Projects Updates

Care work: Unearthing Joy

The care team have had a busy few months so far in 2015, continuing to meet with individuals and families in their homes, out and about in cafes and clinics, and working with emerging and ongoing challenges, as well as celebrating and acknowledging the positive moments. Our hope is to continue with our ongoing family care projects, as well as putting together respite activities for young people and individuals’, depending on funding and client needs.  This is always a huge focus of the summer months as there are more opportunities to come together, joining in on activities and continuing to build relationships.  We are receiving new referrals from various hospitals, which gives further opportunity to support and care for those living with and affected by HIV.

Upon some reflection, we see our care work a bit like preparing for the Irish weather – you never know exactly what it will bring, but you try to be prepared for whatever is coming!  You acknowledge the rainstorms and work through them, but rejoice when the sunshine is out and appreciate every moment of it.  Some days are chaotic, some are beautiful and many of them are mixed but it really does seem so much easier when you have someone you trust who shows up and stands with you throughout it all.  The care team aim to be the ones who show up in the midst of this, communicating to those we work with, “I hear you, I see you, and I’m here with you.” With the plans we have in place, we also want to acknowledge the space where God leads us to stand in the gap of hardship or isolation or hunger or sickness. We plan to help find goodness and beauty throughout hardships and disappointments, to unearth discarded joy and use it as a resource through those personal battles.  Alongside these ideals for clients, we continue to help source the practical and emotional ways that ACET’s collaborative relationship fits into their life stories.

We look forward to the summer and all of the adventures and opportunities for relationship-building that lie ahead – whether it’s practical resourcing for clients, long chats over cups of tea in an inner-city cafe, a DART journey with young people headed back from the beach singing One Direction songs, or sitting beside someone in an overcrowded hospital; we are blessed to be in it with them, and pray for goodness and joy to abound in it all.

 

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Stories of Belief with LGBT Christians – NEW DATE

We are delighted to annouce a new date for our Stories of Belief event.

On Saturday 25th July (10am-4pm) at the Lucan Centre we will gather leaders of evangelical churches and LGBT Christians. This is the second such event after a fully-booked event in March.

Stories of Belief – Faith and dialogue in a post-referendum Ireland.
We will be speaking with each other in the wake of the referendum on marriage equality, reflecting on the dynamics and tensions of faith, dialogue and sharing. We will also be hearing from first person narratives, learning from experiences of inclusion, and experiences of being misunderstood.
This seminar doesn’t seek to bring all participants to a place of agreement with each other. The seminar rests on the idea that in order for meaningful disagreement to occur, real understanding has to be in place.
People of faith together, LGBT people, supporters of marriage equality, those who are concerned at the outcome – we will seek to embody gospel values as we create a community of discussion and understanding with each other as we explore how we can live well together in a post-referendum Ireland.

Facilitators include: 

Poet, theologian and group worker, Pádraig Ó Tuama is the team leader at the Corrymeela Community. His book of prose and poetry, In the Shelter, is published by Hachette Ireland and is available in all good bookshops.

Richard Carson is the Chief Executive of ACET Ireland and has 15 years experience training on the interactions of faith, sexual health and sexuality around Ireland and in 13 other countries around the world. 

To book a place for the event, which is supported by the Community Foundation for Ireland, please contact Richard Carson at richard(dot)c(at)acet(dot)ie

 

 

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Healthy Church Training completes Year 1

On 23rd May we completed the final Healthy Church training day of the academic year.  These training days, led by highly experienced facilitators, seek to equip church leaders to more effectively address HIV and other health issues within their congregations.

In the last year we have trained over 50 leaders who engage with tens of thousands  of congregants across the country.  Their churches are generally migrant-led and originate in a range of Sub-Saharan African countries. We have also trained the leaders of some multiethnic churches – those in which the leadership team as well as the congregation is multiethnic.

Through the year our team have learnt an enormous amount about training in an intercultural context in which the themes of health, faith and integration interact. We will be spending the next few months completing evaluations and writing up and collating our training materials in preparation for 2015-16.

To read more about how the first half of our academic year went check out our Annual Report.

A big thank you to the Lucan Centre for hosting us over the past year.  We have also worked with groups of leaders in smaller geographical areas such as the North East Inner City of Dublin where we work in partnership with Acts of Compassion Project.

Keep an eye out for announcements of our next round of training in August.

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New dates for Healthy Church training

****UPDATE****

25th April is now fully booked. Places are available for 23rd May but will fill up fast.

We are delighted to announce new dates for our Healthy Church training. These training days, led by highly experienced facilitators, seek to equip church leaders to more effectively address HIV and other health issues within their congregations.

On Saturday 25th April and Saturday 23rd May (both 10:00am-4:30pm) we will host two identical training days. Both will take place at the Lucan Centre, Dublin.

For more details and to register please contact Richard Carson richard(dot)c(at)acet(dot)ie

 

 

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Stories of Belief from LGBT Christians

As part of our fedgling Project Emmaus, we are delighted to announce this upcoming symposium for church leaders:

Stories of belief from LGBT Christians 

 Saturday 7th March, 10am-3pm, Trinity College Dublin Chaplaincy. Lunch will be provided.

 The contemporary discussion about LGBT lives and stories in Ireland is often centred: 

a) on the upcoming referendum 
b) on whether or not LGBT people are a threat to marriage, the family and children. 
 
However, this upcoming event will explore some of the underlying themes, beliefs and stories in our current debate, the human cost of discussions about the causation and cure of being gay, as well the other side of contemporary discussions on the consequences of legitimising LGBT people in all aspects of society, inclusion and leadership. 
 
Our time together will include:
  • Hearing stories
  • Theological exploration
  • Group Discussion
  • Learning how to hear each other well. 
  • Practising the art of listening. 

Facilitators include:

Poet, theologian and group worker, Pádraig Ó Tuama is the team leader at the Corrymeela Community. His book of prose and poetry, In the Shelter, is published by Hachette Ireland and is available in all good bookshops.

Richard Carson is the Chief Executive of ACET Ireland and has 15 years experience training on the interactions of faith, sexual health and sexuality around Ireland and in 13 other countries around the world, including through an award-winning Masters degree in Trinity College Dublin. 

 This event is part of a fledgling project of ACET Ireland which explores the interface of LGBT and faith issues and is funded by the LGBT Communities Fund of the Community Foundation of Ireland. It is being held in partnership with the Corrymeela Community and the TCD Methodist Chaplaincy.

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World AIDS Day – Close the Gap

Check out this guest blog post by Richard Carson for VOX magazine on the occasion of World AIDS Day 2014:

Planning events for the last few World AIDS Days has generated an interesting dilemma for those of us working in the sector. The quandary is that, on the one hand, the brand of “World AIDS Day” remains popular with the general public. While, on the other hand, the good news emerging is that the annual day’s title is increasingly becoming an inaccurate description…..Continue reading.

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2015: Looking Forward

We closed out 2014 visiting with clients and client families and offering practical support in the form of Christmas hampers. What has been striking about the start of the New Year is the need for many people to talk, reflect and take the necessary time to refocus before moving forward in to 2015. It is at this critical moment ACET care staff spend time planning and discussing with clients how we can continue to support them with ongoing needs while also establishing new goals in areas including health, finances and family relationships. While we look forward to seeing what 2015 holds for our care work we recognise that it is these times of transition which often act as a reference point as challenges emerge in the months that follow. With this in mind our work will prioritise this time allowing it to frame care strategies as we wait to see how the year unfolds.

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Happy Days: Summer Project

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It’s hard to believe that the summer is already over and the kids have gone back to school!  But as we look back over the summer youth project, it’s great to be able to say that there were many gems to take from the time and activities we spent with them.  We had lots of God-given opportunities to walk alongside them and explore various needs, hopes, dreams, and positives in each of their lives, as well as have a bit of fun and make great memories with their peers.

The activities included trips out to Bray (for beach picnics and rock-skipping fun), Adventure Golf, ‘Manicures & Milkshakes’ day with the teenage girls, Aquatic Centre, cinema and Sea-Life.

We had a fantastic opportunity to bring one of our biggest groups yet of young people and their families to Cavan Centre for a residential trip in beautiful, sunny July for a multitude of activities and some unforgettable moments together.

The summer proved to be an essential time for really journeying with each young person in where they are in their own lives, as well as being able to link in with their families more as a result.  It laid a great foundation for the continuing youth & family care work and we will continue to assess and review what the best care support would look like for each young person in the months ahead.  More than anything, it was a privilege and blessing to share some laughs and special memories with these amazing young people, and to be allowed insight into their lives and how we might be able to support them.

A big thank you to CDYSB, Crosscare and Trinity Church coffee bar for their funding and support of this project.

If you’re interested in supporting this aspect of our work through finances or prayer (or both!), please contact us below to find out how to get involved.  If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer for future youth activities, you can also contact us to find out more details about upcoming volunteer training.

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Healthy Church Training

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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.”

“Brilliant!”

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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.

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God Loves Uganda film event at Dublin Pride

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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.

 

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