1 December 2012
WORLD AIDS DAY
Asian Theological Exploration and Reflection on HIV and AIDS
posted by communications on 4:53 PM
posted by communications on 10:51 AM
“Building HIV Competent Church”
CCA Member Churches and Councils Joined in Commemorating World AIDS Day on the theme “Getting to Zero”
CCA Member Churches and Councils Joined in Commemorating World AIDS Day on the theme “Getting to Zero” (Zero Discrimination, Zero New Infection and Zero AIDS-Related Deaths).
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) commemorated World AIDS Day on December 3, 2011 by launching the newly approved HIV Policy on “Creating Nurturing Communities of Care with People Living with HIV.” Many young people participated in the event. Young people of the Bohol Conference of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines will hold their Christian Youth Fellowship Christmas Koinonia in Bilar, Bohol on December 27-31, 2011 with HIV as one of the topic for their reflection and action, reported Rev. Judy B. Astudillo, one of the participants of the Building HIV Competent Churches held at the NCCP on September 14-16, 2011.
Mr. Jeirry Sumampow, Secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (CCI) AIDS Committee informed that CCI commemorated World AIDS Day at the GPIB Anugerah Jakarta (member of CCI and member of CCA) in the Sunday worship on December 4, 2011. It was attended by 435 congregation member church. In the worship, they used special liturgy for World AIDS Day, and there were also a concert of the Children Choir. After worship they had Seminar on “Getting to Zero: Churches’ Role and Responsibility”. The speaker were: Rev. Gomar Gultom (General Secretary of CCI), Dr. Abraham Simatupang (Medical doctor – member of CCI AIDS Committee), and Ms. Clara (Women living with HIV).
The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) launched the campaign on Light a Lamp – Pledge for Rights. It is aimed at spotlighting a range of “Getting to Zero” Initiative. The Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI and The Rev. R Christopher Rajkumar, Executive Secretary of the Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation wrote that the objectives of the campaign are “to draw the National Ecumenical Movement’s attention to the denial of the rights of people living with HIV and vulnerable populations; mobilize support for the protection of the rights of PLHIV and affected by HIV and AIDS in order for them to get access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and to combat stigma and discrimination and misrepresentation of sexuality which is a gift of God.” Churches are invited to observe the Light a Lamp – Pledge for Rights Campaign in a way they think appropriate during the season of advent.
Activities suggested on December 1 were to create a virtual lamp a light through the social networking sites as their pledge of commitment for the rights of PLHIV+, to organize a Red Ribbon Flag hoisting and ceremony in front of their buildings. In addition, NCCI member churches are invited to symbolically light their church building on December 27, distribute Red Ribbons and encourage members to share them with fellow worshippers, light a lamp as a symbol of pledge and commitment at the altar, invite a person living with HIV/AIDS, and offer special prayers and sermon focused on the theme, “Getting to Zero.”
Individuals and communities were invited to lamp a light at 7pm in their own homes to commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1st.
The Myanmar Council of Churches, Myanmar Interfaith Network on AIDS joined the activities of the seven networks of various Key Affected Populations for the candlelight ceremony on World AIDS Day on December 3. A continuation of the seminar on Building HIV Competent Churches was held in Yangon on December 7-8, 2011.
In Pattaya, participants of the Building HIV Competent Churches organized by the Christian Conference of Asia, The Glory Hut Foundation and Baan Jing Jia Foundation joined the rest of Pattaya AIDS Organization in marching on the streets of Pattaya that ended with a program at the Smart Student School in the evening of December 1, 2011.
The Church of Christ in Thailand AIDS Ministry celebrated World AIDS Day and CAM’s 20th anniversary at the new CCT building on December 9 with worship, exhibits, and lunch for all participants. Pastor Pornsawan Khankaew of Adonai Church in Pattaya, Elder Prasert Dechaboon, Jutatip Dechaboon and Dr. Alphinus Kambodji sang during the service. It was attended by the top leadership of The Church of Christ in Thailand. Small flaglets were given to participants who planted them in a big heart at the altar to commemorate the lives of those PLHIV+ who have returned to the Creator. Souvenirs were given to all participants.
The St. John’s Cathedral (Anglican) HIV Education Center commemorated World AIDS Day with the following activities:
The Manager was invited by The Hong Kong AIDS Foundation at their 20th anniversary charity dinner at the Inter-Continental Hong Kong on 30 November and was interviewed by Standard Newspaper on Monday, 28 November 2011 and interviewed by Health TV, a new TV channel focusing on health related issues in China and Hong Kong SAR on November 30. A radio broadcast on World AIDS Day was aired. Oncert organized by the Red Ribbon Centre at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Plaza C, TST.
This October 2011 two countries held the seminar on Building HIV Competent Churches: Dhaka, Bangladesh facilitated by the National Council of Churches in Bangladesh, October 13-16 and in Siem Reap, Cambodia facilitated by the Kampuchean Christian Council, October 26-30.
In Cambodia, there was an active participation of interfaith communities in Cambodia and in Asia. The Salvation Centre Cambodia (SCC) provided the exposure visit to the work on HIV and AIDS. SCC is funded by EED and works through the network of Buddhist monks and nuns in the communities of Siem Reap, Battambang and Phnom Penh. The Cambodian HIV/AIDS Education and Care and the National AIDS Authority provided information on HIV and AIDS and the situation on the ground. The three organizations committed to support KCC’s education program among KCC member churches. Thirty pastors and lay people from different churches of KCC participated in the seminar. The different interfaith organizations in five countries of Asia (Thailand, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Korea) and the INERELA+ members gave reports on their activities. Two pastors (one woman and one man) living with HIV gave their testimonies and led in the Sunday prayers. Rev. Paddy Noble, a Maori theologian based in Phnom Penh gave the Biblico-Theological reflection focusing on the stories of Centurion and the Syro-Phoenician woman. The Bible reflection is a helpful guide in dealing with difficult issues of key affected population and in reflecting on the healing ministry and how Jesus Christ responded to the sick.
In Dhaka, Rev. Dr. Wati Longchar provided the Biblico-Theological Reflection on deconstructing our understanding of God from one strong and mighty to a loving and compassionate God who journeys with people in their suffering. Ms. Keiko Butterworth who participated in the Yangon meeting provided an example of the work of the Catholic Churches in Myanmar in Building HIV Competent Churches. She used the methodology of role play in understanding the responses of people to HIV and AIDS. Dr. Martin Chowdhury provided information on HIV and AIDS. Thirty participants, mostly men attended the meeting in Dhaka. Rev. David Das organized the seminar in Dhaka.
Dr. Erlinda Senturias
CCA HIV and AIDS Consultant
CCA and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) held the second seminar on Building HIV Competent Churches in Asia at the Bishop La Verne D. Mercado Ecumenical Center on 14-16 September 2011. The seminar was participated by 28 people from different member churches of NCCP: Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, United Methodist Church, Lutheran Church of the Philippines, Iglesia Unida Ekyumenikal, and the Episcopal Church of the Philippines. The Metropolitan Community Church sent two representatives. Other organizations present were: Batis Aware, a service organization of women Migrant Workers, the Youth and the Board of Women’s Work of the United Methodist Church, the Women and Gender Commission of the Association of the Major Religious Superior of the Philippines, and Southern Christian College of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
Rev. Fr. Rex R. Reyes, General Secretary of NCC Philippines and a member of the Presidium of the CCA delivered the first Biblico-Theological Reflection during the worship service. He began his reflection with the inspiring story of Pastor Ponsawan Khankaew who gave her testimony in the last worship during the CCA Executive Committee meeting on September 10, 2011.
He shared this reflection on the life of Pastor Ponsawan:
It was a powerful and moving testimony. Moving because it was a first person story – her life story. She told of her blindness and how one eye eventually gained sight. She talked of her isolation from her friends, from the hospital and above all her isolation from her own pastor and the members of her community. She was dismissed as a hopeless case, a sinner and her community talked about rituals and customs related to her impending death. She also told of how her love for her two sons and the apparent love of her sons for her carried her through the painful ordeal. It was powerful because her testimony is a challenge to the church and Christians about our notions of sin, mission and pastoral responsibility. There she was – well recovered singing of her faith in a Jesus who stood by her and healed her. There she was – opening up a ministry for people suffering the suffering she underwent by putting up the Adonai Church in Pattaya and the Glory Hut Foundation out of nothing but her indomitable spirit to minister to people isolated by others. There she was – receiving, without resentment, referrals from pastors who still think they have nothing to do with people living with HIV and AIDS. May she live much longer than the fifteen years she prayed for. There she was – singing of the victory that was hers in Jesus Christ and the joy of watching her two boys grow up in a hostile world. There is no other profound and genuine witness to the love of Jesus and His command to love than the testimony of our own lives.
This story was a fitting start of a seminar to build HIV Competent Church. In a rapid appraisal using the bench mark assessment tool for HIV Competent Church conducted by Dr. Erlinda N. Senturias, only the Metropolitan Community Church, a church of gay people in the Philippines showed elements of HIV Competency. Building HIV Competency among churches is an important step in a society where the HIV epidemic is characterized as low, slow but rising trend of infection by 25% between 2001-2009, as reported by UNAIDS in 2010.
More information on HIV and AIDS were given by Ms. Teresita “Bai” Bagasao, UNAIDS Country Coordinator. There are 7 new infections of HIV everyday and to date there are almost 8000 people with HIV. Pinoy Plus, an organization of people living with HIV+ (PLHIV) shared their experience of stigma and discrimination and isolation. They are advocating for greater access to services and making the government keep their promise. The good news of their advocacy is that PhilHealth, a government health insurance scheme has made a commitment to include PLHIV in a package that will pay for their medication and laboratory examinations beginning next year.
Two more interactive Biblico-theological Reflections were given by Lizette Tapia- Raquel, Cristy Framer Mella, Revelation Velunta and Glorilyn Ostoy, all professors of Union Theological Seminary, and by Darlene Marquez-Caramanzana, NCCP Program Secretary of Ecumenical Education and Nurture. Dr. Senturias gave an input on Building HIV Competent Churches and the Ecumenical and Interfaith challenges in creating safe spaces for HIV and Human Sexuality.
Participants shared that most of their churches do not deal with HIV and AIDS and appreciated the need to build their inner and outer competency and shared some insights on a policy on HIV and AIDS that church leader can act on. They also developed an action plan for the next steps. (with reports from Erlinda Senturias)
Good morning everyone, my name is Jutatip Dechaboon and you can call me ‘Ann’ for short. Thank you the organizer of this workshop for giving me a chance to share my personal experience with the Church of Christ in Thailand, AIDS Ministry as you may know in the short name ‘CAM’.
In 2002, I knew my HIV positive status at the same time when I got to know ‘CAM’. I had been involved in ‘Saraphi Flower group’ which is a network of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) at the district level in Chiangmai province.
Since my background was in computer graphic designing, I could use my skills in helping the network in their activities. I started with the 1st Mini-marathon for World AIDS Day in 2002; it was my first involvement in this network and partners including CAM.
At the same time, I also worked with the New Life Friend Centre, a centre which provided care and treatment services to PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV. Through working with them, I heard many people talking about Ajaarn Sanan or Rev. Sanan Wutti from CAM. They said that Rev. Sanan is a very good man, very kind, very supportive and someone who had dedicated his life to help People Living with HIV.
As I was living in the old faith at that time, I never heard about Christianity or Jesus. So I felt it unbelievable that there was a man who could do everything for others even dedicating his personal life. I heard he would woke up during bed time when he got a phone-call and would run out to see people who were very sick and needed emergency help even though those people were not his relatives. So I thought what I heard was a half-truth and I didn’t believe there will be any person willing to do many things for others unconditionally in this world.
Years after, I had a chance to re-marry with someone who was born in a Christian family. And this factor allowed me to hear more about Christianity and the love of Jesus. However, I still couldn’t understand what God is and how His love is; and I still believed in myself.
During that period, I also attended church activities and worship with my new family. I still remember the first time I went to church; I was so impressed after seeing old ladies aged between 60-70, singing Christian songs so clearly and loudly.
During 2 years attending church, the ordinary words from sermons and lyrics of Christian life songs had touched my deep heart amazingly. Words from the Bible had changed my thoughts, my feelings and had healed my soul. I realized that what I thought about people always hurting me was not true, but it was me who allowed others to hurt me because of my own weaknesses.
Then I realized what I thought about Rev. Sanun and people from CAM, was wrong. I could see their love, their sincerity through their clear actions. And it inspired me to open my mind and my heart to the Christian faith. I decided to be baptized on November 14, 2004 by Rev. Sanan Wutti.
(Show photos and explain)
From that day till now, my spirit had been continually edified by observing Christian people around me. I observe and learn from them how to walk into this faith.
Especially, from Rev. Sanan, brothers and sisters from CAM, they definitely show me how Jesus’ love is. I can see it from their works in the local community, the way they treat People Living with HIV, not as pathetic people but like their own relatives.
What Rev. Sanan and people of CAM have done is not only their work, but truly their serving.
Thank you very much.
Statement from Interfaith Forum to the 9th ICAAP
Bali – August 7th- 9th, 2009
“Working together to empower people”
We, 160 men and women of faith, from 20 countries, with various roles and responsibilities in religious communities and organizations from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Shinto, met in Bali on the 7th- 9th August, 2009, to strengthen Faith-Based responses in meeting the challenges of HIV in Asia and the Pacific.
We are committed to united and coherent action among our varied faith communities to face up to HIV and AIDS in our region.
People living with HIV have reminded us during our meeting that our communities still need to know more about HIV and we are committed to delivering the necessary information and overcome indifference associated with ignorance and existing attitudes, which contribute to stigma and discrimination. We will continue to build our religious capacities to speak personally and in public about HIV without judgment and without increasing stigma.
We are committed to building on the provision of care and support and information and raising awareness in our communities. However we realize that this is not enough. It is not enough to equip people with information without making it possible for them to use the information to protect themselves and their communities. It is not enough to provide care, support and treatment for a select group of people without struggling for access to treatment for the many who are currently unsupported.
We asked ourselves:
- How can we de-construct our cultures for the well-being of all?
- How can we re-form our laws and public policy?
- How can we interpret our religious teachings, which are clear about the unity of humanity and our inter-dependence and responsibility to each other so that we overcome destructive attitudes about ‘them and us’.
In response to these questions:
- We held sustained discussions about human rights and injustice and violence related to gender throughout our meeting.
- We discussed the devastating impact of the criminalization of drug use, and lack of quality services for male and female drug users. We will join in and advocate for the review of laws, cultures, policies and regulations that facilitate the transmission of HIV, and exclude people who are living with HIV from the workplace and from access to health care.
- We are confident we can change ourselves. We will listen to people from all walks of life and we will read and apply our sacred texts for the empowerment of communities. We are determined that our beliefs about overcoming stigma and discrimination will be reflected in our lives as individuals and as communities of faith.
We also began a regional discussion about HIV and tourism.
The value of sharing wisdom within this international, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious network is clear to us. We will strive to include more people in our networking, both within our own national borders and throughout our regional context.
 This conference was co-organized by AINA (Asian Interfaith Network on AIDS in Asia), Indonesian Interfaith Network on HIV/AIDS (INTERNA) and the Local Organizing Committee of ICAAP, in partnership with broad coalition of national, regional and international organizations.