In Jesus’ time, He gave voice to the marginalized, loved those who were rejected by society, and gave power to the oppressed. People living with HIV often encounter stigma associated with the disease. Historically, the Black Church has been a place of healing – spiritually, physically and emotionally. We have learned in the past that when the Black Church and the NAACP come together, great things are accomplished. Eliminating HIV will take another great effort, and it is with the faith community and faith leaders, like you, that we can mitigate the effects of the epidemic.
Some pastors’ hesitation to engage in HIV ministry is based in the belief that anything outside of salvation is beyond the scope of the church’s obligation. This viewpoint goes against the way Jesus approached ministry. He did not focus on the condition, but instead on the individual. Therefore, ministers should not concentrate on how HIV is transmitted or contracted – rather, on identifying ways in which their ministry might support their congregants.