Alumni honored for HIV/AIDS ministries

12-13-2010 by

Geoff Ashmun

On December 1 at the HIV/AIDS Summit VI hosted at McCormick Theological Seminary, two McCormick alumni were honored for their courageous, compassionate work in the battle against HIV/AIDS in African American communities.

In 1994, the Reverend Stan Stephens (Class of 1989) founded the West Side Pastors’ Coalition for AIDS, an agency developed in response to the limited number of faith-based HIV/AIDS ministries operating in Chicago at the time. West Side’s many initiatives have worked to bring together community and church leaders with health care providers, to provide creative, entertainment based HIV/AIDS education to youth, and to equip pastors with the skills to minister specifically to individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

The Reverend Jerome Adams (Class of 2010), the coordinator of the Health and Wellness Ministry at First Church of Deliverance, a ministry serving those with HIV/AIDS and chronic substance abuse issues, brings to his work the skills and the scars of a recovering addict living with the virus. Since he was named to the position in 2004, Adams has been instrumental in building partnerships between First Church and other HIV/AIDS agencies across the city. He named several people in attendance who were important resources in his own time of need and taught him the importance of community support of those otherwise marginalized and alone.

“I did not get to where I am today by myself,” he said, “ but because of community. It was because of the help of individuals and organizations who met me at different places in my life and nurtured my desire and resolve to live. And as I look across this room, I stand renewed in my resolve to continue that fight until there is a cure and until no pastor is condemning anyone from the pulpit who is infected with this virus.”

To read a full article on Jerome Adams journey to serving in HIV/AIDS and addiction ministry, visit