Wednesday, 16 December 2009


Some ELCK representatives took part at CUAHA meeting at the end of October. CUAHA Chairperson Birgitta IRantakari explains at the foreword of the book: Towards an HIV and AIDS Competent Church, launched on the last day of the meeting, about CUAHA: “CUAHA (Churches United Against HIV & AIDS in East­ern and Southern Africa) is a network that was initi­ated as an appeal from churches of various denomi­nations seeking to find a common voice to share their concern and heart for reaching out to everyone in our world of HIV and AIDS. Since its inception in 2002, CUAHA has developed into a vibrant ecumenical network representing churches and faith-based organizations cooperating to face HIV and AIDS in their communities. The net­work includes over 40 churches and organizations of Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Ortho­dox and Pentecostal denominations in Finland and 13 African countries (Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swa­ziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe).
Ev. Sylvester (at the right in the picture) is the official ELCK representative at CUAHA and coordinates several activities among the PLWHA (People Living with HIV and AIDS) through the Diocese and through HHOCC.

Some of CUAHA statements: “In HIV work, one must reach the people. Not just the city folks, the educated, the politically active, but absolutely everyone. Churches can do that, especially when they act together. In southern and Eastern Africa, no one has better networks than religious communities. They are trusted and respected, often far more than other institutions.”

“CUAHA believes that, in the era of the HIV epidemic, churches must earn that trust with their actions. Our aim is to help them use their influence responsibly and well in their response to HIV and AIDS – a struggle where nothing is more important than the dignity and life of each individual human being."

Ecumenical cooperation against the HIV epidemic has never been simple. CUAHA’s members have, however, managed to move past their theological and cultural differences and towards a common goal: a society where everyone is free to participate, the most vulnerable are cared for and no one is denied their rights because of their HIV status.”

The difference between the Lutheran Church in Kenya and the churches in Brazil and in the USA in this area is that the Africans live side by side daily with infected and affected people (PLWHA). The church is not omitted in her responsibility toward the PLWHA. This is our reality here and many groups receive support through HHOCC.

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