A Swedish working group for the World Council of Churches (WCC) which met in Stockholm on 4 September has called on Swedish churches to use ‘The Gift of Being: Called to be a Church of All and for All‘ as a resource for including persons with disabilities in church life.
“The statement touches much about the ecclesiology, mission and the nature of the church and it should be given an equal status as the other WCC statements such as ‘Together towards Life‘. This is what the churches in Sweden want to see,” said Rev. Karin Wiborn, general secretary of the Christian Council of Sweden and the chair of the working group.
This call was made prior to the launch of the Swedish version of ‘The Gift of Being: Called to be a Church of All and for All‘ which in Swedish translates to “Gavan att finas till – om kyrkan och funktionshinder.”
The Swedish version was released at the Nordic Network for Churches working on Disability Conference held from 5-8 September in Uppsala. The conference, organized by the Christian Council of Sweden, brought together members of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (WCC-EDAN) European region to find ways of working together towards inclusion of persons with disabilities in the church.
“This is a very important occasion to connect the Swedish network and the WCC-EDAN global network to help the churches to be more open to persons with different abilities and disabilities to be part of the fellowship,” said Torill Edoy, WCC-EDAN Europe coordinator. Edoy noted that the translation of the statement into Swedish was a very important step in making it available to churches in Europe. The translation into Swedish comes after a version made available in Norwegian in April.
“There is an urgent need for the churches to reflect on the statement and use it as a starting point for discussions within their congregations and theological institutions on inclusion of persons with disabilities in the spiritual, structural, social and developmental life of the church,” reflected Anjeline Okola, WCC-EDAN programme coordinator.