At Amity Foundation's invitation, from 7 to 13 March, a delegation of Diakonie Germany - 'Diakonie Deutschland' visited Nanjing to inform themselves about church related social work in China. The delegation was led by Mr. Lilie, President of Diakonie.
Diakonie is a German umbrella organization, which represents the social projects of all Germany's Protestant churches. Diakonie Germany is the charitable organisation of the Protestant church in Germany. This work includes more than 28,000 inpatient and outpatient care centers, from nursing homes and hospitals to community outreach and welfare centers, employing about 450,000 full- or part-time employees
After their arrival, the delegation visited the Amity Bakery, a social enterprise that provides vocational training for people with mental disabilities and is supporting their families. Furthermore, it raises awareness for their rights and well-being among the wider public. “The goal is to facilitate an inclusive society”, says Vivian, Amity's director of the African office.
In the evening, the delegation met the Amity Foundation's leadership and staff of Amity's Social Service and Church Departments. Reverent Shen Zhanqing, director of Amity's Church Department, introduced Amity's work with churches. Amity combines 'hardware' and 'software' in its social work with churches. Projects in the fields of elderly care, environmental protection, work with the disabled or poverty alleviation are combined with capacity building, volunteer and team building, management and financial training. Thereby, churches are empowered to run their own social services in the future. Diakonie Germany gave a presentation about their social service work. Compared to a long tradition in Germany, churches in China are at a starting point to provide social services for the community.
In the course of the following days, the delegation visited the provincial and national Seminary in Nanjing to learn about theological education in China. Furthermore, they visited the Amity Printing Company, the world largest Bible printer, and the 'House of Five Religions'. This building is an interreligious center in Nanjing where the five official religions of the city are coordinating and working together.
To experience social work of churches and other religions in action, the delegation visited the city of Zhenjiang and their church related social welfare activities. On Sunday, the participants visited the English-speaking church Service of Nanjing's St. Paul's Church and afterwards the Nanjing Massacre Museum. Finally, they visited the Qixia Philanthrophy Valley and Amity's social service and community organizations in Nanjing.
During the farewell events, the Amity Foundation and participants of the Diakonie Deutschland delegation expressed their hope that cooperation between Germany and China will intensify in this field.