Beat Maurer is President of Swiss Diaconal Conference

The plenary assembly of the Swiss Diaconal Conference elected Aargau Church Council member Beat Maurer to head its Executive Committee. The delegates also elected four other committee members and deliberated on an agreement on social-diaconal services.

Maurer will be the first president of the national conference for the diaconal associations of Switzerland’s regional Reformed churches. The Diaconal Conference of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches unites those church and synod council members involved with diaconal affairs as well as experts on relevant issues from the regional churches.

Born in 1968, Beat Maurer has been a member of the Council of the Reformed Church of Aargau since 2012, with responsibility for diaconal services, and has been the social deacon for the Zofingen church parish since 1998. Maurer has presided over the Swiss German Diaconal Conference since late 2013, which has now been integrated into the Swiss Diaconal Conference.

As the new president, Maurer explained that he is focusing on “establishing the new platform to interlink those involved in diaconal activities and strengthening the churches’ diaconal work”. He added that they need to “take care of the diversity in the diaconal services of the regional churches and to make use of the different diaconal concepts.”

As FSPC President Gottfried Locher expressed it: “They experience a great sense of togetherness and demonstrate that being diaconal reflects the church being close to the people. The Swiss Diaconal Conference will create synergies. It is an important pilot project towards the revision of the FSPC constitution.”

The plenary session also dealt with a future agreement on social-diaconal services, in which the member churches commit to a common basis for admitting social-diaconal professionals into church service. The title of “social deacon”, previously issued by the Swiss German Diaconal Conference will now be issued by the Swiss Diaconal Conference.

The delegates also filled what is now an eight-member Executive Committee with four representatives from the Swiss Diaconal working groups: Urs Woodtli (Education and Further Education), Beat Urech (Projects and Practice), Andreas Fankhauser (Foundations and Research), and Roland Luzi (Churches and Agencies). Four other members were elected at the beginning of the year Bernhard Egg (Zurich), Barbara Hefti (Glarus), Claudia Hubacher (Bern-Jura-Solothurn), and Beat Maurer (Aargau).

The Swiss Diaconal Conference, founded by the FSPC in 2017, encompasses the Diaconal Conference, the Swiss German Diaconal Conference, and the diakonie.ch project. The Swiss Diaconal Conference supports the exchange of information on diaconal projects in parishes, maintains a dialogue with diaconal research and networks, and establishes standards for diaconal training. This makes it possible to connect diaconal work all in one place.