A primary source of support to those living with HIV/AIDS in the Black community is the Church. Many churches offer faith-based HIV prevention programs. To help your church set up an HIV/AIDS Prevention Ministry, you can start by following these five steps:
1. Assess your church. Is an HIV/AIDS Ministry the pastor’s idea or is this something the congregation requested? Is the congregation knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS? Where is the church in the process of developing an HIV/AIDS Prevention Ministry? Have any church members taken HIV/AIDS training? Has the pastor participated in HIV/AIDS training? Determine if everyone is on the same page as far as setting up this program.
2. Seek out faith-based HIV/AIDS sensitive organizations, such as The Balm In Gilead, for guidance. Ask how your church can develop the appropriate program/ministry for its congregation. Is funding available to assist you in offering these services? Get involved with The Balm in Gilead’s Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS.
3. Start slowly. Bring in speakers to the church to raise health and HIV/AIDS awareness. Start offering health fairs in the community.
4. Reach out to Black churches who have established HIV/AIDS Prevention Ministries. Participate in their programs. See how they’re set up. How do they promote their ministry? Is someone available for pre- and post-test counseling? Pastoral counseling?
6. Get to know your community. What are they doing about HIV/AIDS prevention? Is there a community agency available that can assist you?
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
II Corinthians 4:6
With your help we can shine the light on HIV. Register today in the Our Church Lights the Way: The Black Church HIV Testing Campaign and participate in one or more of the following:
- Encourage every member of your congregation and the community to get tested during worship, bible study, meeting, rehearsals, and outreach efforts throughout the month of June;
- Host a testing event at your church. Partner with your local health department, AIDS service organization, and other organizations to provide testing at your church;
- Lead the congregation and the community in HIV testing, and knowing their status.
The Balm In Gilead is available to assist you in lighting the way. Call for or download, for your free, updated toolkit and new public service announcement 804-644-BALM (2256) or it at http://www.balmingilead.org
To join others in supporting HIV testing at their faith institution, Please complete the HIV testing report and survey.
For more information contact Rev. Makeba D’Abreu:
email: mdabreu (at) balmingilead (dot) org
Phone: 804 644 BALM (2256)
Fax (804) 644 2257
HIV is out of control within our communities. We must mobilize and engage the entire Black community in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS! The Church Must Light the Way!!