New AIDS Resource for United Methodist Churches
November 3, 2009 – “Working Toward an AIDS-Free World: An Educational Kit for United Methodist Churches,” is a new online resource developed by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund team, that includes resources and information to educate congregations and communities about HIV/AIDS. The Educational Kit equips United Methodist churches with specific AIDS-related information that will strengthen their existing AIDS ministries, and provide a tangible response to the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Since 2005, The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund has supported 155 AIDS-related projects in 33 countries including Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa—informing and assisting at-risk communities about a disease that has killed 25 million people worldwide.
Through practical and easy-to-use information, the Educational Kit gives churches access to resources that address existing fears, stigma and myths associated with HIV/AIDS, as well as help churches see the AIDS pandemic on a jurisdictional level.
“For years, the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund has educated communities on a grass roots level about HIV prevention,” said Donald E. Messer, chair of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund. “Now churches will be privy to useful materials that will bring lifesaving and life changing messages of hope to those affected by HIV/AIDS in their communities.”
An informal survey of United Methodist churches nationwide, conducted by UMCOR Health identified the need for more educational AIDS material for congregations with existing AIDS ministries.
Working Toward an AIDS-Free World Educational Kit provides materials such as Myths and Facts About HIV/AIDS, Testing and Treatment, HIV 101, Biblical Foundation, Sample Sermons, Transmission and Progression of the HIV virus, an HIV/AIDS Speakers Bureau, AIDS Resources, and much more. A Power Point presentation illustrates how specific individuals have been touched and reached through United Methodist Global AIDS Fund-supported ministries. The presentation shows how individuals and communities are learning to live positively with the HIV virus, free from fear, rejection and stigma.
Stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS often stems from lack of knowledge about how HIV is transmitted. It is not something that is easily measured or quantified, but is universally felt. Education can overcome stigma. The Educational Kit provides an overview on AIDS-related stigma and provides sample role play exercises for congregations and small study groups to use.
The exercises highlight different case scenarios such as rejection by family members or communities, and finding out that a loved one is HIV positive. These exercises give participants an opportunity to think critically about how attitudes, values, and beliefs relate to HIV/AIDS issues.
Become a part of the solution for an AIDS-free world by observing World AIDS Day, Dec. 1 and using and sharing Working Toward an AIDS-Free World: An Educational Kit for United Methodist Churches.
You can also view and share Hope for An AIDS-Free World, a new photo slide show of United Methodist Global AIDS Fund projects around the world.