General Board of Church and Society
Lighten the Burden
Logo of the Lighten the Burden IV Conference
TAMPA, Fla. — The “Lighten the Burden IV” HIV/AIDS briefing will be Monday, April 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hyde Park United Methodist Church here, the day before the United Methodist General Conference convenes at the Tampa Convention Center.
The one-day briefing sponsored by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee is to heighten awareness about HIV/AIDS and highlight ways faith-based organizations are addressing the issue. Information about the event is available online.
Bishop Ivan Abrahams of South Africa will deliver the opening homily for the fourth Lighten the Burden AIDS Conference April 23 here. Bishop Abrahams is no stranger to HIV & AIDS after having lived for years in South Africa, which has the highest AIDS rate in the world, forcing churches to deal daily with this disease.
"We invite delegates to join us for this event the day prior to the 2012 General Conference," said Dr. Donald Messer, chair of the UMC Global AIDS Fund. "The church can play a pivotal role in the eradication of AIDS. We need to do more and cannot become complacent."
The conference will equip attendees to eradicate stigma associated with HIV & AIDS plus explore ways the church can effectively address the disease in local communities. Workshops are the following:
“The Birth of an AIDS-Free World: Maternal Health & HIV & AIDS” with Katie Kraft. This workshop will explore the intersections of maternal health and HIV & AIDS, and how an integrated approach is critical to saving lives of women and their children. “Reading the Bible in the Context of HIV: The Story of Ruth” with Dr. Cheryl Anderson. This session will be a brief introduction to contextual Bible study, a process developed in South Africa that engages contemporary social realities. “Impacting Policy Makers to Eradicate AIDS & Malaria” with Linda Bales Todd and the Rev. Clayton Childers. Find out how you can serve as an AIDS/malaria advocate to ensure U.S. elected officials are working towards an AIDS/Malaria-Free World. “Sharing Models of Ministry” with Raymond Shattuck and Ellen Palmer. Information on the Quality of Life Retreats and ways your church can support AIDS work in Haiti will be shared during this workshop that includes ways to reduce stigma. “We Make The Change (WMTC)” with Andrew Maldonado This workshop describes the statewide campaign in Florida to increase awareness of HIV & AIDS and its impact on minority communities. “HIV & the Global Church” with Tracey Rzepka. This workshop will focus on training experiences with church leaders in Uganda, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe about HIV prevention, counseling and home- based care. It will explain how churches in the United States can make a difference in the lives of those infected and affected by HIV & AIDS living in other countries. “How the UMC Global AIDS Fund Works” with Bridget Hayes. This workshop will provide vital information on how to access funding whether the project is in the United States or in another country.
Online registration is available at Lighten the Burden IV.
Editor's note: The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund was created by the 2004 General Conference. Thus far, more than $3.4 million dollars have been mobilized for transforming projects around the globe. The fund is administered by an interagency committee, chaired by Dr. Donald Messer. It recently launched a new initiative: 20/20: Visioning an AIDS Free World.
Be an AIDS Ambassador. An AIDS Ambassador can play a pivotal role in the eradication of HIV & AIDS in the U.S. and globally. This ministry is a faith-based call for such a time as this.