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UM Global AIDS Committee will break barriers at 2018 conference

'Breaking Barriers' is the theme of the 2018 conference sponsored by The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee
'Breaking Barriers' is the theme of the 2018 conference sponsored by The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee

The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee

February 23, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana: Saving lives, reducing stigma and increasing awareness will be core foci of the 2018 Breaking Barriers HIV/AIDS ministry conference, scheduled for October 25-27 at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. The gathering, hosted by the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee, will bring together leaders in HIV/AIDS research, advocacy and ministry.

"This conference is a unique opportunity for the Church to unite on the journey to create an AIDS-free world," said committee chair Bishop Julius C. Trimble of the Indiana Annual Conference. "We will join together to overcome stigma related to HIV and AIDS, offer comfort to those living with HIV and AIDS, stand alongside those working in education and prevention, as well as discover ways that we can become better in our ministry efforts."

Dynamic conference speakers, knowledgeable panelists and powerful worship leaders will bring messages of hope, healing and inspiration. Special guests include Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy Ambassador Dr. Deborah Birx, AIDS activist Hydeia Broadbent, East Ohio Annual Conference Bishop Tracy Smith Malone and many more. 

Conference attendees can expect opportunities for learning, sharing and connection. Immersive pre-conference mission experiences will offer a chance to delve deeper into HIV/AIDS challenges and meaningful stories, such as a visit to the Ryan White exhibit at the Indianapolis Children's Museum and a mission activity at the Damien Center, an AIDS service organization.

Attendees will attend their choice of diverse workshop presentations throughout the conference, each facilitated by leaders of various HIV and AIDS initiatives. Topics include Global Perspectives and Trends, Opioid Epidemic and HIV, HIV and TB, Pediatric AIDS, HIV Retreats and Healing Weekends, Seminary Education and Healing the Sick, among others.

A call for papers for the following workshop topics is open until April 15. Anyone with knowledge to share on these subjects is welcome to submit a proposal for workshop consideration. Papers will undergo review by the event committee; chosen presenters will be included in a final workshop agenda.
• Research on HIV/AIDS
• Gender issues and HIV
• Living with HIV/AIDS
• Human Sexuality and HIV 
• Needs of People Aging with HIV

Further details and registration information are available online, including a scholarship application for those in need of financial assistance in order to attend. The conference fee is $125, which includes four meals, and a discounted housing group rate is available at a nearby hotel. The registration deadline is October 1.

Participants can expect to return home from the conference feeling inspired, empowered and prepared to strengthen HIV/AIDS ministry initiatives in their communities. The conference is open to anyone with an interest in reaching out to the HIV/AIDS community with a message of love. 

Co-sponsors of the conference include: Christian Theological Seminary, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Indiana Annual Conference, Michigan Area Annual Conference, Indiana University Health, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, RESULTS, United Theological Seminary and University of Indianapolis.


About the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee
The United Methodist Global AIDS Committee (UMGAC) provides resources and training to annual conferences and local churches, engaging them in HIV and AIDS education and advocacy. This work reduces stigma and provides greater opportunity for welcoming all people into the church. The committee is comprised of members from the Council of Bishops, Discipleship Ministries, General Board of Church and Society, General Board of Global Ministries, Rocky Mountain Annual Conference, United Methodist Communications and United Methodist Women.

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