Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network


Regional Cordinator: Rev. Dr. Gordon Cowans

The Regional cordinator and the Dean of Studies for the United Theological College of the West Indies having been part of the team of theologians and persons with disabilities who initiated this work, it was immediately picked up by the region and several meetings were planned immediately with the other faculty members on how to introduce disability studies among the theologian institutions in the region.

The first Consultation took place in April 2007 in Jamaica for a non-residential workshop to Sensitize Jamaican churches through their leaders to the range of theological, pastoral and practical issues relating to disability; Affirm the    WCC’s    work through EDAN on disability issues and consider possible approaches to elaborating and extending these efforts in the Caribbean context; and solicit a commitment towards influencing theological    education through a disability curriculum. The meeting produced the Jamaican declaration in which they called on the Church and society to acknowledge that disability issues have not been given due recognition and proper attention in theological education and the ministry of the Church and urged them to work together with EDAN towards this course.

The Second Consultation took place in November 2007 in Curacao that brought together Deans of Studies in Theological Institutions together with perons with disabilities to discuss further on the integration of persons with disabilities in theological education. The meeting developed a curriculum for adoption by the various theological institutions and recommended that a 3-credit course in disabilities should be added to the 30 credit hours already existing in United Theological College of West Indies. Pastoral Studies Programme and Persons with disabilities should be invited to team up with other lecturers to offer the courses—as adjunct faculty, guest speakers, telling their stories. They also recommended that Libraries should be equipped with the EDAN/WCC Statement on Disability ‘A Church of All & for All’ which should also be made available to church members and theologians in the Caribbean.

The third encounter was between the Caribbean and Latin America Regions which joined up in a consultation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in August 2011, for a consultation on “Theology and Disability” that took place in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and attended by 35 persons representing 6 theological institutions in the country. The one day consultation was to introduce disability issues to the theological institutions which are mainly Catholic. There needs to be follow-up on this since the participants need to be encouraged to infuse it if having a separate cource in a Catholic Seminary is taking longer to approve.

The colleges that have attended these meetings are:
1.    United Theological College of the West Indies [UTCWI]
2.    St. Michael’s Seminary,
3.    Jamaica Theological Seminary, Jamaica
4.    Codrington College, Barbados
5.    St. John Vianni College, Trinidad and Tobago
6.    Seminario Bautista, Cuba
7.    Matanzas Seminary, Cuba
8.    Evangelistic Seminary, Barbados
9.    University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona
10.    Association of Catholic Seminaries in Haiti

Currently Jamaica Theological Seminary teaches the course full time since 2008 while the United Theological College of the West Indies [UTCWI] teaches it as a 3-credit course in the evenings, weekends and over the holidays. Matanzas Seminary in Cuba too has been teaching it as a fully examinable course while Seminario Bautista has been infusing it in the other courses.

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