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Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Power of Influence

In honor of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” HIV Support Group’s 24th anniversary, I have decided to dedicate this post to one of the founders and facilitators, Rev. Horace Goodwin. When you tend to think of people who influenced our country we tend to think of people like John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Pressley, James Brown and Michael Jackson to name a few. They all had the power to influence a nation and did.

Now you don’t have to be a president or musical genius to be influential. In 2007 I lost a good friend, Horace Godwin who also was very influential. Now he was not a leader in government or a musical superstar but his influence was in the way he cared so much about people who were HIV positive, in recovery and/or were ex-offenders.

I first met Horace over 26 years at a conference that he organized for people in recovery to talk specifically about their relationship with Jesus Christ and how it helped them stay clean and sober. I was amazed at the number of people who attended the conference and how he seemed to know every person there. At the time he was doing some work at St Mary Episcopal Church at 18th & Bainbridge streets.

St Mary Episcopal was one of the first churches in the city to reach out to people living with HIV along with Calvary United Methodist Church at 42nd and Baltimore Avenue. A few years later, True Gospel Tabernacle C.O.G.I.C. in south Philadelphia also started reaching out to people in recovery and who were HIV positive. Horace played a significant part in these churches doing outreach.