All Africa Conference of Churches

David and Roxi Owen - Kenya

THE COVENANT DOCUMENT ON HIV/AIDS

Preamble

The Lord God is the creator of heaven and earth; the creator of all life forms in the earth community. He created all life and everything good. In this HIV/AIDS Era, he sees the misery of his people, who are infected and affected by this disease; He has heard their cry on the account of this epidemic. He knows their sufferings and he has come down to deliver them from HIV/AIDS. So he calls to send us to the infected and affected, to bring his people, his creation, out of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Now therefore this Assembly recognizes God’s call to us and hence makes this covenant with God today:

Covenant 1: Life and HIV/AIDS Prevention

We shall remember, proclaim and act on the fact that the Lord our God created all people and all life and created life very good (Gen. 1-2). We shall, therefore, seriously and effectively undertake HIV/AIDS prevention for all people—Christians and non-Christians, married and single, young and old, women and men, poor and rich, black, white, yellow, all people everywhere—for this disease destroys life and its goodness, thus violating God’s creation and will.

Covenant 2: Love and HIV/AIDS Care

We shall remember, proclaim and act on the fact that love is from God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their sisters and brothers are liars, for unless you love your sisters and brothers whom you see, you cannot love God whom you have never seen (I John 4:7-21). We shall, therefore, do all that is necessary and within our power to encourage both men and women to love, care, support ad heal all those who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in our communities, countries, and continent.

Covenant 3: Treatment and HIV/AIDS Drugs

We shall remember, proclaim and act on the fact that the earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord and that He has given it over to all human beings for custodianship (Ps. 24:1 & Gen. 1:29). We shall therefore openly and persistently undertake prophetic and advocacy roles for all the infected who are denied access to affordable HIV/AIDS drugs until anti-retrovirals are available to all who need them. Covenant 4: Compassion, HIV/AIDS Stigma & Discrimination

We shall remember, proclaim and act on the fact that the Lord our God, is a compassionate God, who calls upon us to be compassionate, to suffer with those who suffer, to enter their places and hearts of pain and to seek lasting change of their suffering (Luke 6:36; Matt. 25:31-46). We shall therefore have zero tolerance for HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination and do all that is necessary to eliminate the isolation, rejection, fear and oppression of the infected and affected in our communities. We shall declare HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination an unacceptable sin before God and all believers and in all our communities.

Covenant 5: Poverty and HIV/AIDS

We shall remember, proclaim and act on the fact that the Lord our God, who created all the resources of the earth, blessed both women and men and gave them the resources of the earth for their sustenance (Gen. 1:28-29). We shall, therefore, work to empower all the poor and denounce all the cultural, national and international structures, laws, and policies that have condemned billions to poverty, thus denying them their God-given rights, and in the HIV/AIDS era, exposing them to infection and denying them quality care and treatment.

Covenant 6: Gender Inequalities and HIV/AIDS

We shall remember, proclaim and act on the fact that the Lord our God created humankind in his image. In his image, he created them male and female, he blessed them both and gave both of them leadership and resources in the earth; he made them one in Christ (Gen. 1:27-29; Gal 3:28-29). We shall, therefore, denounce gender inequalities that lead boys and men to risky behavior, domination and violence; that deny girls and women leadership, decision making powers and property ownership thus exposing them to violence, witchcraft accusation, widow dispossession, survival sex—fueling HIV/AIDS infection and lack of quality care and treatment.

Covenant 7: Children and HIV/AIDS

We shall remember, proclaim and act on the fact that the Lord our God welcomes children. He has given his kingdom to them and he is the father of all orphans (Mark 9:33-37; 10:13-16; Psalm 68:5 & Psalm 146:9). We shall, therefore, work to empower and protect all children and denounce all the national and international structures, cultures, policies, laws and practices that expose children to sexual abuse and exploitation, HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination, dispossession and poverty thus exposing them to HIV/AIDS infection and lack of quality care.

Covenant 8: Church, PLWAs and HIV/AIDS

We shall remember, proclaim and act on the ft that we are one body of Christ and if one member suffers, we all suffer together with it; that the Lord our God identifies with the suffering and marginalized and heals the sick (1 Cor 14:26; Matt. 25:31-46). We shall, therefore, become a community of compassion and healing, a safe place for all PLWAs to live openly and productively with their status.

Covenant 9: Human Sexuality and HIV/AIDS

We shall remember, proclaim and act on the fact that the Lord our God created human sexuality and created it good (Gen. 2:18-25). We shall, therefore, test for infection, denounce sexual violence, abstain before marriage, be faithful in marriage and practice protected sex to avoid HIV/AIDS infection and plunder on life, for all life is sacred and prevention should be seriously pursued to protect life.

Covenant 10: Justice and HIV/AIDS

We shall remember, proclaim and act on the fact that the Lord our God sees, hears, and knows the suffering of people and comes down to liberate them (Ex. 3:1-12; Luke 4:16-22). We shall, therefore, declare the jubilee and we shall proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all its inhabitants (Lev. 25:10), for unless and until justice is served to all people in the world, until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, HIV/AIDS cannot be uprooted.

Adopted at the AACC 8th General Assembly
Yaounde, Cameroon
22-27, November, 2003

Roxi and David Owen

David and Roxi Owen are missionaries with the World Council of Churches located in Nairobi, Kenya. David serves as the Program Executive forEcumenical Focus on Africa. Roxi works with the Rosslyn Academy located in Nairobi, Kenya. She serves as a teacher.