The Denominational Leadership Health Initiative
ImageIn March 2005, The Balm In Gilead launched The African American Denominational Leadership Health Initiative (AADLHI) in partnership with the National Women's Missionary Societies of The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME); The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AME Zion); and The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME). The Balm In Gilead's decision to engage the national leadership of the women's missionary societies was determined by the thinking and knowledge that African American women are at high risk for HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer, and far too many other health disparities. The three historical Black Methodist denominations were chosen because of their long-standing commitment to society change through education, social justice and determination.

The Women's Missionary Societies of these three denominations have historically anchored the Christian movement for over four centuries within the United States and abroad. This partnership represents the first time that African American church denominations have joined with a non-governmental organization to strengthen its internal organizational structures for the purpose of engaging the denomination at every level in the provision of health education, service and compassionate support.

Working within each denomination respectively, the Balm In Gilead sought a partnership with the office of the National President(s) of each missionary society, which ultimately after many meetings and discussions, has resulted, to date, in a church-wide partnership within the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ) and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME), that includes the Board of Bishops of the AME Zion Church and the College of Bishops of the CME Church; the Executive Board(s) of the Women’s Missionary Society, Episcopal District(s) leadership and local churches throughout the US and abroad.

Partnership Objectives and Activities

1. Enhance and strengthen the capacity of each denomination to support the engagement of local churches in developing an effective and appropriate response to HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer and other health disparities within their congregation and community.
2. Provide training and technical support to the leadership of each national health office which will, in turn, coordinate strategic planning, training, implementation and evaluation of health education and service interventions at the Episcopal district levels and throughout the entire denominational membership.
3. Provide training and technical support at all levels of the church, including the Episcopal district, that will support and sustain their ability to implement health service delivery interventions at the local church and community level.
4. Develop and conduct a needs assessment to determine the current level of involvement in HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer and other health related activities of the local church and to determine the barriers that reduce their participation in health related activities.

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    National Bible Week
    National Bible Week in the United States is annually observed from Sunday to Sunday of Thanksgiving week. It has been so observed since 1941 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the first national proclamation.
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    Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
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    Sponsored by:
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    Dr. Otis T. McMillan, General Secretary Director
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