Original Research - Special Collection: Diakonia

Beweeg van diakonaat van welsyn na herstellende geregtigheid: ’n Gevallestudie – COVID-19

Janneke A. Marais
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 44, No 1 | a2788 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v44i1.2788 | © 2023 Janneke A. Marais | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 December 2022 | Published: 10 July 2023

About the author(s)

Janneke A. Marais, Department of Social Work and Youth Ministry, Toringkerk, Paarl; and Department of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Moving from diaconate of well-being to restorative justice: A case study – COVID-19. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, the Dutch Reformed congregation Toringkerk in Paarl longed to reach out to people within the local community who were in extreme need. The congregation felt powerless because of the containment and the extent of the need in poorer communities in Paarl. The general feeling was that networks should be set up in the local community, but no one knew how to start this. An innovative process of Diaconia (Service Group of the Western Cape Synod) and the Research Office (Western Cape Synod), called ‘Hidden Treasures’, was implemented to help the congregation with this. The result exceeded the congregation’s expectations. In this article, the methodology of the Hidden Treasures process is evaluated based on the Dutch Reformed Church’s intention to move from welfare to restorative justice. Suggestions are also made about how the methodology can be improved.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This study, born out of the 2020 pandemic, has the potential to fundamentally influence the missionary diaconate of congregations. The challenge that arose for the church regarding the missional question during the pandemic period about the need among individuals and families in local communities, drew some particularly important fields of study closer together, i.e. practical theology, diaconal studies, as well as social work, development studies and sociology.


networks; communities; missional; restorative justice; missio Dei.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals


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