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Workshop on disability discourse for theological colleges, Kenya

21 August 2004

EDAN workshop on disability discourse for theological colleges

15 to 21 August 2004
Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru

Introduction

Members of the WCC EDAN Program together with educational specialists, Seminary Professors, pastors, theological students and lay persons met at Limuru, Kenya for a five days' Workshop to develop a curriculum on disability studies for theological Institutions. The Workshop, whose primary objective was to deliberate on strategies for mainstreaming disability issues in Theological Institutions, was attended by thirty participants from Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, South America and North America. The WCC was represented by Dr. Nyambura Njoroge of the Mission and Ecumenical Formation Team ( MEF). The Workshop was jointly sponsored by the MEF and Diaconia and Solidarity Team both of the WCC while St. Paul' United Theological College, Limuru and EDAN hosted and organized the Workshop.

The Workshop specifically focused on the subject of introducing disability discourse in theological institutions. The Workshop process was a mix of approaches including individual sharing, plenary presentations and Group discussions through which a variety of perspectives were explored to educate the final outcome. The daily morning devotions shared by different Regions went a long way in bringing the much needed Biblical perspective and springboard for the discussions.

Specifically, the Workshop deliberated at length on the Interim Theological Statement developed by EDAN and made their recommendations. On the whole, the Workshop commended the Statement as a useful tool for introducing disability discourse in theological institutions and recommended some changes such as making the tool culturally appropriate, developing accompanying materials such as Bible studies and guide books as well as availing the Statement in a variety of formats/languages including Braille.

As part of the pre-workshop activities, a draft curriculum had been prepared by the organizing team. This Curriculum was presented for discussion and suggestions on ways of enriching the document. By the end of the Workshop recommendations on both the Interim Statement and the Draft Curriculum had been made.

Finally, the Workshop issued a statement restating the significance of mainstreaming the disability agenda in theological institutions as a key means of engendering disability issues in the Church. Participants invited the Church to partner in ensuring that this agenda was disseminated in all WCC member Churches. The Workshop participants lauded the WCC for its continuous support to EDAN and to the disability agenda.

The following is a complete report of the Workshop proceedings.

 


Day One: 16 August 2004

Morning Devotion : Valuing and Accepting Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the Life of the Church

"There are sufficient practical and theological reasons as to way we should include and value PWDs in the life of the Church". This affirming statement was made during the first devotion service of the Workshop. The devotion, which was led by participants from St. Paul's Theological College, Limuru, and the sermon delivered by Rev. Rowlands Van Es of the same college, was based on Psalms 13 and Isaiah 43:1. Drawing from Psalms 13 and Isaiah 43:1, Rowland emphasized that the Bible in general specifically the Scriptures in Isaiah and Psalms, provides sufficient evidence that all people are included in the Church of Christ. That indeed, nowhere does the Bible make distinctions between persons, whether disabled or otherwise. The distinctions are a human creation.

Rowland went on to share his own encounter with disability, a reflection on the position of the Reformed Church of America on disabilities and offered some practical reasons for valuing and including PWDs in the life of the Church. He offered some practical and theological suggestions as follows:

Practical

  • There should be no difference in the way people are treated either at home or in the Church - All should be accepted and embraced equally;

  • Persons with disabilities need to be provided with assistive facilities to enable them live a full life as God intended them to;

  • Deliberate efforts should be made to ensure that buildings including churches are disability friendly if indeed PWDs are to participate fully in the life of the Church and society.

Theological

  • All people are created in the image of God and for His own glory

  • The less there is of us, the more there is of God: We should see each other the way God sees us. We are all Ambassadors of Christ

  • God's appeal for redemption is to all humanity.

  • Need to see each other from a divine perspective: God appeals to us on the basis of what he can do and not what we can do.

  • Each one of Gods people have been given unique gifts and each individual requires space to exercise these gifts for the benefit of the Kingdom; and finally;

In conclusion Rev. Rowland reminded the group that God values and accepts all people equally and invites the Church to do likewise. After worshipping God in song, the devotion wound up with prayers.

Opening Ceremony

Opening Remarks and Introductions:

Mr. Samuel Kabue, the EDAN Consultant, welcomed the Delegates and invited them to a session of self-introduction Region by Region. Invited guests among them the Chairperson of the EDAN Kenyan Chapter, Ms Margaret Mwaura were also asked to introduce themselves. A total of 55 people including 30 participants attended the opening ceremony. A complete list of participants is contained in Appendix three of this Report.

Greetings from Sponsors: After the self-introduction session, Mr. Samuel Kabue invited greetings and goodwill messages. Goodwill messages were received from; Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, the Caribbean and the WCC. Nyambura Njoroge who represented the WCC was then invited to share greetings from the WCC.

Sponsors: Rev. Dr. Nyambura Njoroge, of the WCC's Mission and Ecumenical Formation whose department had co-sponsored the Workshop with the Diaconia and Solidarity Team expressed her personal as well as WCC's appreciation of EDAN initiatives and commended the Network members to soldier on. In particular, Nyambura commended EDAN for reaching out to her department and pledged to continue working in partnership to ensure that issues of disability are mainstreamed in Theological colleges. In the same vein, she commended St Pauls' College for co- hosting the Workshop together with EDAN. Such synergy was desirable if the initiative to make disability a key agenda in Theological institutions is to bear fruit.

Key Note Address and Official Opening Hon. Josephine Sinyo

Hon. Josephine Sinyo, a serving member of the EDAN Board ( Kenya), delivered the key Note Address. Hon. Sinyo, who is herself visually impaired is a former nominated Member of Parliament in Kenya and a well known advocate on disability issues. In her speech, Hon. Sinyo, commended EDAN for pushing the disability agenda in the Church with determination and vision. She acknowledged that God is sovereign and will guide the work into prosperity despite challenges. In particular, Sinyo lauded the strategy of reaching out to the church through theological institutions adding that part of the reason why persons with disabilities had fled the Church was due to an unfriendly environment. Church Ministers, she said, were well placed to redress this situation. However, thoroughly sensitized on the issues right from the formation stages while they are still in College.

Noting that the journey of engendering disability issues in the institutions and by extension in the Church was not an easy one, Sinyo encouraged the participants to walk closely with God, to seek out each other in partnership and to work as a team so that they may be well armed to confront the sort of resistance that comes with such noble endeavors.

Sinyo reminded participants that the agenda in their hands was both delicate and heavy as it would have implications not only for the current generation but for posterity as well. Such a task, she said, required dedication, concentration and commitment not only in the formulation but more importantly in the implementation of the same.

In her paper, Hon. Sinyo expounded on the terminology, ‘Mainstreaming' which would imply that the current curriculum has not factored in disability issues, that something is lacking in formation of the clergy.

She challenged the participants to seek and seize every opportunity to make their vision successful. Noting that the very packaging of disability has to be all encompassing and covers all aspects of human lives and should cover all aspects, Sinyo called upon the participants to be absolutely clear about their vision and seek to remain focused in order to bring the desired change. Participants were challenged to address the following questions:

    • Will the change benefit the followers of the church

    • Is it specific and clear

    • Are the influencers on board

    • Can it pass the test

    • Do we have the resources

    • Is it the next obvious step

    • Is the leadership capable of bringing the change

    • Is the timing right?

Like Jacob, participants were challenged to stay the course and trust God for victory.

Noting that PWDs have suffered in the hands of the Church, Sinyo noted that the Workshop provided an excellent opportunity for beginning to candidly address ways of overcoming barriers that have hitherto prejudiced PWDs even within the Church. In he final remarks, Josephine reiterated the importance of unity, partnership, resource sharing and more importantly depending on God for victory in the battle to ensure that PWDs are well accommodated in the Church.

After the Key Note address, Mr. Kabue invited the Moderator, Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) to officially open the Workshop.

Opening Remarks by the Rt. Rev. Dr. David Githii, Moderator, PCEA, Kenya

The Moderator welcomed delegates and shared greetings from the PCEA fraternity. He read the story of a boy born without the right leg and arm whose desire and determination for playing soccer and with the help of a supportive family became a famous soccer player.

Admitting that the Church is, itself guilty of discriminating against PWDs. Rev. Githii appreciated the need for theological colleges to embrace the disability agenda as one way of beginning to correct this worrying sate of affairs. He regretted that for a long time, the Church has viewed PWDs as barren trees that have little or no use. He challenged the Church to begin working with their PWDs to enable them achieve their own potential. Further, Rev. Githii noted that the Church needs to change her negative perspectives on PWDs and accept them as God's creation, made in His very image. He encouraged the participants to stay the course, to pursue their vision in spite of the challenges and to maintain their vision of a better and more accommodative church and society. Additionally, he challenged the participants to get rid of the word ‘impossible' because it tends to hinder progress and make the lives of PWDs even more difficult.

Regarding the intended curriculum, Rev. Githii noted that it ought to be positive in both language and approach. Positive words, he said, promote positive results of faith, confidence and the converse is also true. Negative words, he said, produce depression, sorrow and negativity. Rev. Githii regretted that the Church has not been a role model. It has itself discriminated against its own PWDs. This is evident through the very physical designs of the Church buildings, parking lots, programs, and budgets to isolate but a few examples. Curriculum should challenge every aspect of the Church including the physical structures, program design, etc. Drawing from the prayer of Jabez, Rev. Githii noted that the Bible gives us many examples of ways in which the lives of PWDs could be made much better, if only the Biblical models were applied as they should.

Turning to PWDs themselves, Rev. Githii noted that they too have a role to play in determining their own destiny. While other people should do all they can to empower and support PWDs, they too have a responsibility to empower themselves and seek to appropriate the gifts and calling of God for their own lives. He emphasized that the journey is one of mutuality.

In conclusion, Moderator Githii pledged his own personal support as well as that of the entire Presbyterian Church in Kenya in support of EDAN in such areas as research, outreach, resources, education and other areas to make the lives of PWDs better.

Thereafter, the Moderator declared the Workshop officially open.

Vote of Thanks: Rev. Dr. Nyambura Njoroge

On behalf of the sponsors and the delegates, Nyambura Njoroge gave a vote of thanks to Hon. Sinyo and to Moderator, Githii. Recapping the message from the two speakers, Nyambura specifically highlighted the following:

  • The call for all people to be more careful to prevent disabilities;

  • The need to gather courage to carry on the journey

  • The need to work as a team

  • To remember that PWDs are their own best advocates

  • To always remember that the Church is itself living with disabilities

  • There is need for the Church to be more vigilant in dealing with its own disabilities as she seeks to embrace PWDs

On behalf of her department, Nyambura pledged to continue supporting the work of mainstreaming disability issues in the life of the Church through the development and

implementation of a positive curriculum, among other things. This is a journey that the Department had already begun with the development of the Interim Theological statement, which was the focus of the present workshop. She emphasized that his Statement remained one of the key entry points for the Churches to begin serious engagement with disability issues, adding that Churches were expected to send their responses on the Theological Statement on disabilities to further enrich the mainstreaming process of disability issues in life of the Church.

At the end of this session, participants were invited to take a group photograph after which they broke for tea.

Sharing Experiences

This session was intended to spell out the general background of the disability issues from a WCC perspective, share the vision concerns of EDAN and set the general environment around which dialogue on the agenda at hand would take place.

Introduction of WCC: Rev. Dr. Nyambura Njoroge and Mr. Samuel Kabue

Rev. Dr. Njoroge, of the WCC Mission and Ecumenical Formation Team gave a brief summary of the history and vision of the WCC, its composition, programs, as well as the manner in which the Council is administered across the world. She pointed the delegates to the WCC website for more information. She shared on the challenges facing the ecumenical movement but emphasized that the movement continues to pursue its agenda of a unified Church. One of the landmarks of the WCC Harare General assembly was the decision to institute a campaign against violence: The Decade to Overcome Violence as part of the WCC efforts to engender peace.

Yet another key decision was to mainstream disability work by the formal and subsequent institutionalization of EDAN with a full time consultancy based at the AACC, Nairobi. She briefed the participants on the forthcoming programs of the WCC including the forthcoming General Assembly in February 2006 in Brazil, under the theme: God, in your grace, transform the world. She challenged EDAN to send well informed Commissioners to represent PWDs to the Assembly so that EDAN's presence may continue to be lifted and their issues well articulated. Her department would continue to partner with EDAN to ensure that disability issues are properly profiled within Theological institutions, which are the main target group of her program.

Samuel Kabue: EDAN Consultant

Mr.Kabue shared on the history and interventions of the WCC on disabilities and spelt out the Workshop agenda. He explained that the WCC efforts on disability issues could be traced as far back as 1971, eventually culminating in the formation of the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network ( EDAN) in 1999.

The first formal EDAN Consultation was held soon after the 8th WCC General Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe where ten persons with disabilities from different parts of the world had been invited to participate as advisors to the Assembly on disability issues. The ten, took this opportunity to hold their own consultations on how best to influence Churches to recognize and incorporate PWDs in their witness and service program. Determined to carry the disability agenda forward, the advisors decided to form EDAN as the vehicle through which members would further disability issues in their respective Regions.

The 1999 meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya marked a new page in the calendar of WCC work on persons with disabilities as it was then that EDAN was formally incepted. Following recommendations of the Nairobi meeting EDAN was institutionalized and located within the Justice, Peace and Creation (JPC) Team of the Council, with the sole mandate of advocating for inclusion, participation and observation of the rights of PWDs through networks allied to the WCC structures. The decision by WCC to locate disability work and EDAN in particular within JPC is by itself a bold acknowledgement by the Council that disability concerns are indeed justice issues.

Henceforth, WCC has continued to support EDAN through such measures as:

  • Collaboration with various WCC Programs;

  • Decentralization of the EDAN work and operations and seeking to empower Regional Coordinators

  • The development of the Interim Theological Statement, which would be the primary reference document during the present Workshop.

 

Workshop Background and Objectives

Right from its formation in 1999, EDAN recognized that if long term impact in influencing the Church to provide space for the expression of PWDs in its spiritual, social and development life is to be achieved, first, there was need to put in place programs to engage the Church leadership at various levels, as part of the multi-dimensional approach to dealing with the challenge. Secondly, there was need to focus very specifically on the training of Church Ministers so that may be well equipped to engage with disability issues right from their ministerial formation stage. In this regard, a Strategic Planning Reference Group meeting was convened in Geneva in August 2000 to map the way forward. For a start, the Geneva Meeting recommended some select institutions be identified to pilot the intended Theological Discourse.

It is against this backdrop that the present Workshop was convened to initiate disability discourse in Theological Institutions. The five days' Workshop targeted five institutions, namely; St. Pauls United Theological College, Limuru, Kenya; United Theological College of West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica; Stockholm School of Theology, Stockholm, Sweden, Escolar Superior de Telegia ( Lutheran School of Theology), Brazil and the Asian Theological Seminary, Philippines. Other participants were: EDAN representatives from the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa; Ghana and Kenya as well as friends of EDAN from North America. Dr. Nyambura Njoroge of the WCC Mission and Ecumenical Formation attended as resource persons. Other select institutions from the host country had also attended. These included: Carlile College, Presbyterian College of East Africa, the National Council of Churches of Kenya and Berea College.

Specific Objectives:

  • To deliberate on how best to introduce theological students to disability concerns as part of their training and consequent mission work;

  • To discuss the Interim Theological Statement in light of how it could be used in Theological institutions to prepare learners for pastoral work with persons with disabilities;

  • To chart out ways of reaching out to other theological institutions in order to build alliances on disability concerns; and,

  • To deliberate on the way forward in respect to ensuring participation of PWDs in the spiritual, social and development life of the Church.

 

Sharing Experiences from the Regions/Institutions Continued:

The purpose of this session was to share experiences and lessons from different Regions and Institutions represented at the Workshop, hence educate the final outcome.

Latin America: Gordon Cowan

Caribbean

This Region was represented by the EDAN Coordinator and a representative from the United Theological College of West Indies. Gordon Cowans, who is the EDAN Coordinator for the Region shared the Caribbean perspective after which both participants responded to the questions related to their Region. In his address, Gordon Cowans thanked the hosts for the warm welcome and then shared on the status of PWDs in the Caribbean. He isolated the issue of learning to work globally without losing the benefits that come with working as single blocks within the region as one of the greatest challenge in disability advocacy, other challenges being:

  • Challenge is to learn how to work globally while active Regionally.

  • Barriers of language, terrain etc.

  • The colonial legacy

  • Political guardedness

  • Societal diversities

  • A fragmented disability fraternity

  • Diversity within the Church in the Caribbean

  • Generally, the response of the Church to disability issues has been on a charity/compassionate platform.

  • Despite their vast influence and capacity, Churches have been slow in responding to human rights issues including those of the PWD.

In his final remarks, Gordon emphasized that Theological embrace must of necessity embrace Action. After the presentation from the Caribbean team, participants raised the following questions:

Issues/Questions arising from Caribbean presentation

Question: What are local Churches doing to network with DPOs at the grass root levels?

Answer: Collaboration is taking place in various ways.

Structured churches have a longer way to go in regard to disability issues. However, individual Christians are dong a lot to impact o the lives of PWDs.

Question: Hearing and Speech impairments: These types of disabilities are often left out. To what extent are the deaf involved in church affairs, in learning institutions and society in general?

Answer: In principle, EDAN recognizes that the hearing impaired and the developmentally impaired PWDs are not well represented and makes deliberate efforts to involve them.

The deaf community in the Caribbean is divided between those who consider themselves as a culture/ language group and those who consider themselves as part of the disability movement. The high cost of maintaining deaf people also hinders their involvement but should be done. For instance, news broadcasts are accompanied by sign language interpretation.

North America

Three voices were heard regarding the status in American Churches in general and in Theological institutions in particular. The three perspectives shared represented the Council of Churches of USA, Reformed Church in America, the Presbyterian Church of America represented the Region. Summaries of the sharing were as follows:

National Christian Council of Churches USA ( NCCC USA)

The National Council of Churches in America recognizes the need to be proactive in the promotion of inclusion and enhance the participation of PWDs in the life of the church The Council has a Committee that works for PWDs and has been producing a variety of materials to help congregants engage with disability issues.

Currently, the Council is working on a research to establish how PWDs feel about worship in Churches in America

Presbyterian Church USA ( Rev. Dr. Brett Webb Mitchell)

The Church has been undergoing various changes and has had to scrap off the position that dealt directly with PWDs. That has called for greater creativity in the way disability concerns are handled within the Church. Other efforts include the following:

  • Establishing hot lines within the individual congregations who are able to point PWDs to where they can get help.

  • Ensuring that Church buildings are generally accessible to PWDs

  • General Assembly is reviewing the theme: "That all May Enter" which was formulated 25 years ago.

  • The Church is in the process of re-writing its policy on disabilities. One of the reasons for the participation of PC USA is to listen to the voices of PWDs themselves in order to formulate policies that are disability friendly.

The new policy is expected to emphasize on being a Church of full inclusion and move the church towards a position where issues of disabilities are addressed as a matter of course. Create a society where ones abilities are not the sole consideration but that each individual is regarded on the basis of who they are.

Reformed Church in America: A Pastors' Perspective

Rev. Judy Broeker of the RCA and currently serving as a Church minister and a Chaplain in an institution with about 120 people who are developmentally disabled gave her own experience and perspective of the status of disability in American Churches and specifically among pastors. She confessed that prior to becoming a pastor, she had very little experience with PWDs and could not remember encountering a PWD in her childhood until she went into seminary.

She was embarrassed and afraid on encountering the first disabled person, and walked out on him in Church. That attitude was to remain until she was hired by the mother of the same disabled man from whom she had walked away. The mother wanted to have at least one pastor from the Reformed Church in America be comfortable with PWDs. Many Pastors in America walk out of seminary with nothing but book knowledge and nothing more about PWDs. Most Pastors are ignorant of the capacities and potential of PWDs and often view them as sick and incapable of grasping much. Her own experience puts such kind of arguments to great test. Her conclusion was that American Seminaries needed to change and adopt positive action towards correcting the erroneous view to PWDs by the clergy. The Seminary is the right starting point she affirmed.

Each one of the presenters emphasized the following:

  • American seminaries are lagging behind in advocacy and campaigns for PWDs

  • American Churches are behind in the struggle for inclusion by PWDs

  • American pastors are ill prepared to deal with disability issues

  • The culture of care determined by the dominant culture of people without disabilities does not fully address the situation and that the voices of PWDs themselves needed to be heard.

  • The presence of PWD themselves as clergy would be a powerful statement and would go a long way in creating the necessary awareness and advocacy within the Seminary environment.

Comments and Observations

Question: Is the new document being developed by PC USA seek to redefine PWDs.

Response by Rev. Dr. Brett: Much of the world interpret PWDs as weaker members of society. The new document is saying that disability is not weakness. Paul in his writings is very clear on this. The Church in America wants to redefine this. It wants to see all people referred to by who they are, their names and out by their impairments. To look at the gifts that each person brings to the body of Christ and not what they cannot/can do.

Question: How have Seminaries in America Seminaries engendered disability issues

Response by Brett: Different Seminaries handle things differently and this applies to disability issues as well. For instance, some institutions have included special courses including a course on disability.

Participants were alerted that the subject of mainstreaming disability issues was the primary focus of the Workshop and that they would get more time to discuss it more substantively. Consequently, discussions on this matter were differed to the appropriate session.

Latin America

This Region was represented by the EDAN Coordinator, Rev. Dr. Noel Fernadez and Dr. Nelson Kilpp of the Escolar Superior De Teologia ( Lutheran School of Theology). In his presentation, Noel said that disability work among the Churches in Brazil was being championed by EDAN in collaboration with other WCC Member Churches and Councils of Churches. The Church is generally well sensitized about disability issues and is doing quite a lot to ensure that PWDs are given their rightful space so enable them participate fully in the life of the Church. Among those targeted for action are specific seminaries for whom special courses on disability have been developed and will be offered to the Students. In addition to training the students, pastors are also being trained and in serviced on how to deal with disability issues. Despite all these efforts, the Churches in Latin America are doing little, if anything in the area of disabilities. On a more positive note, it was observed that the Seminaries and theological institutions were positively disposed to the disability agenda and that therefore, though difficult, it was possible to sustain the agenda and thus influence Churches to have a more positive perspective to PWDs and their issues.

Mainline protestant Churches were said to be more supportive of disability issues compared to the newer Churches such as the Pentecostals. The later were said to have difficulties with disabilities mainly because of the perception that disabilities are caused by demons or even sin. On the whole, the Latin American team lamented that disability issues hardly pass for a normal agenda for the majority of theological institutions in Latin America even in academic discourse. When it does take place, it is sporadic, uncoordinated and has no budgetary allocation. Much more needs to be done to get the discourse engrained as part of the life of the institutions. There is need to remove theological barriers that keep the disability agenda out of the institutions.

Question: Is there any specific focus on the black community in Latin America?

Black communities are generally integrated with the white community.

Do people with disabilities face difficulties with health issues? In

America, people are turning to the Church for help in health care because the states are no longer meeting this need. What is the status in Latin America.

The Cuban State takes responsibility but that is not the case in all situations. Laws exist to support PWDs' and their health needs but are not always enforce. Guatemala and Nicaragua have more disabled people in L. America and have no health car provisions. Churches and other civil society groups are providing the services. However, the solution must be found within the L. Americans themselves.

 

DAY TWO: AUGUST 17 2004

The morning worship was led by Anna and Arne representing the European Team.

Take Oh take me as I am
Someone outward I shall be
Set your seal upon my heart
And live in me

The European team of Anna and Arne set the mood for day two of the Workshop by teaching the participants the above chorus as part of the morning devotion. Thereafter, Rev. Dr. Arne Fritzson who is also the EDAN Coordinator for Europe delivered a brief reflection drawn from Galatians 3: 26 - 28. The following is a summary of the sharing.

Arne begun by affirming that every one of God's children bears the image of God and this makes the entire human race one large extended family. Each member of the family has their important role. However, members with disabilities tend to receive greater attention. Paul in his writing emphasizes that the body of Christ is one. That there are no differences between male and female, servant and masters. That all differences disappear once we are baptized in Christ. This oneness will continue the world to come. There will only be one body of Christ.

The reason we keep coming together is so that we can continually find ways of resolving our differences and foster unity in Christ. In conclusion, Arne made called upon the Church to be actively involved in pursuit of unity in the Christ.

Sharing From Regions/Institutions

This session was carried forward from the previous days' proceedings. On Day Two, the following Regions and institutions shared their perspectives.

Asia:

Ye Ja Lee, the immediate former EDAN Coordinator for the Region reported that like most other Regions, Asian Theological institutions are yet to embrace disability issues as part of the courses offered. The work of sensitizing the Church on disabilities issues has largely been done by EDAN through the WCC member Churches. Since its inception in 1999, EDAN has carried out various activities aimed at mobilizing the Churches to own the disability agenda and plans to continue with these efforts. The two Asian delegates appreciated the current discourse as important in helping theological institutions in their Region own the disability agenda.

Africa

i. St Pauls Theological College: Dr. Esther Mombo, the Academic Dean gave a brief history of the 100 year old ecumenical College. The curriculum is fairly the same and bent on theological disciplines to prepare the clergy for ministry.

The College has not had a course on disabilities. Having been built so long ago before PWDs gained any visibility, the school can hardly be described as accessible. The College does not have PWDs either on its teaching staff and faculty or as students but would be willing to look at it. For most of the villages in Kenya, children with disabilities are hidden. Most of the clergy are encultured to marginalize PWDs.

Plans are in place to begin offering sign language as a pilot course on disabilities.

ii. Carlile College - Church Army Africa

This is a ministry of the Anglican Church of Kenya aimed at building the capacity of the Church to champion evangelism and mission. Students are drawn from across the African continent. The College focuses on theological training, urban ministry, business studies and continuing education. In his presentation, Rev. Trajan Bwesigye made the following observation about the College and its perspective of disability issues.

  • The College does not have any structured program for PWDs

  • A one week disability awareness program has been held at the College

  • The College is part of a team that is currently preparing for a one week Conference for the deaf scheduled to take place in Nairobi

  • A special service I preparation for this Conference will be held from 2.30 to 5.30 ill be held at the St Andrews Church

  • In future, the College plans to integrate disability studies within the normal curriculum of the College

Ghana (Abrahim Berinyuu)

According to some recent research carried out by Abraham, none of the Colleges in mainline churches Africa are offering disability issues. In his presentation, Abraham, who is the EDAN Coordinator for Africa noted that unlike Theological institutions where disability issues are largely unattended to, some basic disability issues are somewhat covered in some secular colleges. He also noted that unlike Church based institutions, secular colleges do not admit their students on the basis of abilities but on the basis of individual capacities. This anomaly is a serious indictment on the Church based institutions who ought to be at the forefront in championing for the rights of PWDs.

National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) by Jane Miano

Ms Miano, who represents PWDs at the NCCK said that she works on the ground mobilizing the clergy to support PWD in their respective areas. Through the various organs of the Council and her own efforts, Jane said that her efforts have begun to bear fruit. For instance, after she mobilized Churches to hold a disability Sunday, one Church picked up the issue very seriously and has since been holding a disability Sunday annually.

Jane's main concern, however, is that after disability awareness takes place many parents are bold enough to carry their children to Church. Further, most of the clergy do not seem to know what to do with the children. She underscored the importance of having a clergy that is well prepared right from college to take care of PWDs throughout the church structures.

EDAN - S. Kabue

In his presentation, Mr. Kabue begun by sharing his own experience with the Church, pointing out that his initial ambition was to serve as an ordained Church Minister, but his Church refused to ordain him. Kabue, who has been involved with disability for over fifteen years said that disability work especially with institutions has been like the parable of the Sower: Seeds fell in different types of soils. Conversations on disabilities, he said, are received with a lot of enthusiasm but die as soon as the awareness is gone. Therefore, there is a great need to institutionalize disability work within the colleges beginning with St. Paul.

Greetings and Goodwill Messages

Rev. Dr. John Gatu

Rev. Dr. John Gatu, a former Moderator of the PCEA paid a courtesy call to the Workshop and was availed opportunity to great the participants. In his brief remarks, Rev. Gatu appreciated the efforts by EDAN to lift issues of disabilities to give them the global character they deserve. He affirmed that theological institutions are a good place to start from. He wished the participants a pleasant and productive time in Kenya.

Rev. Mutava Musyimi, General Secretary, NCCK

Rev. Musyimi welcomed participants to Jumuia, a centre run and owned by the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and to Kenya. He thanked Mr. Kabue for his relentless efforts in pushing for the disability agenda saying that he was confident EDAN was in the right hands. He wished delegates a fruitful stay.

General Secretary, AACC

Ms Battu Jambawai delivered greetings from the General Secretary of the AACC where EDAN has recently relocated to. The AACC, he said, highly valued the work of EDAN and would continue to support its efforts. The AACC would await the recommendations from the Workshop so that the can be disseminated to the Churches for action.

Rev. Dr. George Wanjau

The soft spoken but eloquent past moderator of the PCEA thanked he participants and shared his personal burden for people with hearing disabilities. His Parish, the St Andrews PCEA is at the forefront in championing for the inclusion of persons with hearing disabilities. Dr. Wanjau confessed that it is a very great but difficult ministry. His own experience in the hand of a ‘dentist' who had a hearing impairment had caused him to have a phobia for deaf people. Despite his cries the man carried on until the tooth was out. The bright side of this experience is tat it jolted Dr. Wanjau to the plight of the deaf and he has supported them ever since and was right then involved in the Committee preparing for the national conference for the deaf from East Africa will be held in Nairobi to discuss how relationships between the deaf and the hearing can be improved. St. Andrews is also working with street children, taking care of HIV/AIDS orphans.

Finally, Dr. Wanjau thanked Kabue for championing the cause of PWDs in the Church and society and invited him to seek ordination with the Church, because so much had changed ever since his application was rejected nearly thirty years ago.

Emerging Issues from the Sharing

From the above sharing, the following issues emerged as key:

  • Theological Colleges and seminaries in Africa do not seem to be offering any focused programs in disability

  • Church Ministers are ill prepared to deal with disability issues

  • PWDs are increasingly being driven out of the Churches

  • The need for a clergy that is well formed and prepared to address disability issues is both urgent and critical

  • Need to institutionalize disability issues in the seminaries and theological colleges to ensure that the enthusiasm does not fade.

  • Pilot institutions will need to be identified to begin implementing a focused disability curriculum.

 

In Depth Study of EDAN's Interim Statement by Rev. Dr. Arne Fritzson

Rev. Dr. Fritzson Arne took the participants through the Interim Theological Statement titled: A Church of All and for All. Specifically, Arne explored the key themes in order to familiarize the Workshop participants with the document, hence enable them contribute to the discourse from a more informed perspective. Right from the onset, Arne was categorical that the document, which had taken two years to produce, was still interim because it is a Statement about a process that is evolving and will continue to evolve. It is an invitation to participation from a wider group than the one that prepared it.

Regarding the purpose of the document, Arne emphasized that the Statement was meant to inspire and provoke thinking around the issues raised by the Interim statement. Further, he stressed that the Statement seeks to bring to the fore the reality that the Church has erected walls that have hitherto locked out PWDs from communing as they should with the family of God. Granted that Christ came to tear down such walls, challenge of the Workshop, said Arne, was to therefore seek out how the Church can participate in tearing down these walls.

The Interim Statement was commended by WCC to member churches for discussion, reflection and more importantly for action. EDAN is still waiting for feedback. Regarding the purpose of the Statement, Arne was categorical that there are many walls that set people apart even when they consider themselves as a community of God. There is a great need to address these walls with a view to exploring ways of bringing them down. The Statement, therefore, is:

One, primarily intended to stimulate the church to address issues of disabilities;

Two, an advocacy document to urge the church to at upon issues that have been hitherto neglected; and,

Three, a document that brings together fundamental concerns that the church needs to be aware of.

After briefly discussing the Preface and the Introduction, Arne went on to unpack each of the themes contained in the Statement, namely:

  • Commonalities and Differences: PWDs have struggled for recognition for a long time. They continue to suffer from discrimination, negative attitudes, rejection etc on account of disabilities.

  • Hermeneutical Issues: Sees a language of loss ( faceless because you lost your sight; Wheelchair etc) There are many things around PWD that keep reminding them of the loss

  • Imago Dei: What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Is it a God who is blind, deaf etc. All of us bring an aspect of the image of God and without each other, that image remains incomplete. Some Churches see disability as an inability to combat the devil coz God's creation is supposed to be good.

  • Disabilities and Healing: What does it mean? Healing in this statement is seen in terms of restoration and not necessarily as cure. Need to reexamine this concept to see whether the Statement is indeed talking to the church. Forgiveness of sin needs to be seen in this light.

  • Giftedness: All of life is a gift from God.

  • A Church for all - Community: This refers to a Church that receives all people without discrimination.

Key Issues from the Statement

  • Interim Statement: This is an ongoing process and one that will continue to evolve. It will require continuous consultations, evaluations and updating

  • Commonalities and Differences: All PWDs have experienced discrimination albeit in varying degrees.

  • Hermeneutical issues: Interpreting disability from a theological perspective - limitations versus weaknesses

  • Imago Dei: What really is the image of God? Does it include the body? Individuals cannot complete the Image of God . The body has to act together.

  • Disability and Healing; Cannot be limited to the smaller concepts of curing ailments but must be related to the whole story of creation and redemption. The Statement reminds us that we all need forgiveness because we have all hurt each other.

  • We have all been called to live a life of interdependence with each other to fulfill the law of Christ.

  • Paul is emphatic that all human beings live in tents.

  • Each human being is a gift: All life is a gift from God, and there is an integrity to this creation

 

Group Reports on the Interim Statement

Group Discussions:

After the presentation by Arne, participants were divided into three discussion groups and asked to give their general comments on the Interim Statement. The following is a report of the proceedings from the three groups namely; Clear, Green and Blue.

Clear

Generally, the Group appreciated the Statement as a good tool for challenging the clergy to scale up their involvement in disability advocacy. The Group suggested that the section on Imago be fleshed up to avoid ambiguities since the statement will be used variously by Seminaries at different levels. In addition, the Clear group recommended that the Statement clarifies who the target audience is and that the language be couched appropriately to avoid cultural conflicts. Specific points were raised as follows:

I Theological

- The section on Imagio Dei needs to have more flesh especially for seminaries
- Leviticus presents some a barrier.

II Some Specifics

  1. "Habitation

  2. Gift transformation

  3. Batimaus as prophetic voice

  4. Weaker

III Target Audiences

A) Churches

  1. Be sensitive to the diversity and cultures that will be out audience.

  2. Use various forms of communication (ie. Close - caption CDs, audio, descriptive video, Braille) + translations.

  3. Action/Reflection model - videos, story telling.

B) Seminaries

  1. More depth

  2. Include (ie. 3 books) in areas: exegeses, practical pastoral

  3. How do we ensure integrity?

  4. What is the context.

Blue Group: This Group was equally appreciative of the Statement and recommended it as a useful starting pint in the efforts to involve theological institutions in the disability discourse. To make the document more accessible to a wider rage of audience, the Group suggested that the document be reformatted and that the document be translated into other languages. Further, the Group recommended that theme be re-examined to ensure relevance, acceptability and cultural appropriateness. Additionally, other materials such as relevant Bible studies and a guide book be developed to accompany the Document and that the Statement should be widely disseminated in various languages and formatted and availed in book stores, Seminaries and Churches, among other points A complete report of the group is reproduced hereunder:

Q1. Is the document able to address the churches?

  • Not as it is, and hence a change of format.
    i. Translation into other language.
    ii. Prepare Bible studies which can be understood by various Church structures ie. Youth, women, etc.
    iii. Put into Church Liturgy.

Q2 Are the themes relevant?

Some improvement needed:

i. Missing the voice of persons with developmental disorders.
ii. Void of active use of sacraments i.e. Baptism, last supper and other rituals in making the church of all and for all
iii. Commonalities and differences need to be clearly stipulated in view of the diversity in disability.
iv. There are other compounding variables along with one's disability- like gender, economic issues, color, source of disability, ethnicity, ec.

v. Q3 Is the document useful for Theological institutions?
vi. Needs a guide book to be used along with it.

Additional observations

  • The cover does not reflect on disability
  • Need to put the document in Braille, large print, audio tapes, etc. if not yet.
  • Dissemination: The Document could be availed in a variety of ways including the following:
    i. Offered as a Workshop topic at a Conference
    ii. Hold a Conference specifically on the Statement
    iii. Offer it as an elective course
    iv. Offer it as a core course: Theological Education and PWDs
    v. Avail the Document in bookstores, etc
    vi. Avail the document in seminaries
    vii. The Document should be more explicit in addressing access issues
    viii. The Document should be more emphatic in addressing the status quo

Green Group: The Group recommended the Interim Statement as a suitable tool for introducing disability discourse in theological institutions. Further, the Group noted that the Statement had made a reasonably good attempt at balancing the practical and the theoretical aspects granted that t would be used by both audiences at the theological institutions and by Churches, both of whom are quite different. Group members recommended that additional materials to accompany the Statement be developed and disseminated for greater impact. EDAN was asked to borrow a leaf from the models that have already been used to mainstream issues such as gender and HIV and AIDS in Theological institutions. The HIV and AIDS Program at St. Paul's Theological College was specifically lifted out as one such example. The following is a verbatim report from this group.

Suitability

Statement is both suitable to both theological institutions Church institutions

Why

I) The document is both practical and Theoretical ie. - Theological students adopt the theological aspect and practice the same in the field. Thought institutions are very different from Church institutions,

e.g.
1) `HIV/AID Programs in St Paul's have brought a total revolution in the and to the affected and infected by the pandemic.

2) EDAN could borrow a leaf from Gender sensitization in theological institutions.

II) Practical as in tolerance forbearance, persevering. Easy to be understood, addresses patient issue.

III Compassion

A practical tool and presents a visible frame work to go by I introducing and creating awareness in churches.

IMAGO DEI

  • More emphasis on practicalities rather than theories.
  • Endeavor to explore more on the Analogy of Apostle Paul - One body - many parts / seemingly weak.
  • These parts belong to the body.

Accompanying materials required include:

  1. Study guide to accompany the statement
  2. Separate bible story-booklet touching on particular issues
  3. Bible study
  4. Curriculum for theological institutions
  5. Violence towards People with disability

Challenges

1. Motivation
2. Human resources
3. Budget
4. Psychological implications
5. Pentecostal view miracle (physical healing ) rather than miracle restoration

Additional Comments

Loss - Terminologies to be expounded further e.g. item 13 and 14 might be misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Identifying Approaches and Introducing Disability Issues to Theological Institutions by Brett Webb-Mitchell

After identifying the problem and narrating his own experience what he termed as the ‘often weary search of persons with disabilities in theological education, presentation, Brett went on to affirm that God has made an open invitation to all humanity on the basis of who they are. He lamented that there does not seem to be any Theological Seminary at all that deliberately incorporates disability issues, even though the Bible provides a most convincing and reasonable model of inclusion.

In is overview, Brett gave a brief history of modern theological education in America and drew a parallel with the rise of Black Church and women studies. He emphasized the importance of practical theology relating to pastoral care and religious education as well as the critical role played by a passionate and well trained faculty that is able to set and implement the appropriate disability curricula.

Theological institutions, he said, are well placed to begin mainstreaming disability issues in the Church, he noted. Regarding the most appropriate strategies, Brett was categorical that it is the presence of PWDs within the theological institutions that will make the greatest impact and transform both the attitude of the Church and society towards PWDs. A faculty that is passionate about disability issues is the other key factor required to alter the otherwise resistant attitudes by theological institutions regarding PWDs. It is particularly worth noting that power, in the Seminaries and Institutions resides on the senior faculty not on the students or the sponsoring denominations. Targeting senior faculty is therefore key if disability issues are to be given the prominence they deserve in the Seminaries and institutions. Brett suggested at least three other ingredients that would be important in the success of such an effort. These are:

One, a practical curriculum; two, a course around which there is general consensus; and, three, a course that fully involves PWDs themselves as own advocates.

Regarding the approaches for mainstreaming disability issues in theological institutions, Brett offered two options, namely: Seminary Offerings and Inclusivity/Diversity of presence, with each of the approach having more than one model as follows:

A. Seminary Offerings: The models available include:

i. Workshop and Conference Model;
ii. Elective Courses;
iii. Field Education Sites; and,
iv. The Bookstore and the Library.

B. Inclusivity in a Seminary Community: A Diversity of Presence

Models for this approach include the following:

i. The Faculty, Staff, and Administration
ii. The Student body
iii. Outside Sources

Regarding possible methods of inclusion and what needs to be done, Brett invited participants some key issues which he put in form of five questions as follows:

  • Increase the presence of more Workshops and Conferences?
  • Offering elective introductory courses on PWDs in the Church?
  • Offering a separate discipline within a Seminary?
  • Infiltrating all the Courses in a theological Seminary/changing culture? and
  • Funding a Theological Seminary Centre?

Finally, Brett challenged the participants to think outside the box and deliberately seek to resolve the puzzle presented by politics of disability, recognizing that PWDs are largely not interested in religion as it has historically marginalized them. This scenario is the same world over. Churches continue to face he challenge of claiming, not reclaiming their space at Christ's banquet table - a table that offers space for ALL.

Responses to Brett's Presentation

Arne Fritzon appreciated Brett for the inspiring and challenging presentation and reminded participants that these issues would continue to engage the Workshop henceforth. The primary focus of the discussion is on how to help theological institutions to recognize disability as a key component in ministerial formation. The following questions and were raised and responses given as recorded I the ‘Question and Response' section below.

Question: How can faculty in theological institutions be helped to embrace disability as a central component in ministerial formation?

Response: First, it is important to recognize the role of faculty in influencing curriculum, hence target these cadre right from the onset. Two, the presence of PWDs themselves as students and faculty in Seminaries and Theological Colleges is equally important. Third, it will be necessary to train humane ministers who recognize the sacredness of all creation as well as its mortality. To ensure that the disability agenda gets fully infiltrated in the institutions, Brett suggested an ‘emersion' approach that almost forces its way into every available space and sharing the disability message with or without invitation. Other strategies suggested include the following:

  • Show up in peoples conferences and share disability issues/ distribute materials/ do presentations etc. Infiltrate even when not invited/ get materials ready

  • Carry out organized programs on disability

  • Be ready to offer a specific course in disability: prepare the curriculum, materials, teachers

  • Prepare a series of courses that should be included in a disability curriculum: What sort of courses would be provided? Need to be creative to attract attention? What about infiltrating the secular institutions? Issues facing PWDs

  • Use the available resources eg music, DVDs, theatre etc, create sections to provide whole sections on PWDs and the church in the existing libraries

- Use the existing fora to infiltrate as many public spaces as possible with material on PWDs

- Ensuring that individuals with disabilities are present in theological colleges: The very physical presence of PWDs is itself a powerful influence: Expose the public to the presence of PWDS ( Scholarships?).

Bottom line is to infiltrate in a crafty, ‘subversive' and aggressive manner to ensure that issues of disabilities get the attention and profile they deserve and get the CHURCH more accessible to PWDs.

Question: Are there some practical examples of institutions in the US where disability issues have been successfully incorporated in the curriculum? How has this been achieved?

Response: According to Brett, the most successful models have been through experiential situations in which PWDs themselves are deliberately brought into the institutions as faculty or students. This way, individuals within these institutions build relationships with each other and a new culture that respects PWDs begin to build up. The solution lies partly in exposure and relationship building with PWDs. However, one must always be careful to move beyond exposure and put in place other programs.

Question: Some denominations clearly dictate the curriculum. What strategies can be adopted to help such denominations accept anew ideas such as the one to include disability issues on the curriculum?

Response: It is true that denominations do play a key role in determining the type of curricula adopted in their respective institutions. However, there are other equally powerful influences topmost being the senior faculty and students. A strategy to mainstream disability should therefore target all of these categories. The climate in many theological seminaries is often one of perfection even though everyone admits that we are broken human beings. Sadly, both faculty and students in Seminaries are always hiding their true selves, making it extremely hard for anyone to be ‘human' in a theological seminary. Exposing the institutions to vulnerability is one way of training ministers to face their own humanity. Meeting PWDs in the normal settings of the institutions and in Churches goes a long way in achieving this goal.

Question: Is it really possible to develop curriculum that will work and endure the test of time?

Response: . It is possible to develop a sustainable, relevant and acceptable curriculum. Strategizing together helps give variety of perspectives. The strategy will need to be long term and more importantly, diverse enough to pass the test of time. Mainstreaming disability issues will therefore have to look beyond faculty, beyond curriculum and seek out and seize other influences. No doubt, there is hope and scope

Additional points/questions

Questions:

  • What is the picture like in the smaller seminaries in the USA

  • How can we have theological curriculum that is contextual and holistic enough to deal with issues such as poverty in the developing countries, cultural orientations, lack of funding etc

  • What is the impact of elective courses as opposed to when the course is core: What are the challenges of offering electives as opposed to regular courses especially granted the cultural variations.

  • Do we have personnel to teach the courses whether series, electives, regular etc

Response: Brett conceded that there are no easy answers to any of these questions but reiterated that disability advocates could borrow a leaf from other sectors such as women, children, the black movement and the gay community , all of whom have successfully sold their agenda for mainstreaming. The following suggestions were offered:

  • Need to get all members of faculty on board: Collaborate/ co-work with the system and not fight against it.

  • Introduce quality assurance standards: This becomes a platform for introducing quality and variety in the teaching curriculum as well as the styles of delivery

  • Provide scholarships for PWDs to enable them infiltrate theological seminaries as faculty

  • Each Seminary will have to creatively come up with ways of infiltrating their own institutions on the disability issues.

  • Challenging powers to understand that there are many styles of learning beyond the chalk and talk - Can be done through music, art /multiple communication: ring in multitudes of learning methods

  • That all may Learn: Advocate for the accessibility issues to ensure that theological institutions open up: Go to the Seminary papers and move on to the national press - Seminaries desist bad publicity.

  • Identify and challenge the status quos.

  • Theological training could be much better if it was more creative

 

DAY THREE, 18 AUGUST 2004

Reflection on Justice for Haiti

The morning worship was led by the Caribbean and Latin American Group and focused specifically on Haiti, a country that was celebrating 200 years of independence since 1904. Despite being a rich country, Haiti is ravaged by suffering, poverty and injustices.

Rev. Dr. Gordon Cowan read from Matthew 25: 31 - 40 on the subject of holiness. He asked participants to pray for Haiti along with other countries in the world that continue to experience similar injustices. It is the weakest country in America and a serious indictment to the world for all the atrocities, injustices and oppressive systems that continue to afflict many people across the world.

Special prayers were said for Haiti as well as for all other peoples going through similar experiences, thus undermining the purpose of a caring, loving and merciful God who invites all His people to a common table, the only qualification being holiness. Those who undermine and oppress God's creation cannot partake of this table.

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT 1 &2 ( Rev. Dr. A. Berinyuu & Rev. Dr. J. Galgalo)

This section was divided into two parts, namely; the integrated Curriculum and the separate Curriculum. At the end, it was generally agreed that either one or both approaches could be adopted as an entry point, but that the final decision would have to be left to individual institutions to give them space for domesticating the agenda according to the prevailing needs. Participants were however agreed on the general content subject to amendments which were subsequently incorporated in the second draft Course Outline.

Draft Curriculum (Rev. Dr. Galgalo)

Rev. Dr.Galgalo presented the draft curriculum and invited participants to engage with it as a draft and give open and genuine critique. Participants were asked to go into their respective groups to discuss the Course outline and give recommendations for a prototype Curriculum. The recommendations were incorporated into the amended draft outline. Both drafts are reproduced here below:

Original Draft :

Prologue Preamble

Our Goal

In the Interim Statement paragraph 30 (1), Christian theology needs to interpret the Imago Dei from a Christological ( the saving work of Christ for the world) standpoint, which takes us beyond the usual creationist and anthropological perspectives. (2) Christian theology needs to embrace a non-elitist, inclusive understanding of the body of Christ as the paradigm for understanding Imago Dei. (3) Without the full incorporation of PWDs who can contribute from the experience of disability, the Church falls short of the glory of God, and cannot claim to be the image of God.

The study of the Bible as the source of Christian theological reflection and as the revelation of the purpose of God and the knowledge of the Creator, leads us to the certainty that we have accepted and been accepted by a God of Love. It is God who encourages us to live in the light of His Son with our errors, afflictions and disabilities. The prophet Isaiah points out to the One who carries all our afflictions (Isa. 53:4-6). The God "who shows no partiality" (Gal. 2:6), includes everyone in His bosom, male or female, whatever their physical or mental conditions.

We read the change that Christian theology needs to embrace a non elitist, inclusive understanding of the body of Christ as the paradigm for understanding the Imago Dei.

And we read that in the study of the Bible as the source of Christian theological reflection and revelation of God's purpose leads us to the certainty that we have accepted and been accepted by the God of love.

Our Objectives

  1. To fulfill this portion of the theological statement, we believe that one of the primary places and people to fulfill this portion of the interim statement and institution of theological education and understanding.

  2. It is in this place, among these people that those in their education institutions and churches may meet—tab--- and people with disability alike - in learning together the way towards being inclusive people of God.

Why Theological Institution?

First - Theological Institutions are the main places or and people where the mind, body and spirit current and future leaders, pastors, Xtian edu. Leaders, liturgist, admin and future scholars are educated.

Second: Theological Institutions may become a model for churches as well as a resource of various model narrative of inclusivity.

Third- The importance of "Ministry of presence" of tap in relationship with pwds in theological institution is a key an vital part of these course.

How Will This Be Accomplished?

  1. Interdisciplinary introduction course model
  2. Pwd: Theology and Biblical
  3. Pwd: Biblical
  4. Pwd: Practical
  5. Pwd: Ethical

It is assumed that each course will be conducted with the full inclusion and dialogue with pwd and t.a.b.

Our Hope

Our hope is that:

  1. Not only ones mind but the mind , heart, and body - ones' very moral character - of the faculty and students will be shaped and nurtured in learning and living with one another, able bodied and disabled.
  2. Faculty and staff will rise to the challenge and incorporate some or all of the material offered in the modeled course outline.
  3. Students will also rise to the challenge (copy the above in 2)
  4. Those who are able-bodied who are or will be leaders in churches ill come face to face with one's own morality and will therefore have a better insight and understanding of what it means to live as a person with a disability in today's church and society.
  5. Those people with disability will learn about the historical theological biblical, ethical , and practical issues and forces that have shaped peoples practices towards, with and by people with disability.
  6. By raising these issues in the counsel work and curricula in Theological institution, our hope is that those in theological institutions will be challenged to be a more inclusive setting and people, so that all may learn and witness God's image in all of us.
  7. Finally, leaders trained in Theological Institutions are sensitive to and aware of the ongoing disenfranchisement of people with disability in society at large.

 

After a lengthy discussion, the covering each component of the Course outline, participants recommended that the Course Outline be accepted as an entry point towards the introduction of disability issues in Theological institutions subject to amendments which were subsequently incorporated into the draft as follows:

Amended Draft

Opening Introduction

Our Goal

In the Interim Statement Paragraph 30 (1), Christian theology needs to interpret the Imago Dei from a Christological ( the saving work of Christ for the world) standpoint, which takes us beyond the usual creationist and anthropological perspectives. (2) Christian theology needs to embrace a non-elitist, inclusive understanding of the body of Christ as the paradigm for understanding Imago Dei. (3) Without the full incorporation of PWDs who can contribute from the experience of disability, the Church falls short of the glory of God, and cannot claim to be the image of God.

Furthermore, in Paragraph 32, we read that the study of the Bible as the source of Christian theological reflection and as the revelation of the purpose of God and the knowledge of the Creator, leads us to the certainty that we have accepted and been accepted by a God of Love. It is God who encourages us to live in the light of His Son with our errors, afflictions and disabilities. The prophet Isaiah points out to the One who carries all our afflictions (Isa. 53:4-6). The God "who shows no partiality" (Gal. 2:6), includes everyone in His bosom, male or female, whatever their physical or mental conditions.

We understand that Christian theology needs to embrace a non elitist, inclusive understanding of the body of Christ as the paradigm for understanding the Imago Dei.

Finally, we understand that in the study of the Bible as the source of Christian theological reflection and revelation of God's purpose leads us to the certainty that we have accepted and been accepted by the God of love.

Our Objectives

First, to fulfill this portion of the theological statement, we believe that one of the primary places and people to fulfill this portion of the Interim Statement are institution of theological education and understanding.

Second, it is in this place, among these people that those in their education institutions and churches may meet both able bodies and PWDs alike in learning together the way towards being inclusive people of God.

Why Theological Institution?

First, Theological Institutions are the main place and people where the mind, body and spirit of current and future leaders, Pastors, Christian educators, liturgist, administrators and future scholars are educated.

Second: Theological Institutions may become a model for churches as well as a vital resource of various model narratives of inclusive Churches.

Third: The importance of "Ministry of presence" of temporarily able - bodied (t.a.b) in relationship with persons with disabilities in Theological institutions is a key and vital part of these model courses.

How Will This Be Accomplished? ( To be spelt out further when model curricula are finished)

  1. Interdisciplinary introduction course model
  2. Pwd: Theology and Biblical
  3. Pwd: Biblical
  4. Pwd: Practical
  5. Pwd: Ethical

It is assumed that each course will be conducted with the full inclusion and dialogue with PWDs and TAB people.

Our Hope

Our hope is that:

  1. Not only ones' mind but ones' heart, and body - ones' very moral character - of the faculty members and students will be shaped and nurtured in learning and living with one another, able bodied and disabled;

  2. Faculty and staff will rise to the challenge and incorporate some or all of the material offered in the modeled course outlines.

  3. Students will also rise to the challenge and incorporate some or all of the material offered in the model Course outline.

  4. Those who are able-bodied who are or will be leaders in churches ill come face to face with their own mortality and will then have a better insight and understanding of what it means to live as a person with a disability in today's Church and society.

  5. Those people with disability will learn about the historical theological biblical, ethical , and practical issues and forces that have shaped and are shaping peoples' practices towards, with, and by people with disability.

  6. By raising issues facing PWDs in the course work and curriculum in Theological institution, our hope is that those in Theological Institutions will be challenged to be a more inclusive gathering, so that all may learn and witness God's image in all of us.

  7. Finally, leaders trained in Theological Institutions are sensitive to and aware of the ongoing disenfranchisement of people with disability in society at large. Our hope is that these leaders will be informed, educated, passionate, and compassionate advocates for justice for all, working within God's love towards the elimination of injustice being forced upon our sisters and brothers in Christ.

 

Curriculum Development II: Separate curriculum by Rev. Dr. Abrahim Berinyuu

Introduction: Rev. Dr. Berinyuu begun by admitting that as part of the group that was involved in developing both the Interim statement and the Course Outline, he felt humbled by the realization that issues of disabilities are dealt with by elitist PWDs. However, he reminded participants in general and PWDs in particular that the world is a fairly competitive world and the task of mainstreaming disability issues is not going to be an easy one. Thirdly, he noted that the issues of poverty and culture remains central to the disability discourse and that the curriculum should seek to deal with poverty and cultural issues among others. Forth, it was noted that the issues of the target group needed to be resolved and that the curriculum should ensure that all PWDs were included. It should not be an elitists tool that is inaccessible to some categories of PWDs. Fifth, the disability curriculum should be unique enough to be differentiated from other human rights campaigns. Lastly, Berinyuu noted that the disability Course should cut across political, social, economic, religious and other barriers that tend to divide people so that it can benefit all people across the board and that a multi-pronged approach that encompasses both an integrated as well as a separate curriculum should be adopted. The decision to integrate or to separate the curriculum would be best handled by the implementing institutions.

Berinyuu invited participants to ponder around the following questions as they seek to mainstream disability issues in Theological Institutions:

  1. Who is the target audience?

  2. Is the curriculum needs driven?

  3. Is this a response to a crisis?

  4. Who really cares about disability issues?

  5. Where do we locate such a course? This decision will ultimately determine the nature and thrust of the course?

  6. What are the intentions? For instance, are they related to justice, pastoral care hermeneutics, (etc).

  7. What sort of models will be used? Human rights, justice etc.

  8. What are the fundamental issues: In developing the curriculum it will be important to recognize that this is being done within an extremely competitive environment and therefore work at establishing a clear niche for this particular curriculum

  9. What kind of approaches/modules will be used? Are we talking about disability as part of the course, as a specialized unit, as an elective, do we need a curriculum or a curricula

  10. Grading/ Assessment: How are we going to deal with the grade and credit requirements ? What will be the point of the assessment and what models of assessment will be used?

  11. Methodology: How will the curriculum be delivered?

  12. Marketability; How shall we market the course? What does the market really want?

  13. Do we need to diversify our approaches beyond curriculum development?

In conclusion, Berinyuu reminded participants that the Church must remain the main end consumer of the curriculum. He asked for flexibility in dealing with the curriculum to ensure that it was appropriately domesticated to suit different situations at different times without losing the essence. That ultimately, the desired output remains: a more inclusive Church. The choice of the approach, that is, whether an integrated or a separate curriculum would be left to implementing institutions but each would use the content provided and customize it accordingly.

Plenary Responses: After the two presentations, participants raised the following concerns/questions:

  • Motivation: How do we motivate theological institutions to creatively implement the curriculum within their own contexts

  • Evaluation: How will the course be evaluated

  • Who are the target group: Target Group:

  • Funding: Need for scholarships to train PWDs to take the curriculum to the Seminaries. Give PWDs opportunities for further theological education

  • Competitive market: How shall the curriculum be marketed?

  • How do we equip seminaries to deal with disability issues within different contexts

  • Awareness raising: Is there sufficient awareness among theological colleges o the disability issues?

This session was concluded as follows:

  • In mainstreaming disability issues, it would help to draw lessons from other sectors such as the HIV and AIDS, women/gender: It is still helpful to provide the curriculum and leave the task of domestication to the individual institutions.

  • Flexibility: Provide the general road map and leave the implementing seminaries to customize and deal with issues of awareness raising

  • There is a need for a document to carry out the awareness, advocacy and training tasks among seminaries

  • Provide a document with CONTENT that will enable Seminaries to inject disability issues in their own contexts

  • It was noted that granted the level at which WCC operates, the document may not reach everybody and that it will be the responsibility of the implementing institutions to customize the document and avail it as appropriate.

Regarding the intentions of the curriculum, it was noted that this document was meant to:

  • Act as a general guide to introduce disability issues to students of ministerial colleges

  • Inspire theological institutions to begin addressing disability issues/provoke disability discourse in theological institutions

  • Equip the clergy/people who are training in ministerial formation, with skills to mainstream disability issues

Second Draft Course Outline

After the presentation on the Curriculum development II, participants were asked to go into Workshops to critique draft curriculum in its entirety and make recommendations for a prototype curriculum. The Team leading the discussion was asked to collate the recommendations and present the same to plenary. After analyzing the comments and recommendations from the various groups, the drafting Team harmonized the recommendations and presented a second draft Course Outline as follows:

Title: Introduction to Disability Issues: Towards an Inclusive Church

Description: This Course explores new ways of embracing an inclusive understanding of the Body of Christ by incorporating the experiences of Disability. The course will particularly focus on Biblical, Theological, and Practical issues involved in the Ministry to, with and by PWDs. Emphasis will be given to the role and place of PWDs in the community, the Church and the society at large for the realization of genuine inclusiveness.

Purpose: The purpose of this course is to engage in critical reflection and praxis on what it means to be made in the image of God and living with a disability; and also the implications that this has for the understanding of God.

Duration: This will be left to the discretion of the implementing institution.

Methodology: Field trips, mentoring, verbatim in field work, lecture by resource people ( eg with disabilities) immersion learning (eg one week residential experience) case studies; use of varied resources ( films drama etc).

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Critically analyze existing traditional values, prejudices, and considerations towards a reconstruction of the socio-cultural construction of disability issues and formulate appropriate theological, pastoral and practical responses

  2. Explore and integrate theological, practical and Pastoral issues with special reference to disability concerns and directly engage in active advocacy action in their communities (ie addressing ethical, human rights issues etc).

  3. Engage in critical reflection on congregational issues through Bible studies, accessibility assessments, liturgical worship, sermons and advocating leadership and full inclusion of PWDs

  4. Integrate the above experiences (A - C) into a critical understanding of what it means to be created in the Image of God.

Course Outline: Most Groups endorsed the content of the ‘original' outline as sound but suggested that additional issues be factored . These include: poverty, gender as well as an introductory section ( or Preamble) on disability issues especially on hermeneutics and use of words and concepts such as miracle, healing. Other sections could include Theology and PWDs, History and PWDs etc. All Groups recommended that the amended Course Outline be received as ‘Guidelines' for an interdisciplinary, introductory Course on disabilities.

DAY FOUR

WORSHIP LED BY THE ASIAN TEAM

Feeding the five thousand Luke 9

True Compassion and Showing compassion

The morning reflection , which was drawn from Luke 9, focused on the themes of true compassion and how the Church should reflect the same. Jesus takes his disciples to a private retreat and is joined by multitudes of people. According to this portion of Scripture, Jesus welcomed the starving masses in deep compassion. The compassion of Jesus implies giving up of ones privacy, going out of our way to meet the needs of others.

Although the disciples were sensitive to the environment, and cared that the people needed to be sent out to look for food/were hungry, their care was removed. They wanted the crowd sent away. Jesus challenged them to feed the crowd. He challenged them to get involved. To express care in a practical way. The challenge is for us to go beyond culture, beyond politics and act lovingly in the compassion of Christ Jesus. The type that sacrifices even our own comfort and privacy.

Participants were challenged to seek forgiveness for acts done devoid of love and compassion.

Receiving the love of Jesus

Ms. Ye Ja Lee shared on her experience in mobilizing resources to support disability work in her Region. One of the partners was 80 year old kind lady who always turned up at her meetings, did not have money but always attended the meetings. Her presence was of great encouragement to the group.

The second person was a retired old man who always attended the meetings, didn't say or give much but they were there.

The lady has since died. But God brought a retired Anglican Bishop who has since taken her place and has been a faithful supporter of the work.

In sharing out compassion, we may not always do or give much but we need to do it with the attitude and compassion of Christ. That invitation goes to all people.

GROUP PRESENTATIONS ON THE CURRICULUM

The three Groups shared their reports on the Curriculum after which the following issues were agreed upon:

PLAIN GROUP

DIPLOMA LEVEL - 3 or 4 years

COURSE TITLE: TPD (The Church towards an inclusive community)

Course description

The course explores:

  • Theological issues
  • Ethical, social
  • Pastoral issues
  • Emphases
  • People with disability
  • Families, Churches, community, government systems.

Purpose

Create in the image of God and God's likeness. What does it mean t a disabled person.

Methodology

  • Traditional learning
  • Problem based learning
  • Case studies
  • X Thesis, paper writing

 

Course Outline

Divided into 3 sections including a practical dimension.

  • God and creation
  • In God's image and likeness
  • Place of sin and suffering
  • Body of Christ

 

2-Pastoral dimension

-Members of family of God

-Gifts and roles of disabled people.

-The role of the Church to embracing all members.

-The pastors' source of empowerment to grassroots.

3 Human rights and globalization

- Disability and poverty
- Disability and violence
- Disability and gender

4 Expectation for pastoral aspects.

- Understanding of human dignity
- Understanding that power belongs to the people in the Church
- Understanding that pastor is source f empowerment in grassroot church
- Who is fit to mark/grade the exams?

Is it a PhD Professor, lecturers or at the same level but a person with disability

- Is there a disability theology?

GREEN GROUP

Non-prestigious institutions

  • Euro-centric theological structure - courage to change
  • Issues of poverty
  • Holistic theological curriculum /curricula
  • An elective course
  • Teaching issues in the standard/core courses
  • Series of courses
  • Work with - co-operation
  • Co-work
  • Hand in hand
  • Working with quality assurance
  • Who sets the "agenda"
  • Qualifications of teacher

 

BLUE

QUESTION 1

LANGUAGE

LENGTH

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Glossary
  2. Companion
  3. Prototypes
    - Liturgies
    - Prayers
    - Bible studies
    - Questions for starting and stimulating discussions.

QUESTION 2

Relevance of Documents of Omissions

1. Document relevant
2. Although brokenness of Christ and sacraments and hope are mentioned

Recommendations

1.The inclusion of MORE with regards to disabilities and sacraments:-

i) a) Baptism
b) Confirmation / communion
c) Marriage
ii) Hope / Eschatology

2. More of persons with learning disabilities

3. Include in glossary list of types of disabilities.

 

QUESTION 3

Good document for all theological Schools.

Recommendations

1. Portions to be used for both Diplomas and Degree programs.
2. Section to be incorporated in already existing course.
NB Must be a practical Component.

1. Theological and Spiritual issues
2. Pastoral and Ministerial
3. Legal and Ethical
4. Project

RESPONSES

  • All groups except the blue approached the suggested curriculum

  • courses as a Course while the Blue Group viewed it as a general outline

  • Content cold form several different courses

  • Format:

  • Need to identify the target group and customize it appropriately.

  • Use the content/model to educate the training

 

Inclusiveness, Participation and Active Involvement of People with Disabilities (S. Kabue and Linda Larson)

Inclusion: Towards a Definition

Linda gave her own testimony and experience as a person living with a disability after suffering polio at an early age. Her mother knew what to do with Linda because Linda was her child. Linda was not made to feel special and was allowed to do as much as possible along with her other siblings.

Linda gave the illustration of Mephibosheth in 2nd Samuel 9: 1 ff. which she said is a powerful illustration on inclusion. It is instructive to note that different people saw Mephibosheth in different ways. For example:

- Some people saw Mephibosheth as a dead dog.

  • David recognized the need for recognition. Reconciliation brought the lame man back into society

  • David recognized Mephibosheth's needs and honored him

  • Mephibosheth was given what it takes to live a full life: a home, job, family and ore importantly, a voice. That is inclusion.

Lessons: The following lessons can be drawn from this story:

  • Begin with an appropriate language: Call people by their names

  • Remember that life happens all the time beyond Sunday - the church should therefore offer care beyond Sunday and engage in practical care for their PWDs. Think about the other six days of the week.

  • Involve PWDs in the normal activities of the Church.

Practical Suggestions

  • Allocate a budget to make the Church more accessible

  • Educate yourselves and do not wait for PWDs to educate you.

  • When doing purchases for the Church, think PWDs and how they can access the resources eg put printed materials in large print.

  • Expose the congregants to different modes of communication

  • Use a variety of signs

  • Make signs accessible

  • Adopt holy communion accordingly

  • Educate self

On his part, Mr. Kabue concurred with Linda that historically, the Church has always neglected PWDs and have not given them equal treatment with the rest of society. Sharing from his own example, Kabue said that his own Church refused to ordain him even though he met all other criteria except that he was a blind man. This discrimination was unwarranted. Although the PCEA Church has since softened its stance and has been very supportive of his efforts including making him an elder, many other Churches remain closed to PWDs. This, said, Kabue not only continues to rob the Church off the benefit that PWDs bring to the table of Christ but also denies PWDs the opportunity to employ their immense skills, gifts and inputs.

To alter the situation, the Church needs to become proactively involved with her PWDs and deliberately create opportunities for their participation. This call s for a total overhaul in the way the Churches operate, the modes and styles of worship, the physical structures as well as the materials used in the Church, to name but a few. A complete paradigm shift is what is needed. This is precisely what the mainstreaming of disability issues is meant to achieve - get the Church to recognize PWDs, plan with them in mind and avail them the space to participate fully I the entire life of the Church.

Trip the Great Rift Valley and Shopping

After the above discussion, participants were taken on an excursion to see the Great Rift Valley as well as visit Kenya's Capital City, Nairobi for shopping.

DAY FIVE 20th AUGUST 2004

Devotion: Led by the North American Team

The morning devotion started with a number of songs and choruses led by the North American Team .The theme of the sermon was: Fear Not and was drawn from Isaiah 43: 4 - 5. Participants were reminded that God knows each one of His children by name. He invites all people to face life's challenges with boldness. "Do not be afraid, for I am with you' God is always with us filling our live with hope and encouragement.

Each one was invited to listen to God as He is always calling us and inviting us to Himself. We need to hear the call of our names and move on in faith to do what God has called us to do.

The worship service was carried out in a variety of forms: Songs, silence and prayer making it rich, participatory and reflective.

Way Forward Rev. Dr. Gordon Cowans & Rev. Noel Fernandez

Gordon reminded the group that the task they have embarked on is not going to be an easy one at all.. He called on the group to see themselves/hear their names being called. He reiterated that for the effort of mainstreaming disability in theological institutions and in the Church to succeed, there will be need for commitment, team work and determination. As part of the Way Forward, Gordon spelt out the remaining tasks as: One, to develop the Preamble Statement to the Course Outline; Two, to synthesize the critiques regarding the first draft of the Course outline, Three, discuss Regional commitments indicating the ways in which each Region intends to utilize the Draft Curriculum; and Four, to formulate the final Workshop Statement. The final draft of the proposed Curriculum is contained in Appendix two of this document.

Final Statement

Recommendation from WCC disability program, EDAN to Theological Institutions

Members of the WCC EDAN (Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network) met at Limuru, Nairobi Kenya, on August 16-20 2004 with educational specialists, seminary professors, pastors, theological students, and lay persons to develop a curriculum on disability studies for theological institutions.

Participants from many (both people with disabilities and able & disabled women and men,) shared widely their views and understanding of issues of disability in relations to the Bible in all theological disciplines.

There was general agreement that churches the world over would benefit significantly from new and deepening understanding of the concerns of persons with disabilities. A critical first step towards a more inclusive church would be the transformed attitudes of church leaders. Seminaries have a significant role in the period of ministerial of leaders and potential leaders.

The consultation engaged in an in depth discussion of the CC Interim Statement of disability which presents a timely challenge to the body o Christ on the issues of disability. This formed the starting point of the draft curriculum for an introductory interdisciplinary course for theological students. This course recommends as a methodology, among many others, the immersion of leaders and potential leaders in ministries with, by, and for people with disabilities.

The consultation commends to all theological institutions worldwide to engage in close and serious consideration of these issues raised, and to seek to critically employ the draft curriculum for further development of seminary offerings

Regional Commitments

Latin America/Caribbean:

  • Will try to implement at three levels namely:

  • Seminary, Nationally and Regional through the various ecumenical platforms

USA:

  • Participants will act as resource themselves as guest editors for the journal, Religious….. Get all the papers presented and have them disseminated as a journal

  • Contact the Association of theological schools in North America and ask for help to identify

  • Contact the American Association of….. and mobilize support in form of resources and

  • Try and gain access into the

  • Promote the college that best caters for PWDs and has a high enrollment of PWDs

Africa

  • try and make our institutions accessible to PWDs to study, teach and live

  • Adopt the curriculum with the leadership of St Paul

  • St Pal to identify and ring together other ecumenical institutions to implement the curriculum by 2005

  • Gather materials ad avail it to people

  • Personnel: Identify and equip trainers , some of whom will be PWDs

  • Conduct awareness campaigns in the churches to make them disability friendly

Europe

  • SST to invite Arne to carry out an introductory course

  • Host a national ecumenical for a

  • 2005, host an audit conference and lift disability issues

  • Participate in international gatherings and host some

ASIA

  • Mobilize regional Council of Churches ( CCA) to organize seminars on disability to discuss he curriculum

  • Introduce the curriculum to the Seminaries as a core- Course

  • Move from regional to National and denominational level to discuss the disability curriculum

 

Additional Comments

Participants regretted the absence of representatives from the Middle East and the Pacific as well as those from the deaf community. The EDAN Secretariat was asked to ensure that the Statement as well as the Report will be shared with everybody including those Regions and disability categories not represented at the workshop . Further, EDAN Coordinators in each Region were mandated to monitor progress and ensure that the issues are carried forward.

The task of finalizing the Course Outline was given to Cowan and Galgalo. It was agreed that EDAN Secretariat would disseminate both the finalized document and the Workshop Report to all the participants. On their part, participants pledged to send their individual feed back for input into the document.

Brett offered to facilitate editing of a special issue of a disability publication/journal and invited Workshop participants to send articles.

Closing Service ( Led by Dr. John of St Paul)

After an exciting time of song, dance, prayer and Bible reading led by the hosting College, that is, St Pauls' Dr. Nyambura Njoroge was invited to give the losing remarks contained in the section below:

Closing Remarks: Dr. Nyambura Njoroge, WCC

Dr. Njoroge appreciated the time the group had spent together working on how to infuse disability issues in theological institutions and noted that the Workshop was one of its kind within the ecumenical movement. She particularly appreciated the time spent in reflecting, sharing , disagreeing and yet finding commonality around a very key subject and one that is at the heart of many people including her colleagues at the WCC.

  • Similarly, she thanked the first team that created EDAN, something that has clearly demonstrated that it is not the numbers but the passion and commitment that a few people bring into the body of Christ that propels a vision. She regretted that the body of Christ has often tended to exclude PWDs, and urged EDAN Network to remain vigilant in pushing for inclusion, challenges notwithstanding. Further, the group was reminded that there will be many barriers and that they would have to remain committed to the common cause and to work together towards creating an inclusive church for all and of all.

Members were urged to remain accountable to the commitment made to God, to the group, to one another, to the wide group outside the ecumenical family and more importantly to oneself.

Additionally, members were called upon to embrace the ministry of mentoring, that of being role models. To this end, they were encouraged to think about mentoring other people and invite them to become advocates of an inclusive body of Christ. Noting that the task of mentoring was by no means an easy one, Dr. Njoroge called for sacrifice, commitment, selflessness, compassion, courage and cooperation among the disability advocates if they are to stay the course.

She invited the members to make use of modern technology, and especially e-mail to share information and keep engaging each other. This strategy had worked very well for other sectors including the women theologians of whom she is a member. It had sustained the women and helped them cope with the hostile patriarchal systems opposed to the advancement of the women.

Dr. Nyambura shared her own experience of the Workshop saying she had benefited greatly after one of the participants volunteered to help her daughter who has dyslexia . The struggle becomes that much easier and the faith stronger when people accompany each other in the journey. She pledged to continue working with EDAN to carry the disability agenda forward in the Church in general and in Theological Institutions in particular.

Finally, Dr. Njoroge thanked all the participants for taking out time to travel to Kenya and for the passion and commitment with which they had approached the issue at hand. She expressed very special appreciation to the entire Team of St. Pauls' led by Dr. Esther Mombo along with Samuel Kabue of EDAN for the immense work they had done in preparation for the Workshop and for ensuring that the Workshop had remained focused. Dr. Njoroge then declared the Workshop officially closed after which participants joined in the words of the grace.

Grand Dinner

He Workshop was closed with a gland dinner attended by all participants and graced by Kayaba Africa , a Kenyan percussion and dancing group that specialized in African music and dances , most of which have been adopted to Christian themes.

APPENDICES

Appendix One: Final Statement

Recommendation from WCC disability program, EDAN to Theological Institutions

Members of the WCC EDAN (Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network)met at Limuru, Nairobi Kenya, on August 16-20 2004 with educational specialists, seminary professors, pastors, theological students, and lay persons to develop a curriculum on disability studies for theological institutions.

Participants from many (both people with disabilities and able & disabled women and men,) shared widely their views and understanding of issues of disability in relations to the Bible in all theological disciplines.

There was general agreement that churches the world over would benefit significantly from new and deepening understanding of the concerns of persons with disabilities. A critical first step towards a more inclusive church would be the transformed attitudes of church leaders. Seminaries have a significant role in the period of ministerial of leaders and potential leaders.

The consultation engaged in an in depth discussion of the CC Interim Statement of disability which presents a timely challenge to the body o Christ on the issues of disability. This formed the starting point of the draft curriculum for an introductory interdisciplinary course for theological students. This course recommends as a methodology, among many others, the immersion of leaders and potential leaders in ministries with, by, and for people with disabilities.

The consultation commends to all theological institutions worldwide to engage in close and serious consideration of these issues raised, and to seek to critically employ the draft curriculum for further development of seminary offerings.

 

Appendix Two: Disability Issues: Proposed Curriculum

Preamble

  1. The church is called to preach the good news of reconciliation (2 Cor: 5:19). The ‘Body of Christ' is a ‘broken' body and groans to be one with oneself and with God as even God and Jesus are one (John 17:11). The membership of the Body of Christ is neither whole nor complete when part of it is denied full ‘koinonia' (participation) on account of such members' physical, psychosocial or developmental disabilities.

  2. This document proposes a theological course that considers the inclusion of disability studies as an introductory and interdisciplinary course within the broad range of theological curriculum. It was produced in the spirit of a felt need to create and facilitate "a church of all and for all" where persons of all walks of life, social status, able-bodied and those with disability are accepted on equal basis for full inclusion and participation in the life and ministry of the church of Christ, His Body.

  3. The proposal is a working document and is intended to be part of a process of initiating responses, critique, reception and adoption by churches and seminaries world over. It is also aimed as an advocacy tool for inclusion, participation and active participation of PWDs in the spiritual, social, economic and structural life of the Church. The suggested framework, duration, content of the course outline is ‘a model' among other possible models that advocate ways of mainstreaming disability issues within a course of study (e.g. a theology course). Each context is therefore encouraged to adopt, customize and or modify, and apply it as may be relevant or appropriate for their particular context.

  4. In any case, it is hoped that theological institutions may develop a course or a set of courses that provide(s) an opportunity for serious theological engagement with special reference to disability issues. Possible ways of doing this may include, integrating disability issues within different theological disciplines such as: systematic theology, practical theology, biblical theology etc or alternatively, to develop a module on ‘disability and theology' as a separate course alongside other theological courses.

1. Title: Introduction to Disability issues: Towards an Inclusive Church

2. Description:

This course explores new ways of embracing an inclusive understanding of the Body of Christ by incorporating the experiences of Disability. The course will particularly focus on Biblical, theological and practical issues involved in the ministry to, with and by the people with disabilities. Emphasis will be given to the role and place of persons with disability in the community, the church and the society at large for the realization of genuine inclusiveness.

3. Purpose:

The purpose of this course is to engage in critical reflection and praxis on what it means to be in the image of God and living with a disability; and also the implications this has for the understanding of God.

4. Duration: To be determined by the implementing institutions

5. Methodology:

Field trips, mentoring, verbatim in fieldwork; lectures by resource people (e.g with disability) immersion learning (e.g. one week residential experience); case studies, use of varied resources (films, drama, etc)

6. Learning Outcomes

  1. Critically analyze existing traditional values, prejudices, and considerations, towards a reconstruction of the socio-cultural construction of disability issues and formulate appropriate theological, pastoral and practical responses.

  1. Explore and integrate theological, practical and pastoral issues with special reference to disability concerns and directly engage in active advocacy actions in their communities (addressing ethical, legal, human rights issues etc.)

  1. Engage in critical reflection on congregational issues through Bible studies, accessibility assessments, liturgical worship, sermons and advocating leadership and full inclusion of persons with disability.

  1. Integrate the above experiences (a-c above) into a critical understanding of what it means to be in the image of God.

 

Course Outline

The course will be divided into an introductory and four main sections, including a practical dimension or project:

  1. Introduction to Disability Studies/issues

    • Introduction to disability issues e.g. hermeneutics, use of words, and concepts such as miracle, healing etc;

    • Theology and persons with disability;

    • History and persons with disability, etc.

  1. Disability: Theological and Spiritual Considerations

    • God and creation; The perfect God and the imperfect creation; Diversity and difference; ‘made in the image of God'

    • Theological and biblical views of disability; sin and suffering; human body and traditional conceptions of "what is normal"

    • Belonging and the Body of Christ; death, resurrection and eternal life.

  1. Disability: Pastoral and Ministerial considerations

  • People with disabilities as members of the family of God; their gifts and role/place
  • The role of the church in creating appropriate facilities, pastoral responsibilities, embracing members who are ‘different;' how to create ways to better include people with disabilities and their families; congregational practice and life
  • Theological curriculum and ministerial formation
  • People with disabilities and cultural practices
  • People with disabilities in the history of the church
  • Healing; hospitality and integration (NB. Explore biblical and cultural views for all)
  1. Disability: Legal and Ethical Considerations

  • Human rights; advocacy
  • Affirmative action; opportunities and empowerment
  • The state and human experience of disability
  • The society and human experience of disability; violence; gender etc.
  • Participation (active involvement) and inclusiveness
  • Disability and issues of economic empowerment; poverty; etc.
  1. Project: Practical Dimension on the Human Experience of Disability

Projects could be carried out on various aspect of this curriculum e.g. on the church's role and responsibility; practical applications for including people with Disabilities in the life and work of the church; disability advocacy groups; etc.

Suggested Readings

Abrams, Judith. Judaism and Disability: Portrayals in Ancient Text from the Tanach through the Bavli. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press Press, 2000

Benton, Janice LaLonde and Mary Jane Owen. Opening Doors to People with Disabilities, Vol. I: Pastoral Manual and Vol. II: The Resource File. Washington, DC: National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities, 1997.

Black, Kathy. A Healing Homiletic: Preaching and Disability. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1996.

Block, Jennie Weiss. Copious Hosting: A Theology of Access for People with Disabilities. New York, New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002.

Coulter, David L. and William C. Gaventa, ed. Journal of Religion, Disability and Health. Quarterly Journal. Binghamton, New York: The Haworth Pastoral Press.

Coulter, David and William C. Gaventa, ed. The Theological Voice of Wolf Wolfensberger. Binghamton, NY. The Haworth Pastoral Press. 2001.

Davie, Ann Rose and Ginny Thornburgh. That All May Worship: An Interfaith Welcome to People with Disabilities. Washington, DC: National Organization on Disability, 2000.

Eiesland, Nancy L. The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Understanding of Disability. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1994.

Eiesland, Nancy L. and Donald E. Saliers. Human Disability and the Service of God: Reassessing Religious Practice. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1998.

Epperly, Bruce G. God's Touch: Faith, Wholeness and the Healing Miracles of Jesus. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.

Fritzon Arne and Samuel Kabue. Interpreting Disability: A Church of All and For All. WCC Publication, Geneva, 2004

Gaventa, Bill, ed. Dimensions of Faith and Congregational Ministries with Persons with Developmental Disabilities and their Families. New Brunswick, New Jersey: The Boggs Center-UAP, 2002.

Govig, Stewart D. Souls are Made of Endurance: Surviving Mental Illness in the Family. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994.

Kutz-Mellem, Sharon, ed. Different Members One Body: Welcoming the Diversity of Abilities in God's Family. Louisville, Kentucky: Witherspoon Press, 1998.

Nouwen, Henri J.M. Adam: God's Beloved. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1997.

Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Wounded Healer. New York, New York: Image Books, Doubleday, 1972.

Pierson, Jim. Exceptional Teaching: A Comprehensive Guide for Including Students with Disabilities. Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing, 2002.

Reeves, Kathy N., Accessibility Audit for Churches: A United Methodist Resource Book About Accessibility. New York, New York: General Board of Global Ministries. The United Methodist Church, 1994.

Shapiro, Joseph P. No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging A New Civil Rights Movement. New York, New York: Random House Inc., 1993.

Thornburgh, Ginny, ed. Loving Justice: The ADA and the Religious Community. Washington, DC: National Organization on Disability, 1999.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, DC: Pastoral Statement, 1978. Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities, 1995. Welcome and Justice for Persons with Disabilities, 1998.

Vanier, Jean. Community and Growth. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1989.

Walker, Robert L. Breaking the Sound Barrier in Your Church. New York, New York: General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 2001.

WCC, Geneva. A Church of All and For All: An Interim Theological Statement. WCC 2004

Webb-Mitchell, Brett. Dancing with Disabilities: Opening the Church to All God's Children. Cleveland, Ohio: United Church Press, 1996.