interdiac Research e-news November and December 2019


Interdiac are happy to present for your interest a fresh edition of the monthly news about the research processes which have been unfolding under interdiac umbrella. The last autumn month is over and we are approaching the end of the year, which has brought a lot of valuable outcomes from the joint work of the international researchers. Therefore, we suggest you take a look back on what has been achieved! Then we shall look into the future plans for each Research theme.

People on the Move

This research programme addresses Christian social work with refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants. It aims to develop a deeper understanding of who are ‘people on the move’ as a phenomenon in different contexts and the current practice of diaconia and the churches with them. The theme embraces then participants from 6 countries (Ukraine, Armenia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Serbia), who worked through the summertime on embracing the phenomena of uprooted people in their countries. Their findings have been represented into the ‘country’ reports, which contain a ‘basic’ overview of the situation of uprooted people in the particular country as well as the ‘response’ from the society and church to the needs of these people. Then in the autumn, the theme coordinator, Ulla Siirto (Finland), has developed the questions for the focus-groups or individual interviews with uprooted people. The rich data from the interviews and focus-groups were brought back to Ulla Siirto for analysis during December. This has underlined the accomplishment of 3 phases of the research. Next month Ulla Siirto is going to elaborate an analytical paper out of the summaries and reports. Simultaneously she will develop the questions to the professional workers who are engaged in the field of diaconal work with uprooted people. The winter and early spring months of year 2020 will be devoted to the subsequent phase of data gathering. The workers will be asked to reflect on professional methods and approaches in their work with uprooted people. Further analysis and evaluation of the gathered data will be accomplished by Ulla in late spring. The final and conclusive report on the research findings and an international workshop will be outcomes of the whole research process, which will be finished in the autumn of next year. The outcomes of the whole research process will serve as an important contribution to the strengthening of understanding of the issues and practice and of advocacy. Interdiac and its partners will develop new learning processes in the region. For particular questions and comments on the content and methodology of the research process, please, contact the Theme Coordinator, Ulla Siirto at email:

Ecclesiology and Theological Understanding of Diaconia

This research programme addresses interconfessional diversity and the growing need for a deeper dialogue about different Christian traditions and their contemporary applications. Desk-researchers from 7 countries of Central & Eastern Europe and Central Asia (representing Lutheran, Orthodox, Reformed, Armenian Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches) contributed their expertise to the development of understanding of and diaconal practice in contexts of their different churches. Another aim of the desk-research is to clarify the extent of church engagement in social action and the wider recognition of diaconia in the church and secular context. Now with the guidance of Herman Noordegraaf (Netherlands), the research process approaches the final stage, where the fruits of desk-research are gathered into one publication, with an interpretative essay. The deadline for submitting the essays was prolonged until the end of this year. We expect the work on the publication to be finished in early spring 2020. The outcome will serve as a baseline for a future research project, which will look in depth to the practical implications of the ecclesiological understandings. The material of this research will also be a valuable resource for learning programmes and for the development of the field. We expect that this mutual learning from each other will be a means to support the churches in recognition of their involvement in social action, interconfessional dialogue and will support advocacy. The whole process will also contribute valuable material for the new interdiac learning programme on diaconia. For particular questions and comments on the content and methodology of the research process, please, contact the Theme Coordinator, Herman Noordegraaf at email:

Youth on the Margins

This research process brought together participants from 7 countries (Armenia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Estonia, Georgia, Moldova, Kyrgyz Republic) with the aim of hearing the voices of the ‘youth on the margins’ in the first phase of the research. This phase will be accomplished by the end of this year. Now the research coordinator Jouko Porkka (Finland) will work on the data to compose a paper which will bring the voices of the young people, their aspirations, expectations and worries to the public. In the light of these voices, the professionals will reflect on their working methods with marginalised young people embracing the perspective of the present-day challenges in the field. This stage of the research is planned to be carried out during winter and spring, 2020. The participatory methodology aims to build on local knowledge and strengths by all affected of stakeholders, especially, the young people themselves. The final publication and international workshop will be used to support advocacy for diaconal practice with young people and to facilitate the mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise between the interdiac partners. Subsequently, interdiac aims to update its handbook on working with marginalised young people and organise further learning programmes. For particular questions and comments on the content and methodology of the research process, please, contact the Theme Coordinator, Jouko Porkka at his email:

Feedback, Comments and Congratulations!

Dear colleagues, on behalf of the interdiac team, I would like to congratulate the many people who are involved in this project on the progress made this year! We join together to wish you a hope filled Advent and joyful celebration of Christmas. We of course, welcome your comments and feedback, as usual. Contact: interdiac Research Coordinator Oksana Prosvirnina Email: Web Site:

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