Diakonie Germany

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Diakonie Germany
legal form Part of the work in the Evangelical Work for Diakonia and Development
Seat Berlin GermanyGermanyGermany 
main emphasis Social work , social policy
people President Ulrich Lilie
Employees 599,282 (employees of the affiliated organizations and associations)
Volunteers 700,000
Website www.diakonie.de

The Diakonie Germany is the voluntary organization of Protestant churches within the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), altkonfessioneller churches and numerous free churches . Diakonie Deutschland acts according to the self-image of Diakonie as social work of the Protestant churches on people of all age groups, regardless of gender and religious affiliation. Diaconal institutions are seen as "the life and essence of the churches"; they "fulfill the church-diaconal purposes and tasks anchored in their statute as active charity".

599,282 full-time employees and around 700,000 additional volunteers work under the umbrella of the Diakonie and the legally independent 17 Diakonische Werke (status: 2018). "At the beginning of 2018, the Diakonie nationwide 31,594 facilities and services with a total of 1,174,765 beds / places [...] were connected."

Until 2012, the Diakonisches Werk of the EKD, as a registered association , to which the Bread for the World campaign belonged, performed the tasks of the Diakonie in Germany. With the merger of the Diaconal Work of the EKD and the Evangelical Development Service to form the new Evangelical Work for Diakonia and Development in October 2012, Diakonie Germany, as a part of the Evangelical Work for Diakonia and Development, succeeded the Diaconal Work of the EKD. Diakonie Deutschland is one of the six so-called leading associations for voluntary welfare in Germany that work together in the Federal Association of Independent Welfare Care.

The Diakonie Austria is the appropriate governing body in Austria.


Developments until 1848

There has always been a diakonia in church history. Orders dedicated to nursing the sick are most prominent in medieval history. Subsequent to the Reformation of've August Hermann Francke founded Francke Foundations in Halle (Saale) (1698), that of Johann Hinrich Wichern built Rough House in Hamburg (1833), which in 1836 by Theodor Fliedner in Kaiserswerth launched RWTH Deaconess Association (see also Kaiserswerther Diakonie ) and the Neukirchener Erziehungsverein , which Pastor Andreas Bräm and members of his presbytery founded in Neukirchen-Vluyn in 1845 .

Especially in the Evangelical Reformed Church , a return to the original meaning of the diaconate in the New Testament with John Calvin led to the renewal of the office of the deacon or poor carer in the local community. In the reformed “structured office” pastors, church elders (presbyters), teachers and deacons stand side by side on an equal footing.

Kirchentag in Wittenberg 1848

Diakonie received a significant new impetus on September 22nd, 1848. Johann Hinrich Wichern , who had founded the Rauhe Haus in Hamburg fifteen years earlier for neglected children, put diaconal activity at the center of church activities in a two-hour impromptu speech at the Wittenberg Church Congress . His speech culminated in the following sentences:

“My friends, one thing is necessary for the Evangelical Church as a whole to acknowledge: 'The work of the Inner Mission is mine!', That it should put a great seal on the sum of this work: love belongs to me as does faith. Saving love must become the great instrument with which it shows the fact of faith. This love must flare in the church as the bright torch of God that makes known that Christ has taken a form in his people. Just as the whole of Christ reveals himself in the living word of God, so he must also preach himself in the acts of God, and the highest, purest, most ecclesiastical of these acts is saving love. "

Wichern recognized that there was already diaconal engagement in a number of places. Therefore, he said that in some places new initiatives are not needed, but the further development and reorganization of existing ones. One should stop looking at charitable endeavors “as dilettante work and as merely philanthropic endeavors; they must be grasped as sacred tasks of the evangelical church and as such introduced into popular life with new seriousness. From now on one should hear them proclaimed on the pulpits. ”Wichern was concerned with Christian mercy , his main aim was to strengthen the self-help of the socially depressed; He fully recognized the social failure of the church; he also understood the socialist endeavors. Wichern's speech ignites and leads to the establishment of the Central Committee for the Inner Mission of the German Evangelical Church in 1849 .

The "Central Committee for the Inner Mission of the German Evangelical Church" was the beginning of ecclesiastically organized diakonia, which was followed by the creation of many legally independent homes, institutions and institutions in the spirit of diakonia.

Diakonie after the Second World War

After 1945 the " Aid Organization of the Evangelical Church in Germany " was founded. It developed foreign aid and stimulated ecumenical contacts in order to fight the famine in Germany, to settle displaced persons and refugees and to alleviate the shortage of young people.

The Inner Mission and the relief organization merged from 1957 in regional church organizations. In 1975 they were united in the Diakonisches Werk of the EKD. On March 19, 1991, the Diaconal Works of the Churches of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the GDR joined the Diaconal Works of the EKD.

Since the 1950s, the Diakonisches Werk has coordinated a wide range of help for the Church and Diakonia in the German Democratic Republic and, through Ludwig Geißel, also played an important role in the ransom of over 30,000 political prisoners.

In the post-war period, there was also severe child abuse in homes of the Diakonisches Werk , which in 2009 and 2010 was the subject of the round table on home education set up by the German Bundestag . In June 2010, telephone counseling was set up for people who have been abused by members of the Church or its diaconal organizations.

Diakonie Germany

Diakonie Deutschland is a part of the Evangelical Work for Diakonia and Development based in Berlin . It also has an office in Brussels. Diakonie Deutschland works together with the other leading associations of the independent welfare organization to promote the welfare state in Germany. It tries to provide help to every citizen in need. In addition to direct aid, Diakonie Deutschland is also politically active:

  • for the common interests of diakonia and
  • for the interests of the people for whom Diakonie works.

This happens in relation to political organs and bodies such as parliament and government at home and abroad. Diakonie Deutschland participates in federal legislation through statements. It promotes the organizations, associations and institutions that are united in Diakonie Deutschland, and “serves to promote cooperation between the members. It offers them services. As an advocate for people in need and a socio-political impetus, it contributes to the professional development of the work ”(self-presentation).

Diakonie Deutschland is currently facing the revolutionary challenge that the welfare state, with its subsidiarity principle, is increasingly giving way to a free market for social benefits. As a result, the diakonia is confronted with increasing competition.

Diakonie Deutschland is a member of the European Movement Network .

Diakonie Deutschland is a member of the Aktion Mensch association .


Members of Diakonie Deutschland are the EKD, the regional associations, i.e. the diaconal works of the Protestant regional churches , old denominational churches and several free churches with their diaconal institutions and 67 professional associations. There are the following 17 regional associations:

  • Diaconal work of the Evangelical Church in Baden e. V., Karlsruhe
  • Diaconal work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria V., Nuremberg
  • Diakonisches Werk Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia e. V., Berlin (DWBO)
  • Diakonisches Werk Bremen e. V.
  • Diakonisches Werk Hamburg - Regional Association of the Inner Mission e. V., Hamburg
  • Diakonisches Werk in Niedersachsen e. V., Hanover
  • Diakonie Hessen - Diakonisches Werk in Hessen and Nassau and Kurhessen-Waldeck e. V., Frankfurt
  • Diakonisches Werk Mecklenburg-Vorpommern e. V., Schwerin
  • Diakonisches Werk Evangelischer Kirchen in Mitteldeutschland e. V., Halle
  • Diaconal work of the Evangelical Reformed Church, Leer
  • Diaconal work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg e. V., Oldenburg
  • Diaconal work of the Evangelical Church of the Palatinate, Speyer
  • Diakonisches Werk Rheinland-Westfalen-Lippe e. V., Düsseldorf
  • Diaconal work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony e. V. , Radebeul
  • Diaconal work of the Evangelical Lutheran Regional Church Schaumburg-Lippe e. V., Stadthagen
  • Diakonisches Werk Schleswig-Holstein and Regional Association of the Inner Mission e. V., Rendsburg
  • Diaconal work of the Evangelical Church in Württemberg e. V., Stuttgart

In addition to the 17 regional associations, nine churches united in the Diakonie Arbeitsgemeinschaft belong to Diakonie Deutschland:

They are all involved in welfare work and seek help for people in need. The work is summarized in the motto "Diakonie - mit Dir".

Church representatives are leaders in the governing bodies of Diakonie Deutschland. The legal form and ownership (shares in ownership) can be regulated differently for the works .

The Conference for Diakonia and Development is the highest decision-making body of the Evangelical Work for Diakonia and Development and decides the general principles for the work of Diakonia. Its diaconal committee advises the board of directors and prepares decisions for the conference on diaconal and popular missionary work. The conference and committee are made up of elected representatives of the 67 professional associations, the 17 member church diaconal organizations and individuals from the church and diakonia.

The theologian Ulrich Lilie has been president of Diakonie Deutschland since July 2014 . In March he was elected to the head of the Protestant charity by the Conference for Diakonia and Development. His predecessor was Johannes Stockmeier .

In addition to the president, the management of Diakonie Deutschland includes the board member for social policy, Maria Loheide , and the board member for finance, human resources and law, Jörg Kruttschnitt.


In 2012, the federal association's budget had total assets of around EUR 55.4 million. The budgets of the members and the diaconal institutions, which include the immediate diaconal activities, are independent of this.


Examples of fields of work are:

International cooperation and tasks

In Europe, several social welfare organizations from different countries work together in “ Eurodiaconia ”. In doing so, they jointly represent the interests of the member associations vis-à-vis the European institutions.

Worldwide, the diaconal organizations are united in a world association. The European associations are involved in the "Europ-Africa" ​​regional assembly.

Meaning of the symbol

The Diakonie logo contains the crown cross that Richard Boeland of the Berlin Art School designed in 1925. It originally represented the artistic combination of the letters I and M (Inner Mission). However, it became known as the Crown Cross, where the recognizable cross stands for distress and death and the crown for hope and resurrection. The signet was adopted as a separate symbol when the Diakonisches Werk of the Evangelical Church in Germany was founded in 1957.

See also


  • Hermann Krummacher: Johann Hinrich Wichern. A picture of life from the present. Gotha 1882.
  • Wilfried Brandt: For an avowed diakonia. Contributions to an evangelical understanding of the diaconate. Neukirchener Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn 2001, ISBN 3-7887-1854-4 .
  • Joachim Dettmann, Michael Holewa: Perspective Diakonie 2025. future - power - knowledge. Shaping demographic change. Transfer-Project, Berlin 2006.

Web links

Commons : Diakonie  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Sources and references

  1. 6.4 EKD Assignment Act (ZuOG-EKD). In: Canon Law online reference work. November 12, 2014, accessed November 7, 2018 .
  2. a b Establishment statistics 2018 (PDF as of January 1, 2018), Diakonie Deutschland information portal, accessed on February 4, 2020.
  3. EKD: Congratulations on founding the "Evangelical Work Diakonie and Development" . Article on regionalweltenbuettel.de, June 14, 2012.
  4. ^ A b Johann Hinrich Wichern: Speech at the Wittenberger Kirchentag ; quoted at Glaubensstimme.de , accessed on February 17, 2018.
  5. EKD sets up telephone hotline for victims of abuse ( memento from September 3, 2012 in the web archive archive.today )
  6. ^ Statutes of Aktion Mensch e. V.
  7. Lilie, who was born in Lower Saxony, takes office as Diakonie President . epd article on the website of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover, June 28, 2014, accessed on April 25, 2018.
  8. ^ Diakonie Deutschland: The evangelical welfare association introduces itself. Diakonie Deutschland, accessed on May 31, 2016 .
  9. ^ Diakonie Deutschland, Annual Report 2013 ( Memento from December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF), p. 39.