Rev. Mark Brown, Regional Representative for the LWF in Jerusalem, set the context for the conference with a summary of the history of the LWF work in healthcare in the region and reflections on the AVH mission and its continued commitment to caring for the whole person.
Referring to Martin Luther’s November 1527 response entitled “Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague,” Younan approached the role of the church in holistic healthcare from a “theology of neighborliness” and Jesus’ call to pastors and leaders to be as shepherds who are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep (John 10:11).
Younan further expanded on the diaconal roots of the ELCJHL that go back to 1851 and the arrival of four Daconesses from Kaiserwerth, Germany, and their mission to begin a school for the uplifting of young girls name Talitha Kumi.
Keynote Speaker Dr. Beate Jakob, from the German Institute for Medical Mission (DIFAEM) in Tübingen, Germany, provided an entry point for further discussion, raising questions of the role of the church in the field of health, the Christian understanding of health and its implications for a greater understanding of healing, and Christian health service examples from both the Global South and the Global North.
Under the motto of Faith in Leadership, the conference will continue through 16 November with a focus on the challenges of Context, Identity and Innovation. The conference includes global keynote presentations on the individual themes, multi-faith witness and worship. Subcategories of the conference will include streams on “Faith Base, Values, Diaconal Identity and Religious Health Assets;” and “Leadership and Capacity Building.”
This conference brings together praticipants gathered from around the world, including Germany, Great Britain, India, Mozambique, Norway, Palestine, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United States of America, and Zambia.
The Faith Based Health Care Network was founded on 3 November 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia as “a network of leaders in Faith-based healthcare focusing on local expressions of practice.” The network brings together many different types of actors and organizations for the purpose of mutual support and inspiration.