"`AIDS is not God's punishment for the wicked ... AIDS is a disease'. This quote from the primate of Southern Africa, the Most Rev. Njongonkulu Ndungane, is what scrolls across the home page of the new Anglican Church HIV and AIDS web site that was launched on 10 February . Consultant, Wendy Lewin, who helped set up the web site, said that the purpose was twofold. It would highlight what the Anglican Church was doing to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic and also support people running the Anglican Church HIV/AIDS projects across Southern Africa. It also doubles as a means of communication for funders and the HIV and AIDS office and also between people who are working on the ground, for whom it will be useful to compare notes and swap stories around their work. The website address is www.anglicanaids.org".
The theme of the next (13th) meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council to be held in Nottingham, England, in 2005 will be "Living Communion". The author experienced that communion in a recent visit to Swaziland where a delegation visited St. Margaret of Scotland parish. The Rev. Ooma Marumbela, one of the first two women deacons in Swaziland, runs a centre for orphaned children whose parents have usually died of complications of HIV and AIDS. "Swaziland has the highest HIV and AIDS infection rate in the world. The country faces many challenges with its government, with gender issues and the devastating impact of poverty".
See also article "Prayers for Swaziland .." on pp. 4-5 of this issue.
Twenty-two members of the Commission from every corner of the Anglican Communion gathered at the Kempton Park Conference Centre in South Africa for the first meeting of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Mission and Even. The group heard presentations about the reality of AIDS in South Africa and heard that "last year 250,000 South Africans died from AIDS. This number will double in six years". The group published a document entitled "A Call" and invited all dioceses, parishes and local churches, to consider the document and send their responses to the Mission Department of the Anglican Communion Office. [Full text of document reproduced here.]
Also includes an "HIV/AIDS -Factfile" and brief reports from USPG supported health projects in Malawi, South Africa and Zambia.
The Advent 1996 issue of the International Anglican Family Network "tells of just a few of the projects, linked with churches, which are trying to alleviate the suffering and halt the spread of the disease. In this terrible situation there are signs of hope." Article includes reports from 12 different countries.
Issue of IAFN Newsletter included as part of the Anglican World for Trinitytide 2004. An editorial and series of short reports from different agencies and countries assessing and looking back on "changes to family life over the decade" since the 1994 launch conference of the International Year of the Family in Malta. "The articles tell of the increasing number of single parent families and of projects to help them. Another development is the changing role of parents. In Africa, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, as well as in Western countries, some men are becoming more involved with the care of their children and more women are becoming breadwinners -- modifying the traditional demarcation of roles. The global nature of change is again highlighted in the article from Myanmar/Burma, which notes the pressures of modern technology on children, with videos and Superman replacing the transmission of values through storytelling. In Papua New Guinea, the influence of cultural change has resulted in improvements in education and literacy but also noted is an increase in violence within the family. In some countries, changes affecting families reflect the aftermath of civil violence. An article tells of the signs of hope in Rwanda, despite the horrors of the genocide. .... In Northern Ireland, too, there are signs of optimism despite the bitter legacy of the troubles. A major theme underlying many of the changes is the spread of HIV/AIDS. This was raised at the initial IYF [International Year of the Family] conference, but the extent and consequences of the pandemic have vastly intensified during the ten years, bringing heartbreak and poverty to many. The death toll affects all generations of the family, with grandparents having to care for orphans and losing the support of their children in their old age." "The final section of the newsletter tells of action taken by Governments to help families. A point made by many at the Malta conference was that Governments needed to recognise the importance of families as the basic unit of society and do more to help them. It is clear that further Government action is needed, but articles tell of steps forward.
"Created by the women of the coastal town of Hamburg, in South Africa's largely rural, poverty-stricken Eastern Cape Province, the Keiskamma Altarpiece is a message of hope for people who are contending with the devastation that AIDS has wrought in their lives in the midst of poverty and other hardships. Making its first voyage out of its homeland, the Keiskamma Altarpiece will have a three-venue journey to North America this summer  with stops in Toronto, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
After its appearance at the Sixteenth International AIDS Conference in Toronto [in August 2006], the Altarpiece has travelled to Chicago for a month-long stay at St. James Episcopal Cathedral. From Chicago the Altarpiece will go to the University of California at Los Angeles for several months installation hosted by the UCLA AIDS Institute and UCLA's Fowler Museum of Art."
"The Keiskamma Altarpiece was made using embroidery, beadwork, wire sculpture, and photographs. Its shape and dimensions (6.5 meters wide when fully open and 4.2 meters high) exactly replicates the multi-panel format of the famed Isenheim Altarpiece, now in Colmar, France. Moreveover, the synchronicity between the two is not limited to size and shape. The Keiskamma Altarpiece reflects a kindred spirit the Isenheim, both of them created in the face of a devastating plague wreaking havoc on their communities."
The Keiskamma Altarpiece was created by over 120 Xhosa women and some men and portrays the story of the crucifixion and redemption using local Xhosa imagery. "The Keiskamma Altarpiece is the second monumental artwork made by the women of the coastal town of Hamburg ... The first such piece, the 43 meter (138 feet) "Democracy Tapestry", inspired by the famed Bayeux Tapestry, presents the history of South Africa's first ten years of democracy".
In October 2002 nine members of the Compass Rose Society, led by Canon John Peterson, visited the Diocese of the Highveld in South Africa at the invitation of Bishop David Beetge. "Our primary purpose for visiting the area was to understand better the scourge of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and to experience how the Diocese of the Highveld is dealing with the problem. In the townships and shanties, some 38 to 50 percent of the population are HIV positive. A similar number are unemployed". Among the ministries the group visited was the clown ministry at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, begun by a Swiss man, Andre Poulie. The Compass Rose group included Canadian Canon Philip Poole from Trinity Church, Aurora.
BBC reporter Siobhann Tighe interviewed the Most Rev. Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Cape Town, about the Anglican Church's fight against HIV and AIDS in the African continent. In his comments, Archbishop Ndungane also discusses the importance of Ubuntu. "We've got to rediscover human values. After all Africans have a high doctrine of humanity. The whole philosophy of being human is couched in that wonderful African concept of UBUNTU: I am because we belong together."
A summary of some of the actions taken by the 30th Session of the Provincial Synod of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA) gathered in Bloemfontein, South Africa from 23-28 September 2002. Among other motions the Synod passed one which "Acknowledges and gives thanks to God for the role played by gay and lesbian members of the CPSA" and "Encourages the welcoming and affirmation of all members regardless of their sexual orientation, in all the churches of the CPSA". The synod also "unanimously endorsed Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane's call for reduction in the risk of AIDS, including the correct use of condoms. ... Echoing the Archbishop's words, the Synod said `Condoms can save lives and effectively prevent the spread of HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- when used correctly. The morality of condoms is about preserving life'."
A description of the work of the House of the Resurrection Haven which was founded in 1994 "following a need expressed by People Living With AIDS (PWAs)." The centre (once a convent dedicated for the benefit of the community of Bethelsdorp) is an ecumenical, "Christian-based care centre for symptomatic PWAs. Over the years the Haven has developed further into a training centre for Wellness Management, as well as a care centre for children and adults living with AIDS. It has also been a home for abandoned/orphaned children affected or infected by AIDS".