Dear HIV/AIDS Advocate,
During April, I was privileged to join three General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) colleagues at a training event about the United Methodist Social Principles in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The trip to the remote village of Kamina is one of five Social Principles training events planned in Central Conferences this year.
Bishop Ntambo explains the work on a drainage canal restoration project in Kamina. (GBCS photo courtesy of Wesley Paulson)
When we arrived in DRC, the Rev. Dr. Kabwita Kayombo arranged for those of us from GBCS — the Revs. Neal Christie, Cynthia Abrams, Clayton Childers and myself — to celebrate Easter at several churches in Lubumbashi. Afterwards, Bishop Ntambo welcomed us to Kamina.
For the next several days over 130 attendees from the North Katanga and Southern Congo conferences engaged in learning and discussion about the United Methodist Social Principles. We received many affirmative comments from participants about our efforts. Two of them said:
We will apply what we learned in our families, our churches and we will train others to apply these principles in their church and society.
We want to greatly thank this organization for facilitating better collaboration between ourselves and the whole world in fighting against poverty, discrimination against women or violence towards women. May God give you eternal and marvelous life.
The Kamina training was an expensive endeavor supported by GBCS's operating budget. In addition to the financial outlay, it required hundreds of hours of staff time by teams on both sides of the Atlantic.
In a message thanking GBCS after the training, Bishop Ntambo said:
You came to open a new chapter in our Area. Now people have a real understanding of the UMC through the involvement of the Church in society. … The seminar was a great success, starting from the quality of presenters, their humility, humbleness and knowledge and the enthusiasm of participants. … I end by congratulating you for such a ministry and encourage you to do more, but more especially I end by extending another invitation to North Katanga — why not to the rest of our Episcopal Areas?
Your generous gift to the United Methodist Social Justice Endowment Fund will help ensure that such valuable training events will occur around the world in the future. As the endowment grows, its investment income will provide a significant financial resource for sharing the history and tradition of the Social Principles at events such as the one in Kamina.
Please carefully consider making a donation to the fund now. There are several ways to give your support, including options for planned gifts of appreciated assets such as stocks and real estate. Support the Social Justice Ministries Endowment Fund today by sending an eCard or discussing a planned gift with the United Methodist Foundation!
In his report on Kamina, Dr. Kabwita, who is superintendent of the Jerusalem District in South Congo Conference, wrote:
This seminar was an opportunity to reflect on the Church and Christ's resurrection. It was so challenging, interactive and informative. So we would like to have these seminars on the Social Principles that will reflect the global image of the Church throughout jurisdictions and central conferences.
Your support of the Social Justice Endowment Fund will be appreciated very much — not just by this generation of United Methodists, but by those in the years to come.
Yours in Christ,
Chief Financial Officer
General Board of Church & Society
Greetings, AIDS Ambassadors!
2010 is upon us and the call to eradicate the spread of AIDS continues to fall on our ears and hearts. The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund (UMGAF) Committee met last week under the leadership of Dr. Donald Messer. We want to pass along several items for your work as Ambassadors.
Lighten the Burden AIDS Conference III — Mark on your calendar and plan to attend the third Lighten the Burden Conference Oct. 14-16: Please note this is a new date. Lighten the Burden will be held at the Radisson Central Hotel in Dallas. This conference is sponsored by UMGAF with the support of several United Methodist general agencies. Registration information will be forthcoming.
Dr. Musa Dube, internationally known theologian from Botswana, will lead the Bible study at Lighten the Burden. Other invited speakers include Bishop Minerva Carcaño, Dr. Jeffrey Crowley, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and Dr. Pauline Muchina, senior partnership advisor with UN AIDS.
Workshops for learning and networking will be featured.
Please promote this “save-the-date” notice widely in your local church and annual conference.
Questions? Contact Linda Bales Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 488-5649
United Methodist Global AIDS Fund is on Facebook! — Become a fan! Go to Global AIDS Fund on Facebook.
AIDS Toolkit — Hope each of you has accessed the newly released toolkit to be used in The United Methodist Church. To download, go to Toolkit. It’s filled with helpful tips and resources for our work to eradicate AIDS.
Proposed Uganda anti-homosexuality bill may impact AIDS prevention and treatment — Proposed Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill criminalizes homosexuality and expands the penal code to punish “aggravated homosexuality,” including activity by “serial offenders” or those who are HIV-positive. The Uganda bill also criminalizes the “promotion of homosexuality,” which includes providing funding to organizations that serve Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuial and Transgendered people.
This measure would “severely threaten HIV/AIDS prevention, services and treatment, making the work of groups seeking to prevent the spread of HIV nearly impossible.”
The General Board of Church & Society recently signed on to a letter to the U.S. Congress asking them to speak out against this legislation. To access information about this sign on letter, go to Uganda.
Please urge your U.S. Congress persons to support resolutions in the House (H.R. #1064) and the Senate (S. #409) condemning the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill and affirming the intrinsic dignity of all Ugandans regardless of sexual orientation. Call today! The Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.
You may want to read the United Methodist Social Principle on Equal Rights Regardless of Sexual Orientation.
Please Promote the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund — Each of you can play a major role in mobilizing funding for the UMC Global AIDS Fund. For those of you who are key contact persons in your annual conferences, please ask for time at your annual conference session to raise the issue of AIDS and a plea for funding. As you know, 25% of all monies raised within the annual conferences for the AIDS fund remains in your conference to support AIDS projects. The remaining 75% goes to Advance Special #982345 for projects outside the United States; 100% of all contributions go directly to the designated projects.
For your information, Central Texas Conference is using some of its funds to sponsor workshops on AIDS and its impact on African Americans. "AIDS is the leading cause of death for 25- to 40-year-old African-American women in the Fort Worth area," said Jerry Longwell, Central Texas AIDS coordinator, "and the second leading cause of death for men in that age group. We are partnering with the AIDS Outreach Center in Fort Worth for our workshops, and we believe we're helping.”
AIDS Speakers’ Bureau — Expert speakers are available to address the topic of AIDS within your church or conference. These speakers can offer fresh insights on a variety of topics, from women and AIDS, to thinking theologically and biblically about global health. Each speaker gives a unique perspective that will inform, inspire, and ultimately challenge your audience to get involved with the global AIDS fight.
Please e-mail Diane Degnan at email@example.com to request more information and availability of a speaker. Note that speakers give freely of their time and talents, although hosting organizations are asked to cover travel expenses.
Prayers for Encouragement — This is a resource available through Cokesbury designed to provide "hope for people living with HIV & AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other serious diseases." The booklets come in different languages and can be used in a variety of settings. For more information, Prayers for Encouragement.
Closing thought … "Success has more to do with what we are than what we have. It is measured more by how we serve than how we are served. It is determined more by what we enable others to be than what others enable us to achieve. Success has more to do with the power of love than it has to do with the love of power." — Bishop Kenneth Carder
Go forth, Ambassadors, in love! God bless you all.
Linda Bales Todd
firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 488-5649