Listen to this story:
Because Kenya has the fourth-largest HIV epidemic in the world, a group of pastors in the Central Kenya Conference of Seventh-day Adventists decided to hold a conference of their peers to ask the question, “If Jesus were here, how would He handle the situation?” Organizers found support from the Ushirika Medical Services and SDA Kinship International. Pastor Kamutu, the conference ministerial secretary, served as the master of ceremonies for the conference that was convened on February 28 to March 2, 2018. Approximately 200 pastors attended.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2018/03/09/kenyan-pastors-meet-discuss-response-hiv-epidemic
To organize and hold a conference like this is a ground breaking event. It is a great first step in helping to understand people and know their needs better and to show Christ-like compassion. Open dialogue can achieve miracles. We will pray that financial obstacles can be overcome and more educational conferences will continue. Let’s all put this project on our prayer list.
This is an awesome goal to work towards! I would love to see our church be the leader in making this happen.
The Church on this continent NEED to BROADEN their FOCUS. Not ALL HIV persons are what are called “Gay” in the GAY SENSE of the Term. Many “hetero and married men” do have sex with men on that continent. These men become infected, and pass this infection onto their wives. Pregnancy passes HIV onto the newborn.
In SOME parts of Africa the Men with HIV are told they can CURE THEIR INFECTION by having sex with a Virgin Girl. And this passes the infection on to Women.
Discussion NEEDS to INCLUDE PREVENTION. Prevention by the Men. And Prevention of PASSING it onto their wife, girlfriend, child.
Is there such a THING as TESTING for HIV over there in Kenya like there is here in the United States, Canada???
If so, perhaps the Kenya Seventh-day Adventist churches need to lead out in this Public Heath Program of testing and counseling the entire population of Kenya including use of Radio and T.V.,
and posters, billboards.
PS— Robin thanks for enlarging the picture of the spread of HIV, consequences on families [when the person is untreated, develops AIDS symptoms, dies, and leaves affected orphans]. This is NOT some small problem. It is an Economic Problem for Kenya and other African nations.
John-- YES! The Church leaders and members NEED TO BE OK SAYING — CONDOMS!
Abstinence needs to be left on the very back burner of the discussion.
It DOES NOT work in America. Will NOT work in Africa, or any other nation on the planet.
What would Jesus do? 2 things.
Treat and heal.
Tell them to go and sin no more.
He certainly wouldn’t encourage them to persist in same sex relationships, for male to male sex is a major risk factor for HIV transmission (and not simply because of the label but because of the high risk lifestyle and activities undertaken), and of course also because it is a sin. For the heterosexually oriented he would do the same. Adultery and promiscuity are both risk factors and a sin.
This is an incredible advance in outreach and awareness, particularly in East Africa where homosexuality is so very stigmatized and criminalized!
That said, AIDS in East Africa has been more a heterosexual disease.
The truck drivers who travel long routes, north and south, and away from home for lengthy periods, frequent prostitures in the villages along their routes.
Then when they return home they infect their wives with the aids virus.
There are multiple thousands of AIDS orphans in Africa, who’s parents have died of the disease. Gays rarely have offspring, so this is an indication that the heterosexual population is heavily infected and affected.
The kenyenians have set an example for the church. In 2015 the church had a conference in Cape Town South Africa, issue of homosexuality were deliberated however, Kinship was left out. Whatever desions that the church took on issues of sex , homosexuality were not balanced. My fear is that someone is going to be in a hot soup especially the Prof from Bugema which one of our Schools. He even challenges how the church uses the bible on issues of homosexuality. Is my church open to such a pertinent challenge
This is definitely a step forward from the attitudes of the past.
In 2001 I was a minor player/participant in an evangelical crusade that was held in Mwanza, Tanzania, and broadcast via satellite across the Division. There were tens of thousands in attendance each night at the event itself and countless thousands more attending in their local places of worship via the satellite uplink, whether that place of worship was in a building or under a tree.
One evening in particular stands out in my memory of that event when the brave young students from Walla Walla University stood before that crowd and spoke of the HIV epidemic, and ways of preventing infection. The reviews were mixed to be sure but there was a great deal of anger on the part of some. Needless to say, the message was presented and heard, and maybe even did some good.
The thing of it is, the church should not be choosy when it comes to presenting prevention. A religious paradigm that tells an uneducated person that the only way of prevention is abstinence is an irresponsible paradigm. If we as a church are going to be honest about prevention then we need to present all options and methods including abstinence except within the bonds of marriage as the most desired, but by no means the only method. Lives are at stake.