Bishops Endorse 20/20 AIDS-Free Initiative
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer is one of 55 United Methodist bishops that has endorsed the 20/20: Visioning an AIDS-Free World initiative by lending their personal and financial support. This effort by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee seeks to mobilize the denomination to raise $5 million for HIV and AIDS education, prevention, care, and treatment around the world.
Retired Bishop Fritz Mutti, Kansas City, Missouri, notes that “United Methodist episcopal leaders believe that global health is integral to the mission of Christ’s Church. They are committed to overcoming the stigma often associated with AIDS and fueled by some religious leaders.”
Each bishop not only lent their name to the fund-raising project, but also shared their own financial resources. Gifts range from $20 donations to $20 a month until 2020. Some have joined the “2020” club pledging $2,020.
The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee recently recognized the top 11 giving Annual Conferences: Holston, Baltimore-Washington, Virginia, West Ohio, Louisiana, Kansas East, Central Texas, California-Pacific, Rocky Mountain, West Virginia, and Susquehanna. With the help of these and other conferences, plus many individuals, more than $3 million has been raised and distributed to over 200 programs in 38 countries.
Donald E. Messer, chairperson of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee, Centennial, Colorado, thanked the bishops and hailed the leading conferences for their generosity. Messer reports that “Lives have been saved, orphans helped, infections prevented, and suffering eased. The healing ministry of Jesus Christ continues around the world.”
Contributions are designated for the UMCOR Advance No. 982345 and gifts are given either through the local church or sent to UMCOR’s office at PO Box 9068, New York, New York 10087. When gifts are given through the local church, the annual conference may reserve 25% to use in AIDS ministry sponsored by the conference. The other 75% is administered by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee.