World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / What we do / Health and healing

Health and healing

This project supports the churches' work in the field of health and healing with particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS, mental health, and the promotion of reconciliation and the "healing of memories".
Health and healing

Young mother with her new born baby at Karen Baptist Convention's health care centre

This project supports the churches' work in the field of health and healing with particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS, mental health, and the promotion of reconciliation and the "healing of memories".

The WCC's relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations such as UNICEF and UNAIDS allows it to facilitate networking and advocacy on behalf of church-related health networks. By enabling them to participate in official WHO meetings, and channelling their input to the World Health Assembly, it provides a way for civil society to influence the global governance of resources for health for all.

By stimulating dialogue among faith-based networks and within civil society, it contributes to reflection on the theological basis of medical mission as well as to the development of new concepts of Christian health care.

While many organizations are working on HIV, this project focuses on enhancing the competency of churches and related networks to deal with HIV. In 2007, it is conducting regionally-based theological studies on HIV in two regions - sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean; and compiling, publishing and disseminating information on church action and lessons learned.

The project challenges churches to include persons living with HIV in their lives, develops mechanisms for measuring churches' competencies in dealing with HIV, and encourages churches to adapt the model of the Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa (EHAIA) in their own regions.

The project partners with the WHO to equip faith communities to become more engaged in mental health issues (including addiction, suicide and depression), and to address the concerns facing those who care for people with mental health problems. An advisory group meeting, focal country studies and two regional consultations on mental health will help develop contextual resources and a toolkit for faith communities to engage with mental health.

With the help of ecumenical research institutes with experience in this area, the project is paving the way towards work on the "Healing of memories and reconciling communities". The idea is for churches and faith communities to become safe spaces where people can seek and grant forgiveness, thus promoting a culture of healing and reconciliation.

Using the Contact magazine, which is available in print and electronic format, and key annual events like World Health Day and World AIDS Day, the project acts as a channel for sharing key information from different facets of the healing ministry with a wide spectrum of stakeholders.

Contact is a publication of the World Council of Churches that is now being published by key partners from different regions of the world. The current issue, as well as back issues can be downloaded here.

Related News

Faith groups must act for children to “Super Fast Track” out of HIV, say experts

Faith groups must act for children to “Super Fast Track” out of HIV, say experts

To help the world’s children become HIV-free, faith groups must help bring UN goals to life through strong advocacy, rapid action and unprecedented collaboration, say experts. Children must be helped onto a “Super Fast Track” to end AIDS or they will die at what Dr Stuart Kean describes as a “shocking” rate.

AIDS2016 pushes faith communities to respond to epidemic’s new challenges

AIDS2016 pushes faith communities to respond to epidemic’s new challenges

The 21st International AIDS Conference, which concluded July 22, had its normal dose of science speak, with seminars and workshops ranging from new vaccine trials to the testing of a vaginal ring that appears to dramatically lower the risk of HIV infection in women.

AIDS 2016: Coverage of faith response to HIV

AIDS 2016: Coverage of faith response to HIV

People of faith and representatives of faith-based organizations demonstrated their commitment to meet the “Fast Track” challenges to end the AIDS epidemic at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, 18-22 July. Extensive coverage of faith-based participation is available via www.iacfaith.org. Articles, video and photos will continue to be added.