The Countdown to Zero: Just Save One conference ended Sept. 13 at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver with participants tasked to take what they've learned to the outside world.
"Talk to people we meet about HIV and AIDS," said Aaron Shipman-Negrete of the Colorado Department of Health on the subject of "What Can One Person Do?". "The simple act of having a conversation is one of the biggest steps anyone can take."
Rev. Don Messer, who is the executive director of the Center for the Church and Global AIDS and co-chair of Countdown to Zero, reinforced Shipman-Negrete's views: "We cannot go away from this conference complacent," he said. "We need to press the issue of compassion. We need to bring the good news of Countdown to Zero to the whole world."
Leaders and participants from each track session reported on what was discussed and what action plan they will be taking. Youth from the Native American Young People and Human Sexuality session each talked about their take-aways from the event. Responses included talking to people about HIV/AIDS, putting up fliers with information and facing the issue with hope.
Each conference attendee was then asked to write down on a notecard her or his plan for HIV and AIDS ministry. The notecards were then collected and blessed by Rev. Youngsook Kang, director of Mission and Ministry for the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist Church, and co-chair of Countdown to Zero: Just Save One.
Do not even think of pausing. ... The human dignity of every person is depending on it." - Rev. Joan Carter-Rimbach, Hyattsville UMC in Hyattsville, MD and member of the United Methodst Global AIDS Fund Committee.
The conference closed with a worship service featuring Rev. Joan Carter-Rimbach, of Hyattsville UMC in Hyattsville, MD, and a member of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee.
"The church must affirm every human life is a reflection of divinity," said Carter-Rimbach. "Our task is an arduous one. Do not even think of pausing. ... The human dignity of every person is depending on it."