I am Janine Van Wyk and I am an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN). I am a Namibian currently living in Bielefeld, Germany and pursuing a doctoral degree in Diaconic Science at the Protestant University Wuppertal/Bethel.
In Namibia, I have worked in the partnership office as well as the personal assistant in the Bishop’s office within the ELCRN. I have obtained bachelor’s degrees in the fields of Economics and Theology, respectively, as well as an international master’s degree in Diaconic Management.
I am, currently, a doctoral student at the Institute for Diaconic Science and Diaconic Management (IDM), Bethel, focusing on writing my dissertation and attending different Modules related to Diaconia, Economics, and Organisational culture. For my research, I am looking into economic policies and poverty eradication in Namibia, with the aim of critically analysing the Namibian context in terms of poverty, normative dimensions of the different policy documents as well as the role of the Church in poverty eradication in Namibia.
I have experienced the International Master Course in Diaconic Management as necessary, challenging and life-changing. It has been two years of hard work, of learning new concepts and experiencing different places and people. I consider myself blessed and privileged to have been part of it. The history and biblical roots of Diaconia together with the exposure to different Diaconic institutions cultivated a deeper understanding of what we are doing in our Churches and it gives new meaning to our care and love in practice.
Personal and organisational values have also become important to me. A very delicate but also very important issue that was addressed in this course was cultural sensitivity. Being confronted from the very beginning with the fact that you are in an intercultural setting and must be aware of the existing differences between you and the next person, was challenging, but has shaped me and created an awareness of being culturally sensitive. Completing the international masters course successfully, has enabled me to continue pursuing a doctoral degree in Diaconic science. It has created an opportunity to learn and explore the field of diaconia further, as well as deepened my vision of helping my Church in finding more relevant ways of responding to the situation of poverty in Namibia.
As a transformed leader, I can now handle conflict situations better rather than avoiding them, and I can now with more surety develop strategies and plans that give my Church proper direction in terms of Diaconia. Through focusing on economic policies and social welfare approaches in my doctoral thesis, I can now develop a new model of transformation for addressing poverty eradication in Namibia. I would like to acknowledge the hard work and efforts of the Institute for Diaconic Science and Diaconic Management (IDM) as well as the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) in ensuring a well established and structured study programme.
More and more Diaconic Managers are shaped and gain the necessary competencies resulting in improved diaconic services within our churches in Africa and Asia.