World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / What we do / Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN)

Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN)

Advocating for the participation of persons with disabilities in the spiritual, social and development life of church and society

"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.

Visit the EDAN website

Related News

Disability, justice and spirituality focus of Australia conference

Disability, justice and spirituality focus of Australia conference

The “Exclusion and Embrace Conference: Disability, Justice and Spirituality” was held in Melbourne, Australia 20-24 August. The multi-faith conference explored the issues of faith and meaning in the lived experience of disability. Participants discussed ethics, care, inclusion in faith communities, friendship, discrimination, love, justice and liberation. Dr Samuel Kabue, executive secretary of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network, gave a presentation entitled “Disability/Theology in curriculum of Theological Institutions.”

Gathering promotes disability-inclusive development in East Africa

Gathering promotes disability-inclusive development in East Africa

Forty representatives of national councils of persons with disabilities from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda met in Kigali, Rwanda from 8-11 August to explore ways in which they can promote disability-inclusive development in East Africa.

To be human is to be vulnerable…

To be human is to be vulnerable…

When we refer to the disabled as “vulnerable,” we strengthen the delusion that individuals without disabilities are strong and can take care of themselves.