Churches carry on fight against HIV/AIDS

By on December 1, 2006

The diocese of Fredericton has presented a $50,000 cheque to the HIV/AIDS campaign of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) from funds raised by the bishop and parishioners who walked for miles across the diocese to raise awareness about the disease and to sign up sponsors.

Bishop Claude Miller, who launched his walk last spring for PWRDF’s Partnership for Life program, inspired many parishioners to follow suit. “Sunday school children in Perth-Andover were the first to respond with a donation of more than $100. Octogenarian Alma Currie of the parish of Kingston pledged to walk a mile a day for 100 days and then the pledges and activities flooded in,” said a report on the diocesan Web site.

Bishop Claude Miller said he walked a total of 530 km while his wife, Sharon, walked 707 km.

“We shot for $50,000 and we made it, and there is more to come,” said the bishop. Bishop Miller presented the cheque to Zaida Bastos, PWRDF development co-ordinator for Africa, at a special service in Christ Church Cathedral in the fall. Also in attendance was Christine Kilipam-wambu, PWRDF partner from the diocese of Ruaha in Tanzania, who gave a sermon at the service. “What you contribute to PWRDF is fig fruit – people are encouraged, people have hope because PWRDF helps people help themselves,” she said.

Meanwhile, as the world prepared to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, Anglicans from other parts of Canada were also engaged in efforts to help combat HIV/AIDS. Parishioners at the parishes of St. George the Martyr, St. Michael’s and All Angels, and St. Matthias in Victoria are involved in Friends of Mengo Hospital, which provides assistance to a 300-bed mission hospital in Kampala, Uganda. The hospital, founded in 1897, began as a 12-bed grass thatched mud and wattle unit that provided dental services. Today it has an eye department, a children’s orthopedic rehabilitation unit and a program that addresses the needs of children who either have HIV/AIDS or have been orphaned by the disease. St. Matthias provided a donation that supported 50 children for a year. At least 300 AIDS patients have also been put on a nutritional supplement trial at the hospital.

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