The ELCA called together about 65 Lutherans from the U.S. and overseas Sept. 7-9 in Chicago to help guide its work in developing the strategy on HIV/AIDS called for by the 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
“Be attentive to the voices of those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, said Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, in a video greeting to participants. “Together we will find the courage to confront the continued marginalization and stigmatization that impacts those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.”
Hanson asked participants to be imaginative in building capacity to respond to challenges, find new ways to create awareness and engage in accompaniment and advocacy. He encouraged participants to continue their collaboration with one another.
Special guests of the consultation included Lutherans from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, who shared stories and experiences of their work surrounding HIV/AIDS. Participants also offered the ELCA advice on issues and topics that a strategy on HIV/AIDS might address.
Representatives from the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, Lutheran AIDS Network, UNAIDS and the Lutheran World Federation also attended the consultation.
Information, stories and advice offered at the consultation were recorded and passed along to a writing team that will articulate some possible recommendations for the church to consider, said Josselyn N. Bennett, director for poverty ministries with ELCA Church in Society.
The strategy that results from this work will be brought to the ELCA Church Council for consideration in 2008 and reported tothe 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
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