United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2016
PORTLAND, Oregon – Leaders will gather to discuss current realities regarding HIV and AIDS at “AIDS is not over! Global issues and the church,” a free, United Methodist Global AIDS Fund-sponsored event on May 9 in Portland, Oregon. Delegates and non-delegates attending the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church are invited to be a part of the conference.
At least 37 million people are living with AIDS, half of which are women. There are 13.3 million children living as orphans due to AIDS, and each day, 700 babies are born with HIV. Millions of people still lack access to testing and anti-retro viral medicines.
“This conference will be a rich and rare opportunity for the church to get both a national and international perspective on HIV and AIDS, hearing from the scientific community and Christians from around the world,” said Dr. Donald Messer, co-chair of the Global AIDS Fund.
Taking place at Rose City Park United Methodist Church, the event will highlight new AIDS research and trends and examine how churches are responding. The conference will be from 8:45 a.m. until 4 p.m., and includes six dynamic workshop offerings, lunch and transportation from the Oregon Convention Center.
“Our hope is that people depart from the conference better equipped to tackle the realities of HIV and AIDS. We’d like to see every United Methodist church be a place of welcome and healing for all God’s children, including those living with and affected by the disease,” said Linda Bales Todd, co-chair of the Global AIDS Fund.
The keynote speaker at the gathering will be Dr. Nancy Haigwood, Director and Senior Scientist of the Oregon National Primate Research Center, who will discuss her innovative research surrounding vaccines and ending mother-to-child transmission.
Special guest speakers at the event include:
- Rev. Marc Baliyanga, Kilgali District Superintendent, the United Methodist church in Rwanda
- Dr. Ulysses Burley, Program Director for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Strategy on HIV/AIDS
- Rev. Dr. Youngsook Kang, Director of Mission and Ministry, Rocky Mountain Annual Conference
- Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of The General Board of Global Ministries
- Rev. Dr. Donald Messer, Director of the Center for Health and Hope, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado
- Bishop Gregory Palmer, West Ohio Annual Conference
- Rev. Dr. Neki A. Soriano, DFM, Conference Health Minister in the Visayas Philippines Annual Conference
Attendees will also have an opportunity to hear stories from those affected by and infected with HIV or AIDS.
Online event registration is open now through May 2; an informational flyer is also available for printing and distribution. A free-will offering will be taken at the conference.