A group of students at Harvard Divinity School has organized an interfaith service for World AIDS Day titled “Beloved Community, Beloved Work, Moving Forward in Life.” The service will be hosted by the Natural Dharma Center at 5 Longfellow Park in Cambridge, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., on Tuesday, December 1.
Rod Owens, a teacher of Tibetan Buddhism at the Natural Dharma Center and an M.Div. candidate at HDS, will lead a sitting meditation from 6:30 to 7 p.m. The formal service will begin at 7:15 p.m. and include music, guided chanting, and reflections from people in the Boston area who are living with HIV.
“I have been active in HIV/AIDS prevention and education since college,” Owens said. “World AIDS Day is a reminder for me that we still have AIDS, and the communities I identify with are the most impacted by it. I have to do what I can to be an agent of healing for my community. Part of that healing means helping to organize spaces where we can express our struggle, pain, and loss as well as our joy and celebrations.”
The program’s title, “Beloved Community, Beloved Work, Moving Forward in Life,” was chosen to emphasize the student organizers’ belief that healing spiritually from the trauma of HIV/AIDS is valuable, communal work. It is also a reminder that this work is not only about death, but about life.