SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill., Aug. 15 A church with315 members helping people affected by AIDS in one of the nations hardest hitby the pandemic has been selected for the Courageous Leadership Award, a jointproject of the Willow Creek Association and World Vision.
Known as "the church that cares," Fish Hoek Baptist Church in Cape Town,South Africa was selected among nearly 100 entries, and will receive $120,000for its efforts.
In addition, there were two runners up: West Angeles Church of God inChrist in Los Angeles, and Rockland Community Church in Golden, Colorado.They each will receive $40,000. Moreover, there were 12 churches receivinghonorable mention awards, including one each from Uganda and Swaziland.
"These churches are making their mark, applying resources at theirdisposal to the needs of the hurting, the diseased, and the poor," says BillHybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. "This award inspiresleaders by honoring churches doing their part to help meet the holistic needsof those whose lives are devastated by AIDS."
Hybels and Richard E. Stearns, president of the U.S. offices of WorldVision, presented the awards on August 10 during a plenary session of TheLeadership Summit 2007 -- an annual training event for church leaderssimulcast by the Willow Creek Association to more than 65,000 participants at138 satellite host sites across North America.
"These churches have invested its members' lives in diligently deliveringcare and compassion to those who need it most," says Stearns. "They haveshined a light for others to follow as we seek to help address the greatesthumanitarian crisis of out time."
Fish Hoek Baptist Church funded its AIDS ministry for the first two years,1999-2001. Since then, individuals and organizations have contributed, andnow "the church continues to give toward this ministry in a variety ofsignificant ways, such as volunteers, paying chaplains salaries, monthlyoperational expenses and other ways," according to Senior Pastor John V.Thomas.
The congregation, composed predominantly white South Africans,demonstrates an uncompromising commitment to caring for all affected by AIDSand continually "fights increasing HIV-IDS compassion fatigue, or worse,indifference," Thomas says.
In 2000, the church established Living Hope Community Centre, which servesthose living with HIV and dying of AIDS. Seven years later, the 147 paidstaff of the center dwarf the 10 church staff. Moreover, the work of LivingHope has expanded to six communities with their own facilities and hundreds ofvolunteers delivering hospice and home-based care, food distribution, HIVtesting and counseling and spiritual nurture.
"When God's people do God's work in God's way, wonderful things happen,"said Thomas after receiving the award.
For a complete listing of the winners and summaries of their programs,please visit http://www.willowcreek.com.
SOURCE World Vision
Latest Press Releases