In preparing for the fourth training event for our Pastoral and Congregational Care Training (PACCT) program, I wrote this little dittie and emailed it to Gabriel, our Country Director:

Mobilize the PACCT Committee

Assemble all the troops

PACCT IV is on the loose!

Moira Chimombo is coming

as is Dr. C. and his team*

Dr. Gaston stands ready

with angel Gabriel abeam

March 10 is the date!

But where shall we meet?

How shall we proceed?

And what shall we eat?

At the end of the day

when all is said and done,

We finally will have the Program

that shall not be undone.

The day of training unfolded beautifully. The PACCT Committee decided to meet in the comfortable conference room of St. John of God hospital in Mzuzu. A total of 22 participants from the previous workshops arrived ready to do good and important work.

Draft #1 of the PACCT Traning Manual was reviewed and revised page by page, section by section, to every one’s satisfaction. Fascinating questions and issues surfaced such as the role of persons with HIV as trainers in the churches, and whether circumcision really reduces the chances of AIDS infection, and how to stop predatory behaviour in the public schools, and more than I can’t share on a blog.

Lillian, an AIDS activist, herself diagnosed and coping with HIV/AIDS, leads a discussion at the training event. She also serves as Chair of the Presbyterian AIDS Program in Malawi and board member of CitiHope Malawi.

Dr. Andy Gaston, Medical Director of the Presbyterian AIDS Program, leads discussion on what sections of the Training Manual should be removed and what should be included in the final version.

Dr. Donald Messer presented a compelling summary of the “Alphabet of Life” including the ABC’s of AIDS prevention and DEF of Development, Equality of Gender, and Development.

Bob Robinson, a pastoral Counselor from Baltimore, offered an introduction to Pastoral Counseling with attention to developing empathetic listening skills.

Rev. William Mumba engages in group discussion over the problem of stigma in the churches.Bring forth the Training Manual

PACCT participants are ready for PACCT V –a 5 day training the trainers event–in June after the revised Manual is ready. What delighted me most was to hear all the participants claim ownership of the Training Manual that was two years in the making: “This is very unique. This is our manual. We produced it. It’s not top down but bottom up”, etc. They are rightfully proud of what the group has produced as AIDS prevention curriculum for the churches.