Europe Vision and Strategy Consultation
The Europe Vision and Strategy Consultation, organized by WWO and Home for Good, took place in London from the 29th of November until the 1st of December 2016. The key focus of the consultation was the role of the Christian community in Europe in providing a permanent family for every child. It was a time of discussion, sharing stories, ideas and experiences, and seeking answers and strategies for assisting the European Christian community in understanding and embracing a vision for placing children in families.
During a session about the theology of adoption and church engagement, Krish Kandiah, Director of Home for Good, shared about how our theology and orphan care language impacts our actions and involvement in the European region. Articulating clear orphan care theology that creates a shift in churches was identified as one of the critical steps to see a change in Europe towards family based care and to see the church play a catalytic role in the process.
Leaders explored challenges and opportunities presented by the current refugee crisis in Europe, specifically looking at how the church can be involved in aiding unaccompanied children. The need for understanding the dynamics of cross-cultural communication in a European context was addressed by Frank Zauflik from the Center for Effective Leadership, which proved to be helpful during follow-up discussions.
Ruslan Maliuta, International Facilitator for WWO, shared on the topic of movement dynamics and how movements operate. He also led a panel discussion with country movement representatives from Ukraine, Romania and the UK, which provided helpful insight and proved to be a way to explore the challenging dynamics of a movement.
29 participants from 11 European countries shared about the situation in their individual countries surrounding orphaned and vulnerable children and discussed how the church is currently addressing the issue. They also were given the opportunity to share their hopes and ideas for how a European collaboration could better address the needs of orphans in the region.
The consultation helped participants better understand the situation across Europe involving orphaned and vulnerable children. Individual leaders shared during the consultation with the rest of the group not only about their personal connection with ministry to orphans and vulnerable children, but about the current situation of orphans and vulnerable children in their European country. They also presented information about the role of the church in orphan care and the status of the church in their specific country, and shared vision and expectations for how a collaborative European effort could best serve vulnerable children and orphans.
The second day of the consultation provided an opportunity to share best practices from different countries and learn from one another about preventative programs, ensuring that children are raised in a family setting whenever possible. Participants formulated specific expected outcomes for where they would like to see the WWO movement in Europe in 5 years time. The importance of identifying one person, or preferably a facilitation team in every European country that is committed to the vision, was articulated. This person or team would play a strategic role in messaging and spreading a clear orphan care theology to the churches that would create a shift in how people view the topic and their role in engagement. The facilitation team would provide pathways for churches, leaders and organizations to join the movement and also to identify and train professionals that would be engaged in helping identify the most pressing needs and strategies for working together.
As a result of the 3 day consultation, a European Operational Team was formed and steps were made towards the creation of a European Facilitation Team,with the goal of facilitating and guiding follow up communication. As the European Facilitation Team develops they will help see movements begin and developed in European nations for the benefit of the “fatherless”across the region.
If you are interested in finding out more about the European Facilitation Team please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d love to explore your potential involvement!