EDAN: special course on disability




This course explores new ways of embracing an inclusive understanding of the body of Christ by incorporating the experiences of disability and to introduce disability discourses in theological and ministerial formation in students and to equip them for wholistic ministry. The course will particularly focus on biblical, theological, cultural, socio-economic and practical issues involved in the ministry to, with and by the people with disabilities.



  • To introduce disability discourse in theological and ministerial formation in students to equip them for wholistic ministry.
  • Critically analyze existing traditional values, prejudices, considerations and practices towards a reconstruction of the socio-cultural construction of the disability issues and formulate appropriate theological, pastoral and practical responses.
  • Explore and integrate theological, practical and pastoral issues with special references to disability concerns and directly engage in active advocacy actions in their community (addressing legal, ethical, human rights, spiritual issues, etc.)
  • Engage in critical reflection on congregational issues through bible studies, accessibility assessment, liturgical worship, sermons, training and advocacy of leadership and full inclusion of persons with disability.
  • Critically assess the traditional understanding of God and particularly explore what it means to be in the image and likeness of God and yet having a disability.


Duration: 50 class hours (4 Credit)



Suggested Methodology

Field trips, mentoring, verbatim in field work, lectures by resource persons, learning by living with PWD, case studies, role-playing, class discussions, audio-video aids. Emphasis will be given to the role and place of persons with disability in the church and the community at large for the realization of genuine inclusiveness.



Course Outline

The course will be divided into five parts including an introduction, four major sections, and a practical dimension or a project.


  1. Introduction to Disability Discourse

    • Introduction to disability concerns: definitions of terms, clarification of concepts, appropriate language, types of disability, practical difficulties, hermeneutics, miracles, healings and wholeness, etc.

    • Attitudes toward PWD in the Indian society.

    • History of the disability movements.

  1. Disability: Theological Considerations

    • Critique of existing theologies from the perspective of persons with disability.

    • Reinterpretation of traditional metaphors and concepts of God.

    • The doctrine of creation; the sovereign and perfect God and the imperfect creation; commonality and differences; made in the image and likeness of God; God and justice.

    • Biblical (with special reference to Jesus' teaching) and Theological views of disability; sin and suffering; body and soul; disability and wholeness.

    • Belonging and the body of Christ; death, resurrection and eschatology.



  1. Disability: Pastoral and Ministerial Considerations

  • People with disabilities as members of the family of God; their gifts and role/place.

  • Exploring biblical and cultural views of healing, hospitality and integration.

  • Contemporary responses to the persons living with disability in the church ministry.

  • Building awareness among congregations.

  • Role of the church in making appropriate facilities available to PWD.

  • Pastoral ministry and responsibility to PWD and their family members in congregational life, ministry and practice.

  • Persons with disability and positive insights from cultural practices.

  1. Disability: Human Rights, Legal and Ethical Considerations

  • United Nations and rights of persons with disability.

  • Constitutional provisions and rights of persons with disability.

  • Affirmative actions: opportunities and empowerment.

  • Participation (active involvement) and inclusiveness.

  • Disability and issues of poverty and empowerment.

  • Resources and services for persons with disability; church and society.

  1. Projects: Practical Dimension on Human Experience of Disability

  • Projects based on the direct encounter, experience or narrative of PWD: NGO working with PWD.

  • Evaluation/Assessment
    Exams, Internal Assessment/Project

  • Resources
    Primary resource: Persons with disabilities, members of disability advocacy groups/institutions, lawyers and activists.
    Secondary resource: Recommended books in the bibliography, films, magazines, journals, 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.
    -mBlack, 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.
    - Byrd, E. Keith. "Concept Related to Inclusion of the Spiritual Component in Serivices to Persons with Disability and Chronic Illness", Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling. 28.4 (1997): 26-29
    - Cariappa, Meena. How to Help Your Disabled Child. New Delhi: UBS Publishers, 1997.
    - 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.
    - Culshaw, Murray. It will be soon be Dark: The Situation of the Disabled in India. Delhi: Lithouse Publications, 1983.
    - 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.
    - Gaventa, William & Peters, R.K. "Spirituality and self-Actualization: Recognizing Spiritual Needs and Strengths of Individuals with Cognitive Limitations" in The Forgotten Generation: the Status and Challenges of Adults with Mild Cognitive Limitation, Baltimore: Brookes Publishing, 2001: 299-320.
    - Govig, Stewart D. Souls are Made of Endurance: Surviving Mental Illness in the Family. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994.
    - Ikeler, Bernard, Parenting Your Disabled Child. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986.
    - Kutz-Mellem, Sharon, ed. Different Members One Body: Welcoming the Diversity of Abilities in God's Family. Louisville, Kentucky: Witherspoon Press, 1998.
    - Lane, Harlen. When the Mind Hears, New York: Vintage Books, 1984.
    - Linton, Simi. Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity. New York: N Y University Press, 1998.
    - Longmore and Umansky, eds. The New Disability History. New York: University Press, 2001.
    - Longmore, P. Why I Burn My Book and Other Essays on Disability. Temple University Press, 1988.
    - 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.
    - Padden and Humphries, Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture. Harvard University Press, 1988.
    - 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.
    Scott, Robert. The Making of Blind Man. Transaction Publishers, 1969.
    - Shearer, Ann. Disability: Whose Handicap?. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1981.
    - Thornburgh, Ginny, ed. Loving Justice: The ADA and the Religious Community. Washington, DC: National Organization on Disability, 1999.
    - Thomson, Rosemarie Garland. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. Columbia University Press, 1996.
    - Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. New York University Press, 1996.
    - 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.
    - Vaughn, Edwin. The Struggle 0f Blind People for Self-Determination. Charles Thomas Publishers, 1993.
    - Van Dongan-Ganad, Jessie. Invisible Barriers: Pastoral Care with Physically Disabled. London: SPCK, 1983.
    - 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.
    - Weiss, Jules C. Experience Theraphy with Elders and the Disabled. New York: Haworth Press, 1984.
    - 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.