EcumenAbility©

EcumenAbility© advocates for inclusion of people with disabilities into church life from an ecumenical/interfaith perspective. 
 
Purpose of the Project 
Social issues like climate change or peace building generate great interest in most church communities, on a local, national, or international level.  
 
However, historically, people with disabilities have always been marginalized in society, going back to the Ancient Near East, when disabilities were regarded as divine punishment. Even today, many people with disabilities feel unwelcome by their own congregation when they express additional needs to their pastor/priest. These needs may or may not be limited to just physical access to a church, but reflect a broader lack of inclusion and feeling of belonging of people with disabilities in today's society in general. 
 
As much as it is important that the traditional social issues need to continue to be addressed with increased urgency, the goal of this project is nothing more than to raise the profile of inclusion and belonging of people with disabilities to the same level as these traditional social issues. Churches can thus take a lead role in improving the lives of people with disabilities and positively influence the surrounding society's outcome. 
 
Goals 
- Establish and support local ecumenical inclusion and belonging projects,  i.e. bible study with new accessible NIrV Bible 
- Fundraise for local or regional inclusion projects 
- Liaise with national/regional ecumenical organizations 
- Liaise with WCC and/or Vatican Council of Culture 
- Liaise with national churches of all denominations, i.e. a disability rep if available 
- Continue to report at international and local conferences
- Develop workshops on inclusion and belonging for individual churches and congregations

For more info see my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/ecumenability/ 

About Me 
I am an independent Theologian, who, for personal reasons, also has an interest in brain injuries and other disabilities. Following the publication of my book “’Abgestempelt’. People with Disabilities in Ancient Israel and the Ancient Near East” and having worked for a Canadian ecumenical organization, it became clear to me that there are deficits in the congregational life of people with disabilities. Unfortunately, because they are a somewhat marginal group, they are  not getting the exposure that other social issues are enjoying. EcumenAbility© is attempting to fill this void.

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Organizer 

Thomas Hentrich 
Organizer
Ajax Southwest, ON
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