November 7, 2007
The AIDS Alliance for Faith and Health (AAFH) will convene its 2007 World AIDS Day Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on December 1, 2007, at Saint Philip African Methodist Episcopal Church. This year's keynote speaker at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast is Ms. Sandra L. Thurman, the President of the International AIDS Trust. Ms. Thurman is the former Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and currently serves on the faculty of Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.
The Interfaith Prayer Breakfast is endorsed by a Host Committee consisting of prominent civic and religious leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic within their respective fields. This year's Host Committee includes: Dr. Michael Battle, President of the Interdenominational Theological Center; Dr. Miriam Burnett, President of RAPHA, Inc., and chairperson of the Host Committee; Rev. Darrell Elligan, President of Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta; the Honorable Hank Johnson, Representative of Georgia's Fourth Congressional District; the Honorable John Lewis, Representative of Georgia's Fifth Congressional District; Rev. George Moore, Senior Pastor of Saint Philip African Methodist Episcopal Church (the host church); Dr. David Satcher, Director of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine; and, Ms. Sandra L. Thurman, President of the International AIDS Trust.
The international theme for this year's World AIDS Day is "Leadership" and the event will highlight the need for communities of faith to take an active leadership role in combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Rev. Darrell Elligan, the President of Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta echoes the need for religious leaders to speak out about AIDS. Citing the disproportionate number of African Americans living with HIV and AIDS, Elligan says events such as the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast are important opportunities for awareness and education. "We need to educate the faith-based community because it is impacting the people who sit in our pews," says Elligan.
Rev. Dr. Miriam Burnett, the chair of the Host Committee and a member of AAFH's Board of Directors, agrees. Burnett, a physician and ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal church, emphasizes that HIV affects not only individuals but also entire communities. She explains, "HIV/AIDS affects all aspects of life, for not only the individual but the community itself and therefore it takes a holistic approach to address it. The basis for the work of the church in providing a successful plan for advancing health and wholeness, in response to the pandemic of HIV/AIDS, is to address all aspects of life -- economical, physical, mental, spiritual, political, and relational (community and family)."
Ms. Thurman's keynote address at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast will speak both to the understanding of the relationship between faith and health in the context of HIV/AIDS and to the need for communities of faith to take an active role in fighting the AIDS pandemic through education and prevention.
"We are honored that Ms. Thurman chose to be part of this event," explains Rev. Dr. Guy Pujol, the Executive Director of the AIDS Alliance for Faith and Health. "Her longstanding commitment to HIV and AIDS -- locally, nationally, and globally -- coupled with her insight on how faith impacts community health is a natural fit with the work we do at the AIDS Alliance for Faith and Health."
The AIDS Alliance for Faith and Health is a community-based nonprofit AIDS service organization which grew out of the recent merger of AIDS Treatment Initiatives and the former Atlanta Interfaith AIDS Network. In November 2006, the two organizations merged following an intensive dialogue in which the respective organizations' boards of directors and staff envisioned a way to integrate truly complementary programs and services and to strengthen the relationship between faith and health in a very real and practical way for their clients and program participants. The mission of the organization is to enhance the quality of life and extend long-term survival for people living with HIV disease. This mission is accomplished through a unique blending of health-based and faith-based programs which seek to meet the needs of the whole person and to provide compassionate, integrative care to persons infected with and affected by HIV disease. A guiding vision of the organization is to eliminate or reduce the financial barriers to integrated health care.
The Interfaith Prayer Breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 10:00 a.m. Saint Philip African Methodist Episcopal Church is located at 240 Candler Road (at Memorial Drive), just south of Decatur. In addition to Ms. Thurman's address, other members of the Host Committee will participate in the program by offering readings, personal reflections, and prayers. The gospel choir from the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) will also perform.
Individual tickets for the event are $25. Full tables with seating for ten are $250 and half tables with seating for five are $125. To purchase tickets or for more information on the World AIDS Day Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, please contact AAFH's Director of Programs and Operations, Rev. Theron Stuart, at 404-659-2437 or theron@AIDSAllianceATL.org. For more information on the AIDS Alliance for Faith and Health, visit the organization's website at www.AIDSAllianceATL.org.