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					                                         The Advocate
                      A paper and portal serving Christian Reformed social activists
   A publication of the Office of Social Justice and Hunger Action of the Christian Reformed Church in North America

                                                 August 2006
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Inside this issue:
HIV/AIDS Awareness…HIV/AIDS is an international focus throughout the month of August.
News Briefs…Jason Fileta fights for justice all over North America, as members of the G8 take it worldwide.
Justice and Worship…Order your church toolkits for fall, complete with sermons, songs, and more.
Websites and Resources…Get your HIV/AIDS resources, and kick back with our summer reading list.
Action Opportunities…On a first-name basis with your Congressman? Try writing to the press, too.
Advocate Calendar…Gearing up toward fall with Micah Sunday, global warming, and more.
Contact Information…Questions, comments, submissions?
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                               August is International HIV/AIDS Month
What’s going on…
Every 15 seconds a young person will contract HIV. As you read this over 25 million people have died due to
AIDS, over 40 million are living with HIV, and an estimated 15 million children have been orphaned.
Twenty-five years on and the world is still perplexed by the magnitude of AIDS. On June 5, 2006, the world
marked 25 years of living and surviving with the pandemic which still has no cure and has left so many world
wide living in despair and trauma. Myths and misconceptions regarding the origin of the virus have led to
denial and subsequent spread of HIV. It has been a struggle for many countries to deal with the prevention and
impact of AIDS.
The earlier years were full of despair, blame and fear. The realization that AIDS knows no colour, creed, race
or economic status of people brought about significant reactions from all sectors. AIDS is no longer viewed as
a health issue due to its impact in all sectors of society. Countries have put in place multi-sectoral approaches
to deal with the pandemic. A few successes have happened in the past five years. For instance, the cost of
treatment (anti-retrovirals – ARVs) has come down significantly.
It is also evident that some significant progress has been made in responding to stigma. More encouraging is
the drop in prevalence rates in countries like Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Coupled with collaborative
responses by faith-based organizations, governments and the business sector, there has been a significant
increase in church leadership involvement in the response to HIV and AIDS.

How to get involved…
Tens of thousands of people will be gathering in Toronto, Ontario at the beginning of August for the 16th
International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2006). The conference theme is Time to Deliver, reminding us of past
and present commitments for action on HIV/AIDS and demanding accountability. Taking place just before
AIDS 2006 is the two-day Ecumenical Pre-Conference, themed Keeping the Promise (echoed in CRWRC’s
current HIV/AIDS campaign). More than 450 people from 30 countries will reflect on the challenges posed by
AIDS specifically to people of faith and plan on how to put the Gospel into action in the Christian response to
HIV and AIDS.
Another great opportunity to join with other people of faith is Nidus 2006 (August 4-6): a unique opportunity
for youth involvement in learning about AIDS and how to respond to AIDS in a Christian context.
The Nidus festival will feature music, arts, keynote speakers, worship, dialogue, drama & dance. It will be a
unique occasion for thousands of youth, young adults, and others to come together to express faith, celebrate
through arts and seek justice to stop AIDS. By bringing people together to share their expressions of Christian
faith and art, the goal is to further Christian unity in the response to the pandemic.
Your part to play…
Our role in this global crisis is great – engagement and leadership is what can truly drive the critical response
necessary to deal with AIDS. Our voices cannot and should not be silenced. Encourage raised voices in
churches, in schools and at the events going on this summer about the human tragedy that is going on in Africa,
in Asia, in Latin America and in our own backyards. The AIDS pandemic is an insult to all humans made in
God’s image. Silence and inaction are not options!

- with excerpts from Nema Aluku’s (CRWRC HIV/AIDS Coordinator) latest newsletter
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                                                  News Briefs
G8 Meets in Russia
In 2005, the G8 leaders made a historic pledge to help end extreme global poverty by increasing trade,
HIV/AIDS treatment, and development assistance for poor countries, in addition to canceling their debts. On
July 15-17, the annual G8 summit took place in St. Petersburg, Russia. Although the G8 countries have been
faithful to their pledge of debt forgiveness, the other promises have not seen much progress.

Global poverty was not high on this year’s G8 agenda, taking a backseat to issues in the Middle East. No new
commitments were made regarding key poverty issues, and only a few leaders made mention of the 2005
promises. We continue to pray, and urge our politicians to uphold the promises of the 2005 G8 summit.

Youth Unlimited
Youth Unlimited Convention 2005 took place July 21-25. High school youth groups from all over the country
gathered to worship, learn, make friends, have fun, and be loud at the base of the San Francisco Peaks in
beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona. Youth leaders heard two different workshops from Jason Fileta, representing
OSJHA, Micah Challenge, and CRWRC. One workshop focused on the biblical basis for justice work, and the
second on practical engagement with the poor. For copies of the PowerPoint files, contact filetaj@crcna.org.

Nidus
Jason Fileta has had a busy month as he traveled directly from Youth Unlimited to Nidus on August 4, where he
and some Canadian Micah Challenge folk hosted a free-trade coffee booth complete with Micahmorphosis
brochures, white bands, and passionate justice conversation with concertgoers. If you know of a conference or
festival where social justice issues should be championed, let Jason and his traveling information booth know at
filetaj@crcna.org.


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                                            Justice and Worship
OSJHA HIV/AIDS Worship Resources
Prayers, litanies, bulletin inserts, responsive readings and more can be found at crcjustice.org. Click on issues in
the left-hand column, then HIV/AIDS for worship materials dealing with HIV/AIDS.

Reformed Ecumenical Council
Visit the REC website to view a special publication called Toward a Theology of Hope in a Time of HIV/AIDS,
a working document created by the 2005 REC Assembly. The document, downloadable in PDF format,
addresses theological and social causes and ramifications of the HIV/AIDS virus. To view the document, visit
http://community.gospelcom.net/Brix?pageID=2562, click on Publications on the left menu, and look under
Special Studies.
The Hope Initiative Church Toolkit
The Hope Initiative, an outreach of World Vision, offers several HIV/AIDS resources for pastors, small group
leaders, adult and Sunday school classes alike. Visit www.worldvision.com/hope for their church kit containing
bulletin inserts, PowerPoint presentations, powerful speaking points and statistics, and curricula for Bible study
groups. Most of the resources are in downloadable, PDF format.

Bread for the World Sunday Worship Resources
The Rev. Mpho A. Tutu, an Episcopal priest and daughter of Desmond Tutu, the Anglican archbishop emeritus
of Cape Town, South Africa, will provide the scripture reflection in a new set of resources being released this
summer by Bread for the World.

Each fall, churches across the country affirm their commitment to fighting hunger by celebrating “Bread for the
World Sunday.” During these worship services, congregations rededicate themselves to ending hunger in God’s
world and praying for those in need. They also give thanks for the work of Bread for the World, which has
enabled so many people of faith to be effective advocates for hungry people. Bread for the World Sunday
celebrations are held on a Sunday between World Food Day (October 16) and Thanksgiving (November 23).
Congregations can visit www.bread.org to pre-order free worship resources, which will be available in mid-
August. Resources include:

      Worship Bulletin Inserts
      A Reflection Resource written by the Rev. Mpho Tutu
      A responsive prayer for use during worship
      Stories about creative ways churches have observed Bread for the World Sunday

HIV/AIDS and the Church
Visit www.saddlebackfamily.com/peace/hiv_aids_initiative for a wealth of materials on HIV/AIDS from
Saddleback Church in California. Using the menu at the top of the page, discover small group prayer guides,
information on setting up care teams, a short video available for download, and much more.

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                                          Websites and Resources
Podcasts on Poverty!
The One Campaign Podcast: Get monthly updates on the campaign and special opportunities to fight global
poverty: http://www.gcast.com/htdb/popup/subscribe.html?u=http://www.gcast.com/u/ONE/onecast.xml.

Millennium Campaign Podcast: The Millennium Campaign has partnered with Apple to host the 'Voices
Against Poverty' series as a free podcast. Celebrities like Michael Douglas, Shakira, and Jane Goodall lent their
voice in the series of public service announcements which call on governments to keep their promise to achieve
the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
http://www.millenniumcampaign.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=grKVL2NLE&b=175513&content_id=%7B0
6FB210A-9225-4E38-B4E0-738F22B74159%7D&notoc=1

HIV/AIDS fact sheets on KAIROS’ website
A new series of HIV/AIDS fact sheets are available for download from KAIROS. With straightforward
statistics, simple anecdotes, and steps you can take to help, the fact sheets cover a wide spectrum of issues
contributing to the HIV/AIDS problem. Visit www.kairoscanada.org and click on the HIV/AIDS image on the
right side of the page to download the fact sheets in PDF format.

New Books to Help Churches Deal with Disabilities
Two new books available from Faith Alive Christian Resources, a division of CRC Publications, are designed to
help churches better serve children and youth who have unique needs in typical classroom or worship settings.

Learning Disabilities and the Church: Including All God’s Kids in Your Education and Worship is a practical
manual that includes information about learning disabilities, ideas and strategies for accommodating children
and youth with learning challenges, discussion questions, helpful websites, and more.

For those who deal specifically with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Autism and Your Church is a unique
resource that empowers churches to include individuals with ASD in the life of the church.

To order either of these books, go to www.faithaliveresources.org.

CRWRC’s 2006 AIDS Campaign: Keep the Promise
CRWRC took on the injustice of poverty in 2005 with Micah Challenge, the global Christian campaign calling
leaders to keep their promise to achieve the millennium development goals by 2015. CRWRC recommits to
Micah in ’06 with a focus on Goal #6: halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. Visit
http://www.crwrc.org/involved/aids.html to learn more.

Tearfund Action Pack, a website for kids aged 8 to 11
This fun site is full of games and articles to engage youth with the issues of poverty and injustice. Visit
http://actionpack.tearfund.org to get fun facts about kids around the world, find simple fair trade recipes, play
games, and learn more about your faith.

Micahmorphosis Emerging
Micahmorphosis.org, our youth-run website, is as active and fresh-faced as ever, with new promotional
materials in the works for the back-to-school season. Visit the message board, fill out a peer profile, or start
your own blog to stay grounded with other social justice activists. All this and more at
www.micahmorphosis.org.

The Advocate Steps into the Future
Keep your eyes open and your fingers crossed as we try to upgrade the Advocate to a fancier, more versatile
HTML format in the next few months. Think it’s a great idea? Are you cringing at the thought of technological
change? Contact Meghan at kraleym@crcna.org with ideas and feedback – after all, this newsletter is for you!

Recommended Reading
Race Against Time, Steven Lewis
“’I have spent the last four years watching people die.’ With these wrenching words, humanitarian Stephen
Lewis begins his personal, often searing insider's account of Africa's plight and the wealthy world's betrayal.
Lewis recounts how in 2000, global leaders agreed to eight Millennium Development Goals, promising the poor
such essentials as primary education, basic health and a reversal of AIDS by 2015. In audacious prose, alive
with anecdotes ranging from maddening to hilarious to heart-breaking, Lewis shows why and how the promises
can't be kept. Race Against Time probes the appalling gap between vision and current reality, but also offers
bracingly attainable solutions.” – if this amazon.com review doesn’t convince you to read this excellent book,
maybe one of the half-dozen other glowing accolades listed on the site will.

Devotional Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith.
From Augustine to Annie Dillard, Devotional Classics features selected works of great spiritual thinkers in a
variety of traditions, including the social justice tradition. Each excerpt includes a scripture passage, several
questions for reflection, and suggested exercises for groups or individuals which assist in building a more
intentional and spiritually informed life. The reader can use the book over the course of a year (there's one
selection for each week) to grow in the faith. Available at bookstores and Amazon.com.
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                                           Action Opportunities
As people gather from around the globe in Toronto for the International AIDS Conference, make sure that
events like this and others are taken seriously: ask your local press for coverage.

Crcjustice.org Combats HIV/AIDS
The HIV/AIDS section of crcjustice.org offers more than just worship materials – visit HIV/AIDS under the
issues heading to learn about various action opportunities you can take throughout the year to combat this
vicious disease.

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                                    Advocate Calendar

Disability Concerns, along with two other local organizations, is offering a practical and inspiring conference
the morning of September 9 at Trinity CRC in Jenison, Michigan.

One Body Together in Christ, is not only for people with disabilities and their parents/guardians, but also for
council members, youth leaders, Sunday School teachers, and other leaders in churches who want to enhance
their ministry to persons with disabilities and their families. This is not only for CRC churches, but for any
church wishing to enhance their ministry with people with disabilities.

Barb Newman, noted author and speaker on issues pertaining to children with cognitive differences, will be the
keynote speaker. A brunch will be served followed by an opportunity to participate in two sectionals on a
variety of topics. Please contact the Disability Concerns office 616-224-0801 or e-mail
stephenm@crcna.org.for a brochure with all the information. Registration is $25.00 per participant.

The Great Warming, a documentary on global warming, is being shown at the Wealthy Theatre in Grand
Rapids, MI on September 18 at 7 p.m. Can’t make it? You can also request your own copy of the DVD to show
at a house party with just you and your friends. Visit www.wealthytheatre.org or www.thegreatwarming.com
for more information.

This year’s Micah Challenge Sunday falls on October 15. Stay tuned to the Advocate and crcjustice.org for
more on preparing for Micah Challenge Sunday.

Bread for the World Sunday - Join with churches and worshipping communities across the country…as we
rededicate ourselves to ending hunger in God's world. Bread for the World Sunday is an opportunity for
congregations to give thanks for the work of Bread for the World, which has enabled so many to be effective
advocates for hungry people. It is a chance to pray for those in need and to renew our commitment to share our
abundance with others.

Reserve free worship resources, bulletin inserts and BFW membership brochures to help your congregation
participate in Bread for the World Sunday on October 29 or another Sunday between World Food Day (October
16) and Thanksgiving (November 23).

Visit www.bread.org to learn more and to sign your congregation up.

Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? – Tired of the over-commercialization of the holidays? Alternatives for
Simple Living’s most popular resource, Who’s Birthday Is It, Anyway? helps readers simplify their Advent and
Christmas celebrations. Learn more and order your copy – or enough for your entire congregation! – at
www.simpleliving.org.
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Contact Information:

Editor: Peter Vander Meulen
Canadian Issues Editor: Karen Bokma
Contributing Editor: Meghan Kraley
Managing Editor: Tracy Young
The Advocate is a publication of the Office of Social Justice and Hunger Action of the Christian Reformed
Church in North America
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Contact the OSJHA osjha@crcna.org with any subscription problems or questions, to receive the Advocate via
regular post, or to submit your questions, comments, submissions, etc. regarding The Advocate.

                                       Plug in. Log on. Do justice.
                                           www.crcjustice.org.

				
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