22 Sep 2010, Posted by Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver

HIV/AIDS Africa Support Group

Name of Ministry: HIV/AIDS Africa Support Group of Christ Church Cathedral

Update: December 11, 2011

This community’s heart was touched 9 years ago when Jim McCullum’s brother Hugh came to talk to us about the plague of HIV/AIDS in Africa and its decimating effect on families and whole communities. Inspired to help the cathedral set up an HIV/AIDS group, to educate about the pandemic in Africa, to organize for political advocacy to bring this matter to the attention of Canadian government decision makers, to offer prayer support and to raise money to help through the Anglican Church’s development agency, the Primate’s Fund for World Relief and Development.

The project chosen was one which worked at the very ground-roots of the problem in the deprived area of Soweto in South Africa. The Soweto Home-Based Carers are a group of women committed to providing day to day care for the most needy of people, cooking meals, cleaning and offering basic personal care. They were known to us under the title of the Bochabelo project. We as a community are very grateful to them for opening our eyes to the human scale of the pandemic and allowing us to walk with them a little way in their generous work of love and care.

Over the 9 years of the project close to $160,000 has been raised by efforts focussed on providing relief for those living with AIDS in Africa.   A portion of this money has gone to the Soweto Home-Based Carers together with prayers and encouragement.  Cathedral financial support has also been extended to the Keiskamma Foundation also in South Africa and also providing support and care for families and individuals living with HIV AIDS. While leadership of this Cathedral initiative wanted a greater share to go to Bochabelo project, strict Canada Revenue regulations which the Primate’s Fund and the cathedral are legally obliged to meet have prevented that– a fact that we lament at the same time that we celebrate the fact that we have been privileged to help in any way.

Today we are bringing this project to a close while we commit to finding new ways to participate in international outreach. We give thanks for the leadership in this project of Jim and Anne McCullum, Graham and Shirley Rawlings, Sondra Marshall Phyllis Barlow, Elspeth Richmond and Norma Buckland. We give thanks to this community for its generous support. And we give thanks to the all those who through their continuing love and care for the most desperate people in their community.

Let us pray.

Holy and Loving God,
We give you thanks for the open heart of this community
which has responded with generosity to the needs of our sisters and brothers in Africa.
We give you thanks for the leadership of the HIV/AIDS project in this place: for their
faithful, passionate service and their loving commitment.
We give you thanks for the loving care and example of service seen in the lives of the
women of the Soweto home based care co-operative.

We confess and lament all that has gone astray in our flawed efforts to help.
We confess and lament that all our generosity fails to meet the continuing needs of those affected by this pandemic.
Now we hand to you both our achievements and our failures;
asking that you will help us discern our continuing path in serving your people throughout the world;
and knowing that your Spirit continues to live in all those who work to lift the
burden of HIV/AIDS from your children throughout the world.
We offer these prayers in the name of Jesus, our friend and brother. Amen.