Memorandum of Understanding between
Centre for Autism and Theology and the Koinonia Inclusion Network
The Centre for Autism and Theology (Aberdeen) and the Koinonia Inclusion Network (Singapore) are delighted to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The Koinonia Inclusion Network (KIN) is a Singapore-based Christian organisation that partners with churches to help them include people with disabilities. KIN offers a wide range of services for churches in the area of disability ministry, including consultancy, training, and ministry resources. Through its research arm, the Centre for Disability Ministry in Asia (CDMA), KIN produces “context-relevant research that enables disability ministry in Asia.”
Theological research in autism is an underdeveloped area of research. This MOU between CAT and KIN will allow the two centres to partner together to further study in the theology of autism and to contextualise it for an Asian context, with the ultimate goal of strengthening the belonging of persons with autism in churches in Singapore and beyond. At the same time, KIN’s experience in developing practical resources will strengthen public knowledge exchange and impact activities of CAT in the UK and beyond.
Dr Léon van Ommen, Co-Director of the Centre for Autism and Theology, commented:
“The MOU between the Centre for Autism and Theology (CAT) and the Koinonia Inclusion Network (KIN) is an exciting development for CAT. Launched in 2018, CAT’s mission is to resource Christian communities through robust theological research. Therefore, listening to what is happening ‘on the ground’ is all-important for our research. KIN brings that invaluable grassroots input. Moreover, the collaboration between KIN and CAT allows for intercultural enrichment and learning from one another through our diverse contexts. This MOU will enable CAT and KIN to bring together the best of both theological research and practical engagement with the Church.”
Mr Wen Pin Leow, President of the Koinonia Inclusion Network, said:
“KIN is very pleased to collaborate with the Centre for Autism and Theology (CAT) through this MOU. Based at the University of Aberdeen, which is internationally renowned for scholarship in disability theology, the CAT comprises a dynamic group of scholars and students who are producing excellent research in autism and theology. Through this collaboration, KIN hopes to bring world-class theological scholarship to bear on the practical and pastoral issues inherent in disability ministry and missions. This is an excellent space for collaboration, and we know that this MOU will produce significant dividends for the Church and persons with autism in Singapore and Asia.”
To mark the signing of the MOU, KIN invited Dr van Ommen to deliver a keynote lecture on the inclusion of people on the autism spectrum in churches, followed by a Q&A which was moderated by Mr Leow. More than 150 Singaporean church leaders, pastoral workers, and church members attended the live event in Singapore, which took place on Saturday 2 July. The keynote can be found here.