It’s World AIDS Day today and I have been looking for a United Methodist Church that is holding a special service of remembrance in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and not having any luck. If they’re out there, they’re not publicized. I had planned to travel to my “home” church, St. John’s UMC in Lubbock (in the Northwest Texas Conference) for their special service tonight, but I have a sick child and can’t make the trip. One would hope that the United Methodist Church, so very involved through UMCOR and The Global AIDS Fund, would be hosting local events. Other denominations are sponsoring events, but I can locate none within The Central Texas Conference or North Texas Conference.
A friend suggested attending the Remembrance Service at The Cathedral of Hope. I am aware of this service and have attended this service there in the past, as well as special events related to the Death Penalty and Immigration. The Cathedral of Hope has been, and will continue to be a beacon to the LGBTQ Community, its allies, and all the attendant issues related to the community. Dallas has the highest rate of new infections of any city in Texas (and one of the highest in the Country). The effects of HIV/AIDS among the black female population in Tarrant County is devastating, being the number one cause of death for these women between the ages of 25-34 and the second highest cause of death for women between ages 35-44. The Council of Bishops has stated that fighting diseases of poverty are one of the “Four Areas of Focus” for our denomination. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, we don’t have to look very far to join that fight. But it seems our denomination in this part of Texas is being somewhat “low-key” in recognizing this important day. I shouldn’t have to visit another denomination’s services when my own denomination has stated this is an area of importance to our global community. This is a major disappointment. This is not an LGBTQ issue; it is one of combating the diseases of poverty; it is one of embracing a hurting racially and ethnically diverse neighbor that is suffering; it is one of justice; but, most importantly, it is an issue of The United Methodist Church staying true to its commitments.