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Pennsylvania Church Tops List Recognized for Helping People Affected by AIDS

2008 'Courageous Leadership Award' Focuses on AIDS -Joint Project of Willow Creek Association and World Vision

Contact: Brad Steele, LCBC Church, 717-653-6266, [email protected]; Dean R. Owen, World Vision, 253-815-2103, 253-906-8645 cell, [email protected]; Lisa Hartman, Willow Creek Association, 847-765-0070, [email protected]

SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill., Aug. 14 /Christian Newswire/ -- A Pennsylvania church with an "above and beyond" commitment to helping tackle AIDS in Kenya has been selected for the 2008 Courageous Leadership Award, a joint project of the Willow Creek Association and World Vision.

LCBC Church in Manheim, Penn., was selected among nearly 50 entries, and will receive $100,000 for its efforts.

"The people of LCBC truly believe that it is our privilege and responsibility to share the love of God with others.  It is our hope that this award will inspire and motivate other churches to join in efforts to share God's love with those whose lives have been affected or infected with AIDS." says David Ashcraft, Senior Pastor of LCBC Church.

In addition, there were two runners up: Swaziland Reformed Church in Swaziland, and Life Center, a church in Tacoma, Wash.  They each will receive $40,000.  Moreover, there were six churches receiving honorable mention awards, including one each from Kenya, Botswana and Canada.

"These churches are demonstrating courageous leadership through their impressive dedication to the needs of the hurting, the diseased, and the poor," says Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church.

"This award inspires leaders by honoring churches doing their part to help meet the holistic needs of those whose lives are devastated by AIDS."

Hybels and Steve Haas, vice president of World Vision, presented the awards on August 6 during a dinner on the eve of the Leadership Summit 2008 – an annual training event for church leaders simulcast by the Willow Creek Association to more than 60,000 participants at nearly 150 satellite host sites across North America.

"These churches have an uncompromising commitment to helping deliver care and compassion to those who need it most," says Haas.  "They are shining examples for others to follow as we seek to help address the greatest humanitarian crisis of out time."

LCBC has concentrated its efforts on one territory of 28,000 people in Tseikuru, Kenya and is sponsoring more than 2,000 children impacted by AIDS and poverty.  Additionally, "above and beyond" funding has been given for clean water wells, farm animals and most, recently, $300,000 for a micro-finance project.  Approximately 60 people from LCBC have visited Tseikuru to see the need and the progress of the church's initiative.  LCBC has also been joined by several other area churches in this initiative.

"Having traveled to Africa to observe first hand the struggle of those whose lives have been affected by poverty and HIV and AIDS, it is very exciting to think that our church family in Central Pennsylvania is contributing to the transformation of Tseikuru into a self-sustaining community of people halfway around the world," says Ashcraft.

For a complete listing of the winners and summaries of their programs, please visit www.courageousleadershipaward.com