Christian Service Starts With Marginalized People, Forum Participants Say

(Photo Credit: World Council of Churches)A person walks in Kusumpur one of the many slums which surround Delhi, India. Most of its inhabitants are Dalits and Indigenous people.

As Jesus sought first to heal the marginalized people of society, Christians in the Church today must serve people in those circumstances as well, participants at a recent international conference on Christian service said.

More than 50 people from churches, specialized ministries, networks and communities participated in a World Council of Churches conference entitled "Theology of Diakonia for the 21st Century from June 2-6 in Colombo Sri Lanka.

"Jesus' diakonia began among the marginalized and it not only effected their healing but also restored their dignity. Diakonia today has to relate itself among the marginalized," said Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, a participant from Ghana, representing the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network.

The event was hosted by the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka.

Diakonia is a Greek word used in the New Testament to describe ministries of service, mission and support.

"Diakonia is an essential ecclesial function. It must be prophetic and transformative. It cannot be opted only in convenient forms," participants asserted in a joint statement.

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