Vancouver International AIDS Candlelight Memorial
- James Johnstone -
Ringing the Tibetan Bell
May 20th 2012
AIDS Vancouver Board Vice Chair, Bradford McIntyre, Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the Vancouver International AIDS Candlelight Memorial introduces James Johnstone.
James Johnstone has a long association with Vancouver's AIDS Memorial. He emceed and helped past organizers of this event for seventeen years. The Vancouver AIDS Memorial Society held its 27th and final annual observance in May 2010. James' first partner, Bob Tivey, was AIDS Vancouver's first Executive Director. James is a writer, editor, house history researcher, neighbourhood historian, heritage and community activist, neighbourhood history walk guide, and a proud Gay dad.
Please welcome to the stage, James Johnstone.
Ringing the Tibetan Bell
by James Johnstone
"From ancient times, people of many faiths and many cultures have used the sound of bells to call people to prayer; to centre a community's attention on a significant moment or event; to call people to action. We ring bells on joyous occasions and we ring bells on sad ones.
Tonight we have a Tibetan bell, which we will sound three times before our moment of silence. Let us allow ourselves to be one with its sound. What do we hear in the bell's call? How do we answer?
During the moment of silence, let us meditate on why we are here. Who are we remembering?
Let us be aware how the persons we are remembering or who we are supporting here tonight have touched and changed our lives.
What can each one of us do in the fight against AIDS?
What do we need to give to ourselves in order to go on?
What steps are we taking to bring healing and wholeness into our lives?
As we think about this, let us also remember that as we heal ourselves we contribute to the healing of others.
That every little positive healing thing we do truly matters and adds up in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Every day we are given a choice, between love and fear.
When the bell calls us, let us choose love".
* James Rings the Bell 3 Times
60 seconds of Silence
Bradford McIntyre, after Moment of SILENCE
"Continuing to hold an annual AIDS Candlelight Memorial in Vancouver will enable us to remain connected to those who have gone before, to those who are affected today and in the future.
These are reasons for maintaining a memorial event:
.to first and foremost honour and remember those who have died of AIDS
.to demonstrate, through a public event, strong support for those living
with HIV and AIDS
.to raise our community awareness and involvement
.to decrease the stigma related to HIV/AIDS" says Bradford.
LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES by James Johnstone
"Tonight, we light candles in remembrance of people we have lost to AIDS and for our family and friends living with HIV/AIDS.
We kindle a fire for remembrance and with the power of our love, transform it into a fire of healing and hope.
With this flame, we invoke compassion and support for all people living with HIV and AIDS.
Tonight, Bradford will light the first candle and then pass its flame among us".
Bradford McIntyre lights the candle.
(Lighting of the first candle is reserved to honour the contributions/work of a community member in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Flame is passed out among the crowd)
Invocation by JamesJohnstone
"For all those who are here both in body and in spirit,
for all those who are in hospitals and hospices, special care units and prisons,
for all those too weak to leave their homes,
for all those for whom grief upon grief is too much to bear,
for the thousands of Canadians we have lost to AIDS
and for the millions on this planet who struggle daily with this disease, we light this candle.
We light this candle in witness to the daily struggle of those of us living with AIDS and those who care and support them.
We light this candle in remembrance, of those who have gone on before us, the fire of our undying love.
We light this candle in remembrance of those who have no one alive to remember them.
We light this candle in hope of the coming cure.
May the light guide our way towards bringing healing and empower us to make positive choices in our lives".
THE SUFI SONG
"I invite you to sing along with me. This song, written by the Sufi Islamic mystics, is a prayer and an affirmation. It speaks to our interconnectedness and our ability to heal ourselves and each other. Please join in singing the Sufi song. We will sing it four times" says James Johnstone .
The Sufi Song
I am the circle, I am healing you
You are the circle, You are healing me
Unite us, we are one
Unite us, we are one