Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network Pre-assembly

The Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) Pre-assembly will be held on 29 - 30 August in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Welcome to the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) Pre-assembly which will be held on 29 - 30 August in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The Pre-assembly will be held under the theme "Celebrating diversity while moving towards reconciliation and unity of the church.”

The Pre-assembly will:

  • Provide an opportunity to harvest what has been done through the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace which calls on us to walk together in a common quest in celebrating life and in concrete steps towards transforming injustice and violence. This will take the dimension of celebrating the gifts of persons with disabilities; visiting the past and present wounds and also come up with steps of how to transform the injustices. 
  • Prepare persons with disabilities to take the opportunity through their participation at the assembly to remind the churches that their Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace is not only a Godgiven demand and obligation, but also a matter of credibility in the world.

The invitation is open to persons with disabilities participating at the assembly, delegates and advisors to the assembly, ecumenical regional networks and visitors.

The Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) is a programme of the World Council of Churches in the broad programme area on Unity, Mission and Ecumenical Relations. It is situated within the work on Mission from the Margins with particular focus on ensuring that disability concerns remain in the agenda of the work with churches. Its main purpose is to improve the wellbeing of persons with disabilities both in the church and society. It exists to provide a model of being church through advocacy for participation, inclusion and active involvement of persons with disabilities in all aspects of spiritual, social and development life of the church and society.  

Established in Harare during the WCC 8th Assembly in 1998, EDAN traces its mandate from the WCC assemblies. It consequently feels obliged to report directly to the next assembly and to get a new lease of life from it. 

The WCC 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre in 2006, Brazil affirmed EDAN as a necessary ecumenical expression by identifying its work as one of the council’s priority in the seven years leading to the WCC 10th Assembly. The mandate from the WCC 9th Assembly recommended that the WCC “work with representatives of the Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates Network to articulate in an even more bold and creative manner, consistent with Christian theology, ways to make the churches fully inclusive communities and the ecumenical movement a more open space for all human beings.”

The WCC 10th Assembly in Busan 2013 had ten persons with disabilities as official delegates of their churches to the assembly which meant that they were eligible to participate in the official business of the assembly and were eligible to be elected to governing organs of WCC during the assembly. Three of them were elected to the central committee and one to the executive committee. A good number of the participants from the network have since been named in various WCC working groups and commissions which we believed reflected acceptance of the gifts that persons with disabilities bring to make the church complete.

The EDAN Pre-assembly seeks to:

  • Orient participants to the WCC and to the nature and desired outcomes of a WCC assembly;
  • Unpack contextual issues facing persons with disabilities in response to the assembly theme;
  • Create a space for intentional interaction of the WCC pre-assemblies through collaborative activities, as they prepare for assembly sessions and plenaries;
  • Prepare delegates and assembly participants for intentional proactive engagement in the assembly;
  • Provide an opportunity to induct new faces into the ecumenical movement. It is an established fact that ecumenical formation and leadership for many young people begin with participation in major ecumenical events like the WCC assembly. Young persons with disabilities should not be an exemption to this possibility. This explains why we would like to take this opportunity to introduce new blood into the movement;
  • Promote solution-oriented networking between delegates, ecumenical partners, and other participants;
  • Review the strategies and programmatic outcomes of EDAN with the intention of mapping programmatic work for the future;
  • Harvest recommendations for consideration during the WCC 11th Assembly and beyond.

Full programme coming soon

Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity: A reflection on the theme of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Karlsruhe 2022. 
The result of the work of an international group drawn from different regions and confessional traditions, the text is intended as a resource for churches and Christians worldwide in advance of the WCC’s 11th Assembly, to take place in Karlsruhe, Germany, from 31 August to 8 September 2022. It offers biblical and theological reflections on the assembly theme, inspired by a biblical verse – “For the love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor. 5:14) – against the backdrop of critical issues confronting churches and humanity as a whole. The text is available initially in four languages – English, French, German, and Spanish.

Pilgrims on the Path of Peace
The Journey of the WCC from Busan to Karlsruhe (Unillustrated).

For each assembly, the central committee submits an accountability report, describing and offering an assessment of the activities of the WCC between the assemblies; in this case, since the 10th Assembly, in Busan, Republic of Korea, in late 2013. The report “Pilgrims on the Path of Peace – The Journey of the WCC from Busan to Karlsruhe,” is now available online for WCC member churches, ecumenical partners, and other global pilgrims. The WCC central committee received the report in February.