An exploration of challenges posed by the HIV-AIDS epidemic on the Holiness Union Church leadership in Pietermaritzburg KwaZulu-Natal : towards a holistic pastoral care model.
This study explores the challenges posed by the HIV-AIDS epidemic on the Holiness Union Church leadership in Pietermaritzburg KwaZulu-Natal: towards a holistic Pastoral care model. South Africa has the highest prevalence rate of HIV infection in Sub-Sahara Africa and the province of KwaZulu-Natal is the epicentre of the epidemic. This motivated the researcher to investigate the role of the HUC-PMB leadership in the struggle against the HIV-AIDS epidemic within and outside the Church. The Church leaders in this context of the HIV-AIDS are expected to play a significant role, so that the campaigns of HIV prevention, intervention, care and support for those living with the HIV-AIDS should have positive impact in the Church and the community. The literature review argues that this can be achieved when church leaders are well trained and equipped with all necessary skills and acquire comprehension information about the HIV-AIDS. The study adopted an empirical research using qualitative using interview schedule, focus group discussion and church archives for data collection. Five Church leaders and four church members participated in the study. The investigations were led by the following research question: What are the challenges posed by the HIV-AIDS epidemic on the HUC leadership in Pietermaritzburg KwaZulu-Natal? In order to address the main question of this study, the following questions were formulated. What is the current situation of the HIV-AIDS epidemic in the HUC-PMB? How is the HUC-PMB leadership response to the HIV-AIDS epidemic? What kind of Pastoral care model that would enhance the HUC leadership holistic response to the HIV-AIDS epidemic? The study findings show that the Church leaders at HUC-PMB do not officially engaged in the struggle against the HIV-AIDS epidemic in the church and in the local community. This implies that the HUC-PMB has limited spiritual and support work for those who are HIV infected and affected within and without the church. The study thus recommends that knowledge on the HIV-AIDS epidemic is vital to all people especially the church leaders; and the church must use its pastoral approach to pursue this goal; the leaders must be thoroughly educated and equipped on the HIV-AIDS related issues, so that to be able to minister (w)holistically in the light of the HIV-AIDS epidemic; the Church and its leaders is also recommended and called to be HIV-competent in terms of their belief approach in dealing with epidemic and stigma within and outside the church context.