Samaritan Ministries provides what is called The Samaritan Model for reaching out to people with HIV/AIDS in our community. Many of their points indicated here can be useful to our churches. The first step in changing the relationship between the HIV/AIDS community and the church is to provide opportunities for church members to learn about HIV/AIDS. The can be done through educational programs that should include the following:
A Christian Response to AIDS is a great brochure that can be used for discussion in your church. This brochure discusses scripture and the need for service and compassion to those dealing with HIV/AIDS.
This brochure is published by Channing Bete which has a number of educational brochures regarding HIV/AIDS.
It is vital that the position of the church be one that provides a non-judgemental and compassionate approach to serving the needs of those suffering with HIV/AIDS without questions the guilt or innocence of the person. We don’t need to know ‘how they got it.’
Ministering in the community:
There is a great mistrust in the HIV community concerning the church and much of this mistrust is warranted. Messages of hate and condemnation from Christian people have caused many people to view the church as the enemy. It takes time to change these perceptions. Some guidelines that might help:
AIDS - Finding Hope and Compassion – this brochure by Bill Crowder, seeks to open our hearts and minds to the history of crisis, the human toll it is exacting, and Christian response that mirrors the spirit of Christ. You can obtain this brochure through the Discovery Series or review the contents in the attached AIDS - Finding Hope and Compassion PDF file.
Additional Church Resources are available at Samaritan Ministry http://samaritancentral.org/
Other websites to review:
Center for Disease Control (CDC) www.cdc.gov/nineandahalfminutes/index.html
CDC HIV/AIDS Resource – www.cdc.gov/hiv
Complete HIV/AIDS Resource www.TheBody.com
Rick and Kay Warren’s HIV/AIDS Newsletter www.hivandthechurch.com
Comprehensive Resource for HIV Information – www.stophiv.us
He Intends Victory - http://heintendsvictory.org/
Act Against AIDS - http://www.actagainstaids.org/
Find ways to support the work and the need in our community.
Support local agencies – Find non-profit groups in your community that are helping and help them both physically and with money.
Support The Evangelicals Schubert/Shears Scholarship Fund which helps people living with HIV/AIDS who have financial need attend the annual conference. (Hyperlink to our Donate page.)
Support national and international organizations – have a favorite? Let us know and we can link to them.
Camp Laughing Child in Mexico for Children impacted by HIV/AIDS - http://www.laughingchild.org/