HIV and the Church

Saddleback’s HIV&AIDS Initiative offers compassion, community, and real solutions for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. As one of our seven signature ministries, this outreach leads our members and local churches around the globe to play a key role in ending AIDS by caring for people affected by HIV. We demonstrate God’s love for the sick in practical ways including prevention, care, treatment, support, and advocacy.

That’s why this month, our HIV&AIDS demonstrated God’s love by assisting people in need—the “A” goal of Daring Faith. Starting on Saturday, May 5, nearly 20 of our volunteers participated in the AIDS Walk of Orange County. Held at Irvine’s William Mason Park, this annual event helps raise awareness and support for people living with HIV.

Thanks to the generosity of walkers, donors, and sponsors, the recent event hosted by Radiant Health Centers raised over $350,000. Playing a part in the giving were 80 students from Saddleback’s High School Ministry who created 150 care packages during the HIV/AIDS Awareness Night for High School Ministry on March 27 and 28.

There they assembled care packages and heard from ministry members living with HIV. The powerful gathering also gave them a chance to write notes of encouragement, pray for people living with HIV, and wipe away the stigma wall.

Those 150 care packages were then distributed by Saddleback’s HIV&AIDS team at the AIDS Walk of Orange County on May 5th. Each gift bag contained useful supplies for the day including sunscreen, ChapStick, an umbrella, as well as a hand-written note of encouragement and a copy of The Purpose Driven Life.

From 9:30 to noon, our volunteers handed out gift bags while providing insight on how to connect to Saddleback’s HIV ministry. Representing our church as a whole, they also shared the message that Saddleback cares for people living with HIV.

“The goal was to facilitate conversation with community members that we care about this issue,” says Ashley Eure, HIV/AIDS Initiative Manager. “Above all, we want people to know that they are loved by God.”

To continue the conversation, the team hosted a BBQ the following day where people were invited to learn more about support groups and other Saddleback resources. Among them is Saddleback’s HIV/AIDS Support Group which meets from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every month.

The Initiative also hosts a training webcast for those seeking ways to make an impact in their community by helping people affected by HIV and AIDS. If you have a heart to serve and get involved in Saddleback’s HIV&AIDS Initiative, click HERE to learn more.

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