EDAN
Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network

Disability Discourse in Churches and Theological Institutions

Although EDAN works on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of the church and society,  theology is seen as the bases of all its  work. In this, EDAN has interacted both with the church leadership as well as  theological  institution as the foundation of all its work. EDAN’s ecumenical approach to the church leadership is largely based on the interim theological statement ‘A church of all and for all’ which provides a basis for discourse, reflection and action on disability. Working with WCC and the Churches, EDAN has managed to have persons with disabilities included and taking part in various Commissions and Working groups like the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, Faith and Order Plenary, Commission on Church and International Affairs, Commision on Education and Ecumenical Formation, Working Group on Economic Justice and Working group on Just and inclusive Communities. They have participated in many international events organized by WCC Worldwide. The Churches which we have been able to reach with our discourse and the use of the document “A church of All and for all” have began to respond positively to the need for equal   participation in their Spiritual and social life. For instance, for the first time, ten persons with disabilities were named as official delegates of their churches to the 10th General Assembly in Busan, South Korea in November 2013. This means that they were eligible to participate in the official business of the Assembly and were eligible to be elected to governing organs of WCC during the Assembly. Three of them were elected to the Central Committee and one to the most powerful and   influencial Executive Committee. A good number have since been named in various working Commisions and groups as was the case in between the two Assemblies. We believe that this reflects acceptance of the gifts that they can bring to make the church complete.

The work with theological association and institutions in which EDAN partners with CBM is based on EDAN’s appreciation of the significant role theological institutions plays in ministerial formation. EDAN therefore has been working closely with association of theological institutions at the regional and national levels to influence curriculum development to include disability concerns.

The objective here is aimed at influencing inclusion of persons with disabilities in these institutions both as students as well as faculty members but even more importantly, to prepare theological students for ministry with and among persons with disabilities as a way to improve the attitudes held by the churches and society on persons with disabilities.

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