On the evening of April 16, 2015, deacons and pastors from churches in Classis Holland gathered together and, among other things, were introduced to the revised or renewed purpose for the Holland Deacons’ Conference (HDC). According to HDC Executive Director, Jack Kooyman, “The need to revise HDC’s purpose was developed largely as a result of the responses we received during a nearly nine month Listening Tour.“
The HDC Listening Tour included numerous meetings and interviews with pastors and deacons as well as with representatives from a variety of groups and community organizations. HDC also heard from the broader community through an online survey (click link to view survey) conducted as part of HDC’s Listening Tour.
Information about and links to the survey were promoted extensively and extending invitations were extended using a variety of methods such as 1.) sending email invitations to various community leaders and stakeholders; 2.) placing invitations in church and community bulletins; 3.) social media invitations; 4.) posting on HDC’s website; and 5.) by simply asking others to make it known in their respective communities and organizations.
Along with the development of a renewed purpose, HDC leadership also decided it was important to have clearly articulated mission, vision, values and goals to provide needed strategic direction and as a guide for planning and decision making in the months and years ahead.
The following statements then are the result of HDC seeking and prayerfully discerning God’s leading during a process which began in the Fall of 2013 and was affirmed by those in attendance at our meeting on April 16, 2015. (Go here to obtain a pdf version of the following)
*The Holland Deacons’ Conference (HDC) exists to encourage, support and equip deacons, church members and partners to collaborate in Christ-like acts of mercy, justice and compassion that transform lives and communities, reflecting and advancing God’s reign.
Equipping deacons, church members and partners to participate in God’s work of transforming lives and communities.
Transformed Lives and Communities
Partnership – We are committed to encouraging diaconates, local congregations and community partners to work together combining resources and efforts to more effectively address and support shared diaconal concerns and projects (Acts 4: 32-35).
Justice – God calls us to restore and reconcile broken relationships (2 Corinthians 5:16-19) through the pursuit of justice (Micah 6:8).
Compassion – We are motivated by and committed to demonstrating Christ’s compassion for the vulnerable, poor and suffering in our communities and world (1 John 3:16-19).
Engaging Community: HDC will encourage each diaconate and church to join in God’s transforming work in their communities.
Equipping Deacons: HDC will serve as a link to available teaching, training, encouragement and partnerships for deacons and diaconal ministries from congregations and communities within Classis Holland.
Doing Justice: HDC will equip and encourage deacons and congregations to act on justice issues affecting vulnerable, poor and suffering people in their communities.
*HDC’s former Purpose Statement
HDC’s former purpose statement is provided below as stated in HDC’s bylaws. As HDC leadership proceeded with the task of revising and rewriting it’s purpose statement, they were intentional about keeping and incorporating the principles of the former statement throughout the process.
Holland Deacons Conference exists
- to serve as a link to available teaching and training, encouragement and partnership for diaconal ministries in congregations; and
- to promote and execute projects of diaconal concern which are ordinarily of a larger scope than individual diaconates resources.