Marriott Marquis, Washington, DC
#uscafaith | #usca2019 | #aidsfaith
Thanks to everyone who made the 2019 USCA Faith Pre-Conference a success!
Jesse Milan, Jr., President and CEO of AIDS United, was part of a great line-up of leaders who presented at the 2019 USCA Faith Pre-Conference. The focus of the conference was the role of faith in attaining and fast-tracking the goals for 2020 and ending the epidemic as a public health threat globally by 2030. The conference included a variety of faith leaders, panels discussions, examples of work being done in the faith community. Participants heard from presenters, engaged in discussions and networked with colleagues working in and with faith communities in the HIV response.
8.30am Registration/Check-in with Breakfast breads and Coffee/Tea Service
9.00am Morning Sessions:
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, Chair, USCA Faith Coalition and
Executive Director, United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network, Cleveland, OH
Centering Reflection: Rev. Edwin C. Sanders, II
Dr. Ulysses Burley III, UBtheCure, Chicago, IL
Stigma Index Report
Dr. Vanessa Johnson, Ribbon Consulting Group, Washington DC
Panel: My Lived Experience
Moderator: Cary Goodman, Balm in Gilead, Richmond, VA
Guided Small Groups and Lunch (provided)
1:00pm Afternoon Sessions:
Presentation: Faith on the Fast Track: HIV Campaign
Francesca Merico, Campaign Coordinator, WCC Ecumencal Advocacy Alliance, Geneva, Switzerland
Presentation: Framework for Dialogue, A tool for dialogue and joint action
Arthur Butler, National Coordinator, United Church of Christ, Cleveland OH
2:30pm Keynote and discussion
Jesse Milan, Jr., JD
President and CEO, AIDS Untied, Washington, DC
3:30pm Panel: A Faith’s Response to HIV In Efforts to End the Epidemic
Moderator: Rev. Edwin C. Sanders II
Senior Servant, Metropolitan Interdenominational Church, Nashville, TN
Closing remarks: Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer
About the USCA Faith Pre-Conference
People of faith, faith leaders, people living with HIV and people working in the HIV and AIDS response gather for a one-day faith pre-conference in advance of the U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) to discuss and develop strategies to strengthen the capacity of houses of worship and faith-based organizations who are engaged, or wish to engage, in efforts to end the HIV epidemic.
Hyatt Regency, Orlando, Florida
#uscafaith2018 | #usca2018 | #aidsfaith2018
(coffee/tea and light refreshments will be served)
9.00am Session 1 - Opening Plenary
Moderator: Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network
- Welcome, Introductions and Acknowledgments
- Moderator’s Opening Remarks
- Centering Rituals Various Faith Leaders
- State of the Epidemic and the Faith Response Ulysses Burley, III & Wakefield
10.45am Session 2
Moderator: Cary Goodman, Balm In Gilead
Report from AIDS 2018, Megan Neubauer, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Panel Discussion: Engaging with lived experiences from the communities we serve
- Nick Calvin, Peer Health Navigator, Nashville Cares
- Dr. Joyce Turner Keller, Founder Aspirations
- Rev. Michael Crumpler, LGBTQ and Intercultural Programs Manager, Unitarian Universalist Association
12Noon Buffet Lunch with Facilitated Table Discussions
1.30 pm Session 3: Engaging the Role Faith Based Organizations in Ending the Epidemic
Introductions, Dr. Marjorie Innocent, Senior Director of Health Programs, NAACP
The Black Church & HIV: The Social Justice Imperative, Dr. Marjorie Innocent
Panel Discussion: Role of Faith-Based Organizations in Ending the Epidemic
Moderator: Bishop O.C. Allen – Presiding Bishop and founder of the United Progressive Pentecostal Fellowship of Church, Founder, The Vision Church of Atlanta
- John Faison – Senior Pastor of Watson Grove Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee
- Dazon Dixon – Founder and CEO, SisterLove, Inc.
Q&A: Advancing HIV as a Social Justice Imperative, Moderator: Bishop O.C. Allen
Small Group Discussion: Next Steps to Take Action
Report Back, Next Steps
Session’s Concluding Remarks, Dr. Marjorie Innocent
3.45 pm Break
4.00 pm Session 4: Taking action together, Moderator: Rev. Edwin Sanders
Keynote: Dr. Reuben C. Warren
Professor and Director, National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, Tuskegee University
Discussion: Where do we go from here to end the epidemic?
5.00 pm Closing
- Acknowledgements, Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer
- Sending Blessings, Various Faith Leaders
December 1, 2017
written by Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive Director
As a child I remember watching cartoons that depicted the race between the tortoise and the hare. There is a simple but key value lesson that I think applies to where we are in the HIV and AIDS epidemic. It speaks to the challenge of meeting the global goal of ending the HIV epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. We've got to finish the race to be successful.
As the story goes, the speedy rabbit jumps out to a seemingly insurmountable lead, but then gets side tracked and slacks-off, while the tortoise maintains its steady pace, winning the race before the rabbit realizes what’s happened. Think of the tortoise as the epidemic. It isn’t a perfect metaphor, but in terms of where we are in the epidemic, the HIV epidemic has been lumbering along. It has been slowed or even reduced in some places and among some groups, but it has picked up in other areas and among other groups, particularly among some key populations. HIV has not gone away, people are still developing AIDS and dying from HIV related diseases.
Think of the HIV response as the rabbit. Again, it isn’t a perfect metaphor, but the response to HIV has also been chugging along with some really amazing progress especially in the past few years. For some time we’ve known how to prevent the transmission of HIV behaviorally, but now we know how to stop the transmission of HIV medically. For those who have HIV, we can treat them and get their HIV to undetectable levels. We now know that people living with HIV who are on treatment and whose HIV is undetectable do not transmit the virus, i.e., U=U, Undetectable equals Un-transmittable. We also know that for those who don’t have HIV but are at risk, there is treatment to prevent them from contracting HIV. These medical developments have been game changers in the course of the epidemic.
The global HIV community has called the world to task with a “Fast Track” agenda. We need to continue to be the rabbit in our HIV response. Countries throughout the world, including the U.S., must front load our investments in the HIV response for us to be successful in ending the epidemic. We’ve got to pick up the pace for:
- Scaling up for HIV testing and convince everyone to know their status.
- Linking people living with HIV to care and treatment, help them stay on treatment so that their HIV levels become undetectable, and maintain the treatment to keep them undetectable.
The UNAIDS strategy is to reach the 95-95-95 targets by 2030. That means that 95% of the people living with HIV in the world will know their HIV status, and 95% of the people who know they are HIV positive will be on effective HIV treatment, and that the virus of 95% of those who are on treatment will be undetectable. Reaching those targets will save millions of lives and while there will still be work to do, it will reverse the worst health crisis the world has ever faced.
This will not be easy and it won’t happen if we don’t overcome a key and particularly pernicious obstacle of stigma that continues to slow the response to HIV, threatening to reverse the progress we made. Eliminating stigma is vital to stopping the spread of HIV and ending HIV-related deaths. The consequences of stigma are wide-ranging and may be experienced because of a person's real or perceived HIV status. Some people are shunned by family, peers and the wider community. Stigma can lead to poor treatment when receiving services such as healthcare or education, or create problems in acquiring or keeping employment. Stigma undergirds negative profiling and stereotyping that fosters discrimination, increases fear and insecurity, and perpetuates silence about HIV. At its worst, stigma creates unsafe environments leading to violence and sometimes death. It violates human dignity, erodes respect for human rights, and may result in psychological damage.
One of the most significant ways faith communities can respond to the HIV epidemic is by addressing stigma. The United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network is working to do just that by leading a multi-faith effort called the Framework for Dialogue. The Framework for Dialogue brings together religious leaders, people living with HIV and a variety of experts in HIV for a dialogue designed to lead to joint actions to reduce and eliminate HIV-related stigma. The process creates safe space for engaging a dialogue about evidence on HIV-related stigma and facilitates the development of innovative initiatives that participants commit to work on together. Plans are underway to implement dialogues in the Detroit metro area, Louisiana and New Jersey.
In the story of the tortoise and the hare, the tortoise never should have won the race, but did because the hare became complacent. We simply can’t let that happen with the HIV epidemic. We’ve got to finish the race strong and to do so, we’ve got to “Fast Track” our efforts now. We must face the reality that AIDS isn’t over and know that if we work together, it could be.
Local Church Endorsements
- United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network – Cleveland, OH
- Bethel United Church of Christ – Kansas City, MO,
- First Congregational Church of Palo Alto UCC – Palo Alto, CA
- St. Paul United Church of Christ of Corpus Christi – Corpis, Christi, Texas
- First Central Congregational Church – Omaha, NE
- Catherine's Retreat House – Sheep Ranch, CA
- Robbinsdale United Church of Christ – Minneapolis, MN
- UCC Petaluma - Petaluma, CA
- Pilgrim United Church of Christ – Carlsbad, CA
- MCC United Church of Christ – Los Angeles, CA
- Encanto Community Church UCC – Phoenix, CA
- God Can Ministries UCC – University Park, IL
- Holy Trinity Community Church United Church of Christ – Memphis, TN
Much progress has been made since we first learned about HIV more than 35 years ago and we have made it through some very difficult times. We remember with thanksgiving those we have lost to this disease and for those who grieve, we pray God’s peace and comfort. Although medical advances have made it possible to prevent HIV from attacking the immune system, saving millions of lives, we recognize that we have not sufficiently scaled-up our responses to meet the need for prevention, treatment, care and support for all those living with and affected by HIV.
There has never been a more important time to be engaged in HIV response and as people of faith and faith communities we recognize that we have a great opportunity to provide critical leadership to end the HIV & AIDS epidemic. The United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network calls local churches, clergy and other faith leaders are join this call to action and declare your commitment to fast-track your responses to help end the HIV epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.
Help us reach our goal - 1,000 Local Church endorsements by World AIDS Day 2018 (December 1)
CALL TO ACTION
Issued - December 1, 2016
We commit to:
- Step-up new and renewed efforts, acting on opportunities to integrate HIV response throughout our ministries.
- Develop and deepen our understandings of stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with and affected by HIV in our community and will work collaboratively on joint actions aimed to reduce and eliminate it.
- Provide pastoral care, accompaniment and support to persons in our church and community living with or affected by HIV;
- Provide information and opportunities for everyone in our church and community to learn about HIV, the modes of transmission, how to prevent infection and what the epidemic looks like in our community, nation and world;
- Offer opportunities for everyone in our church and community to know their HIV status through voluntary counseling and testing;
- Advocate for public health policies that make quality health care available, affordable and accessible to every person, provide adequate funding to ramp-up and strengthen programs for prevention, testing, treatment, care and support, and help to reduce and eliminate stigma and discrimination, including the decriminalization of HIV.
The Faith Factor
Getting to Zero Discrimination and Disparities
2016 Faith Pre-Conference
U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA)
September 14, The Diplomat Resort & Spa
9.00 am Session 1: The Faith Factor
- Centering Meditation and Theme Presentation: Rev. Edwin Sanders, II
- Keynote – Dr. Iva Carruthers
10.20am Break with Coffee/Tea Service
10.40am Session 2 – Panel: Getting to Zero Discrimination
- Moderator – Michael Schuenemeyer
- Stigma Index – Vanessa Johnson [PowerPoint Presentation]
- Stories from Community Members
- Marvin Shaw
- Ederick Johnson
12 Noon Sponsored Lunch w/program - HIV Prevention Science 2.0
- Moderator: Wakefield
- Presenter: Dr. Ulysses Burley [Power Point Presentation]
1.15 pm Break
1.30 pm Session 3: Getting to Zero Disparities
- Disparities in Health and Addressing the social determinants - Edwin Sanders
- Disparities in Sexuality Education - Mike Schuenemeyer [PowerPoint Presentation]
- What are the key 2-3 strategies for local response?
- Where are opportunities for collaboration?
- What infrastructure is needed to support this?
3.15 pm Break with Coffee/Tea Service, Light Refreshments
3.30 pm Session 4 – Afternoon Plenary: Where do we go from here? Getting to Zero Together
- Moderator: Wakefield
- Small Group Reports
- Response from Panel
- Ulysses Burley
- Marjorie Innocent
- Mike Schuenemeyer
- Report from the Rapporteurs
- Anthony Sullivan
- Cary Goodman
- Closing Ritual, Prayer or Meditation - Megan Neubauer
4:30 pm End Program
UCC Health and Human Service (HHS) Sunday is January, 27, 2019.
(Or whichever Sunday works most appropriately for your congregation.)
In partnership with the Council for Health and Human Services (CHHSM), we are pleased to provide worship resources to use for your congregation’s celebration of Health and Human Service Sunday.The resources for Health and Human Service Sunday 2019 are in development, but you can check out the 2018 resources HERE.
- Resources from previous years are available HERE.
Council for Health and Human Service Ministries
(CHHSM) is a non-profit association of more than 350 UCC-related ministries and programs engaged in primary and acute health care; services to persons with disabilities; children, youth and families; and the aging (continuing care and retirement housing). CHHSM offers a variety of services and products to enhance the ministries of its members and their relationships within the UCC.
Disabilities and Mental Health Justice
Our faith teaches us that all people are created in the image of God. We are called to embody a philosophy of inclusion and interdependence and work together to remove or overcome barriers to welcoming and including all people in the work and witness of the United Church of Christ and in the wider world.
UCC Disabilities Ministries
UCC Disabilities Ministries is an affiliated organization of the UCC which supports people with all kinds of disabilities, for full participation and inclusion in Christ's Church. UCCDM calls upon the whole church to recognize and receive the gifts persons with disabilities and provides resources for persons with disabilities, their families, and local congregations.
UCC Wellness Ministries (formerly the UCC Faith Community Nurse Network)
The UCC Wellness Ministries aims to promote wellness ministries in congregations and communities; it promotes the visible presence and voice of faith community nurses in the United Church of Christ.
UCC HIV and AIDS Network (aka UCAN)
UCAN works with the various settings of the church and society on HIV education and prevention, treatment and care, engages in various forms of advocacy, including public policy, works cooperatively with the United Church of Christ HIV and AIDS Network (UCAN), the area offices of Global Ministries, and with ecumenically and interfaith organizations on HIV and AIDS concerns.
The Open and Affirming (ONA) movement in the UCC seeks to grow the love, welcome and justice in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity and express. It is the largest, fasting growing inclusive church movement in the world. Resources are available through UCC Resources and from the UCC Open and Affirming Coalition, an affiliated organization in the UCC focused on providing leadership and resources for the ONA process.
UCC Mental Health Network
The United Church of Christ Mental Health Network is an affiliated organization of the UCC that works to reduce stigma and promote the inclusion of people with mental illnesses/brain disorders and their families in the life, leadership and work of congregations. They provide resources and assistance to for congregations with to join the mission of being WISE congregations - Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged in the Mental Health of the community and the wider world.
Sexuality Education Ministries
Our Sexuality Education Ministries promote sexual health through the age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education curriculum, Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith. This ministry is grounded in the values of self worth, responsibility, justice, love and inclusivity. We encourage churches to offer this life-saving and life-affirming education to everyone – children, youth and adults.
Overdose and Drug Use Ministries
The Overdose and Drug Use Ministries of the United Church of Christ brings together pastors, lay leaders, theologians, people who use drugs, service providers, activists, and other collaborators in order to advocate for and increase the engagement of local churches in ministries with people who use drugs, people who have been affected by drug use, and people who may be at risk for or have experienced incidents of overdose.
Each day a person in the world is living with HIV is a World AIDS Day.
December 1 is the annual observance of World AIDS Day.
World AIDS Day 2020
Ecumenical World AIDS Day Service (virtual)
The World Council of Churches will offer an ecumenical World AIDS Day service in the Christian tradition. The service will be offered In the context of the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ with the Theme: “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility”.
World AIDS Day Interfaith Service
Join the World AIDS Day Interfaith Service organized by the US HIV & AIDS Faith Coalition. It will be available online and via live-stream. Keeping with the AIDS 2020 theme, "Resilience and Renewal," the service will include four faith traditions Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity. Each will offer sacred text, a reflection, and a prayer.
2018 Theme: Live life positively – know your HIV status
The need for increased HIV response is urgent. We are in a brief window of opportunity for ending the HIV epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. Taking advantage of this window of opportunity will make a world of difference.
The best way to know your HIV status is to get tested.
Live Life Positively: 3602HIV trailer (UNAIDS video)
Fast Tracking the HIV Response
According to UNAIDS, "Front-loading investments in this fragile window up to 2020 could reduce new HIV infections by 89% and AIDS-related deaths by 81% by 2030." If we stay the current course, and fail to fast-track the response, we stand to lose the gains we've made with devastating consequences to the health and lives of millions of people the world over. There can be no clearer or compelling moral imperative for people of faith.
The time to act is now!
The time to scale-up our response is now!
The importance of the whole church engaging in HIV response has never been more critical. As never before, there is a path to ending the epidemic in our lifetime. The implementation of the 27th General Synod's resolution, "Calling for Comprehensive HIV Prevention in Church and Community," is the road map for the UCC, inviting the whole church to be faithful to do all it can.
As you plan for this global observance, please use the following resources, adapting them according to the needs of your particular context.
Information and Fact Sheets
More Worship/Spiritual Resources
- 2017 Prayer Service, Exhibition, Panel Discussion - World Council of Churches
- 2016 Prayer Service from World Council of Churches
- 2015 Liturgy from the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
- Worship Ways Litany
- Prayer for Holistic Healing
- HIV-AIDS Advent Calendar
- World AIDS Day Resources from the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
- Church World Service HIV/AIDS Worship Resources
Liturgy on "Zero Discrimination"
prepared by representatives of the committee for Ethics, Theology and HIV and AIDS of Action against AIDS - Germany
- AIDS Day Sermon from Mission Hills UCC (San Diego, CA) on Vimeo.
Global Ministries - Projects, Stories, Resources
Global Ministries is the common witness of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) responsible for nurturing relationships with international partners on behalf of Disciples and the UCC.
TheBody.com continues to be among the best for a wide-range of HIV information.
- UNAIDS 2015 World AIDS Day Report
- UNAIDS 2016-2021 Strategy
- Fast Track - Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030
- UNAIDS Infographics
- UNAIDS Resources - Documents
- AIDS.gov - World AIDS Day
- Facing AIDS: http://facing.aids.gov/
- Light for Rights: http://www.lightforrights.org
- 2014 Liturgy from the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
- UNAIDS Global Report 2014
- World AIDS Day 2014
- UNAIDS Strategy - Getting to Zero
- World AIDS Day Resources 2007-2010
- UCC HIV and AIDS Publications PDF
- Links to other HIV and AIDS resources and organizations
- 2013 UCAN World AIDS Day Announcement