Mr. Matthew Kett presented the report of the Eco-Justice Committee. Speaking to the issue of HIV/AIDS:
- PWRDF Executive Director, Mr. Andrew Ignatieff, told of the work of the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund in responding to the call from our partners in Africa. The Fund is also interested in working with aboriginal communities in Canada.
- Dr. Eleanor Johnson, Director Partnerships, reported that the General Synod Planning Committee had been approached to invite Stephen Lewis to speak at General Synod. The Partners in Mission Committee would like to bring the issue back to Canada and have parishes look at their response to the disease.
-The Rev. Canon Allen Box spoke of his work HOPE Africa, a social development wing of the Diocese of Capetown [i.e. Cape Town], and of the project he is involved in, which raises funds for a community in Africa where 40% of people are HIV sufferers.
-Bishop Barry Hollowell stressed that Council not forget the situation in Canada where the disease is on the increase, particularly in the prison system and in aboriginal communities. Our awareness and our ability to inform and keep information in front of people are imperative.
That the Council of General Synod commend the HIV/AIDS document originating in Southern Africa for widespread distribution and action (see Appendix 1 of the PIMC Report to Council of General Synod).
It was noted that both EcoJustice and Partners-in-Mission recommended this motion.
The mover and seconder agreed to add the words "and support the request of Partners in Mission for an educational session on HIV/AIDS at General Synod 2004" to the motion. The motion now reads
That the Council of General Synod commend the HIV-AIDS document originating in Southern Africa for widespread distribution and action (see Appendix 1 of the PIMC Report to Council of General Synod) and support the request of Partners in Mission for an educational session on HIV AIDS at General synod 2004" to the motion. CARRIED #20-05-03
December 01, 2009 - An interview with the Rev. Patricia Sawo, a church leader and mother living with HIV in Kenya inspired Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to entitle his World Aids Day Message A Space for Hope. Patricia says of her church "My congregation knows about my status and people in my church know that this is a place where, if they come with HIV, they can be loved." The Archbishop says "when the Church is doing its job, it is providing space for people to face themselves, to be themselves, and to cope with the future."
On my trip to Burundi in February, I saw numerous examples of that kind of space. Let me cite just two. In the heart of the city of Bujumbura there is an HIV/AIDS clinic. Above the main entrance of the administration building is a sign stating that the building was renovated though a gift of the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) of the Anglican Church of Canada. That gift inspired other churches in the city to make contributions to expand the services of this clinic which serves teens and young adults who have been orphaned through AIDS. Most of them live on the street and their life is very rough. The clinic is a haven where they can learn about HIV/AIDS, get tested and if necessary receive treatment and counseling. As the Archbishop says, they can "face themselves, be themselves, and cope with the future."
Up in the hills, "in the bush" as Burundians say, in the village of Bitare, I and Cheryl Curtis (Executive Director of PWRDF) and Maureen Bailey (Youth Council, PWRDF) were invited to assist local people in laying the foundation stone for a new HIV/AIDS clinic. It was very humbling to kneel down and share in that work as hundreds of people looked on and sang and prayed for God's blessing on this project. The building is now complete and providing services to hundreds of people in Bitare and a number of surrounding villages. Individuals and families are feeling support and care. Lives are being changed and hope is rising like the glory of a new day.
This coming Sunday, the second in Advent, I ask that throughout the Church, prayers of special intent for those living with HIV/AIDS be included in the Prayers of the People. Pray for their caregivers and for their doctors and nurses and clergy. Pray especially for the work of the Mother's Union in Africa and their deep and steadfast commitment to helping those who are living with AIDS and those who have been widowed and orphaned through AIDS, and those who are caring for their grandchildren. Pray for those engaged in education about healthy sexuality and the prevention of AIDS. And as we pray for the eradication of the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, pray also for that "space" the Church is called to provide where people can be welcomed and free to face themselves and be themselves without fear of rejection; where through loving care and support they can cope with their future. This calling is after the very example of Our Lord who reached out and "touched" (Mark 1: 40-41) the sick with love and mercy.
I encourage one and all to pray, to support the continuing work with HIV/AIDS, and to stand with all those who are pressuring world leaders, in the words of one of the Millennium Development Goals, "to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases." I issue this call in the name of him whose Advent sets us free, whose love brings healing and hope to all.
Stephen Lewis, Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa for the Secretary-General of the United Nations will address more than 300 members of the Anglican Church of Canada's chief governing and legislative body when they meet later this month in St. Catharines, Ont.
His presentation on AIDS, scheduled for the morning of June 2, will highlight a half-day session on the global pandemic.
Mr. Lewis has traveled throughout Africa in his capacity as special envoy on HIV/AIDS and has worked closely with African leaders, a United Nations team and local coordinators.
He has also set up a charitable foundation -- The Stephen Lewis Foundation -- to help local African agencies cope with the devastation caused by AIDS. (http://stephenlewisfoundation.org)
Before assuming his present duties, Mr. Lewis served as Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and later as deputy executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). He was also a member of a panel of eminent persons that investigated the 1994 genocide in Rwanda for the Organization for African Unity.
Mr. Lewis, a former New Democratic Party Leader of the Opposition in Ontario, is one of several dignitaries who will be attending part of the Anglican General Synod.
Among Anglican Church of Canada partners who will also attend some or all of General Synod are Richard Schneider of the Canadian Council of Churches, Bishop Raymond Schultz, the Rev. Sonja Free and the Rev. Paul Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Rev. Bob Mills of the United Church of Canada, the Rev. Canon Stephen Lane of the Episcopal Church U.S.A., Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Matalavea of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and Anglican Communion Observer at the United Nations, and Bishop Duleep de Chickera and his wife Geetha of the Church of Ceylon, Diocese of Colombo.
The Anglican General Synod, which convenes at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., later this month (may 28 - June 5), is the church's chief legislative and governing body. It is made up of more than 300 members, including lay people, deacons, priests and bishops elected from each of the church's 30 dioceses. General Synod meets every three years.
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This is one of a series of official news releases that will be made before the Anglican Church of Canada's 37th General Synod. Between now and the end of May, releases will be issued about once a week.
For more information, you may also consult the following Web sites:
- A draft agenda is available at: http://gs2004.anglican.ca/delegate/agenda.html
Canon on the primacy http://generalsynod.anglican.ca/handbook/pdf203_canon_III.pdf
Because of limited space for media at General Synod, journalists who wish to cover the event are encouraged to register in advance. You may register at: http://gs2004.anglican.ca/media/registration
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