The art and practice of living together
Seeking Conviviality is the name given to a pan European process established by Lutheran churches to develop an overarching concept for community diakonia (the social practice of the church) in the present context. The international solidarity group aims to face the biggest challenge in Europe, which is how people from different backgrounds can live together in peace and with justice. Conviviality is a relational concept which implies the art and practice of living together, having an open and curious attitude which enriches everyone. It goes beyond tolerance towards common action and it goes beyond interpersonal relations to address issues of justice and the environment.
The process is based on developing three concepts: Vocation, Justice and Dignity. So far, the group has explored conviviality as a concept which offers a socio-economic critique and at the same time a horizon or vision to work towards and guidelines for practice. A more recent publication focused on convivial economy and in 2020 a new publication will focus on diversity and identity.
The concept of conviviality has its modern roots in post-colonial thinking and is critical of conventional understandings of development and the mission of the church. The latest work of the European group has also begun to focus on decolonial movements in the churches, especially in terms of dealing with the legacy of slavery, and its link to missionary work. This is a current programme of some members of the network and will feature in our next publication.