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Frankly My Dear ...

January 25, 2016

Checking in with my Facebook HIV group and my son asks me, "Do people take issue that you may be spending too much time with HIV stuff?"

Being the pastor of a congregation, and all that goes along with being solo, it was a valid question.

For now, let me say this: I don't know that the church is doing ALL it can do, besides lip action and things in writing. I call it the "sanctimonious flapping of lips."

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Hold on! By no means do I want to give the impression that the church is doing nothing...you can go to various websites and see what they are doing. You may even see them during particular times of the year when HIV is an "event": World AIDS Day, National World AIDS Day, Latino AIDS Awareness ... you know, those "days" specifically set aside for the church to have services for.

HIV for me is a daily occurrence. I am living with it on a day-to-day basis for the rest of my life. So are the folks in my HIV FB groups, the people I blog for, and the people who for whatever reason have not been made to feel comfortable in church, or as in people who write me from different parts of Africa who are not able to disclose fully in their community. The folks who are living with HIV that are bitter with God.

Do people take issue with me spending a lot of time with HIV?

Not the folks in the Ryan White Planning Council. Not folks who write me for encouragement. Not the people who need to be heard and valued and loved.

I don't rightly know if folks think I am spending too much time. No one has outwardly said anything. God has called me to ministry. Ministry at St. Mikes. Ministry to folks walking the path I have/am walking to reach them, wherever they are.

Do folks think I spend too much time on HIV issues? Mental health issues? Sexual abuse issues? I don't know...

... And frankly my dear ... I don't give a *bleep*.

Send Pastor Andrena an email.

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Is the Ribbon Enough?


Rev. Andrena Ingram

Rev. Andrena Ingram

Reverend Andrena Ingram (also known as "Pastor Andrena" or "Pastor Ingram") has become a strong advocate for those living in the margins, as she once was. She is an activist in the HIV/AIDS arena, herself living openly and unabashedly with the HIV virus for over 22+ years.

Raised in South Jamaica, New York, Reverend Ingram served seven years of active duty in the U.S. Army. She would later move to the South Bronx, where she attended Transfiguration Lutheran Church with Pastor Heidi Neumark as her pastor and mentor -- empowering her to rise up out of herself and her life challenges, which seemed to her, at the time, insurmountable.

Reverend Ingram is a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, with a Master of Divinity. She has been the pastor of St. Michael's Lutheran Church on Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa., for the past four years.

Reverend Ingram can frequently be found speaking about HIV/AIDS, encouraging everyone "to know your status, get tested, and be informed." Silence = Death.

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