I recently spoke with Rev. Dr. Carolyn McClendon, director of Faith Ministries, at Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina.
Carolyn has been with the Alliance of AIDS Services for 14 years, but she has been ministering to HIV/AIDS patients most of her adult life.
is a staff of one, so she
is extremely busy.
Just this week, she
spent all of 1 day in meetings, lost 3 patients, and was waiting on a call concerning 2 other patients at the end stage of their disease . . . and that is just the activities that I know about.
was most gracious to take the time to talk to me about her
loves what she
does and believes it is what God has called her
Carolyn's organization believes HIV/AIDS is not a divine punishment, but is a part of the mystery of living, like any other illness.
tells me there is still a lot of fear and lack of education among people concerning HIV/AIDS.
Many people still believe that you can contract AIDS by casual contact.
says, "If HIV/AIDS was viewed as a health issue instead of a judgment, we would treat them differently."
We talked about what churches can do to help minister to those with HIV/AIDS.
says, "People need to look beyond color and status and represent a God Who loves all people.
says, "Care teams are a major part of what we do.
Currently, we have 40 care teams that minister to 60 care partners.
The teams are trained to partner with someone who is living with the virus to empower that person to find a safe and sacred space.
These care teams are from organizations of faith.
has a waiting list of people with the virus who are waiting for a care team.
needs more permanent staff to help with the ministry, but as with a lot of organizations in this economy, the funds simply are not available.
could not do all that needs to be done without the help of volunteers, churches, interns, chaplains, and communities of faith.
One of the churches who partners with Carolyn
and the Faith Ministry Program started a program called "change for change.
This program collects change to buy bus tickets for those with HIV/AIDS who need assistance.
Needs are met by donations of food, clothing, and other items.
The recipients of the bus tickets and other items are told that the gift is from God through a faith community.
is passionate about helping people with HIV/AIDS and prays that others will move beyond the stigmas associated with the disease and show compassion to people living with the disease.
says, "Wherever they are today, we move forward to let them know a God who loves them."