The visit, which took place last November, was one of a series of regional meetings to decide the future priorities of the Alliance. It included a study day learning about St John’s innovative outreach projects, which include a HIV education centre and a mission for migrant workers.
Inspired by witnessing the work of the St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre, Father Herbert put forward a vision of a similar project in the Philippines to Anglican agency Primates World Relief and Development Fund, who also attended the Alliance meeting and will provide funding for the project.
According to Father Herbert, the Executive Director of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente’s regional office for development in Cebu, the church in Hong Kong’s ‘work and its significant contribution to address the issues and concerns about HIV and AIDS has inspired me to engage our office in similar activity here in Cebu City and contribute to the worldwide efforts of prevention if not eradication of HIV and AIDs’.
The HIV Education Centre in Hong Kong was the first, and is so far the only, faith-based organization to undertake the AIDS ministry there. It was founded in 1995 and aims to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDs through targeted educational programmes.
The Iglesia Filipina Independiente has a very close working relationship with the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, who invited their colleagues on the Hong Kong visit. The church has a long history of supporting marginalised people and taking a stand against oppression, including working in humanitarian relief and social development and running a special project supporting human rights defenders.