An evaluation of HIV/AIDS ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa's congregations in the Umgeni circuit of the South Eastern Diocese (KwaZulu-Natal)
The spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa has evoked many responses from the national government, Non-Governmental Organizations and the church. There are many reasons why the church should respond to this challenge of HIV/AIDS and join hands with the worldwide effort to provide care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS in our society. As the epidemic increases, many people in South Africa are falling sick, suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually and many are abandoned and desolate. Men, women, young people and children are dying; families and communities are severely affected socially and economically. This thesis examines the response of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA) to AIDS and suggests a more adequate strategy to deal with HIV/AIDS. First, it examines the incidence and· impact of HIV/AIDS, noting the emotional, physical and socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS. Secondly, this thesis develops a theological response to AIDS. The involvement of ELCSA is examined via research into six parishes in the Umgeni circuit of the South Eastern Diocese (Kwa-Zulu Natal). It argues that a seven-fold framework best describes the sort of strategy needed to fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. This seven-fold framework includes the following: AIDS education, AIDS counseling, Livelihood support for people living with HIV/AIDS, Advocacy for the people living with HIV/AIDS,Pastoral and practical care for people living with HIV/AIDS, Helping the bereaved families during funeral arrangements and providing grief counseling, and Support systems for AIDS orphans.