© the diakonia™ program 2011 NISynod Diakonia™ 2014 Retreat Recap & Thoughts March 15, 2014. Belvedere IL - submitted by, Denise Rode, NISynod diakonia™ Chairperson. The retreat provided a rare opportunity for diakonia™ students, graduates, and guests to learn about the history and growth of this remarkable program.  Pastor Bouman took us through diakonia's early days as a multicultural ministry in the Metropolitan New York Synod to the present day, with the program now located in eight ELCA synods.  One statement of his stands out for me above all others we heard that day, that "God will not be without a witness in the world."  I'm sure that it struck others--as it did me--that diakonia™ students and graduates are to be some of those witnesses wherever we may be placed.  I would describe the day as a sermon, a Bible study, and a semester of theological study all rolled up into one package.  I also found Pr. Bouman's account of the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy to be particularly resonant and moving.  Lower Susquehanna Synod Offers diakonia Program June 16, 2013, Harrisburg, PA  -  This fall, the diakonia program will expand into a new synod, the Lower Susquehanna Synod.  For the short term, the program will be under the umbrella of the  Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod (SEPA) which covers the Philadelphia area.  Long term, we hope that the program will be independent.  The bishop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod has given his permission for the program to start there. One location will be offered. Diakonia Graduate Ranks Top 1,600 Plus The diakonia Program continues to impact the lives of new graduates, their congregations and surrounding communities. With 2013’s combined graduation classes, the ranks of diakonia graduates has grown to over 1,600 plus strong.  Equipped and eager to serve, these new graduates join their fellow graduates dedicated to spreading the Gospel and making a difference in the lives of those they touch. Upcoming Events June 2014 - Indiana Kentucky diakonia Graduation June 7, 2014, New York diakonia Graduation June 28, 2014, New Jersey diakonia Graduation, 2 pm. Honored guest: Bishop Tracy Bartholomew.  St. Mark’s, Hamilton, NJ July 12, 2014 -  Northern Illinois/Metro Chicago diakonia joint graduation at First Lutheran Church, DeKalb.  Honored guests will be Bishop Gary Wollersheim of the NISynod and Bishop Miller of the Metro Chicago Synod. News & Events There is always something going on at diakonia Greater Milwaukee  Synod welcomes new diakonia graduates in a dedication ceremony held on June 16, 2012. Northern Illinois Synod welcomes 25 new diakonia graduates in a dedication ceremony held on May 11, 2013. Metropolitan Chicago Synod welcomes new diakonia graduates in a dedication ceremony held on June 23, 2012. New Jersey Synod welcomes new graduates in a dedication ceremony held in June, 2012.  Florida Bahamas Synod welcomes new graduates in a dedication ceremony held on June 9, 2012.  Pennsylvania  Synod welcomes new diakonia graduates on June 9, 2012.