Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What is the Church doing to have a 21st Century understanding of HIV and AIDS?

Romans 8:15  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

As I've been spending time stalking following Carolyn Tweitmeyer's posts, blog, media spots, etc.  I've started wondering what it would be like to bring an HIV+ child into our little community.  What would that neighbor over there do?  How would the kids' school react? Would my family disown us? and most of all, What would happen at our church?

What is the best way to disclose that kind of information to our church body?  How many Sunday School classes would we have to do to convince our people about the truth of HIV and how it is transmitted?  How many people would leave the church once they heard that we were bringing HIV+ children into their midst?  Would everyone stop putting their child in the nursery if we put ours in there?

I'm certain that the initial reaction would be one of terror and anger that we would even consider exposing their families to this disease.  But once the truth was given to them and the fear was minimized, what really should be the reaction to the thought that HIV+ children were going to be in our church?

I've asked the same question of the Project HOPEFUL people and really look forward to reading their answer.  In the meantime, I've been brainstorming for some of the answers and here is what I've come up with so far:

* Pray that the hearts of the whole congregation would be broken for and genuinely, passionately love children with any disease, disability, brokenness or hurtful past.
* Pray for the church to be granted courage, a love for Truth, and a peace that passes understanding.
* Learn about Universal Precautions and implement them throughout the church building.
* Establish a nursery policy regarding training of workers, and implementation of Universal Precautions.
* Decide as a church body how/whether to disclose the information to visitors.

I'm sure that I'll come back to this question over and over as I learn more.  What ideas to you have?  Do you belong to a church that is already prepared for this?  How was it presented to your church body?

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