No AIDS Stigma in Atlanta Church

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At Good News Community Christian Reformed Church in Atlanta, people living with HIV/AIDS have found a place to worship and belong.

Nine years ago the Christian Reformed church plant began by reaching out to people with addictions. They found that many of the people they were reaching were HIV-positive, so their focus shifted.

The church has five staff members and 10 volunteers who work with about 400 clients a year, helping them find jobs, recover from addictions, and get established in housing. The AIDS ministry collaborates with several other local AIDS organizations and has become known for taking on tough cases.

Dozens of the AIDS ministry’s clients have gotten involved with the church, which has grown to about 85 people. Services, geared to younger people, include hip-hop music.

“We try to target people who don’t fit into anyone else’s program,” said Rev. George Boyd. “It’s a great tool for us to meet people and help them.”

Recently the church helped two AIDS hospice patients, and as a result their condition was upgraded from “terminal illness.” Another participant in the ministry later purchased a house and was reunited with her children, who were in foster care.

The church is supported by other churches and by grants.

In 2007, Good News Community’s AIDS program received an honorable mention Courageous Leadership Award—a collaboration of the Willow Creek Association and World Vision to recognize churches with outstanding AIDS ministries.

About the Author

Roxanne VanFarowe is a freelance writer who lives in the woods with her artist husband James and their five children in Hillsborough, North Carolina. They are members of Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham.