Vision

LUCSA envisions a society that is HIV competent and free of AIDS.

Mission

To support member churches in their call to serve God and society by mainstreaming HIV and AIDS in the life and ministry of the church. Through this process members will be strengthened to ensure an effective, competent and compassionate response to HIV and AIDS within the church and society. 

History

The LUCSA member church leadership which included leaders of women and youth groups participated in the Pan African Lutheran Church Leadership Consultation on HIV and AIDS held in Nairobi in 2002. The participants at that consultation solemnly committed themselves and their churches to:

  • Break the silence on HIV & AIDS
  • Become healing communities through prayer and action
  • Learn and teach themselves and their communities about HIV & AIDS
  • Provide care and counselling
  • The prevention of HIV infections
  • Further develop their theological understanding of the challenges of HIV & AIDS
  • Collaborate and join hands with all those who are responding to the HIV & AIDS epidemic
  • Engage in advocacy
  • Respond to the needs of those affected by poverty and work towards securing the livelihoods of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS

As a follow up to that consultation, LUCSA immediately began a process of developing an Action Plan which was launched at the LUCSA General Conference in June 2003 by adopting the LUCSA AIDS Action Program (LAAP).

LUCSA AIDS Action Program (LAAP)

LUCSA’s HIV & AIDS Program works through the LUCSA AIDS Action Program (LAAP)
The action plan focuses on the following activities:

  • Awareness building by exposing church leaders to successful programs in the region to enable them to break the silence, fight stigma and discrimination and provide accurate information on HIV & AIDS
  • Capacity building / training in all aspects of the HIV & AIDS ministry to enable member churches to be meaningfully involved in the response to HIV & AIDS
  • Clinical Pastoral Care and Counselling courses to equip pastors with knowledge and skills for the care of persons living with HIV (PLHIV) and those affected
  • Engaging in advocacy for PLHIV and those affected
  • Theological reflections on the challenges of HIV & AIDS and helping seminaries with mainstreaming HIV & AIDS issues into all theological subjects
  • Provision of financial support for member churches to kick-start their responses to HIV & AIDS
  • Facilitation of survival skills and treatment literacy workshops for persons living with HIV
  • Promotion of opportunities for open dialogue across all ages and gender groups including couples communication fora.
  • Promotion of community capacity enhancement to engage in conversations for collaborative responses
  • Facilitation of youth trainings that integrate HIV & AIDS, life skills and Information technology (Info Hut Project)

Our Successes

Since the launching of the program LUCSA has made some very significant strides in motivating, facilitating / enabling and strengthening the capacity of our member churches to respond urgently and purposefully to the HIV & AIDS epidemic.

The strengthening of the capacities of member churches has fostered a sense of open dialogue within the sub-region. As a result most of our church leaders are now speaking openly on HIV & AIDS issues and have programs running in their churches.

The LUCSA HIV & AIDS Program has also contributed to the establishment of the following projects and the development of the sustainability of their structures:

  • iThemba la Bantu Community Project in Cape Town (South Africa)
  • St Peter’s Child Care in Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • Good Hope Home Based Care project in Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • Nova Esperanca Orphan Care Project in Chimoio (Mozambique)
  • Bestseranai Advocacy Treatment Project in Mberengwa (Zimbabwe)
  • Feeding scheme for orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi
  • Info Hut Projects in South Africa, Namibia, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

To date, LUCSA has supported over a hundred community based projects through their member churches.  All LUCSA member churches have full-time or part-time HIV & AIDS program resource persons who coordinate their programs.

Future Outlook

LUCSA  is facilitating the mainstreaming of HIV and AIDS at all levels of the church and its programs to intensify prevention of HIV infection in all groups. It is also working to advocate against gender-based violence, promote universal access to medications, including ARVs,  promote awareness on TB prevention and management, and to increase care and support of people living with HIV (PLHIVs), orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) and the affected households.

THE LUCSA HIV and AIDS Responses and the COVID-19 Pandemic


I greet you in the name of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

As we ended 2019, social media was abuzz with news of a mysterious disease that’s was severely affecting people in a town called Wuhan, in China. At the time, we imagined that, with the current advances in medical research and the world’s machinery to respond to medical emergencies, the disease would soon be controlled and confined to China.

This does not seem to have been the case as the whole world is currently suffering the effects of a devastating global emergency of an unprecedented nature. The ripple effects of which are already manifesting in various ways that are compromising some lifesaving efforts on the ground.

The COVID-19 pandemic has so far had devastating effects on society at both macro and micro levels, bringing untold loss of life and suffering to human beings in all aspects of life; Physical, psycho-social, emotional and spiritual. Needless to mention that the world’s governments have been left with no choice but to implement life saving measures which on the other hand have had a negative impact on economies and subsequently people’s livelihoods.

The Southern African region has not been spared any of this devastation. The situation is considered dire as the region already has most of the countries struggling economically, an impoverished population and further compounded by the disease interface of HIV and AIDS, Malaria and TB, highly migratory population due to struggling economies as well as a high incidence of social ills such as Gender based Violence.

Across the region, governments have for the past two months( since the first cases of the disease were recorded)  instituted regulations termed ’lockdown’ which  ensure that most economical activity is suspended, people stay at home to self-isolate and be safe from infection, a very noble idea with telling devastating ripple effects.

While these are noble responses they have resulted in negative effects on the implementation of the activities in the Department of Mission and Diakonia. And a possible negation of the pace that had been set to ensure a meaningful contribution to the ‘end of AIDS by 2030’ PLHIV are not able to easily access their ARV treatment, Livelihoods have been affected, job losses resulting in a hungry population, reduced funding for project activities as the funding partners struggle to cope with the effects of the pandemic.

However while paying attention to the COVID-19, and observing the statutory regulations, it has been imperative on the LUCSA Department of Mission and Diakonia to find innovative ways to ensure that the momentum in responding to the pre-existing needs of the populations where we are serving is not lost, as the COVID-19 is already negatively aggravating their situation. We therefor can hardly afford to halt our response initiatives.

In John 10:10b our Lord Jesus Christ says ‘I came that they may have life, and have it in abundance’. As a department we continue to pray for the people we serve, that God may continue to watch over them and give them strength and coping mechanisms; our partners that they may be blessed with life and resilience; and for ourselves, that The Lord may give us wisdom and continue to guide us such that we continue to serve Him through His people in a meaningful way that will restore us.

How does the church continue?  It cannot be business as usual in such a challenging situation. Can we open up our churches as decanting centres for ARV Access? Can the church continue to be a healing space by providing psycho-social support? How would the church ensure that the HIV and AIDS and other social ills responses continue? Our youth and other vulnerable people, are there efforts that ensure that we remain relevant to them until the other side of the pandemic?

May God help us to be his hands as the scripture continue to guide us: (Matt. 25:35-40….. I was hungry…)

May God continue to watch over us all!

Compiled by B.B. Dube.

 

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COVID-19 Outbreak Everything you need to know | Department of Health COVID019 updates available at https://sacoronavirus.co.za
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