Our Journey toward healing and wholeness
In 1988, when the lethal HIV/AIDS crisis was most devastating, those infected and affected faced rejection, prejudice and abandonment from the ignorance and fear of others. One heart-rending news story among many told of a Baltimore man dying alone from AIDS, with no one to care for him or about him. Moved to respond, a Baltimore-Washington Conference pastor and other church leaders began sponsoring retreats to offer respite, compassion and care to persons living with—and dying from—HIV/AIDS.
Twelve men came to the first retreat, several of them on stretchers, seeking solace, support, and help in dealing with this disease. Since then, the Quality of Life Retreats program and its volunteers have conducted nearly a hundred of these life-changing, life-saving experiences, serving more than 3,400 participants.
This is where participants can find renewal and relationships, while learning actions and attitudes that can be effective for long-term survival. Our objectives are to provide a safe, supportive environment where participants can fully be themselves, free of fears and inhibitions, and share openly their personal journeys and deepest concerns. We also offer spiritual, practical, educational and health resources to those whose lives have been or will be challenged by HIV.
Our participants are diverse in race and ethnicity, gender, age group, faith and sexual orientation. Moreover, we offer diverse perspectives among retreat planners and resource experts who bring a broad range of ideas and knowledge for organizing the best learning and community-building experiences.
We avoid endorsing or having resource people promote their products, services or methods as the best or only routes to healing. Instead, we offer information on a range of responsible treatment options, understanding that individuals respond differently to various treatments depending on their makeup and particular life paths.
Through Quality of Life Retreats we have developed a viable model of how the religious community can respond compassionately and effectively to the HIV/AIDS crisis in partnership with community volunteers and helping agencies. However, this program is ecumenical and interfaith. It is open to individuals of all faiths, religions and beliefs.