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Black Churches Respond by Sponsoring the First National Day of Prayer
 for the Healing of AIDS
 NEW YORK, March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- On Sunday, March 7, black churches from across the country will hold a special prayer to mobilize support, awareness and compassion for the thousands of African Americans affected by the AIDS epidemic. Organized by Balm In Gilead, Inc., this campaign invites black churches nationwide to present a message about HIV/AIDS to their congregations, including a special prayer for family, friends and colleagues living with and affected by the AIDS epidemic.
 "The black church is a soaring tower of strength, wisdom and power. We find our commonality in prayer, commitment to education, love of God and the realization that we must come together to save our children, families, ourselves and our communities from the wrath of AIDS," said The Rev. Dr. Frederick Williams, rector, The Episcopal Church of the Intercession and national chairman of the event.
 According to the recently released study, "The Challenge of HIV/AIDS in Communities of Color" by the National Commission on AIDS, HIV disease is making a disproportionate impact on the African American community. Approximately 30 percent of all AIDS cases occur in the African-American community, yet blacks constitute only 12 percent of the U.S. population. It is estimated that in 1993, one African American per hour will die of AIDS in the United States.
 "African Americans must become pro-active in the fight against HIV/AIDS," said Pernessa Seele, president of Balm In Gilead, Inc. "By organizing a National Day of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, we are empowering our religious leaders and church congregations to reach out and communicate to the entire African-American community that we must fight this disease together with commitment, compassion and education."
 The Black Church National Day of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is endorsed by the following African-American religious caucuses:
 -- Progressive National Baptist Convention
 -- African Methodist Episcopal Church
 -- National Black Presbyterian Caucus
 -- African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
 -- United Black Christians of The United Church of Christ
 -- Salvation and Deliverance Worldwide Ministries
 -- Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
 -- National Baptist Convention, U.S.A.
 -- National Baptist Convention of America
 -- Congress of National Black Churches
 -- National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
 -- Harlem Churches for Community Improvement
 -- Southern Christian Leadership Conference
 -- Black Methodists for Church Renewal
 -- Black Roman Catholic Caucus
 -- Union of Black Episcopalians
 -- Louisiana Western Church of God in Christ
 Dedicated to educating the African-American community about HIV/AIDS, Balm In Gilead, Inc., encourages community leaders to establish programs to help eradicate HIV/AIDS and provides technical assistance and educational materials to religious and community-based organizations about HIV/AIDS and related health conditions.
 Financial support for the National Day of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AIDS National Interfaith Network, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Indiana Board of Health, STOP AIDS Chicago, Jackson State University, Harlem Churches for Community Improvement and the American Bible Society.
 For more information about Balm In Gilead, Inc's programs and the organization's upcoming Black Church National Education Leadership Training Conference on AIDS, Oct. 4-7, 1993, in New York City, contact Pernessa Seele, Balm In Gilead, Inc., at 212-860-7715.
 THe following is a list of local contacts for more information:
 Jacquelyn Wilkerson, AIDS National Interfaith Network
 Washington, D.C., 202-546-0807
 Veronica Hartwell, Jackson State University
 Jackson, Miss., 601-968-2519
 Maurice Franklin, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
 Atlanta, 404-681-2437
 The Rev. W.C. Champion, Texas Clergy Coalition
 Dallas/Fort Worth, 214-372-9505
 Terrance Jones, African American Community Coalition on AIDS
 Albuquerque, N.M., 505-242-5220
 Michael Haynes, STOP AIDS Chicago
 Chicago, 312-752-7867
 The Rev. Carol Johnson, Harvard University
 Boston, 617-493-4729
 The Rev. Yvette Flunder, Ark of Refuge
 San Francisco, 415-431-8222
 Hazel Smith, Guilford County Minority AIDS Task Force
 Greensboro, N.C., 919-274-7478
 Cathlynn Teer-Hodge, Indianapolis Board of Health
 Indianapolis, 317-633-8486
 -0- 3/1/93
 /CONTACT: Pernessa Seele of The Balm In Gilead, Inc., 212-860-7897, or Sheryl Kravitz of Porter/Novelli, 202-342-7017, for the Black Church National Day of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS/

CO: The Balm In Gilead, Inc. ST: IN: HEA SU:

TW -- DC018 -- 1427 03/01/93 12:46 EST
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Date:Mar 1, 1993

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