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Dear Beloved!

December 1st is World AIDS Day, a time to remember those we've lost to HIV and AIDS, celebrate our successes in saving and improving the lives of people living with HIV, and renew our commitment to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States and around the world.

For those impacted by HIV and AIDS, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult. Not only have we had to fear the unknown of becoming infected while living with HIV and AIDS, the failed federal response to COVID-19 has harkened back to the failures of the Reagan Administration in the early years of AIDS. That, added to the loneliness of perpetual quarantine, and the grief of hundreds of thousands loss ... it's almost too much to bear.

On this 2020 World AIDS Day, as we remember the millions of lives lost and the millions of lives living with HIV and AIDS, please join the World AIDS Day Interfaith Service organized by the US HIV & AIDS Faith Coalition. It will be available online and via live-stream. Keeping with the AIDS 2020 theme, "Resilience and Renewal," the service will include four faith traditions Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity. Each will offer sacred text, a reflection, and a prayer.

The World AIDS Day Interfaith Service will live-streamed via:

The live-stream broadcast will happened at the following times:
  • Mon. Nov 30 at 7:00 pm Eastern U.S.
  • Tue. Dec 1 at 7:00 am Eastern U.S.
  • Tue. Dec 1 at 2:00 pm Eastern U.S.***

Virtual, socially distanced, social media watch parties are encouraged.

A link for on-demand access to the service will be posted at uscafaith.org and Facebook.

***The UUA will host a Facebook watch party on The Welcoming Congregations of Unitarian Universalism Facebook Group.
In addition, the World Council of Churches will offer an ecumenical World AIDS Day service in the Christian tradition. The service will be offered in the context of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Tuesday, December 1
10:30 am Eastern U.S. | 3:30 pm UTC (GMT)
View the live-stream of the service at https://www.oikoumene.org/live


I do hope you can make time to join a live-stream, or view these services on-demand at your convenience. Either way, may you make time to remember that HIV and AIDS are still with us. And may you join us all is praying for a cure and an end to this devastating illness.

Amin, Ase, May It Be So!
Rev. Michael J. Crumpler (He/Him/His)
LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs Director
Ministries and Faith Development

“It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught a  about myself and halfway believed before I could walk around this earth like I had a right to be here.”
- James Baldwin

HIV and AIDS Epidemic and the Black Community
In 2019, I had the distinct privilege of being published in two groundbreaking works related to HIV and AIDS, OnCurating Issue 42: What You Don't Know About AIDS Could Fill a Museum and Spiritual Care in the Age of Black Lives Matter.


For OnCurating I wrote, Thoughts on How to Include Spirituality in Exhibitions about HIV and AIDS:

As such, it is impossible to depict our HIV and AIDS experiences without also depicting our spiritual experiences of coping with HIV and AIDS. Epidemic exhibitions are good at capturing the suffering, the pharmaceutical angle, the dying lover, the sexuality, the activism, and the anger. While these are all spiritual experiences for sure, they do not represent the totality of what it is to live with HIV for me and the many friends I have who are also living with the virus.

When you don’t include spirituality, you miss a chance to capture the everydayness of church incarnate in our spiritual communities of survival and resilience.  Our faith-based tactics for living and thriving and our sacred rituals that inform our life choices become invisible, particularly among black and brown folx. [Read More]


For Spiritual Care in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter, I wrote, Give Us What Magic Johnson Got!:

I must admit, I barely knew Magic Johnson before 1991. But, nevertheless I felt the full weight of his sobering HIV disclosure as if it were my own. I remember knowing it was a big deal, but not fully knowing why. How had he gotten it? He must be gay, right? I pretended not to care, lest in my curiosity my own closeted truth become disclosed. As he stood there next to his wife, blinded by the flashing camera lights, naked before the entire world, I felt what he felt. Magic Johnson’s reality made it real not just for me, but for everyone. It was no longer a gay disease, a prostitute’s disease, a junkie’s disease, or Africa’s disease. It was now our disease as we witnessed a Black, successful celebrity athlete, admired and respected by all, living our worst nightmare in public guise. If Magic could get it, any of us could get it. If any of us could get it, then I knew that I certainly would get it. Fifteen years later, when I did get it, my dad comforted my mom by reassuring her that I would live a long healthy life because, “See! Look at Magic Johnson.” Those words provided quite enough hope to get her through that day. [Read More]

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