From the Worldwide Faith News archives

United Church of Canada Challenges Parliament on AIDS Pandemic

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Thu, 15 Apr 2004 09:12:15 -0700

For Immediate Release
Friday, March 5, 2004


Toronto:   "There is a vision that haunts me. It is a vision of the
coming generation approaching us and saying the terrible words, YOU
KNEW," says the Right Rev. Peter Short, Moderator of The United Church
of Canada.

This is the message that the spiritual leader of Canada's largest
Protestant denomination will bring to Parliament Hill next week in a
two-day visit to Ottawa that will focus on the growing crisis of the
global HIV/AIDS pandemic.

"You knew the world was sick. You heard the stories of an orphaned
generation and you saw the numbers that told the dreadful truth of the
way things were. You heard Stephen Lewis telling you what was happening.
You saw, just as during World War Two ordinary citizens saw the trains
headed for the camps. You knew. You had medicines. You had wealth. You
had transportation and communication systems. You had in your hands what
was necessary to make a great difference in the world. You had it in
your hands, but not in your heart," adds Short.

Short will travel to Ottawa along with the Rev. Jim Sinclair, the senior
executive officer of the church and a number of staff who have been
involved in organizing the United Church's two-year global HIV/AIDS
advocacy and fund-raising initiative, The Beads Of Hope Campaign.

Accompanying the United Church delegation will be two representatives of
the church's global partners, one a youth leader with a child and youth
rights organization in Kenya  and the other a staff person with a
Brazilian ecumenical institution that supports people with HIV/AIDS in

The delegation's time in Ottawa will include visits with
parliamentarians in their offices, a community forum at MacKay United
Church on Monday evening, March 8th, and a Parliamentary breakfast on
Tuesday, March 9th for Members of Parliament who want to hear the
church's view on what Canada should be doing to address the HIV/AIDS

More than 30,000 signatures will be presented in the House of Commons on
Tuesday March 9th at 3:00 p.m. as part of the United Church's ongoing
Signatures of Hope petition.

Peter Short says the United Church is essentially asking the government
to widen the heart of Canada in facing the HIV/AIDS pandemic that
threatens to engulf the world.

"Canada is in a position to make a great difference in the world," says
Short.	"And yes, we do know. Our government knows. It is a knowing we
must embrace.  It is a knowing upon which we must act."

For further information, or to arrange media interviews, please contact:
Mary-Frances Denis
Communications Officer
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (business)


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