Wednesday, June 17, 2020
On the 29th of May 2020, our 10th General Members’ Assembly was held this time through Zoom. The formal GMA was followed by an informal program in which Sallux Members informed us on how the Corona crisis impacted their work and what they see as important consequences on the economy and society of this crisis.
Discussion arose about what the relational dimensions will look like after this period since huge economic sectors have been influenced with post Covid effects. How will people work and get to know each other effectively with only web-based arrangements during meetings, conferences, events etc. A number of observations from the member-organisations were put forward showing how diverse the situation is across Europe.
The situation in Spain was depicted as worrying due to the 125% debt-to-GDP ratio and the political instability as well as the lack of support to families. Also the virus hit the north much harder than the south of Spain. The situation in Sweden is however quite different due to its unique approach to the corona crisis. The Dutch approach has worked but also there the costs are high, and many loved ones died.
Generally the members identified a number of issues that they found significant in all of Europe.
The impact at Church life was discussed intensively. In some countries the online services have proven to be a success as they attract more views than the usual number of churchgoers. However social distancing is a challenge. Churches are not prepared to build relationships in that new way. As a positive note it was mentioned that never before have churches in Germany worked together like they did now to pray for the country.
Another issue that was mentioned is the fragile balance between freedom and security. In Germany this is why the German government is handed the reigns over to the Bundesländer (German counties).
The main question remained the relational approach can be practiced in times like these. It can be confusing; however, the ideas are there, and specific approaches should and can be implemented.
There is a fear of another economic collapse. Especially for the small businesses. There has indeed been big financial support by the government for those businesses but lasting only for a few weeks. Lots of jobs are lost and there is a sense of unity in the country where people try to help each other out. On the other hand, there seems to be more polarization about how to deal with the effects of the crisis afterwards.
Not less important is the role of the family. These turbulent times underline the importance of families. Before the crisis the contribution of the parents who were the caretakers of their children who had to stay home was much undervalued. Will this change now? Addressing only individual rights is not enough. It is important to apply the relational approach which in its turn is the core contributer to physical health and healthy relationships. This raises critical questions such as: “Do we want everything to be as it was before or do we strive for new positive social reforms?”. Sallux and its members raise these questions.
There is however a bright spot in Europe where we see positive results with the taken measures in central east Europe with Slovakia being the country with one of the lowest death rates in the region. Due to this fact for example, churches can be opened again.
With this year’s Salt & Light event we hope to have brought together versatile opinions and ideas of how to keep up relations between neighbors and between Christians themselves.