Dozens of Church leaders and faith actors from various denominations in Liberia are brainstorming in a three-day HIV/AIDS Consultative Dialogue ongoing at the headquarters of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCL) on 11th Street in Monrovia.
The dialogue seeks to discuss the most possible ways in which church leaders and faith actors could work with their respective congregations and members to highlight the danger associated with the HIV virus.
There are indications that Liberia lacks clear statistics on the number of church leaders and workers, who may be living with or affected by the deadly HIV/AIDS disease and what role the church could play in helping affected leaders and workers go through counseling.
The consultation further seeks to discuss ways through which affected individuals may be cared for in a more positive and responsible manner to avoid stigmatizing, while strengthening their faith in God and His love for mankind.
Liberia Council of Churches (LCL) President Bishop Kortu Brown, who officially opens the forum, welcomes both male and female church leaders in attendance, encouraging them to be frank and open in their three-day deliberation and make concrete recommendations that would assist the church of God to provide further leadership and guidance to congregations about the HIV/AIDS disease.
Bishop Brown stresses that church leaders and faith actors are responsible to seek wellbeing of their congregations especially, persons affected or maybe living with the HIV/AIDS disease through prayers and assistance.
Participants through their churches’ representatives would make digital presentations, advancing means and ways in which the church could fight the deadly virus among various congregations.
Some HIV/AIDS specialists here say it is difficult to know if a member of a congregation or a church leader has the virus because they might be shame to disclose their status to avoid stigmatization.
A church leader attending the consultation, who prefers to remain anonymous, notes that he was shocked to know that a member of his congregation whom he has been supervising for over five years, was discovered to be living with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Therefore, he calls on church leaders and faith actors to frankly discuss the issue and come up with strategies how the church could protect those who may be affected by the deadly disease, while taking them thru counseling. By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne