Current and prospective members of ICDM under oneroof!-Networking for poverty reduction and interreligious dialogue
Hosted by STT-Sekolah Tinggi Teologi (HighSchool of Theology) Jakarta, the fourth conference of ICDM-InternationalCommunity of Diaconic Management- kicked off this 15 th October 2018.35 out of 41 members of ICDM attended the conference in Jakarta. A good numberof 15 new members who graduated as Masters of Arts in Diaconic management inBethel February 2018. The Conference was officially opened by Honorable Bishop WillemSimarmata, UEM- United evangelical Mission- Moderator together withpersonalities including Thomas Zettler from DAAD-Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst-(German Academic Exchange Services), Professor Dr. Martin Büscher, Rector ofKIHO-Kirchliche Hochschule- of the Protestant University Wuppertal and Patronof ICDM, UEM staff and members of the staff and management from STT Jakarta ourhost. In his opening address, Bishop Simarmata, acknowledged work of the InternationalDiaconic Management network and commended such platform of further learning andexchange. He stressed, that poverty reduction work of the Churches should beChrist driven, informed by social and economic factors, impacting both shortand long-term political and social transformation.
Theconference participants learnt from Professors, religious leaders includingMuslimcommunity in Indonesia and from each other incollegial counseling groups.In hispresentation on “ State of the World:Macro-economic and global political view - development and challenges”, ProfessorDr. Martin Büscher, Rector of KIHO-Protestant University Wuppertal/ Bethel,highlighted the changes in the local and global values vis-à-vis the meaning of the good life. Thus,motivations of the free Market may often lead to unjust wealth distribution.And the values of love and justice in religion will always impact equity andthe common good. He evidently showed that new trends challenge the churches tolook at the good life not using the classical lens of “black and white”, ratherto reflect about it using multi rational judgement by learning economic theory.He concluded his lectures by affirmingthat the Studies of International Diaconic Management and networking platformslike ICDM develop these competencies.
Dr. JoasAdiprasetya, Director of Public relations of STT, in his lecture on “Poverty Reduction in the context of Asia and Indonesia in particular“espoused a new concept of Church as „Diaklesia“. First, he recalledthat the Church is a diaconic mission. According to him, the Diaconia is not whatthe church does, rather what the Church really is. Hence, withouttransformative work, Diaconia would be a mere expression of service, subtleserving the interests of the oppressive and exploitative powers by covering uptheir complicity. If it does not challenge injustice and abuse of power, itceases to be authentic Diaconia. Therefore, the Church should in the face of theprevalent poverty confess its escapism, immediately consider starting someactions for hope, risk embarking on the lonely and painful journey ofchallenging the status quo and now working with and for the poor by being friendswith them.
Dr. MartinLukito Sinaga, Deputy President of the Working Unit on Reinforcement ofPancasila Ideology, in his interventions underlined that dealing with povertyneed interdisciplinary approach. Hence, he entitled his presentation “Religious, Interfaith Movement and the CommonGood“. For him, the Indonesiansociety is in need of interreligious reformation vis-a-vis poverty reduction. Onlythen, politics will no longer be manipulated by some oligarchy and thepoor will not only receive the sentiments and grievances. He urged the members of ICDM to engage with both churchesand government for the common good of everybody, including the poor.
Responding to the previous speaker, Prof. Dr. Victor Aguilan of Silliman University in Philippines,in his presentation on “The Challengesof the poverty in the context of Asian Continent. Ethical and theologicalreflections of the Churches engagement”, demonstrated the existence of the poorand marginalized in the globalized world. He challenged the Churches worldwideto stop compromising in issues of the poor and dare to cooperate with thegovernment when it works for justice and be ready to take Prophetic responsibility towards State’s violationagainst justice.
In additionto the lectures and academic presentations, participants experienced somepractical examples. Reverend Dr John Wesley Kabango, UEM Executive Secretaryfor Africa shared with ICDM members thattoday, UEM is gaining more recognition for its diaconic, interculturaland contextualized work. Hence, the organizationis being solicited as partner and or as expert.
Bridging thepractical with academic competencies, Reverend Matthias Börner Head of theInternational Diaconia and Bielefeld/Bethel Training Center recalled that UEMis partner with Universities in Germany, Africa and Asia in ensuring sustainable and effective empowerment ofUEM members through qualifying educational programs and exchange of expertiseand experts. ICDM members were shown some areas of partnerships including beingmentors of the BA students, participating in developing new competencies inDiaconia and serving as course counselors, fundraising for further education,and many more opportunities may be explored together with his department andUEM in general.
As part of the praxis, members were privileged tovisit to organisations in Jakarta. In KDM-KampusDiaconia Modern, members learnt from a woman whose passion for the streetchildren and youths not only moved their hearts but challenged them to listento the real needs in community and to act. At NU-Nadrathul Ulama, theinteractions with the Muslim community and witnessing their commitment andengagement for justice and peace gave the hope that cooperation for common gooddespite religious diversity is still possible
Furthermore,the members met the students of the course four (K4) of international diaconicmanagement who were having the first Module at the same time in STT. It was the first time that such encounter happened-the alumni and the current students meet during the studies or theconference.Besides, a group of 6 ICDM members-graduates of International Diaconic management- interacted with thoseprospective members sharing their present experiences in leadership and thecompetences gained during the mastersstudies. It is was amazing to see that after graduation people have advanced interms of management and leadership. Participants are now heading performingdiaconic Institutions, fastest growing congregations, teaching the knowledge, andinternational network. Some concepts which seemed to be difficult to graspduring the course find their full significance in the real life and bear fruitsexceedingly when they are contextually applied. Hence, people are makingdifference in their respective countries in Germany, Asia and Africa.
Atthe end of the conference, ICDM elected the new governing board chaired byReverendAmaglo Yao Francis, seconded by three DeputyChairpersons:Faraja Samuel Mwakapeje for Africa, Justin ReinGultom for Asia, Corinna Lee for Germany. Other members of the board areClaudette Williams serving as Secretary, Yussuf Tariagan for the post ofFinancial officer and David Sihite, the officer in charge ofPublic Relations. At the inaugurationceremonies, ICDM was reminded that it has come so far, but it envisionsfurther. Hence, they were encouraged to keep moving. To where next? Rwanda,next year and on the theme: PPP4 SDG- Public Private Partnership forSustainable development Goals!! Isn’t exciting?
By Frederick Wong Lap Kay and Mathilde Umuraza