PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thirty years after the first AIDS diagnosis, a Center City church remains committed to serving all its parishioners, including those living with AIDS.
St. Luke and the Epiphany’s congregation was graying and dying off at the start of the AIDS crisis. Ironically, the church’s response to the epidemic that breathed new life into the congregation, one of the first to perform AIDS burials.
“Anyone is welcome to have a funeral in an Episcopal church. As that word got out, many more people started coming.”
You can hear Molly Daly’s interview with Rodger Broadley in this CBS Philly ‘Specials Place’ podcast…
Broadley was working there when the news of AIDS broke. “I knew somehow, right away, this was going to be a big deal for us,” Broadley says.
And the church offered space to AIDS service organizations, like ActionAIDS and the AIDS Law Project, for five years before opening St. Luke’s Hospitality Center.
“And it’s been going strong ever since, as a multifaceted support structure for people living with the disease.”
Broadley says it comes down to this: “We’re not a frightened kind of place — we’re kind of engaged with reality here. And I think that was the case in the beginning.”
In other words, it’s a living church.
Reported by Molly Daly, KYW Newsradio 1060