Chosen for World Church HIV/AIDS Ministry
May 30, 2002 --
Dr. Oscar Giordano, currently
health ministries director for the Indian Ocean Union Mission, in Africa, was
approved by the GC administrative committee May 13 to head up the new Office of
HIV/AIDS Ministry, which will be located in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"The AIDS epidemic represents a great challenge for all Seventh-day Adventists,"
says Dr. Giordano, who, with his family, has served as a medical missionary for
the past 11 years in Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, and Madagascar. "Our church has a
special opportunity to serve humanity in this regard both spiritually and
The initiative is aimed at providing better focus and coordination to the
church's response to HIV/AIDS. It will focus on care and vocational training for
AIDS orphans and widows, treatment for those infected, and a widespread
education and prevention effort in churches, schools, and communities.
"Never before has the church attempted to pull together so many of its different
entities to focus on one public health issue," says Dr. Allan Handysides, GC
health ministries director. The initiative is a joint project of the General
Conference, divisions based on the African continent, the Adventist Development
and Relief Agency, Loma Linda University and Medical Center, and the Adventist
Health Sciences Center. Dr. Handysides says he has been awed by the unwavering
commitment of church leaders to the project--"from church administrators in
Africa, to the GC president, who has given ongoing support, to vice president
Pastor Leo Ranzolin, who chaired the AIDS Study Commission, to vice president
Pastor Lowell Cooper, who has worked to move this initiative forward."
General Conference president Pastor Jan Paulsen says that if he has one regret
regarding the church's response to HIV/AIDS, it is that an overarching,
coordinated approach has come so late in the day. It is a mistake for anyone to
assume that this is "not an Adventist problem," he adds. "As one of our leaders
in Africa has said, it would be difficult to find one Adventist family in Africa
that has not been impacted by AIDS."
For Dr. Giordano, the initiative represents a new era in the church's response
to the disease. "I pray and hope that our new office will contribute to better
coordinate actions and resources, and present a united front in order to
accomplish what our Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned each of us to do."
Presidential News Briefing, (ANN)
For More Information Contact:
SDA HIV/AIDS Ministry
Oscar A. Giordano, M.D., M.P.H.