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UCAN Stop AIDS eNews-April 2009



United Church of Christ HIV and AIDS Network


Come to General Synod 27 in Grand Rapids, MI

General Synod, the national gathering of the UCC, is in many ways a family reunion where the United Church of Christ gathers to worship, engage in service, do the business of the Church, learn, listen and grow.

This summer, General Synod 27 will be held in Grand Rapids, MI from June 26 – 30, 2009. This Synod will feature many events of interest to those seeking to raise awareness and stop the spread of HIV, including:

  • Church Positive Space (Part of the Wider Church Ministries Exhibit, Exhibit Hall)
    UCAN will be providing a safe space for people infected and affected (everyone!) by HIV and AIDS to gather during General Synod, in order to relax, network, and provide one another with support.  Look for the Church Positive Space in the Wider Church Ministries display area!
  • "Will All Those Affected by HIV Please Stand Up?" (River City Saturday Workshop, June 27)
    This workshop, part of the River City Saturday activities, will focus on how we are all affected by HIV and therefore how we are all called to respond to the pandemic. Come learn more!
  • "An Ounce of Prevention" Health Luncheon (Monday, June 29)
    From theology to policy, from HIV to diabetes, during this luncheon we will look at the state of health, address gaps and barriers in health services, lift-up collaborations that work, and identify planning and implementation strategies that make a difference. This lunch will also feature a keynote address by Dr. Carolyn P. Parks-Bani, CDC Research Fellow for HIV Prevention in Communities of Color. 
  • Health Fair (Monday, June 29)
    With the help of local health care providers, the Health and Wholeness Advocacy office will host a health fair on Monday June 29th at General Synod.  Come find out more about the status of your own personal health!

Growing Bold: Coalition National Gathering

From June 22-25, the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns will hold its National Gathering in Grand Rapids, MI. This event will include a celebration of the Open and Affirming Program, an exploration of what ONA can be in its fullest expression, worship, fellowship, celebration and engagement. Our time together will include a plenary session specifically focused on HIV prevention, a keynote address from Hector Lopez, retired Conference Minister for the Central Pacific Conference, and more!

For more information and to register, please visit:  http://www.ucccoalition.org/news/ripples/go/growing_bold_registration_is_now_open/

Making Condoms Available

Highlighting the need for churches to be places of spiritual and physical wellness, UCAN recently issued a statement encouraging condom distribution at places of worship and faith-based educational settings.

The release of this statement came on the heels of a renewed focus on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Pope Benedict XVI, in particular, recently spoke in Cameroon, Africa, saying that condoms were not effective at preventing the spread of HIV. "You can't resolve [AIDS] with the distribution of condoms," he said aboard his plane Tuesday. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."

UCAN's message, according to executive director, Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, is that "the availability of condoms as part of a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention sends the right message and more importantly, it saves lives," he said. "The message UCAN is sending is rooted in the belief that loving carefully is a moral responsibility. The practice of safer sex behavior is a matter of life and death. People of faith make condoms available because we have chosen life so that we and our children may live."

To read more about this recent discussion and actions: http://community.ucc.org/Mike/blog

Founding Gift Appeal

UCAN is providing significant leadership and programs toward living into a world without AIDS. The relationships we have built and the partnerships we are fostering are key to that future. Now we need your help, your partnership, to realize them. Join in keeping the promise to stop AIDS by making a financial gift to UCAN today!

A gift in any amount will make a difference, but gifts of $600 or more, given from December 1, 2008 through December 1, 2009, will be a Founding Gift.  A plaque will be created for display at the UCAN office to acknowledge those who give at the Founding Gift level.

We thank you for your time and consideration in making a gift to UCAN.  We look forward to your partnership as we offer compassion and hope, and together create a world free of HIV and AIDS.

Donate online or send checks to: UCAN, Inc., 700 Prospect Ave E, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100

Our Whole Lives Facilitator Trainings

Comprehensive sexuality education is a very important part of HIV prevention. Developing a healthy attitude about sexual relationships allows individuals to make responsible choices and feel good about themselves and their bodies. Our Whole Lives, the UCC's comprehensive sexuality education curriculum, is an excellent program to use when teaching any age group about sexuality.

There are several opportunities coming up to be trained to facilitate this educational program in your local setting.  The only cure we currently have for HIV is prevention and Our Whole Lives ought be an important part of that cure.

To find out when and where trainings are taking place, to contact trainers or to register: www.ucc.org/justice/sexuality-education/training-schedule.html

Published by UCAN, Inc, the United Church of Christ HIV and AIDS Network
700 Prospect Avenue E, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100; Ph. 216-736-3217; Fax 216-736-3203