The writing of this thesis is to investigate the role that the church play for the people living with HIV and AIDS and are poverty stricken. This investigation takes us both into the role of the Roman Catholic Church of Ndola Diocese and the Copperbelt Presbytery of the United Church of Zambia are doing in the fight against HIV and AIDS and poverty. The problem of HIV and AIDS in Zambia, as well as Africa in general, represents an economic, social, moral, and spiritual problem of great magnitude. Never before in the history of the world have we faced such a pandemic which results in creating poverty among Zambian people. It knows no boundaries, leaving a path of death and destruction to all that treat it lightly. HIV and AIDS have touched every community within the global village. There is not a person that has not pondered on this terrible disease. The researcher’s question through this thesis is to find out the role of the church as it seeks to care for those infected and affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Can the church rise to embrace the enormous economic and social need that HIV and AIDS and poverty presents, can it make a difference in an environment of suffering as it seeks to become a healing community? This thesis is to enhance the response of churches in Zambia to the fight against HIV and AIDS and Poverty. Pastorally, churches have the duty and task to address issues of stigma, discrimination, judgmental tendencies and give pastoral care to people living with HIV and AIDS. This thesis has attempted to explore new theological perspectives and utilise the available ones, which have already been dealing with issues that address HIV and AIDS prevention and care. The study also seeks to encourage church ministers, pastors and lay leaders to provide the much needed leadership in the fight against HIV and AIDS and its accompanying social problems of poverty, injustices, culture and gender inequality. The church has a central role to play in the fight against poverty and impoverishment. As part of the civil society, it has the pastoral responsibility for ensuring that all citizens in Zambia enjoy their full rights. Far from being powerless victims of HIV and AIDS and poverty, the poor in Zambia must be treated with respect and dignity. Nevertheless effective therapy and pastoral care normally transcends all stigma and cultural barriers as it seeks to address the problems of people living with HIV and AIDS. Human beings respond to love, care and shelter, as basic needs. Ross reminds us that “It is only when the church becomes the leading symbol of healing in a situation of HIV and AIDS and poverty then it will be a blessing to all those who are living HIV negative lives and those who struggle to bring care, support, love and comfort to the orphans and widows and more especially to all those living with HIV and AIDS” (Ross 2002:vi). The church should not lag behind, but it should set the pace of showing the love and care for all people with HIV and AIDS and are living in poverty.
Dissertation (MA (Practical Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.