Die pastorale bediening van die plaaslike kerk aan substituutversorgers van MIV/VIGS geaffekteerdes
Smith, Hermanus Arnoldus
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HIV/AIDS is a terrible scourge that affects the whole of humanity. This is something nobody can deny or ignore. It is not only HIV infected people who are affected by this. Millions of others suffer too. Millions of Aids orphans live in poverty and are stigmatized by their communities. If one or both of the parents died of AIDS these orphans will have to burden the ensuing grief, hunger, illiteracy, sibling care, abuse and sometimes having AIDS themselves. Grandparents lose there children and get the responsibilities of raising their grandchildren thrust upon them. Other family members and friends sometimes have to share these unforeseen responsibilities too. The state faces an ever-increasing financial drain on its resources, and tries to keep up with ever changing legislation. The church, especially the local church is also deeply affected by this reality. She cannot shirk her responsibilities in the matter. She cannot turn a blind eye to the overwhelming need out there. The methodological model of Zerfass is being used in the study. The crux of this study concerns the church's duty in this matter. Matthew 25 : 31 - 46 and their supportive texts will test the local church on their involvement in this universal need. This study endeavours to find adequate and novel ways and forms of dealing with need with reference to Practical Theology, relevant Scriptural quotes and the historical churchly tradition of communal aid as witnessed in the early church. The social sciences are involved in this endeavour to fathom the depth of human need in connection with HIV/AIDS. This study clarifies what HIV/AIDS really means to people, the extent of the challenge, the stigma attached to the affliction, reasons for its spread, poverty, a shortage of ARV's, its incurability, the problems of Aids orphans. In addition this study will explore the challenges facing caregivers, substitute parents like grandparents or family members, formal or institutional care and children acting as heads of families. Their experiences are dealt with, as well as people's material and spiritual wants, and what they need, in order to survive and even grow in dire circumstances. The local church has a pastoral duty that encompasses much more than the needs of its parishioners. It needs to equip church members with missionary skills to strengthen those in need with the hope and good news of the Gospel. The impact of a concerted effort of a possible 33 000 Christian congregations in South-Africa cannot be underestimated. A study on small groups identify small groups as empowering bodies in the church's pastoral obligation. In one qualitative study the focus is on the daily life of a range of substitute caregivers: Grandparents, relatives, the experiences of substitute caregivers within institutionalized care, the experiences of people of European descent that run a house of safety and lastly the story of a kid acting as a family head over her siblings. There is the excitement of church involvement and the disappointment over church apathy. This practical model envisions a coordinated plan whereby the local church can serve and aid these substitute caregivers, to be part of the solution and not of the problem concerning HIV/AIDS. This could be called a "Flexi model". All local churches do not have the same resources, training and infrastructure. Nevertheless several possible solutions are possible, so that caregivers can be involved and empowered, to do what they have to do. The consequences of a successful outreach could be spiritual growth in a local church, inner mental and spiritual health, identification of new and suitable caregivers, reciprocity, poverty alleviation, the breaching of boundaries, empowerment of church members in the exercising of spiritual gifts, development of spiritual zeal, information exchange about the real challenges of AIDS, and the ongoing empowerment of caregivers to the lasting benefit of Aids orphans. The positive outcome is the inner transformation of a local church. Matthew 25 : 31 - 46 especially verse 40b will become relevant to everyone: "In as much as you have done it to the lesser most of these brethren, you have done it to me."
- Theology 
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