The initiative to address HIV/AIDS in sub Saharan Africa was the vision of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd. Hon George Carey, and the Primates of the Anglican Communion when they met at Kanuga Conference Center, USA, in March 2001. Devastating reports presented at that meeting on the HIV/AIDS situation in sub-Saharan Africa, moved the Primates to immediately discuss a response to the epidemic. As a result of the action plan of the Primates, the Archbishop of Cape Town, The Most Revd. Njongonkulu Ndungane was asked to organize a workshop for the Provinces of Africa to discuss AIDS. The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) Archbishops supported the workshop by sending representatives from each of the 12 Provinces and the CAPA General Secretary to the All Africa Anglican Conference on HIV/AIDS, held in Boksburg, South Africa, 13 -16 August 2001.
CAPA HIV/AIDS Vision
We, the Anglican Communion across Africa, pledge ourselves to the promise
that future generations will be born and live in a world free from AIDS.
God’s call to transformation
We are living with AIDS. As the body of Christ, confronted by a disaster
unprecedented in human history, we share the pain of all who suffer as
a result of AIDS. Faced by this crisis, we hear God’s call to be
transformed. We confess our sins of judgement, ignorance, silence, indifference
Repenting of our sin, we commit ourselves to:
- Breaking the silence in order to end all new infections
- Educating ourselves at every level within the Church
- Confronting poverty, conflict and gender inequalities
- Ending stigma and judgement, and
- Holding ourselves accountable before God and the world.
Only then can we live out the Good News of the all-embracing love of Christ.
Our mission is to respect the dignity of all people by:
- Securing the human rights of those infected by HIV/AIDS, and giving
- Improving the health and prolonging the lives of infected people
- Accompanying the dying, those who mourn and those who live on
- Celebrating life
- Nurturing community, and
- Advocating for justice
* Malaria continues to threaten many people in sub Saharan Africa. In July
2004, the CAPA board resolved to address this area of concern. Malaria
and TB were hence added to the HIV/AIDS programme.
We acknowledge that we cannot do this alone. We are sustained by the love
of God and emboldened by the Holy Spirit. We are inspired by the compassionate
efforts of the faithful in attending to those affected by HIV/AIDS. We
accept the responsibility of our leadership. We invite the wider community
into creative, life-giving partnership.
Our commissionin the context of AIDS
We believe we are created, in the image of God, as physical and spiritual
beings. We are created to be in relationship to God, the community and
ourselves. We believe that we are given the freedom to make choices, to
love, to celebrate, to live in dignity and to delight in God’s creation.
We believe that suffering and death are neither punishment from God nor
the end of life and that we are called to an eternal union with God.
Stigma is a denial that we are created in the image of God. It destroys
self-esteem, decimates families, disrupts communities and annihilates hope
for future generations. We commit in all our efforts - personal and corporate,
programmatic and liturgical - to confront it as sin and work for its end.
Given who we are, and who we are called to be by God, we have defined and
embraced a six-fold commission of ministry in response to AIDS.
These six calls in our commission are:
The Church’s commitment to prevention recognises that all life is
sacred. Because we love our children, we speak and act to protect them
from infection. Sex is a gift from God. We are accountable to God and one
another for our sexual behaviour. Christian communities have a special
responsibility and capacity for encouraging and supporting loving, just,
- Pastoral Care
Pastoral care supports spiritual growth with the aim of sustaining whole
and holy relationships with God, each other and community. This is achieved
by affirming the dignity and worth of each human being and making clear
the claim of God in our lives.
Christian counselling equips people to live into God’s invitation
to wholeness, freed of the burdens of the past, and capable of moving in
freedom toward the perfection promised in Christ’s example with confidence
In caring for all who suffer, we fulfill God’s purpose by restoring
dignity and purpose to people’s lives. Christian care, therefore,
seeks the fullness of life, in the context of the community, by the restoration
of body, mind and spirit.
- Death and dying
Death is a rite of passage in our spiritual journey and into eternal life.
The call of all Christians is to uphold the dying by our love, as well
as those who live on and those who mourn. While death brings suffering
and loss, our faith can make it a time of enhanced relationship and growth
for individuals and communities. We are a resurrection people and our relationship
with God does not end with the death of physical bodies.
All authority is accountable before God. All people of the church are stewards
of God’s creation. We have a unique responsibility to speak truth
to power, to act without fear, and to embody Christian values of love,
compassion and justice.
Out of love for our children, one another and our communities, we commit
to speak openly and with moral authority about responsible sexual behaviour,
and to support one another, embracing and adopting behaviours that avoid
the transmission of HIV.
- Pastoral Care
As the embodiment of the merciful Christ in a suffering world, we commit
to equip our clergy and laity to support all people, especially those living
with HIV, in life-sustaining relationships with their God and their community.
We commit to promote voluntary counselling and testing for HIV by our own
examples and as a ministry of the Church. We call for the establishment
of support groups and other counselling services for those who are orphaned,
ill, afraid, dying or bereaved.
- HIV Care
We commit to being central to networks of community support, to meet the
health care and basic needs of those who are orphaned, ill or excluded
due to HIV, freeing them to productive life as long as their health permits.
- Death and Dying
As death transforms the body, AIDS calls us to transform those traditions
and practices, by which we care for the dying and honor our dead, that
consume scarce resources and contribute to denial.
We commit to:
- Training the Church to provide holistic care for the dying and prepare
families for living on
- Offering rituals that honor the dead and promote the well-being
of those who survive
- Training the clergy to counsel and protect the rights of those who
survive, especially women and children.
Silence permits inaction and is the breeding ground of stigma. We call
for bold, compassionate community and institutional leadership at every
level, to prevent infection and care for the ill and dying. We invite similar
leadership by government, and all sections of society and international
Because leadership must address power, culture and morality, we call on
our government leaders to be accountable for health expenditures and to
declare an ‘HIV state of emergency’, in order to combat AIDS
and mobilise resources. We further declare that all people have the right
to health, which includes access to basic health care.
HIV calls for bold and creative approaches by our leaders, which recognizes
the reality of power and gender patterns at community levels, and mobilize
resources and facilitate development of new models of leadership, particularly
among laity and women.
- Education and training
Nothing in our educational systems equips us to deal with this catastrophe.
In achieving the strategies outlined in this document, it is essential
to assess needs and establish education and training capacity, in order
to assure that sufficient numbers of clergy and laity:
- Have current and accurate basic information on the science of HIV,
standards of home-based care, and the rudiments of treatment.
- Have both the technical information and the interpersonal communication
skills to effectively teach and counsel regarding human sexuality.
- Are knowledgeable of local laws and practices regarding inheritance
and equipped to impart that information.
- Receive practical training in community organisation and development,
so that they may assist in establishing care and support which is needed.
- Are trained and available to meet exploding demands for pastoral
care necessitated by HIV/AIDS
- Theological reflection
As the Church, it is uniquely our task to gather for study, for prayer
and for worship. Therefore we must engage in constant theological reflection,
seeking discernment on the issues of sin, guilt, grace, judgement and forgiveness.
To this we commit ourselves, our families and our friends.