InterVarsity to Offer New AIDS Track at Urbana 06

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship reported last Wednesday that it will offer an AIDS track at Urbana 06, the world’s premier student missions conference to be held in St. Louis, Mo., next year Dec. 27-31.

Over 40 million people in the world are infected with HIV/AIDS with 1 million of those infected in the United States. In Africa, more than 12 million are orphaned because of the disease. Close to half of those living with HIV are women and children.

“Track participants will be encouraged to approach the suffering of their brothers and sisters with humility, sensitivity, and God’s love,” InterVarsity states in its web site.

The track will be led by Dr. James Thomas, director of the Program in Public Health Ethics at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill in addition to Emmanuel Katongole, associate professor at Duke Divinity School, and Grace Tazelaar is the missions director for Nurses Christian Fellowship.

Katongole and Tazelaar understand “AIDS offers American churches an opportunity to relearn biblical views about sexuality, the roles of women in societies, and racial reconciliation,” InterVarsity reports.

Participants, it says, will see the AIDS epidemic as the grace of God to foster mercy, compassion, justice, reconciliation, humility, and unity – characteristics that God desires for his church, the release stated.

Tazelaar was a public health nurse in Uganda and her collaboration with the government yielded the successful ABC prevention program – with A standing for abstinence, B for being faithful, and C for condoms as a last measure.

However, Tazelaar is convinced that even a successful program like ABC is not the sole solution because the war against AIDS is a spiritual battle, InterVarsity reports.

The new Urbana 06 AIDS track includes medical and historical background about the epidemic and a response that Christians may make individually and through their church.