Saddleback HIV / AIDS Conference Summary
The following is a brief summary written by Liz Swanson
The Conference opened with Rick and Kay Warren delivering a message entitled:
“How God Got Our Attention and Taught Us to Care about People with HIV/AID”
Kay was drawn to an article written about the HIV/AIDS pandemic. She couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d read in regards to the suffering and the scope of the issues. It was she who alerted Rick to the importance of the churches engagement.
They addressed three obstacles that have kept us from caring:
We have been afraid of catching a disease
We have been afraid of what others will think (supporting homosexuality etc.)
We have been afraid of the scope; it’s just too big
They addressed our obligation; why we must care:
We have been blessed so that we may bless others
Jesus modeled compassion
The problem demands it
God commands it
“Developing Your Church’s AIDS Ministry”
Given by a group of speakers:
Kay and Rick Warren, Bishop Charles Blake: West Los Angles Church of God, Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell: Windsor Village UMC, Rev. Frances Karemera Anglican Diocese of Kigali, Rwanda.
C-care for and comfort the weak
H-handle the testing and counseling
U-unleash a volunteer group of compassion
R-resource them, remove the stigma
C-champion the need to prevent HIV/AIDS (abstinence programs)
H-help with nutrition and medication
Rick Warren also reviewed the PEACE Plan
Bill and Lynne Hybels spoke. They told their stories concerning how they became involved in the HIV/AIDS ministry. They were contacted by Bono of U2. Lynne flew out to meet with him in England. After that meeting, Lynne was so moved; she initiated the ministry at their Willow Creek.
Their suggestions for starting an HIV/AIDS ministry in a church:
Sew a little bit of seed.
Sew the seed winsomely
Sew the seed with hope
Let it grow
While you wait for it to grow, educate yourself
When you begin to plan, plan as if you have plenty of money and plenty of staff
Choose high-capacity volunteers to do your leading
Move the way of compassion and God will meet you along the way.
Global Estimates for Adults and Children:
People living with AIDS………40.3 million
New HIV infections in 2005…...4.9 million
Deaths due to AIDS in 2005…...3.imillion
Adults and Children Estimated to be Living with HIV in 2005
North America………………...1.2 million
Latin America……....................1.8 million
Western and Central Europe…..720,000
North Africa ad Middle East…..510,000
Sub-Saharan Africa……………25.8 million
and Central Asia…………….1.6 million
South-East Asia……………….7.4 million
An estimated 14 million children have been orphaned as a result of AIDS. 12 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Many of the children in Sub-Saharan Africa live in “child-lead” homes.
The call to the church and our need to take responsibility for this pandemic was strongly and powerfully communicated. There was little indication, however, that any churches in the US have ministries in full swing. Saddleback and Willow Creek have certainly begun to “turn the ship,” but even they do not seem to have a fully engaged ministry, as of yet. They do, however, have both the vision and desire to influence the church to take the lead.
In Africa there are many churches that have taken responsibility for ministry to those with HIV/AIDS.
The conference was challenging, thought provoking and directive. I think those who were there, will be moved to take some type of action. Not sure how much influence this effort will have on the church as a whole. Hopefully, there will be ripple affects.
I believe one of the true “change agents” is Bono. Although I had heard that he’d contacted the President and many heads of state and leaders of corporations, I had no idea that he had contacted Christian leaders.
(From Eric) One of the things speakers that are new to this thing they said was, "I just didn't know!" or "How could I have missed this!?!?" The first step for everyone was getting information that began to shape their hearts and minds. Here are a few compelling information:
More than 15 million children have been orphaned---6,000 orphaned each day because of HIV /AIDS
More than 28 million people have died in the past 25 year, with more than 8,000 / day dying
Currently infected in our world is a population living with HIV / AIDS totaling more than 40 million and another 14,0000 are newly infected each day.
More than 1 million people are HIV positive in the US