International experts to attend global AIDS summit


LAKE FOREST, Calif. — International experts on HIV and AIDS will gather in Southern California Nov. 28 to 30 for the annual Global Summit on AIDS and the Church hosted by Saddleback Church. The conference will be followed by an inaugural youth summit on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day.

In addition to Rick Warren, the senior pastor at Saddleback, the conference is also supported by his wife, Kay Warren, who serves as executive director of the HIV/AIDS Initiative at the Lake Forest Church.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if Jesus was walking the earth today, he would be with orphans, widows, and those living with HIV/AIDS; his heart was always with those ignored, neglected, or rejected by society," Kay Warren said in a letter on the ministry Web site.

The conference is billed as the only event of its kind with medical professionals, ministerial and government leaders all presenting workshops on the worldwide pandemic. Last year, more than 2,000 people from nearly 20 countries attended the event.

The concept of the summit is to share resources and ideas from successful programs so they can be modeled in other communities. Among the tools provided is a six-step plan that churches can use to help end AIDS.

The HIV/AIDS projects are offered through the congregation's Purpose Driven Ministries.

The conference opens 1 p.m. Wednesday, although a pre-conference summit is planned for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. that morning. Sessions are also planned for 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.

A youth summit on AIDS is planned for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, which is World AIDS Day. Speakers for the youth summit include Rick and Kay Warren, Shaun Blakeney, Jenna Bush, Francis Chan and John Thomas.

Medical experts slated to speak include Dr. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations; Dr. Harvey Elder, professor of medicine at Loma Linda University School of Medicine; and Dr. Susan Hillis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Governnment officials include Ambassador Dr. Mark Dybul, United States Global AIDS coordinator; Jay Hein, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; and Terri Hasdorff, director for the Center for Faith-Based & Community Initiatives.

Pastoral speakers will include John Ortberg, teaching pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church; John Thomas, senior pastor, Fish Hoek Baptist Church, South Africa; Bruce Sonnenberg, founder of He Intends Victory and senior pastor of The Village Church in Irvine; Lynne Hybels, Willow Creek Church; and Vivian Berryhill, president and founder of the National Coalition of  Pastors' Spouses.

Parachurch leaders on the docket include Dennis Rainey, president, CEO and co-Founder of FamilyLife; Steve Haas, vice president for Church Relations at World Vision; Dr. Wess Stafford, president of Compassion International; Paul Pennington, Family Life, Hope for Orphans; Rick and Barbara Wise, founders of WiseChoices; Jyl Hall, director of Acting on AIDS; and Gary Haugen, president, founder and CEO of International Justice Mission.

Individual registration is $299 if made by Nov. 23. After that the cost is $349. Discounts are available for students and people living with HIV.

The pre-summit cost is $45 per workshop, with topics including orphan care, justice issues, resource-limited settings, accessing government resource and looking at HIV in China, the United States or Russia. The pre-summit is only available to those attending the full summit.

Because the summit is a training venue, children will not be permitted. No childcare will be offered.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-SADDLEBACK.