The understanding and teaching of diakonia in China : a study of Christian social service in the Social Service Department of CCC, Amity Foundation and Churches in China
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My research question is as follows: How do diaconal agents at different levels in China understand the term diakonia and its theological foundation, and how does this find expression in their self- understanding, education and relationship with society? Because of the lack of literature on the diaconal work in China, the basis for this study are interviews with China experts, the management of the China Christian Council, Amity Foundation, people that work within the provincial councils and churches in China, diaconal students in Hong Kong and other key persons with knowledge of the topic. The Chinese word for diakonia is shè guān fú chi, witch means Society- Care-Service. The word diakonia is a new concept in China and because of this, most of my informants will find it difficult to relate to this term. Other informants are familiar with the concept of diakonia, but thinks of it as a western concept more related to the Lutheran church. I have therefore chosen to use the words Christian Social Service instead of diakonia in my interviews and interview guides. Since the two organizations have chosen have somewhat different approaches to their social service, I have chosen to focus on their understanding of the term diakonia, self-understanding as diaconal agents and to what extent training and education is given to nourish and inspire continuing Christian social service.