From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Links with USAID to Withstand AIDS

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date Tue, 4 Dec 2001 15:45:47 -0600


December 4, 2001


     WASHINGTON, D.C. (ELCA) -- In an effort to withstand AIDS
worldwide, particularly in Africa, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America (ELCA) affirmed a new relationship with the U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID) at a news conference Nov. 30, the
of World AIDS Day.  The conference was held here at the National Press
     "We are here because 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS
and almost 17 million deaths on the continent of Africa is a crisis
requires a global response, an extraordinary response," the Rev. Mark
Hanson, presiding bishop of the Chicago-based ELCA, said at the news
     "This massive, still-unfolding crisis must motivate individuals,
religious communities, government agencies and businesses to join in a
response of a magnitude rarely witnessed in human history.  This
response needs to be carried out in partnership with the people of
Africa, recognizing their vitality, wisdom and leadership in
HIV/AIDS and its consequences," he said.
     Lutheran World Relief, the overseas relief and development agency
of the ELCA and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), will receive
"resources and technical assistance" from USAID's Communities
to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic (CORE) Initiative.
     "We are delighted that USAID is looking to Lutheran World Relief
as an inaugural partner in the CORE Initiative on HIV/AIDS," said
Hanson.  "As part of the Initiative, Lutheran World Relief and USAID
will identify opportunities to fund projects of particular merit [and
partner] with [other] community and faith-based organizations.  The
supplemental funding Lutheran World Relief will receive from USAID
mean our regional offices in East and West Africa will be able to
support a great range of efforts in local communities helping change
happen at 'ground level,'" he said.
     Earlier this year, the ELCA's World Hunger Program, LCMS and
Lutheran World Relief launched a three-year campaign "of hope" called
"Stand With Africa," said Hanson.  The campaign focuses on informing
U.S. Lutherans about issues significant to Africa, including HIV/AIDS,
economic justice, food security, peace and reconciliation.
     "For decades, we have worked with churches, other faith groups
community-based organizations in Africa to improve food security,
care, education and sustainable community development.  We are
committing ourselves to do more.  We will work with partners in more
than a dozen African countries ... to raise awareness on the threat of
and the means for prevention of HIV/AIDS, care for those infected and
for the millions of children who have been and will be orphaned,
behavior changes to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, and erase the
attached to those who suffer from AIDS," Hanson said.
     At the news conference, Hanson was joined by Sheikh Anasi
Kaliisa, former Deputy Mufti of Uganda, and lecturer at Makerere
University, Kampala, Uganda; the Most Rev. Njongonkulu Ndungane,
Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Province of South Africa,
Town, via video conference; and Dr. E. Anne Peterson, assistant
administrator for global health, USAID.
     "We face a formidable task.  Yet, I am absolutely convinced that
AIDS is preventable and that the religious community is in a strategic
position to help communities meet the challenges posed by AIDS,"
-- -- --
     Information about "Stand With Africa" is maintained at on the Internet.
     The full text of Bishop Hanson's statement and images are
maintained at on the Internet.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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