From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 13:05:02


                      by Jerry L. Van Marter 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Two leaders of the Presbyterian AIDS Network (PAN), after 
meeting with health ministry officials here for two and a half days, say 
they are generally pleased with General Assembly staff efforts to help 
combat the AIDS pandemic. 
     "By and large, staff here [in Louisville] have been very responsive 
and cooperative in spreading the Presbyterian Church's HIV/AIDS ministry," 
said the Rev. Robert Gillespie, PAN co-moderator, in an April 28 interview 
with the Presbyterian News Service. 
     Gillespie, retired executive presbyter for Redwoods Presbytery who is 
now on the staff of the Marin AIDS Interfaith Network in San Anselmo, 
Calif., was accompanied on his visit by PAN co-moderator Alice Davis, who 
works for an AIDS information and help line ministry in Miami. 
     Their visit was part of the implementation of an overture from 
Redwoods Presbytery that was adopted by last year's General Assembly.  The 
overture instructed the three General Assembly program divisions to review 
their AIDS-related efforts annually for the next three years and report 
their activities to the General Assembly. 
     "We [PAN] are monitoring this on our own," Gillespie said, "but we're 
all servants of the church and those [health ministry staff] here are our 
family, so there has not been anything confrontational about this." 
     Gillespie said he and Davis will report to PAN, and he expects staff 
to report to the Assembly, that "lots of things are happening, some of 
which PAN hasn't even known about."  And, Gillespie added, "there is a lot 
of commitment to do more." 
     He said a focus of both PAN's and Louisville staff's work in AIDS 
ministry has been and continues to be "communication throughout the 
system."  As examples he cited: 
     * resources that are continually being developed by the Office of 
Health Ministries in the National Ministries Division, headed by the Rev. 
David Zuverink 
     * AIDS curriculum being developed by the Resource Development Office 
of the Congregational Ministries Division, headed by Donna Blackstock 
     * the gathering of stories of AIDS ministries in Africa and Asia, 
through staff members such as Hunter Farrell, coordinator for East/West 
Africa in the Worldwide Ministries Division, and Janet Guyer, a 
Presbyterian missionary doing AIDS ministry in Thailand 
     * a sermon on AIDS ministry scheduled by the Media Services Office on 
"The Protestant Hour" radio program. 
     AIDS ministries continue to branch out into other areas of the church, 
Gillespie said.  For instance, Zuverink added, "There is a whole new spirit 
of cooperation between our Presbyterian seminaries and the churches to 
train pastoral leadership in AIDS ministry." 
     The key to fostering such cooperation, Gillespie said, is for 
organizations like PAN to "offer ways other institutions can respond 
without it costing them a lot of their staff time and money." 
     PAN leaders are meeting in Louisville next fall to continue to 
encourage national staff in their AIDS-related work.  A particularly 
exciting part of that meeting, Gillespie said, will be conversations with 
the Research Services Office about devoting a Presbyterian Panel survey 
sometime in 1996 to the subject of AIDS awareness and ministry. 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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