NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee has announced plans to host a series of educational webinars that will be made available at facebook.com/UMCglobalaidsfund and archived on their website. The webinar series will be held during the following months: October 2020, November 2020, February 2021, April 2021 and June 2021.
These webinars will serve to educate, support and advocate for those affected by HIV/AIDS. The webinars will be free, no registration required and will be archived for later viewing.
The Rev. Don Messer, moderator of the first panel and a member of the Global AIDS Committee, says: “Humanity faces an unprecedented threat from three simultaneous pandemics: HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, and racism. As forums of education and advocacy, these webinars will call Christians to join in God’s healing mission and ministry in the world. Suffering, hunger, and poverty increase globally as COVID-19 reveals racial disparities in health and medical services. UNAIDS estimates an additional half million people will die in sub-Saharan Africa in the next year because of the confluence of these three pandemics. Not just Zoom calls, these are calls to action.”
The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee – established by the 2004 General Conference of The United Methodist Church – has sought to strengthen the church’s compassionate response to those affected with HIV/AIDs by helping to stem the tide of the pandemic through education and advocacy.
Details of the webinar series are below:
- October 1, 2020, 1:00 p.m. CT – COVID-19 and HIV & AIDS
Theme: Explore how COVID-19 is impacting the global effort to reduce HIV infections and AIDS deaths. People locked down globally results in people with HIV not getting treatment, preventive medication or testing. People lack food, causing hunger & causing people to stop medications. UNAIDS has estimated that in sub-Sahara Africa an additional 500,000 people could die from AIDS in 2020-21.
- December 1, 2020, 1:00 p.m. CT: World AIDS Day Worship Service
Theme: World AIDS Day Service on Tuesday, December 1, will be available for anyone to access. This is sponsored by the Global AIDS Committee and its member agencies and the Center for Health and Hope.
- February 1, 2021, 1:00 p.m. CT – Racial Disparities, HIV & AIDS
Theme: The “Dismantling Racism: Pressing on to Freedom” initiative is a multi-level effort throughout The United Methodist Church to initiate a sustained and coordinated effort to dismantle racism and promote collective action to work toward racial justice. Racial disparities are abundantly evident regarding HIV and AIDS and health care, HIV education, housing and populations most impacted by AIDS in the United States.
- April 1, 2021, 1:00 p.m. CT – PrEP, HIV & AIDS
Theme: Church leaders generally have been silent, or negative, about promoting PrEP (pre exposure prophylaxis) in combatting HIV. This forum will provide details about the medication globally, as well as a theological basis for Christians to encourage its usage.
- June 1, 2021, 1:00 p.m. CT – Organizing HIV & AIDS Retreats/Camps
Theme: Panelists will share their experiences organizing and attending retreats for people living with HIV or AIDS and their caregivers. These events can bring spiritual, emotional, social and psychological support to those living with the virus, as well as joy and affirmation.
About the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee
The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee (UMGAC) provides resources and training to annual conferences and local churches, engaging them in HIV and AIDS education and advocacy. This work reduces stigma and provides greater opportunity for welcoming all people into the church. The committee, chaired by Bishop Julius Trimble, is comprised of members from the Council of Bishops, Division on Ministries with Young People, General Board of Church and Society, General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Communications and United Methodist Women.
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