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World AIDS Day sees growing Anglican involvement

By Murray MacAdam

World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, has come and gone for another year, but not without increased involvement by Anglicans in a range of activities. A group of Anglicans, both lay and clergy, took part in the World AIDS Day Breakfast, sponsored in part by the Blueprint for Action on Women and Girls and HIV/AIDS. The Anglican group was introduced to all by name. The breakfast is an annual event, but almost all of the Anglican participants had not taken part before.

More than 70 people watched a film about AIDS, called “We Were Here,” and took part in a candlelight service at St. Paul on-the-Hill, Pickering, including local parishioners and people from the broader community. An evening vigil with a guest speaker at the Church of the Redeemer, Toronto, drew 45 people, up from last year’s event.

Meanwhile, a flash mob at Dundas Square in Toronto drew about 100 people for a powerful dance and music event, sponsored by the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, with support from Rachel Johnson, a member of the Diocesan HIV/AIDS Network. The video notes that 65,000 Canadians are living with HIV, and the number of infections is rising.

“It’s encouraging to see a growing awareness and involvement by Anglicans,” says the Rev. Canon Douglas Graydon, who coordinates diocesan involvement on HIV/AIDS issues, including involvement with AIDS service organizations. “The challenge now is to expand the number of parishes involved, and to truly make our parishes places of welcome for people who have often felt unwelcome before.”