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.
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.
Archbishop of Carey, the Most Rev. George Carey, and his wife Eileen, visited the London Lighthouse and CARA, an church run AIDS charity. Dr. Carey said that "AIDS is one of the most important issues facing the Anglican Church worldwide today."
The author, Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, reflects on the recent AIDS 2002 Conference in Barcelona Spain. "The key challenges are to change behavioural patterns and to eradicate the stigma that makes it so difficult for people to seek the help they need. Above all we dare not lose hope. We cannot allow ourselves to be paralysed by despair". After reviewing governmental and NGO actions and strategies, he goes on to say: "I offer a committed strategic `Partnership for Life' on behalf of the more that 70 million Anglicans worldwide, who have commissioned me to drive a programme that is working towards a `Generation without AIDS'. We do not have huge amounts of money but we do reach deep into every community. We are often located where there is no Post Office or electricity and we acknowledge our own responsibility in the AIDS arena. I extend my hand and heart to government in this partnership. The leaders of this nation must collaborate, and speak as one, and together build on the dreams and hopes for our people. We must eliminate the fear fuelled by misinformation and dithering about response and responsibility. We must unite in a stand for hope".
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.
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".
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'."
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."
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.
A delegation of Anglican Communion leaders, formed and led by the Most Rev. Ndungane Njongonkulu, Primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. Meshack Mabuza, Bishop of Swaziland, visited Swaziland from 8-10 July 2004. The delegation met with church and civic leaders and visited the Rev. Ooma Marumbela and the AIDS ministry her parish of St. Margaret of Scotland is doing. The delegation heard "fears for the future of Swaziland and for the need for the authorities to heed the warning signs of unrest and concern in a number of areas, including the increase in HIV/AIDS, the need for the rule of law and the need for a strong and inclusive constitution, with special regard for the plight of women, those working for a more democratic government and others whose marginalisation is still evident in society. Although homogeneous in language and culture, there have been warning signs of unrest and discontent with the current systems in place, signalling a possible disaster in the near future. Calls for accountability and the urgent need for capacity building to receive aid and support were a common thread during the visit."
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.
"The Primate of Southern Africa, the Bishop of Washington and a canon from the Diocese of Florida have teamed up to win a $10 million grant to combat HIV/AIDS through the work of the Anglican church in southern Africa, the United States Agency for International Development announced this week. Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Bishop John B. Chane and the Rev. Canon Robert V. Lee of FreshMinistries, an ecumenical non-profit organization in Jacksonville, Florida, worked together on the grant which will allow the Church of the Province of Southern Africa to hire hundreds of young outreach workers and indigenous leaders who will be trained to offer age-appropriate instruction in AIDS prevention to children and young adults". "Mr. Lee said the program in southern Africa will be modeled on practices pioneered in Uganda where HIV/AIDS rated have dropped dramatically due to changes in sexual behavior. Among its priorities are teaching abstinence before marriage, increasing the number of people who know their HIV status, promoting open discussion about the disease, and decreasing the stigma that surrounds AIDS in much of Africa". "Both Archbishop Ndungane and Bishop Chane said the grant came at an important time for the Anglican Communion, which has experienced upheaval over its member provinces' conflicting teachings on homosexuality." "This is a wonderful example of how different provinces can work together to build God;s Kingdom, and witness to his Gospel', Ndungane said. `The needs of God's people mandate that we persevere with one another, rather than letting our differences tear the Communion apart'." From Episcopal News Service.
Report of a three-day planning meeting for the Church of the Province of Southern Africa which took place 15-17 March 2005. "The meeting reflected firstly on the state of the Southern African Anglican Church, drawing parallels between the challenges it faces and those faced by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a whole. Some of these challenges are captured in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the recently released Commission for Africa Report and supported by the philosophy and objectives of the New Partnerships for Africa's Development (NEPAD)". Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane "summed up subsequent discussions, which covered the challenges of women's emancipation; improving levels of education; making public services accessible to the poor; tackling HIV and AIDS, Malaria and other infectious diseases; implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other challenges specific to the Anglican Church such as sharing a common vision and building institutional capacity in all church dioceses". A five point action plan to deal with these challenges was outlined and summarized here.
"`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 triennial Synod of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa met in Kwazulu Natal from 3-7 July 2005 and passed a number of important resolutions. It "voted to step up its programme of education of lay and ordained church leaders in order to break the HIV/AIDS stigma and develop effective responses to the disease at the parish level". Synod also voted to establish a gender task team and called on governments in southern Africa to "take responsibility for the provision of care to orphans and vulnerable children in their countries and to ensure that their rights are protected". As well, "Diocesan bishops will also be asked to create mechanisms in their dioceses whereby parishes are equipped to follow up on the health and welfare of babies in their churches and communities so that children at risk can be identified and protected from infant mortality, domestic violence and child abuse". The synod also debated the issue of homosexuality in the province and heard presentations from Bishop Peter Lee ("conservative" position) and Bishop David Russell ("liberal" position). "No resolution has been reached but Archbishop Ndungane said: `Our discussion and debate on this issue was of a high level of maturity and has broadened our thinking and understanding. The church will continue to listen to the voice of the people and engage on this issue'." In addition, a decision was made to change the official name of the province from Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA) to Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA). "`The name change will not come into effect immediately because it changes the constitution of the Anglican Church. It will only be finalised at the next session of the Provincial Synod in three years' time', said Archbishop Ndungane".
"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".
Sermon by the Bishop of London, the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, at the 10th anniversary service, held at the Guards Chapel, Westminster, to celebrate the life of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. "At a time when people are suspicious of rhetoric, the monarchy communicates by symbol and simple speech and the Princess brought her own gifts to this work. She was still only 26 when she shook the hand of a patient at the opening of the Middlesex Hospital's AIDS ward, the first in the UK. It is hard now to credit the degree of fear and prejudice which surrounded AIDS in the eighties. Those familiar with the field have no doubt that the Princess played a significant part in overcoming a harmful and even cruel taboo is a gesture which was not choreographed but sprang from a deep identification with those who were vulnerable and on the margin". "Her work in the very last year of her life for the victims of landmines also caught the popular imagination internationally and certainly accelerated the adoption of the Ottawa Convention, banning the use of weapon which disproportionately kills and maims women and children. She proved the eloquence of embrace and touch which of course have been used by royal healers through the centuries. And as she said 'the biggest disease today is not leprosy or TB but the feeling of being unwanted'." "Let this service mark the point at which we let her rest in peace and dwell on her memory with thanksgiving and compassion while we pray in the words of St. Paul for all those who serve our country as members of the Royal Family and most especially for the sons who were so precious to her".
"TEAM -- Towards Effective Anglican Mission, an international conference on prophetic witness, Social Development and HIV and AIDS has completed its meeting 7-14 March 2007] in [Boksburg] Southern Africa, with a vision and hope for mission in the days ahead. The gathering had its background in ideas stemming from the Primates' Meeting -- Kanuga 2000. The All Africa Anglican Conference on HIV and AIDS held in Boksburg in 2001, the idea of an Anglican gathering to coincide with Lambeth 2008 and the Afro-Anglican conference -- Toronto 2005". The conference was attended by over 350 participants from some 50 countries representing more than 30 Provinces of the Anglican Communion. "The TEAM Conference was organised in the context of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)". "The choice of the venue of the conference (Boksburg, Johannesburg) was in [a] sense to commemorate the earlier 'First Pan African Anglican Consultation on HIV and AIDS', which met in the same venue in 2001. Archbishop Ndungane rightly called the TEAM Conference 'Boksburg II'. By the end of the Conference, it was felt that Boksburg III (without confining it to South Africa or Africa) would be inevitable in 2014, just before the target year for MDGs". Conference speakers included: Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop Rowan Williams, Ms. Sheila Sisulu (World Food Programme Deputy Director), Fr. Michael Lapsley, and Anglican UN Observer Ms. Hellen Wangusa who "challenged the Church to develop a sound biblical and theological basis for implementing and analysing the MDGs". "The Five Marks of Mission as espoused by the world-wide Anglican Communion understands mission in a holistic sense, and therefore most Anglican Provinces and Dioceses understood MDGs as part of their mission work. In fact those at TEAM felt that the Church must aim higher than the MDGs, and should challenge the governments to do the same".
See also article "Cantuar tells opening TEAM Eucharist follow martyrs' example, break down barriers between people", p. 5.