Boulder faith communities paused for a moment of silence this weekend to honor World AIDS Day.

The pause in weekend services, held in conjunction with the Boulder County AIDS Project's Interfaith AIDS Coalition, was designed as a signal of support, prayer and remembrance for those who have died from or have managed HIV and AIDS each day.

Faith congregations' short moments of silence are part of BCAP's larger World AIDS Day events schedule, which also features a performance by the Denver Gay Men's Chorus and free HIV testing clinics this week.

Stan Adamson, a pastor at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, said it's important for faith communities to be involved in AIDS awareness and support.

Adamson said the church has been part of the Interfaith AIDS Coalition for at least 20 years, in part because past congregation members have struggled with the deaths of loved ones from the disease.

Adamson said his congregation has tried to fight the stereotype that faith communities shun those who are HIV-positive. The church wants to be a safe space for those affected by the disease.

"In many ways, people suffering from AIDS are like the lepers of the New Testament," he said. "For a long time, the disease has had a huge stigma, and people kept away from those suffering from AIDS."

Though a bit of the unfair stigma has decreased, Adamson said, it still exists.

Rev. Pat Bruns of First United Methodist Church said his congregation is privileged to work with BCAP to reach out to those with HIV and AIDS. FUMC owns the BCAP building and has rented it to the organization since 1990.

"AIDS is more than a physical issue. It's a spiritual issue," he said. "We want to spread the word that God loves everyone and helps us in challenging times of our lives."

Bruns said it's also important for Christians to acknowledge and apologize for the negative impact some congregations have had on the HIV/AIDS community.

Some faith communities have called AIDS a plague or punishment for sinners, particularly those who are gay, he said.

"Some faith communities still perpetuate fear, misunderstanding and isolation, and that is wrong," Bruns said. "We have a long way to go in addressing this, but I believe we can move forward."

Along with St. Andrew and FUMC, faith communities such as Congregation Har Hashem, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boulder, Community United Church of Christ, Congregation Bonai Shalom, First Presbyterian and Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder will observe a moment of silence during weekend services.

Those congregations also are part of the Interfaith AIDS Coalition, which was formed in 1992.

Congregations in the coalition organize food drives and raise funds to benefit BCAP, and they also volunteer to deliver food donations to home-bound clients.

"They're a really dedicated group of volunteers," said Brandi Mason, BCAP's director of development. "They keep our food bank stocked, our deliveries going and they help provide (funding) for our clients' unmet needs."

Faith-based support for victims is key, she said.

Other World AIDS Day events throughout the week aim to provide information about prevention and education, Mason said.

BCAP and First United Methodist Church will host a World AIDS Day concert featuring the Denver Gay Men's Chorus and the Denver Women's Chorus. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce St., Boulder.

In addition to the annual concert, BCAP will conduct free, rapid HIV testing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at BCAP, 2118 14th St., Boulder. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. Call Madeleine at 303-444-6121 (ext. 108) to make an appointment.

For more information about the World AIDS Day concert, visit bcap.org.

Megan Quinn writes a faith column once a week for the Camera. Contact her at quinnm@dailycamera.com.