More Black Churches Take on AIDS Battle
(Chicago Tribune) — On a recent Sunday morning, the Rev. Stephen Thurston stood on the pulpit before a packed New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago while a health care worker swabbed his upper and lower gums. After his sermon, she announced the results: Thurston had tested negative for HIV.
It was an unusual scene in an African-American church, where for decades many black ministers and parishioners have stood silent as HIV and AIDS festered in the community. Consumed by fear, a lack of information and conflicting messages about religion, sex and homosexuality, some pastors condemned the disease in sermons as HIV/AIDS grew to epidemic proportions just outside their church doors.