Whereas, the Global Health Initiative is one of four major focus area of The United Methodist Church which aims to combat diseases of poverty around the world; and
Whereas, HIV and AIDS is one of the three primary poverty-related diseases in our world and the one that takes more lives each year than any other infectious disease;
Whereas, 35 million people now live with HIV and AIDS and more than 15 million children have been orphaned because of HIV and AIDS; and
Whereas, The United Methodist Church in 2004 established the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund as an UMCOR Advance Special (#982345) to mobilize resources to support church-oriented and Christ-centered HIV and AIDS ministries around the world through its unique connectional system; and
Whereas, the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund (UMGAF) has supported more than 200 projects in 38 countries that have cared for AIDS orphans, educated and empowered young people to prevent new infections, and helped alleviate the suffering of those living with HIV and AIDS; and
Whereas, the UMGAF has launched the “Just Save One” initiative which is an effort to eradicate the transmission of HIV from Mother-to-Child; and
Whereas, in order to continue this important work, annual conferences and local churches must educate their congregations about the UMGAF, invite individual United Methodists to support the fund and explore ways each person can “Just Save One”.
Resolved, that the Western North Carolina Annual Conference will:
- Capitalize on the secular observance of World AIDS Day as a means of highlighting the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund in December 2015;
- Join other annual conferences in using the theme “Just Save One” to emphasize how individuals can make a difference through education on how we can prevent the spread of HIV and how to care for those living with HIV & AIDS.
- Encourage United Methodists throughout the conference to contribute to the UMGAF (Advance #982345) in December 2015.
- Urge local congregations to take a special collection on December 6, 2015 or another Sunday of their choosing to support the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund and send those funds to the conference treasurer, 25% of which will be available to the conference for domestic HIV and AIDS projects;
- Remind our congregations of the biblical mandate to “care for the widow and the orphan” and how Jesus “went about all the cities and villages … curing every disease and every sickness” (Matthew 9:35) and instructing his disciples also “to cure every disease and every sickness” (Matthew 10:1) without condition or qualification;
- Authorize the Justice and Reconciliation Team to provide materials, flyers, and bulletins promoting “Just Save One” and educating members of the annual conference about ways that stigma and discrimination against persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS can perpetuate personal and social injustice and hinder HIV and AIDS prevention and care efforts;
- Further authorize the Justice and Reconciliation Team to determine how the 25% of funds raised for UMGAF that stay in the conference should be used to advance HIV and AIDS prevention and care locally; and
- Invite Bishop Goodpaster to distribute a pastoral letter describing the church’s response to the global HIV and AIDS epidemic.
Submitted by: Rev. Sarah Kalish, Pastor, Cokesbury (Charlotte); and the WNCC Justice and Reconciliation Team