Hekima College

The Jesuit School of Theology

Nairobi, Kenya


Elective course: Our Church, HIV/AIDS and Us (TE4)


I. Course description and content:


The modern epidemic known as HIV/AIDS is a relatively new sign of the times, but it has already kindled a mighty fire in the combustible terrain of Africa’s troubled history and societies. No one is immune to the ravages of this epidemic. It confronts society as it confronts the church of Africa with myriad challenges. Yet from a theological perspective it offers the community called church a kairos moment: a time to choose and act in the example of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This course examines particular issues spurned by the AIDS epidemic in the church and the impact it has on the Body of Christ -- issues such as: statistics and epidemiological patterns, myths of origin, various responses by the church, pastoral challenges, ecclesiastical documents, the clergy and religious living with AIDS, cultural attitudes, orphans and women in the time of AIDS, and contested ethical issues relating to prevention and treatment.

This course is designed as an interactive and practical course. Students and auditors will be required to do background research and reading on different contents of the course. To help deepen our understanding of issues surrounding the AIDS epidemic, the course will draw on various resource persons working in frontline AIDS ministries.

This course is jointly sponsored by Hekima College, Nairobi, Kenya, and the African Jesuits AIDS Network (AJAN), Nairobi, Kenya. Two interns from AJAN will participate as auditors. Materials will be presented and taught by A. E. Orobator, SJ. and Michael Czerny, SJ (Director, AJAN).


II. Course Chronology


Week One August 31, 2005

n      Introduction

n      Ground rules and expectations

n      Group sharing/discussion: How I have been affected and/or infected by HIV/AIDS?

n      History and anatomy of an epidemic


Week Two September 7, 2005

n     Statistics and epidemiology of AIDS; myths of origin and enduring misconceptions; attitudes towards HIV/AIDS by Christian and religious groups

n      Survey of key documents on HIV/AIDS and African Jesuit AIDS Network


Week Three September 14, 2005

n      Silence of the Church and AIDS: stigma, stigmatizing attitudes and behaviour (Rev. Ed Phillips)


Week Four September 21, 2005

n      Personal dimensions of AIDS ministry and pastoral dimensions and challenges to the parish. (Bro. Alain Rageneau).


Week Five September 28, 2005

n      Women and orphans

n      Living with AIDS: a personal testimony (TBA)


Week Six October 5, 2005

n      HIV/AIDS and the clergy/religious of Africa

n      Living with AIDS: a personal testimony (TBA)


Week Seven October 19, 2005

n      Contested issues: admission to religious life and seminaries of PWA; methods of prevention


Week Eight October 26, 2005

n      Our church, HIV/AIDS and us: a synthesis


A. E. Orobator, SJ. and Michael Czerny, SJ.