Towards just and inclusive communities

As an expression of its commitment to justice, human dignity and liberation the WCC, since its inception, has been a reliable partner of discriminated and excluded people - racial and ethnic minorities, those with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, Dalits and others - in their struggles. For decades, it has facilitated shared reflection and analysis, advocacy and communication among them. It has supported their efforts at local, national and international levels, encouraging churches and societies to be more just, responsive and inclusive.  

Although the globalized world claims to connect people, various forms of exclusion both old and new seem to be actively at work. Some find their way into the life of the churches and influence how churches respond to difference and to various forms of exclusion. With large-scale migration of people all over the world, xenophobia and racial violence are on the increase. The struggle of Indigenous Peoples for land, identity, language and cultural survival continues, as does the struggle for the elimination of the centuries-old discrimination on the basis of caste in India. New challenges have arisen for the people with disabilities in the context of economic globalization and pervasive violence.  

This project brings work on racism, indigenous peoples, Dalits and people with disabilities together. The aim is to encourage churches to learn from the experiences of advocacy by and on behalf of people who experience discrimination and exclusion. It explores questions such as: what have these experiences taught, and what is the power of their witness? How do the experiences, spirituality and visions of the excluded challenge and enrich the traditional understandings of unity, mission, evangelism, spirituality and Christian community?  

This is a theological activity with people who are exposed to racism, indigenous peoples, Dalits and people with disabilities. They are not outsiders, nor are their theological reflections influenced by social ideologies. All belong to the body of Christ, a part of the church. The project facilitates theological reflection based on their experience and visions of world, with the hope that their contributions may help the churches to transform themselves into sanctuaries of love, justice and peace.  

While promoting inclusivity, the project emphasizes justice. It calls upon churches to address cultures and structures of exclusion in their midst. It points towards the need to address racism in their own structures and life. It encourages churches to embrace the concerns of indigenous peoples and make them an integral part of their life. It works closely with the churches and movements in India to ensure that the struggles of Dalits for a casteless society are strengthened by global solidarity. It supports the Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates Network (EDAN) in its work in developing regional and global networks of people with disabilities, and in challenging churches to become churches for all.  

The work on some of these specific concerns is done through offices outside Geneva, partnering with churches, ecumenical organizations and regional or national networks in close contact with local communities. Target audiences are member churches at the local and global levels.

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