Reverend Joyce McDonald
Rev. Joyce McDonald was born in 1951 and raised by loving parents, the late Willie and Florence McDonald.
She was one of six siblings and fondly recalls the strong work ethic instilled in her by her father, a postal worker and photographer, and her mother, a bonnet maker among other things. Her family was known for serving older neighbors and spreading unconditional love to those in need. Despite the wonderful memories, many things happened to Joyce in her teenage years, one of the worst, was being molested as a child in the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic was spreading throughout her community. This was also when Joyce unfortunately was using drugs and believes she contracted HIV. She always had a big heart for those with HIV because her mother cared for someone who was living with HIV before she contracted it herself in 1995. She considers herself blessed and never takes for granted that she immediately had the full support of her family, pastor, and church family once she learned of her diagnosis.
Joyce believes this is when God gave her a ministry to be able to speak about HIV using her testimony. To date, she knows 185 people who have died from complications of AIDS. That alone powers her to continue with her speaking to various groups. One closest to her heart is a group for girls whose her tagline is “Keep your pearls, girls.” it focuses on HIV awareness and the use of art.
She’s been a faithful member of her church, under the guidance of Rev. Dr. Mark V. C. Taylor for over 15 years, and currently leads monthly HIV testing for the church. Joyce tells everyone she encounters that HIV is not the end of the road.
Her work has not gone unnoticed. Joyce has received accolades and proclamations from legislators and other city and state officials over the years. She never misses an opportunity to highlight and give God glory and credit for her incredible journey and purpose.