Symposium 2009: Between Mother House and Diaconal Enterprise

Despite the pressure of competition, diaconal communities have an important role to play in enterprises. This according to the 7th International Symposium of the Kaiserswerther Generalkonferenz, which took place from September 4 to September 6 in Budapest. "Between Mother House and Diakonie Enterprise" was its title and 60 executives and interested parties from Deaconess Mother Houses based on the Kaiserswerth model from seven countries discussed aspects of diaconal corporate culture in the field of tension between community and enterprise in various countries in Europe.

"Do we still need diaconal communities in an enterprise?“ asked Beate Hoffmann in her main presentation. The professor for Christian community education and religious education at the Ev. University of Applied Sciences Nuremberg referred to the competitive situation which diaconal providers face today. "It takes a transformation so that people of today can experience and understand what Diakonie means," says Hoffmann.

"A living Christian spirituality can help endure the daily boundary experiences in social welfare activities. And that's where the diaconal communities come into play," says Hoffmann. They could act as "Christian Year Messengers", for instance, who accompany an enterprise for a year and assist in organizing the liturgical year. Deaconess communities have a distinct culture of dealing with transitions and partings. Experienced members of the communities could act as "Coping Aid Workers" and assist staff members in diaconal institutions in difficult situations.

The participants also learned about the tradition of the former reformed Filadelfia Deaconess Mother House in Budapest and visited the Hungarian deaconesses of the Lutheran Phoebe Deaconess Motherhouse in Budapest, as well as the diaconal Silo facility for the physically handicapped in Piliscsaba.