Eighth All African Conference of Churches Opens with Discussions on HIV/AIDs

( [email protected] ) Nov 24, 2003 11:25 AM EST

Cameroon -- Religious heads from 39 countries gathered for the All Africa Conference of Churches beginning Saturday, Nov. 22, at the National Stadium in Yaounde. The nearly 800 leaders encompassing 150 churches primarily discussed the essential role of Church in overcoming the continents greatest threats: war and AIDs.

The eighth assembly, which included delegates and clerics, were invited to volunteer for HIV tests as a way of lessening the stigma surrounding the disease.

Several keynote speakers, including the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Dr. Konrad Raiser, led the council in discussions of “Reconfiguration of the Ecumenical Movement.”

Following the discussions, the group led a candlelight procession through Yaounde with those who are HIV positive. However, no consensus was drawn on how to clearly sever the growth of the fatal disease.

In addition to the plenary discussions, the delegates heard the testimonies from the continent’s former child soldiers who survived bloody uprisings and protests.

The General Assembly, slated as one of the largest gathering of Church leaders in recent times, adopted the theme, “Come Let us Rebuild” from Nehemiah 2:17. The consultation will last through Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27.