Dilemma of Inclusive Churches and the Way Forward
SHEA Chi Fung

The idea of inclusion was introduced to the Church by Christian scholars and the World Council of Churches in the 1980s. In Hong Kong, inclusion and equal opportunities have been the two main forces giving rise to the increasing number of protestant congregations that received people with disabilities in the past decades. However, when problems associated with various inclusive measures and attempts surfaced in the twenty-first century, the attitudes towards inclusion began to change from optimism to doubt.
This paper is an attempt to understand the dilemma of inclusive movement in Hong Kong churches and suggest the way forward.Learning from the inclusive experiences of USA churches, this paper first shows that simply providing accessible facilities is inadequate for congregations to remove the in-depth separation between people with and without disabilities. Second, the root of such impotence is explored by analyzing the notion and discourse of inclusion, which are found to be inherently weak to deliver the equality that they promised. Finally, from a theological exposition of 1 Corinthians 12, it is suggested that inclusive congregations should overcome separation between people with different abilities by recovering the relationality and gifts of the Church that is divinely determined.Becoming the Church along with persons with disabilities, rather than striving for the ideal of inclusion and equality, is the foremost task for any local inclusive congregations in future.