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Red Bird Missionary Conference Meets AIDS Fund Raising Challenge

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
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Web site:www.umc.org

For Immediate Release
Jan. 4, 2006

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Red Bird Missionary Conference Meets AIDS Fund Raising Challenge

NASHVILLE - The Red Bird Missionary Conference is leading the way in meeting the fund raising goal of a dollar for every U.S. member to support HIV and AIDS education, prevention and treatment. The 1,385-member conference donated $1,400 to the Global AIDS Fund, bringing the total amount collected to date to $51,800.

The people in Red Bird Missionary Conference know what it means to struggle with issues that seem insurmountable and know from experience the blessing of being part of a connectional church. While we are often on the receiving side of the church's missional effort, we also have a deep passion for being in mission," said Bishop James R. King, Jr. of the Louisville Episcopal Area.

The 2004 General Conference established the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund to create global partnerships for HIV/AIDS ministry and provide support for such projects. The fund raising goal for this quadrennium is $8 million. Annual conferences have been asked to help in this effort by raising $1 for each of their members.

While Red Bird is the first annual conference to meet that mark, a number of other annual conferences passed resolutions supporting global AIDS awareness and fund raising this year, including Rocky Mountain, Dakotas, Wisconsin, South Indiana, North Georgia, Kansas East, and Iowa.

"The Red Bird Missionary Conference may be our smallest in terms of members, but they certainly have lots of heart," said Bishop Fritz Mutti, Chairman of the Global AIDS Fund Committee. "They are a model of connectional responsibility. If we each do our part, we can have an impact in the worldwide battle against this devastating disease."

The latest report on AIDS from the United Nations indicates that HIV infection rates have decreased in certain countries such as Kenya and Zimbabwe, but overall trends in HIV transmission are still increasing. There were more than five million new infections in 2005, bringing the estimated number of people living with HIV to 40.3 million. The report states that three million people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2005, including more than a half million children.