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National week of prayer for HIV/AIDS awareness

Community prayer breakfast, HIV/AIDS forum and gospel concert among activities

Gigi Tinsley | 3/6/2014, 9 a.m.

March 2nd-9th is recognized as the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS (NWPHA). The National Week of Prayer for the healing of AIDS is an annual HIV awareness campaign designed to mobilize faith communities everywhere and highlight the contributions and impact congregations are making in the area of

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Nash-Lester

HIV prevention, testing, direct service, advocacy and community engagement.

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Capers

“As a person that has been affected and infected with HIV and Hepatitis C, I can attest to the fact that

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Lue, Jr.

individuals from all walks of life need to get involved with helping to eradicate this disease,” said Chief Apostle Dr. Leroy Smith, the Founder and Pastor of More Than Conquerors Outreach Church Ministries, Inc. On Sept. 19, 2009 Smith founded the Community Hope Health and Human Services Corp. that provides HIV testing for the Central Miami area.

“Being tested is crucial. Pastors must tell their members that until they are absolutely, positively, sure that they are not infected, they need to be tested. God has given us doctors and technicians for a reason. When this disease is caught in time, it can be controlled and brought into submission. There is no cure as of yet, but with good care one can live a very long time.” Smith added.

Last Sunday, March 2nd, was the beginning of NWPHA. Every worship center, synagogue, mosque, and other faith-based organizations was asked to pause a moment and pray for the healing of HIV/AIDS during their worship service.

According to Daryl Baxter, an associate pastor of Bethel Apostolic Temple, president of The Family Foundation, Inc. and the Churches United Conference chairperson, “This is a national campaign to call men and women of faith to pray and take aggressive action in dismantling the AIDS stigma. To model unconditional love and compassion to all persons living with and affected by HIV; to disseminate factual HIV information and to engage communities in HIV testing and treatment services."

These weeklong activities include a community prayer; a prayer breakfast with a press conference, an HIV/AIDS forum and a Gospel Concert.

In Miami-Dade County, Churches United for HIV/AIDS Prevention presented its annual Pastoral/Ministerial Breakfast and News Conference on Tuesday, March 4th at Bethel Apostolic Temple from 9-11 a.m. Rev. Carol Nash-Lester is the pastor and Rev. Marvin Charles Lue, Jr. of Trinity CME Church was the keynote speaker.

Sing for A Cure Concert will be held Friday, March 7th at 7 p.m. at Ebenezer United Methodist Church, 2001 NW 35th St. where Rev. Dr. Joreatha Capers is the pastor.

Confidential Rapid HIV testing will be available at all venues.

All events are free and open to the public.