DIAKONIA World Federation
The Justice Committee formed in 2021, has a charter to “create, coordinate, and maintain a justice presence for DWF”. Later in reference to Justice Committee’s relations with the Executive Committee, the Charter says the Justice Committee is to meet “at least annually, identifying themes, making recommendations, and suggesting actions.” In Committee’s list of specific duties, it says that it is to:
a. Maintain a current audit of justice initiatives undertaken by our member communities, other ecumenical partners, and individuals, and explore avenues for partnering, networking, and collaborating.
b. Imagine ways our member associations and communities might be supportive of identified justice work
c. Set priorities and develop a plan for amplifying the justice work of DWF.
d. Recruit leaders to facilitate events and programs that promote justice networking, information- sharing, learning, and acting.
e. Publicize these opportunities, in cooperation with the Communications Committee, using the various DWF Communication platforms.
The Justice Committee believes one of its roles for itself, and with DWF members, is to reflect on justice ministries our members are engaged with or perhaps on issues members are not engaged. The reflection – praxis model is central to justice ministries which have integrity and sound theological foundation. This model serves as a basis of the DOVE (Diakonia Overcoming Violence Experience) which DOTAC hosts reflecting on various forms of violence different locations in their region.
We are aware that engaging in justice issues in many regions is not a safe act and we need to be clear and intentional with what platforms we are using to share information and what we say and suggest for action.
In carrying out the responsibilities named in the Charter it is not clear on the style of justice presence or ministry it wants DWF to utilize. The Justice Committee discussed this extensively at its meeting in December 2021 and agreed that DWF is similar to the values, organization structure, and character of the WCC. However, we recognized that DWF does not have the resources and relationships the WCC has. So, DWF must choose which style of work best suits our resources and relationships with our members.
For reference we have noted that the World Council of Churches has a variety of styles of work:
- Education of its members for local actions on global issues
- Encourage and Support Local Action of its members in specific regions on specific areas of justice
- Commit To Equip, Mobilize, And Support Faith Communities on justice issues which do not have high profile
- Transform the Renewal of Church and Society on justice issues which are pervasive both within the church and society. Gender justice is such an issue.
- Convening and Facilitating Advocacy at Different Levels – globally, regionally, nationally, and locally. This is done with ecumenical organizations, partner churches, and with global bodies such, as the United Nations.
- Identifying A Specific Justice Issue and Develop a Multi-Year, Multi-Faceted Program – e.g., Programme to Combat Racism
- Guiding WCC on Justice Issues and developing ecumenical policy for its members
- Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance to develop and coordinate campaigns for supportive members, such as HIV and AIDS, food security and sustainable agriculture
- The Justice Committee recommends that we continue seek information from each region and member of DWF as to what each are doing on different themes or issues.
We will first ask members organizations to name a contact person for the Justice Committee to be in direct communication. The contact person for the membership organization will:
- Share information from their organization with the DWF Justice Committee. Initially this will be done by completing the survey on behalf of their organization
- Share information from the DWF Justice Committee with their membership organization.
- The first theme DWF will focus on will be climate change, because it highly ranked in our initial survey of members and individuals, and is common to all areas. The focus may vary upon the local context. In some areas the focus may be on promoting electric vehicles and in other regions it may be on mining on indigenous lands for the lithium used for the batteries. Based upon what learn, we will then report to our members on what various regions are doing thereby educating our members and the Justice Committee about the issue of climate change.
Even though we may focus on one theme, such as climate change, our discussion and actions may crossover to other justice issues such as, the global concentration of wealth and power.
- DWF Justice Committee’s role initially will be to amplify the work and requests of the regions and members. We may not necessarily be urging a particular action unless there is a particular urgent action or human rights situation.
- Some members of the DWF Justice Committee will be the contact person in their regional organizations:
- DRAE – Gwynne Lawlor (Africa) and will seek someone for Europe
- DOTAC – Megan Hale (Anglophone) and Dionata Rodrigues de Oliveira (Portuguese and Spanish)
- DAP – Emma Cantor - (Asia and Pacific) and Sophia Lizares (Australia & New Zealand)
- The Executive to explore with DWF Justice Committee the possibility of developing working relationships the WCC global and regional committees in addressing justice issues.
We appreciate that this may be a long-term goal because the Justice Committee first needs to educate, engage and reflect with member organizations on what they are doing and not doing on justice issues.
On Behalf of Justice Committee