Led by the mother body Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), the protestant churches have agreed to engage more in matters of the family unit in order to stop the HIV and AIDS pandemic which has taken its toll on the Malawian population.
The group is in the process of analysing the Malawian cultural and spiritual context to form part of a training manual on HIV and AIDS being developed by 11 member countries.
Since the church formulates a bigger constituency in the country, the churches say matters of human dignity, gender issues and youth abuse can best be dealt with from the pulpit and church events with impact.
“If as the church we do not break the silence and yet our people are infected and affected, it will mean that we are condemning ourselves to the scourge. We should look at the HIV and AIDS pandemic which now seems not to take centre stage in daily issues, and yet it is killing more people, so that we serve humanity,” expressed MCC’s general secretary, Rev. Dr. Joda-Mbewe in the capital city Lilongwe.
Under the OneBody program, the churches conduct awareness amongst its faiths and general communities with a view of accepting the sick body of ‘Christ’ and in renewing hope and trust in infected and affected people. The church has been long known for having discriminated and causing stigma to its membership that used to be labeled as ‘adulterous’ once found positive.
“This should not be the case anymore. We have realised for a long time now that people need to be accorded their dignity even when sick. Women should not be seen as and accused of being adulterous when found HIV positive. We also need to impart into our youths that both alcohol and other forms of abuse are not good for their well-being and future,” he said on the side of the half-day dialogue meeting on OneBody.
The program believes that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one, and as such people are one – but only with ‘many parts’.
Supported by the Fellowship of Christian Churches in Southern Africa (FOCCISA), the dialogue attracted 20 religious leaders who are part of the team developing a training manual/guide on HIV and AIDS and the church to be used by 11 countries across the world.
Under a partnership with Scandinavian/Nordic countries, the African continent runs the program which has a OneBody health, economy and justice sub-body based in Zambia but chaired by Rev. Dr. Joda-Mbewe, whose objectives are to spearhead awareness on HIV and AIDS in the face of the church.