Anglicans across the country, in ways large and small, are taking the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa seriously and are finding ways to help. To mark World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, here is a sampling of some of these efforts:
* Churches in the dioceses of Ottawa, New Westminster and Huron are selling beaded badges that bear the AIDS red ribbon and South African flag. Sales benefit an AIDS support group at Brown’s Farm, one of the poorest communities in Cape Town. All members of the group are HIV-positive and funds are used for food, clothing and school fees. Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver has sold more than 800 badges and raised about $4,000. In Huron, parishioners at Rev. Rob Towler’s St. Andrew’s Memorial church in Kitchener, Ont., bought more than 125 at $5 each. Canon Allen Box at All Saints (Westboro) in Ottawa ([email protected]) is the contact person for the badges.
* The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) held four regional meetings in October and November to introduce a new video about its program to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa and to review other programs. The sessions were held in Kingston, Ont.; Halifax, Vancouver and Regina.
* PWRDF’s AIDS banner — a giant ribbon made of cloth squares carrying messages from Anglicans at last summer’s General Synod and since expanded — traveled in mid-November to the diocese of Niagara for its synod and for World AIDS Day.
* In the diocese of Algoma, the deanery of Sudbury and Manitoulin held a walkathon in Sudbury, Ont., called “Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes,” that raised $6,000 for the PWRDF HIV/AIDS project. It took place on Sept. 26 and allowed walkers to collect sponsors for 1 km, 2 km, 5km and 10 km routes. It coincided with an annual conference for lay readers, who were encouraged to participate.
* On Oct. 24, the Anglican parish of Wolfe Island, Ont., in the diocese of Ontario, held a potluck lunch to celebrate the fact that several persons paddled the 75 km around the island and wanted to translate that feat into funds for the Primate’s Fund’s AIDS project. A video of United Nations envoy Stephen Lewis’ electrifying address to General Synod about the AIDS crisis was shown at the lunch.
* On Oct. 16, the parishes of Ship Harbour, Musquodoboit Harbour and Tangier, in the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, hosted a discussion with Sunyata Choyce, a woman who has been working in an orphanage in Africa, caring for children whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS. PWRDF videos and leaflets were distributed at the event.