GARDEN GROVE : Naaman Fellowship Plans AIDS Seminar

Volunteers of the Naaman Fellowship know firsthand that fighting the AIDS virus is a lonely battle.

For more than two years, the 15 volunteers and another 15 board members of the modest Naaman Fellowship ministry have fanned out into hospitals, homes, jails and churches to offer more than just prayers and good wishes to patients in the county and the Southland infected with the AIDS virus.

"Our vision from the beginning was to reach out to their (AIDS patients') physical needs," said Herbert Hall, a board member of the Whittier-based fellowship who is himself HIV-infected. "We want to open up the Christian communities and tell them what they can do to help."

The fellowship will sponsor a seminar Saturday called "AIDS and Today's Christian" at the Nutwood Baptist Church to help defray costs of their biggest project to date.

The money raised Saturday will be added to an anonymous $70,000 grant to open a home March 1 for HIV-infected patients in Long Beach. The patient home will hold just six people who have the first stages of the virus but do not yet require constant medical attention.

Hall said many churches still shun the subject of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. "That is the real problem in the church," Hall said. "It is looked at as a disease of homosexuals and drug users, and the church feels exempt from that."

The fellowship, in its third year, has set its sights on funding a county shelter for infected woman and their children.

"There is a real need out there for (patient) housing," Hall said. "Many of these people have nowhere to go."

Organizers are asking for, but not requiring, a $10 donation to attend the evening seminar at 12292 Nutwood St.

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