Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lutheran Bishops Get Tested

From the Chicago Tribune:

"In Solidarity with HIV Victims, Lutheran Bishops Get Tested"
Chicago Tribune (03.05.09):: Manya A. Brachear

On March 5 in Chicago, bishops from the United States' largest Lutheran denomination were publicly tested for HIV as a way to show support for those affected by the disease and raise awareness of its impact at home and abroad.

"We in the US tend to think of this as a global pandemic unrelated to people in the US," said Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson. "For me as a married heterosexual man to be tested is a reminder that all communities are affected, if not infected."

Bishop Wayne Miller of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod said that getting tested for HIV was his show of solidarity with members of the city's companion synod, the Central Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa. He also hoped it would signal to his own 206 congregations they should not be ashamed to be tested and learn their status. "There's still so much shame and secrecy, people end up hiding from the treatment and care they need," he said.

Hanson, who also serves as president of the Lutheran World Federation, said the church must do more to embrace those living with HIV/AIDS, as it has for other pandemics such as malaria. At its biennial assembly in August, the chief legislative authority of the ECLA is expected to approve a new national strategy on HIV/AIDS.

The Rev. Donald Messer, executive director of the Center for Church and Global AIDS, praised the bishops, noting "pastors and laity look to their episcopal leaders for these kinds of symbolic gestures to show that they are important." Messer, a Methodist pastor, urged his own denomination to follow the Lutherans' example.

What a great show of support from the Bishops of the Lutheran Church.. I think it's time to plan to test the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Let me know what you think....

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