AIDS Symposium for Bay Area Faith Leaders

Rev. Edwin Sanders founded the First Response Center in 1992. He will be speaking at the symposium about Radically Loving, Radically Inclusive, Radically Reconciling, core values for WHOSOEVER Ministry. The ministry was one of four HIV/AIDS ministry modules featured in “The Gospel of Healing” a documentary that debuted at The International AIDS Conference. Front row, from left to right: Reverend Edwin Sanders with film-making husband and wife team Paul and Tracy Gant; Back row: Pastor George Cummings (Imani Community Church, Oakland; Reverend Damon Powell, Brookins AME, Oakland; Adrian McCall , MNA HIV/AIDS Regional Resource Coordinator, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region IX, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health; Reverend Rhonda White-Warner, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Vallejo, Gloria Crowell-Cox, Chair of Allen Temple AIDS Ministry, Oakland.

Bishop Yvette Flunder will be one of the distinguished speakers at the symposium. She has been called upon to provide HIV/AIDS education and direct service demonstration models for numerous faith organizations, denominations, conferences and community organizations throughout the United States and several countries in Africa. She has a demonstrated ability to work with faith organizations regarding the complicated issues that are barriers to AIDS education and care to include issues of sexual orientation, gender identification, substance abuse and theology.

By Jesse Brooks Recognizing that pastors and ministers are the door-keepers to the community, the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church Technical Assistance Network (MICTAN) is hosting a regional symposium, “We’ve Come Too Far to Turn Back Now.” The goal is to equip local clergy and faith leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to tackle the HIV/AIDS crisis among African Americans. The free symposium will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 at Courtyard Marriot, 5555 Shellmound St. in Emeryville. MICTAN is a national clergy-led capacity building faith initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Three decades after the first case of AIDS was reported in the USA, according to the CDC, African Americans represent approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population but account for almost half of the more than one million people estimated to live with HIV and nearly half of the new HIV infections each year. Young men, particularly gay and bi-sexual men as well as African American heterosexual women, are severely impacted. The one-day event will provide an opportunity for faith leaders to gain exposure to the most up-to-date local and national HIV/AIDS health statistics, understand the social determinants that increase vulnerability of transmissions among African Americans, and hear a call to action from nationally renowned preachers such as Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, president and founder of Healing of the Nations Foundation in New York and Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church in New York. Dr. Mindy Fullilove of Columbia University in New York City will lecture on the social determinants of HIV/AIDS among African Americans. Faith leaders will be encouraged to register for a series of four monthly follow-up seminars facilitated by well-known experts. The seminars will provide a forum where leaders can study public health principles and engage in open discussion and reflection to develop and implement a community mobilization plan targeting HIV/AIDS in their local areas. MICTAN hopes the symposium will attract ministers from San Francisco, Vallejo, Richmond and other nearby areas. Established in 2004, MICTAN goes throughout the country giving assistance to faith leaders. The involvement and training of church leaders in developing plans for sustainable community HIV/AIDS programs begins with understanding the myths, perceptions, and misconceptions that contribute to the HIV/AIDS crisis in African American communities, according to the organization. MICTAN’s work includes a focus on gaining the cultural sensitivity to convey information so as to not offend churchgoers, while focusing on the issues in the most relevant manner possible.  The organization does not try to change any church’s belief system. It wants to change the way religious beliefs are actualized. To attend the symposium, RSVP by November 13th, 2012 vnellis@metropolitanfrc.com or craighutchinson@gmail.com or call: 1-615-953-3316 or 1-510-268-7630. For further info email mrjessebrooksii@gmail.com or call 510-575-8245.
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