Bern on September 29, 2015

Media contact:
Thomas Flügge, Press Spokesman
Tel.: +41 79 6401902
E-mail: presse@kaiserswerther-verband.de

KR Dr. Christine-Ruth Müller
Managing Director of the Kaiserswerther Verband and Secretary General of the Kaiserswerther Generalkonferenz
Landhausstrasse 10, 10717 Berlin
Tel. +49 30 8642 4170
E-mail: verband@kaiserswerther-verband.de