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.

Related news

All news on this topic

Related documents

Reflections on WCC 10th Assembly theme by Just and Inclusive Communities working group

A working group of 25 theologians and activists representing Dalits, Indigenous Peoples, the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network, the Global Ecumenical Network on Migration and all those struggling against racism met in November 2012 to prepare reflections on the assembly theme from the viewpoint of those struggling against marginalization, rejection and discrimination.

Recflections by indigenous theologians on WCC assembly theme

More than 30 theologians from indigenous peoples in different parts of the world met in September 2012 to reflect on the WCC 10th Assembly theme, "God of life, lead us to justice and peace."

Theological Perspectives on Diakonia in the Twenty-First Century

“Diakonia of the marginalized people is crucial for church’s engagement in realising God’s oikoumene.” says the theological affirmation from the Conference on Diakonia in the Twenty-First Century, organized in partnership with the Justice and Diakonia and the Mission and Evangelism programmes of the WCC, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1-6 June 2012.

Unity and Mission Today: Voices and Visions from the Margins

Aide memoire of the Global Platform for Theological Reflection meeting in Bucharest, Romania, 4-10 October 2010 (pdf).

Just and Inclusive Communities - Report of the la Paz theological consultation

This report attempts to outline a theological framework for the WCC's new programme: Just and Inclusive Communities that has been put in place by integrating four areas of its ongoing work: Overcoming Racism, Indigenous Peoples, Dalit Solidarity and the Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates Network. It reflects a consultative process of sharing and conversation among persons impacted by these and other concerns.

Human rights and languages of indigenous peoples

Issued by the public issues committee of the WCC Central Committee at its meeting in 2005.

Participating in God's mission of reconciliation - a resource for churches in situations of conflict

This text results from the study on "Ethnic identity, national identity, and the dearch for the unity of the church" done by Faith and Order with the collaboration of the WCC's Justice, Peace and Creation team. It offers resources for churches in situations of tension or conflict, especially where ethnic and national tensions are major factors, and suggests how Christian unity can further the churches' witness for reconciliation and justice.

A church of all and for all - an interim statement (WCC Central Committee, 2003)

This new Interim Statement, conducted with participation from the Faith and Order Commission, offers pointers and insights on major theological themes. It is hoped that it will also enable the churches to interact with the disability discourse and help the churches address inclusion, active participation and full involvement in the spiritual and social life of the church in particular and society in general.

Being church and overcoming racism: it's time for transformative justice (WCC Central Committee 2002)

This paper is a discussion-starter on churches acting through transformative justice to overcome racism. A plenary discussion on racism and transformative justice at the WCC Central Committee meeting will further advance the debate, and deepen reflections on the theological, ecclesiological and ethical dimensions of working for racial justice and against racial violence.

Making a fresh start: the urgency of combatting racism

WCC report on its participation in the UN World Conference against Racism Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) held in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 7 September 2001

Understanding racism today - a dossier

a revised and expanded version of a dossier produced for the WCC Harare Assembly, 1998