European Disability Network: God is able, he does not disable us

Jordi Torrents 

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities celebrated its tenth European gathering in Riga (Latvia) with the participation of 12 countries.

Previous meetings had taken place in Switzerland (2001), Hungary (2002), Albania (2003), Spain (2004, although in this case it was only a meeting between representatives of Spain and Portugal in Terrassa, Barcelona), England (2006), Ukraine (2009), Germany (2012) and Austria (2015).

This year’s gathering brought together some 50 people from up to 12 countries (Latvia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Lithuania, Italy, Ukraine, Norway and Spain) during four days that served to share resources, experiences, projects, blessings and develop new challenges.

In Europe almost 100 million people have some kind of disability (physical, sensory or intellectual / learning), but we still find deficits in our churches about how to integrate, adapt and, especially, include, although it is also a encouragement to see the work being developed by different Christian organizations in each of the countries involved.

Thus, the main aim of the meeting in Riga was to strengthen visions within a continent that has different cultural and social environments, bearing in mind that these bridges seamlessly connect people with and without disabilities.

The gathering also served as a (partial) farewell to Thérèse Swinters as coordinator of EDN since its founding. Swinters, founder in Belgium of the organization Church and Disability, could even announce that her replacement would be Baiba Baikovska (from Wings for Wheels in Latvia).

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