From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
AIDS NETWORK LEADERS PRAISE STAFF EFFORTS
05 May 1996 13:05:02
95153 AIDS NETWORK LEADERS PRAISE STAFF EFFORTS
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.
* 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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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