Over the last few years Anglicans from around the world have begun to join together in new ways to address the needs of individuals living with HIV and AIDS and those who are ministering with them. In August of 2001, the first-ever All Africa Anglican Conference on HIV and AIDS was held in Johannesburg, South Africa to address how the Church could be more effective in combating the pandemic. Over 130 delegates from 34 countries attended the conference including church, business and government leaders. By the end of the four day meeting, church and secular leaders alike had dedicated themselves to a multipoint ‘planning framework’ for: ‘securing the human rights of those infected by HIV and AIDS, and giving unconditional support; improving the health and prolonging the lives of infected people; accompanying the dying, those who mourn and those who live on; celebrating life; nurturing community; and advocating for justice. The co-operation of many agencies and churches to address AIDS in Africa resulted in new relationships in service to God’s healing mission. Included at the Conference were representatives from every Anglican province in Africa as well as a variety of other Anglican churches and non-governmental agencies including: Christian Aid, UK, Episcopal Relief and Development from the United States, the Mothers’ Union, the Compass Rose Society, The United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, The Anglican Church of Canada, The United Nations Agency for International Development, Tear Fund, Africa Alive, and the World Bank.
The ambitious plans and early hopes of the All Africa Anglican Conference on HIV and AIDS have been owned and implemented in varying degrees across the Anglican churches in Africa and new relationships in mission continue to be forged in fighting the pandemic. Co-operation between many African Anglican churches and the Episcopal Church in the United States continues in life-affirming relationships in mission. Dr Douglas Huber, a specialist in women’s health and HIV and AIDS prevention who is Principal Medical Officer for the International NGO Management Sciences for Health, has been a special Volunteer for Mission from the Episcopal Church helping the CAPA AIDS Board to plan and implement its programmes. He is supported in his work for CAPA and other individual Anglican churches such as the Anglican churches in Uganda and Nigeria, by the Diocese of Massachusetts Jubilee Ministry. The Jubilee Ministry is an organisation of the Diocese of Massachusetts in the Episcopal Church that receives and disburses funds for development and relief related to HIV and AIDS, particularly in Africa, and also provides technical support to Church groups engaged in HIV and AIDS–related activities.
On September 26, 2003, a major conference was held by CAPA in Nairobi, in conjunction with the 13th International Conference for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) to evaluate and plan CAPA’s next steps in addressing the HIV and AIDS pandemic. In addition to CAPA’s leaders, present at the consultation were representatives of the Diocese of Massachusetts Jubilee Ministry, Episcopal Relief and Development, the United Thank Offering, Trinity Church Grants Program in New York, The Episcopal Church Centre in New York, the Diocese of Washington DC, the Anglican Communion Office, and a host of individuals from Communities Responding to the HIV and AIDS Epidemic Initiative, known by its acronym the CORE Initiative (a non-governmental organisation working with CAPA that is funded by the United States Agency for International Development, and working in partnership with CARE International, the World Council of Churches, the International Centre on Research on Women and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.) All of these individuals and agencies met to consider how, drawing on their own particular strengths, they could work together more effectively to advance African Anglican efforts to overcome HIV and AIDS. The ‘Conference Proceedings with Recommendations’ emphasised that: ‘Working together, CAPA and the Provinces of the Anglican Churches are demonstrating how the Church in partnership with donors, local and national authorities, and other faith groups, can presents new opportunities for communion in mission relationships.
Communion in Mission 2006
Vision, Our Hope: The First Step: All Africa Anglican AIDS Planning Framework,’ Anglican
Communion News Service #2601, 22 August, 2001