NCCI –IDEA (Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment) is a standing forum of National Council of Churches in India accompanied by the Commission on unity and Mission (incorporating Justice Peace and Creation). NCCI – IDEA theologically motivates ministerial interventions in encouraging and facilitating the Indian Churches to be inclusive and disabled-friendly. Considering the importance of inclusivity, the XXVIII Quadrennial Assembly of NCCI has chosen a theme ‘Towards… Just and Inclusive Communities’. By this, the Members of NCCI would be encouraged to ensure that their ministerial interventions result in inclusivity.
Since 2009 the Disability Advocacy Sunday (DAS) is being organized by NCCI – IDEA and several congregations, ecumenical organizations and institutions participate in observing this Sunday every year pro-actively with deeper commitment toward the cause of People with Disabilities (PWDs). Considering the importance of observing this day, the NCCI Executive Committee in 2011 officially approved of designating the Sunday before the Advent Season as DAS, since 3rd December (the International Day of People with Disability) always falls during Advent when Churches are busy with their Christmas Programmes.
For the past six years the messages of DAS were focusing on ‘Inclusive Church’. The DASs were aimed to facilitate a paradigm shift from the traditional ministerial approach of Charity to Inclusive and Accompaniment model of mission that affirms disability as a status with self-respect, equality and dignity. Looking over the celebrations and the positive responses from the Churches and the local congregations to the observance of DAS, NCCI-IDEA expects that the congregations have become more open to PWDs and are more Disabled-friendly.
As an outcome of the Disability Pre-assembly held in Jabalpur from 24 – 26 April 2016, the NCCI-IDEA is mandated to launch a four-year Ecumenical Campaign on “Accessible and Inclusive Congregations” along with its networking partners of the NCCI Members and the Engage Disability networks. This campaign aims to promote ‘Transparent Inclusion’ and engaging the disabled in the very life and work of the mission and ministries of the Churches as to affirm their Right to Worship and Minister.
This year Churches and the Congregations are encouraged to contemplate on ‘post-inclusion status’ of the congregations. Therefore, IDEA is suggesting “Under the Roof… A Step Beyond the Stairs” as the theme for DAS – 2016. Through this theme we call upon congregations to be engaged in disabled-friendly ministerial audit at the congregational levels: How inclusive are our Churches and congregations in practising appropriate Ministry, ‘For’, ‘To’ and ‘With’ persons with disabilities?
Every year, NCCI – IDEA assists the Churches and the Congregations with an Order of Worship and a homily outline for DAS observances. This year’s order of worship is developed by a team of PWDs. Since 27th November 2016 is the Sunday immediate prior to the Advent season, IDEA recommends to churches to it as DAS. In case you are not able to observe IT on 27th November, please feel free to observe any Sunday that is convenient to you and your congregations.
We are glad to inform you that churches, organisations and institutions such as World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network, Church of South India – Disability Intervention for Solidarity and Holistic Accompaniment, Engage Disability and Christian Service Agency are participating in this initiative.
Kindly share this information with your fellow ministers and congregations and also send us reports of your observance of DAS for our records and media release.
May these observances give deeper meaning to our gatherings and fellowships as ‘koinonia’.
With Prayer and Wishes,
|Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar
|Mrs. Cynthia Shinde
|Rt. Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh
|Rev. Dr. Roger Gakwad
General Secretary, NCCI