July 24, 2017 at 1:58 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. black churches join HIV/AIDS ‘Day of Unity’
Day of Unity, gay news, Washington Blade, Black Church and HIV

Rev. Peter Simmons-Scie of Christ Temple Ministries Church. (Photo courtesy Facebook)

Historically black churches in D.C. and throughout the country highlighted the impact of HIV and AIDS on the black community in their Sunday sermon on July 23 in a Day of Unity, which is part of an NAACP initiative called the Black Church and HIV.

“Day of Unity brings together Washington, D.C. pastors to preach about HIV as a social justice issue in conjunction with the first Sunday of the NAACP Annual Convention,” according to an NAACP statement.

“These pastors will work to inspire action and stop the social injustices that have led to the unequal impact of HIV on Black America, which comprises 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 41 percent of all people living with HIV,” the statement says.

Among the D.C. churches participating in Day of Unity is Christ Temple Ministries Church, a United Progressive Pentecostal Church located in the Anacostia section of Southeast D.C.

The church’s pastor, Rev. Peter Simmons-Scie, said he planned to note in his sermon that his church is an official welcoming and affirming church for all people, including members of the LGBT community.

“Being that I am a black LGBT pastor and a pastor of a predominately black church, I believe that it is very, very important that issues of sexuality be open and discussed so we can drop the stigma,” he said.

“If you’re dealing with it and this is your spiritual home, why not talk about it here?” he asked. “Why not get your spiritual health? No, God did not condemn you because you have HIV.”

In keeping with the NAACP’s Black Church and HIV initiative, Simmons-Scie said Christ Temple Ministries Church believes people with HIV and LGBT people must be made to feel welcome in the church. For those who might be coping with a recent HIV diagnosis or a family member of someone with HIV, Simmons-Scie said he would have this message:

“Find somebody and talk,” he said. “You’re not alone. And of course I would recommend Christ Ministry Temple Church. If you just want to come and talk, we’re here.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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