SUMMARY: Imagine a world without malaria—a preventable disease that kills one child in Africa every 30 seconds, more than 1 million children every year. Imagine the lives changed, the futures created.
Now imagine how your church can have an enormous impact on preventing the disease. Educate your congregation. Empower your community. Organize fundraising. Plan events. Eradicate suffering in simple ways.
The United Methodist Church is launching a new ministry initiative called Imagine No Malaria, a comprehensive effort to raise $75 million to fight malaria and eliminate death and suffering from the disease in Africa by 2015 through education, communication, prevention and treatment. The success of “Imagine No Malaria” will depend on the active participation of United Methodists. How will your congregation “Imagine No Malaria”?
Talk to the congregation about malaria and its devastating impact. Transmitted through a mosquito bite, the plasmodium parasite can cause fever, chills, vomiting, headaches that lead to convulsions, organ failure and death—if left untreated. Each year, malaria affects 500 million people and kills more than 1 million, 90 percent of whom live in Africa. Talk about “Imagine No Malaria” during your worship service on World Malaria Day (April 25). Use the new Web site, ImagineNoMalaria.org, to find educational resources to maximize your time and effort. Include relevant Web links on your site and include details in your church bulletin.
Do “no lunch.”
Adopt “Imagine No Malaria” as a mission project. Recognize April 25 as World Malaria Day. Bishop Thomas Bickerton, chairperson of The United Methodist Church’s Global Health Initiative, suggests using World Malaria Day as a time when everyone can forego buying lunch and direct the savings to Nothing But Nets. “We’re asking people to skip a lunch, send a net, save a life,” he says.
Participate in Rethink Church’s “Change the World” event, April 24-25.
Every day, more churches are joining this unified movement putting discipleship into action. To add your “Imagine No Malaria” fundraising event on Google Earth, go to www.rethinkchurch.org/changetheworld.
Some congregations are planning “sleepouts” where youth and others experience what it’s like to sleep under bed nets the way many African children do every night. They are focusing on raising funds to fight malaria. Purchase bed netting at a local Army-Navy store or other retailer. Send a news release, and call your local media to invite coverage. Ask for on-site donations from participants and people passing by.
Download help and spread the news.
To promote The United Methodist Church’s “Imagine No Malaria” initiative, download resources—a poster, bulletin insert, brochure, talking points and more, to promote message. Add the Web banner to your site and distribute the posters and brochures in your community at libraries, retailers and restaurants. Publicize well in advance of World Malaria Day April 25.
Become a “fan.”
Congregants can add themselves as “fans” of the “Imagine No Malaria” campaign from this Facebook page. They can sign up to follow the campaign on Twitter. They also can subscribe to the “Imagine No Malaria” channel (INSERT LINK) on YouTube using their YouTube or Google account.
Share the impact.
Invite your congregation to listen to the compelling testimony of the Rev. Bob Allen, district superintendent in Kerrville, Texas, who shares his experience of a life-changing mission trip when he saw how malaria ravages lives. Post his six-minute testimony in an e-newsletter or on your Web site. Show it full screen during a service. You can find Allen’s story, along with other “Imagine No Malaria” videos, on the YouTube channel. You can also use informational videos on the experiences of Elizabeth Clymer, a teen who has made a commitment to save lives.
Act to prevent.
After educating your congregation about malaria’s impact, tell them how they can help. The distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets is a critical part of preventing malaria. Just $10 buys a single net to keep mosquitoes away as someone sleeps. By donating to the Imagine No Malaria effort, you can make a big difference with just a small contribution.
Encourage everyone in your church to sign up for Mosquito Bytes, the monthly “Imagine No Malaria” e-newsletter with information about malaria, success stories from churches across the United States and tips on how you can help eliminate malaria as a major source of death and suffering in Africa.