The new ecumenical study text "Ecumenical Diaconia" which was presented together by ACT Alliance, WCC and LWF during the Ecumenical Strategic Forum Conference in Geneva in October 2017 has identified a new need of deepening global conceptual and theological dialogue between churches and agencies on theology and practice of Diaconia. Churches both in Africa, Latin America and in Asia indicate a new interest in enhancing their diaconic witness and to provide professional social witness to their societies in combining pioneering Diaconia projects with dimensions of advocacy and lobbying work. While different languages and key reference terminologies are used in different denominations to refer to diaconic work ("social services", "integral witness", "holistic mission", "philanthropy", "community oriented social work" etc.) and also many different structural forms of diaconic work exist, there is a growing trend to enhance and professionalize Christian social witness in the churches – a concern which has been present in the global ecumenical movement from its very beginning, but now has taken on a new dynamic in the global south Christianity.
Bread for the World in Berlin, the Institute for Diaconic Management in Bielefeld, the Wuppertal Church University and international partner institutions have come together to plan for a major Handbook on Ecumenical Diaconia under the title "Contextual Theologies of Diaconia". The Diaconia Training Resources Collection intended here is led by the conviction that only different
contextual approaches to Diaconia can respond to these challenges and questions appropriately. It is clear that European theology of Diaconia or theology of Diaconia as developed by mainline churches in their own contexts will not be able to deliver the appropriate and needed theological reflections on global and other regional levels.
As a first step towards the envisaged inter-contextual dialogue on theology of Diaconia it is intended to collect different texts and relevant voices from different contexts in churches and institutions from the global south Christianity which deal with pressing questions of key issues related to a theology of Diaconia from their own point of view. Some suggested 60 authors from different cultural and denominational backgrounds will be requested to contribute with articles for the intended volume.
The project period is from 2018 to 2020 as the final outcome is planned to be presented to the assembly of the World Council of Churches in Karlsruhe in 2021.