The DWF Executive Committee met in July 2020 by Zoom. As people lived in different parts of the globe, from Fiji to Seattle, some were joining the meeting before dawn in winter (5.30am in South Australia) and others were joining the meeting late at night (Europe). People in North America had the luxury of meeting in the afternoon. The meeting happened for 1.5 hours each day for four consecutive days. A great deal of work was done. In fact, the Executive agreed to meet more often by Zoom, rather than one annual meeting, and that the face to face meetings would happen every second year. This enables more regular contact and monitoring the progress of the Executive's work, and is a wise use of financial resources.
The Financial Futures Task Group report will be of interest to DWF members, with 23 recommendations. (Read more below)
The FFTG members are Ted Dodd, Anne Russell-Brighty, Gordon Pennykid, and Thorsten Walter, who met monthly January to June 2020 via a variety of electronic platforms. After reviewing the budget, the FFTG concluded that the cost of the Executive Committee meeting annually is the biggest percentage of the DWF budget and therefore the most logical place to trim expenses. Several changes were proposed to the way the DWF EC operates and are intended to address the high costs of travel, accommodation, and meals. In addition, the FFTG believe that we need to be modelling new ways of meeting to reduce our footprint on the environment and to monitor the personal safety issues involved in international travel.
Recommendation #1: It was agreed that the Executive Committee meets every two years (instead of annually) with multiple meetings in between via electronic platforms. If there are new members to the EC, the first meeting should be face to face.
Recommendation # 2: It was agreed that the following people be invited to join the meetings via electronic platforms as ‘Orders of the Day’ at specified times during the meetings: the Chair of the Planning Team for the upcoming Assembly; the Web Manager; the e-news editor; Chairs of any Committees or Task Groups.
Recommendation #3: It was noted that the work of DWF would be enhanced by establishing a series of Committees, Working Groups and Task Groups to further the work and deepen the networks of the Federation beyond those on the Executive Committee. By involving more people in DWF, there would be an increased interest and investment in the organization, and an energized re-commitment to the organization’s mission. It was agreed that the Executive Committee would establish the following Committees: 1. Volunteers Coordinating Committee (previously ‘Nominations’) by Nov 1, 2020 (See Recommendations #4) 2. Communications (See Recommendations #16) 3. Membership Connections (See Recommendations #17) 4. DIAKAID (See Recommendations #18) 5. Donor Development (See Recommendations #6) 6. Finance Committee (See Recommendations #7) 7. Social Justice Initiatives and Networking (See Recommendations #19) 8. New Member Communities (See Recommendations #20 9. Diaconal Formation (See Recommendations #21) 10. Theology of Diakonia (See Recommendations #22)
Working purpose statements, job descriptions, and membership guidelines be established for each committee. Each of these committees will consist of at least three members who will meet electronically at least twice annually. Each of the committees will report to the Executive Committee at least annually.
Recommendation #4: It was agreed that the Volunteers Coordinating Committee membership will represent the three regions of DWF and be responsible for recruitment, orientation, and appreciation of volunteers throughout the organization. Action: The Regional Presidents of DRAE, DAP and DOTAC will recruit members for the Nominating Committee by November 1, 2020
Recommendation #5: It was agreed that the Volunteers Coordinating Committee will recruit volunteers for Committees according to the following timelines: a) by 1 March 2021: Communications, Membership Connections and DIAKAID b) by 1 November 2021: Donor Development, Finance Committee and Social Justice Initiatives and Networking c) by 1 March 2022: New Member Communities; Diaconal Formation; Theology of Diakonia
Recommendation # 6: It was agreed that the Donor Development Committee will nurture and oversee our donor base by reviewing historical patterns, making personal contact, and imagining creative ideas for developing donor relationships.
Recommendation #7: It was agreed that the Finance Committee will oversee financial management of DWF, establish financial policies including travel funds, and prepare long term budgets, with at least three members including the Treasurer. A representative for Finance and Laws Support (RFL) at Diakoneo will serve ex officio members on this committee.
Recommendation #8: Donation link to be added to the website. It was agreed that a donation link, such as PayPal, be added to the website and included in all communication media (e.g. E-news, Facebook, President’s Blog, distribution of the Monthly Prayer, dues collection notices, correspondence with member communities).
Action: The Web Manager and the RFL at Diakoneo to coordinate this venture, with a goal to be up and running by September 1, 2020.
Recommendation #9: Automatic payment/direct Debit to be set up for DWF
It was agreed that a system for collecting Pre-Authorized Remittance/Automatic Payment/Direct Debit be set up for DWF, with information on all DWF communication media.
Action: The Web Manager and RFL at Diakoneo will coordinate, with a goal to be up and running by October 1, 2020.
Recommendation #10: Bequests and wills
It was agreed to promote opportunities for members to remember DWF in their wills and bequests.
Action: The RFL at Diakoneo will create a document that includes the appropriate legal wording in German and English, by September 1.
Action: The Web Manager will ensure it is added to all DWF communication media.
Recommendation #11: Offerings for Assemblies, DIAKAID, Emergency Funds
It was agreed that we dedicate offerings at Assemblies to the DWF Travel Fund and/or DIAKAID.
Action: The DWF Assembly Planning Team will oversee this offering for Darwin 2022.
Recommendation #12: Member communities donations to DWF travel fund/DIAKAID
It was agreed that DWF member associations be invited to consider offerings at community gatherings to go towards the DWF Travel Fund and/or DIAKAID.
Action: The Secretary to communicate regularly with member associations about this.
Action: The Web Manager to add to all DWF communication media.
Recommendation #13: No change of membership fees structure
It was agreed that, at the present time, there will be no change to the current membership fees structure. The current financial situation for DWF is not so urgent that we need to take any steps at this point.
Action: The Finance Committee will consider this matter further.
Recommendation # 14: Investment strategies
It was noted that the RFL at Diakoneo will present the Executive Committee with recommended investment strategies in July 2020. Funds are to be invested, as much as possible, ethically and with an eye toward safety and caution and reviewed by the Finance Committee and Executive Committee at least annually.
Recommendation #15: “Benefit of Membership”
The draft ‘Benefit of Membership’ (July 2019) statement was noted and affirmed: DIAKONIA offers an international and ecumenical community of diaconal friendship, connecting us in diversity and commonality. DIAKONIA broadens our worldview and deepens our sense of diaconal vocation. DIAKONIA reminds the church of God’s call to justice, compassion, and peace for creation, and assists us in living out our ministries in the world with vision and hope. The church is not the church without diakonia.
Action: Circulate to member associations and in all communication media.
Recommendation #16: Establish the Communication Committee
It was agreed that a Communications Committee be established. In addition to three members to be appointed, the following will serve as ex officio on the Committee: the E-news editor, Web Manager, President, Secretary or distributor of the Monthly Prayer Letter. The role of the Communication Committee will be to identify a variety of communication strategies to share the work of DWF, to highlight the people and the programs (including the DWF Monthly Prayer). The Committee will find ways to boost our social media presence (e.g. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), upgrade the DWF website, and oversee the E-news communication.
Action: Establish the Communication Committee by 1 March, 2021
Recommendation # 17: Establish the membership Connection Committee
It was agreed that a Membership Connections Committee be established to focus on relationships within this international and ecumenical federation between Assemblies. This may include organizing electronic meetings that offer educational programs; developing check in support groups; connecting those who are involved in similar ministries (e.g. prison chaplains, hospice workers, anti-poverty activists).
Action: Establish the Membership Connections Committee by 1 March, 2021.
Recommendation #18: DIAKAID Committee
It was agreed that a DIAKAID Committee be established to re-invigorate the work of DIAKAID by:
* Establishing clear criteria and priorities for projects
* Advertising the fund amongst the members
* Cultivating projects and nurturing those making applications
* Overseeing the projects and receiving reports
* Sharing stories of the projects in our communication media Action: Establish the DIAKAID Committee by 1 March, 2021
Recommendation #19: Social Justice Initiatives and Networking Committee It was agreed that a Social Justice Initiatives and Networking Committee be established, to imagine ways that the members of our organization might be supportive of social justice initiatives undertaken by our member associations, other ecumenical partners, and individuals. The Committee will find ways to set priorities and concentrate our justice work. They will develop communications strategies in collaboration with the Communications Committee.
Action: Establish the Social Justice Initiatives and Networking Committee by 1 November, 2021.
Recommendation #20: New Member Communities Committee It was agreed that a New Member Communities Committee be established to research diaconal communities that are not presently members of DWF, to establish relationships with a view to inviting them to join DWF. The Committee will also develop resources for initiating diaconal communities where none exist at present.
Action: Establish the New Member Communities Committee by 1 March, 2022.
Recommendation #21: Diaconal Formation Committee It was agreed that a Diaconal Formation Committee be established to network with instructors who are leading diaconal formation programs for their associations, and to develop platforms for sharing ideas and resources amongst the groups and leaders.
Action: Establish a Diaconal Formation Committee by 1 March, 2022.
Recommendation #22: Theology of Diakonia Committee It was agreed that a Theology of Diakonia Committee be established to survey and review the current literature in diaconal theology. In cooperation with the Communications Committee they will find ways to share this scholarship and academic literature amongst our members.
Action: Establish a Theology of Diakonia Committee by 1 March, 2022.
Recommendation #23: The EC to intentionally develop ecumenical contacts It was agreed that the DWF Executive Committee develop concrete plans and strategies for enhancing our relationship with other ecumenical and international partners that are doing the work of diakonia. These organizations would include, at least: * World Council of Churches * ReDI (Research Diakonia) * International Diaconate Centre (Roman Catholic) Action: This plan is to be further developed early in 2021.
The substantial work of the members of the FFTG was affirmed (Anne Russell- Brighty DAP; Gordon Pennykid, DRAE and DIAKONIA Treasurer; Ted Dodd, DOTAC; Thorsten Walter, DIAKONEO Neuendettelsau).