The senior pastor of Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church took an HIV/AIDS test during the Sunday morning serviceto encourage church members to do the same.
“We don’t like to talk about these things in church,” Rev. Raphael Warnock told the congregation. “We’ve got to fight the unholy trinity of silence, shame and stigma.”
Rev. Warnock said he believes Ebenezer is the perfect place to start a new movement with its rich history.
“I’m very convinced that if Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, he would be focused on the issue of HIV/AIDS,” he said.
Rev. Warnock stepped away from the pulpit and sat down at a table to take a rapid oral fluid test called OraSure.
He pointed to statistics that show the African-American community has been hit hard by the virus, especially young people.
Twenty minutes after he took the test, the results came back and Rev. Warnock announced they were negative.
“Amen,” he said.
He challenged other clergy in Atlanta and across the nation to submit to their own HIV/AIDS tests in public.
After the service, Ebenezer provided free and confidential tests to church members.
This week marks the 21st annual National Week of Prayer for the healing of AIDS.