At the end of July, twelve church leaders from around Ireland gathered at the Lucan Centre for our Healthy Church event as part of Project Hope. The goal was to address health issues within our faith communities with a particular focus on the challenges that migrants to Ireland face in relation to overcoming barriers to health. In line with ACET’s ethos, the approach of the training was to explore the possibilities of raising a culture of empathetic listening in our faith communities rather than just passing on information or skills. By focussing on areas such as HIV and mental health we sought to equip the leaders with all they need to bring about such change. In our post-event evaluation 100% of participants agreed that the members of their church would benefit from their leaders attendance at the event.
We are grateful to Prof. Adebola Adedimeji of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York for his support and expertise. Prof Adedimeji will continue to research this area so look out for publications in peer-reviewed journals in the near future. In addition, Vivienne Murtagh of ACET brought her gifted training and facilitation skills to the event, while Juliet Amamure of Diaspora Women’s Initiative added a profound personal touch to ensure that we remained focussed on who we are serving. We are grateful to the Global Health Center of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the PA Foundation and Dublin City Council for their support. We are excited about entering the next phase of Project Hope with the support of Community Foundation Ireland and the MAC AIDS Fund.
Here’s what some of the participants had to say afterwards:
“The emphasis on building a culture of empathetic listening was the best part. I really benefitted from the listening skills.”
“You are doing a great work. Please don’t relent in your efforts.”
If you want to keep updated on when and where the next training will be taking place then click below on “Partner” with “Project Hope” in the comment and we will be in touch with more details.
On 21st June we were delighted to partner with the National LGBT Federation
(NXF) for a Dublin Pride showing of God Loves Uganda.
The Irish Film Institute
in Temple Bar, Dublin was the venue for this provocative and disturbing documentary. In the film Oscar-winning (Music by Prudence
) director Roger Ross Williams examines the role of US evangelical groups in the development and passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda.
After the showing a panel which included ACET Ireland CEO Richard Carson, Juliet Amamure of Diaspora Women’s Initiative
and Patrick Lynch formerly of Evangelical Alliance Ireland and NXF discussed the film including the challenge of identifying appropriate responses. Over 60 people from a range of backgrounds from church leaders to LGBT community leaders to Uganda diaspora members turned up on a sunny Saturday to be part of the event.
Earlier in the month we also had a showing of the documentary for staff of faith-based international development agencies and we are grateful to Pádraig O’Tuama
for sharing with us his experiences and expertise. This event was part of Project Emmaus
, our fledgling work exploring the interface of faith and LGBT issues in Ireland and was funded by Community Foundation Ireland
. God Loves Uganda
can be purchased on Amazon
or contact us by clicking on ‘Partner” below and mentioning the movie in the comment box for details of future educational showings.
We are delighted to announce a new partnership with the M·A·C AIDS Fund UK. They will be supporting Project Hope as we seek to transform the story of HIV in Migrant-Led churches across Ireland through the training of leaders. These churches are important and positive community supports for many people living with HIV. It is broadly acknowledged though that the experience of those living with HIV within these settings has been mixed in terms of leadership, pastoral support and health promotion.This partnership will allow us to deliver training that will change this and allow these churches to further flourish in the values of faith, hope and love that are central to their existence.
The M·A·C AIDS Fund is the largest corporate non-pharmaceutical donor in the area of HIV. They join with Community Foundation Ireland, the PA Foundation and Dublin City Council by supporting Project Hope. If you want to keep updated on when and where this training will be taking place then click below on “Partner” with “Project Hope” in the comment and we will be in touch with more details.
Is HIV still an issue in Ireland? Are there still new cases of this preventable infection? Most people in Ireland are unsure how to answer this question. However for the past few years we have had almost one new case per day in this country and this figure is rising significantly. Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (www.hpsc.ie) shows that in the first 15 weeks of 2014 there were 126 new cases of HIV. That’s a 50% increase on the same period last year. We are waiting to hear from the HPSC on the possible routes of transmission of these cases but we know that Men who have sex with Men and Heterosexual transmission continue to be areas of concern.
Recently Richard Carson, CEO of ACET Ireland, was among the first 12 HIV experts in Europe trained in Succeed, a quality improvement tool developed by Quality Action, the World Health Organisation approved agency tasked with improving quality in HIV-prevention across Europe. At the training Richard heard that “we will not treat our way out of the pandemic” – a statement that reflects that while we are delighted that treatment for HIV continues to improve, we need to continue to focus on prevention. Does the incidence of HIV in Ireland surprise you? How do you think we should respond? We would love to hear your comments.