First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo will host a Prayer Rally focusing on HIV/AIDS on Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 12:00 Noon at Life Memorial Park at the corner of Porter and Normal Avenues in Buffalo, NY. The rally will be led by Rev. Dr. Geri Lyon, who served as the church’s pastor from 2001-2010, and whose previous ministry was in the HIV/AIDS Community. The brief ceremony will include interactive prayers, a reading from scripture, current statistics on HIV/AIDS, and a solemn performance of “Amazing Grace” on viola. Parking is available at the church or Kleinhans Music Hall (one block away from the Life Memorial Park). The rally will be preceded by the church’s 10:30 AM worship service on Symphony Circle; all are welcome to attend.
“First Presbyterian Church is a diverse congregation with a heart for mission. Beloved members of this congregation have died from AIDS-related diseases, and others are living with HIV/AIDS today. We want to demonstrate the power of prayer to draw attention to important issues and make positive changes.” said Christina Banas, Co-Moderator of the church’s Board of Deacons, who are sponsoring the Prayer Rally.
According to the federal government’s AIDS.gov website, more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and almost 1 in 8 are unaware of their infection. Gay and bisexual men are most seriously affected by HIV. By race, African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV. Globally, 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS; 3.2 million are children. Despite advances in the scientific understanding of HIV, its prevention and treatment, as well as years of significant effort by the global health community most people living with HIV do not have access to prevention or treatment. Despite these statistics, funding for HIV/AIDS research and care has decreased recent years, and media attention of the epidemic has waned. And there is still no cure.
According to the Imperial Court of Buffalo’s website, Life Memorial Park was dedicated on World AIDS Day in 1992. It serves as a lasting reminder to the community of the thousands of men, women, and children who live with HIV/AIDS; it also serves as a memorial to those who have died from the complications of AIDS.
First Presbyterian Church is the oldest congregation in the City of Buffalo, founded in 1812. It is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Presbytery of Western New York. Rev. Dr. Philip S. Gittings currently serves as Interim Pastor; Dr. David Bond is in his thirtieth year as Organist/Choirmaster. The congregation consists of approximately 250 members, and has a strong history of mission work in Buffalo. The church’s architecturally significant building on Symphony Circle features Tiffany-designed stained glass windows, two impressive pipe organs, and a 168-foot tall tower which stands as a beacon of hope on the west side of the city.