Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN)
"As the author of the letter to the Ephesians stressed: Christ came to tear down the walls (Eph 2:14). Whenever we consider the ways in which to respond to issues of disability, we do well to remember the walls that we have set up. All of these walls are so human, yet they contradict Christ's ministry of reconciliation; walls that shut people in or shut people out; walls that prevent people from meeting and talking to others."
(A Church of All and for All - An interim statement presented to the 2003 WCC Central Committee meeting)
The mission of the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) is to support the work of individuals, churches and church organizations concerned with issues affecting disabled people globally. Created after the WCC's Eighth Assembly in Zimbabwe in 1998, the network envisaged an all-inclusive approach to ecumenical work from the very start.
EDAN's main purpose, as set out in its constitution, is to advocate for the inclusion, participation, and active involvement of persons with disabilities in the spiritual, social and development life of church and society.
Its goals are to maintain an active network of people with disabilities, to improve their situation by providing the space for their contributions and gifts to the ecumenical movement and the churches, and to hold up this network as a distinctive ecumenical contribution to new models of being the church.
Specific operational objectives include:
- to maintain the fellowship forged between diverse disability advocates and, where necessary, to extend it to include other interests not so far represented;
to engage in theological reflection on disability in order to provide a foundation for church engagement;
to work with and advise the WCC on its work to improve conditions affecting disabled people in the churches globally;
to deepen cooperation with and among churches, national ecumenical bodies and regional ecumenical organizations in respect to inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities in their ministry and mission;
to broaden the process of information-gathering in support of disability concerns and advocacy efforts;
to take initiatives that will express the willingness and capacity of disabled people to help further a disability agenda in the life of the church globally;
to analyze and address the relationship of disabilities to systematic violence, war, and human rights violations.
EDAN organizes regional meetings in different parts of the world. Participants with disabilities contribute their perspectives and challenge their churches to become inclusive of their theological and spiritual gifts. They also devise ways to strengthen and expand the network in each region.