Your Community Needs You: Commit to Preach for Day of Unity
Let’s face it…
It was James Baldwin that said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
As faith and community leaders, we are faced with so many compelling issues. So many, in fact, that it seems as if they change daily. Yet no one issue is more important than the other, which is why Baldwin’s statement rings just as true today.
My work with The Black Church & HIV Social Justice Imperative initiative allows me the opportunity to travel all around the country to teach and preach on HIV and faith, making me well-versed on the concerns and challenges facing faith leaders when it comes to preaching about HIV.
HIV in the context of faith is a hard conversation to have with our leadership teams, congregations, and sometimes even with ourselves. But the reality is, we MUST face it. This Day of Unity on July 23, 2017 is the perfect opportunity, and you can commit to preach about HIV as a social justice issue today.
The HIV epidemic is plaguing the Black community. And if something exists in our community, it exists in our churches.
Avoiding and failing to address the issue will not make it disappear. In fact, if our people have nowhere to go for proper information about HIV and how to prevent it, the problem will only exacerbate.
Although doctors can provide medical and mental wellness care, there is a unique call and an authority given only to us as faith leaders that oftentimes goes underutilized in the fight against HIV.
Believe it or not, our people desperately want and need to hear a Word from their Shepard on where they stand on issues surrounding HIV. This fact has been proven time and time again through surveys from parishioners.
Furthermore, Church continues to play a prominent role in our community members’ lives. With over 21,000 black churches across the country and 79 percent of African Americans saying church plays an important role in their life, the Church is the place for action in addressing HIV.
For these reasons, we participate in Day of Unity each year with hundreds of faith leaders across the country to collectively preach about HIV as a social justice issue. This year, we’re looking forward to joining together for the sixth time to raise awareness on HIV and preach from the pulpit.
Having faith based organizations, in particular senior faith leaders within organizations, addressing HIV from the pulpit as part of Day of Unity is more crucial today than it was over seven years ago when I first started my ministry. If one can chase a thousand, imagine the collective impact of all churches preaching about HIV as a social justice issue and biblically praying for persons living with HIV.
What an awesome demonstration of God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace.
I want to strongly encourage my fellow faith leaders to download the Pastoral Brief and Activity Manual and utilize the tools and sermons outlined to educate, empower, and enlighten your congregation, Health and Wellness Ministry, and greater community.
Next, I ask you to sign up to preach about HIV as a social justice issue with us on Sunday, July 23. Commit today.
We must move past awareness and engagement and begin to strategize and implement plans of action for addressing HIV in our communities. If you know my testimony, you know that I personally face HIV every day and have been more than a Conqueror. I need you to join me in this fight.
Together, we can meaningfully impact our communities to serve as support for those experiencing HIV and to fight against the proliferation and further transmission of the disease.
Pastor William Francis is Lead Servant at Atlanta Faith in Action, The AFIA Center, where they are transforming Ministry, Minds, Lives and Souls in order to change the Communities and World in which we live. Pastor William can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.