INM Update: Imagine No Malaria is changing lives, changing the church
Committing to the fight against malaria in Africa is the largest undertaking ever by The United Methodist Church.
Through the Imagine No Malaria campaign, the denomination is raising $75 million toward substantially reducing the number of deaths from the disease, which is preventable, treatable and curable and mostly affects children under the age of 5 and pregnant women.
"Imagine No Malaria is changing the way the church does ministry, especially in the developing world," said the Rev. Gary Henderson, executive director of the church's Global Health Initiative. "Imagine No Malaria represents partnership in the truest sense. It is an invitation to the whole world to work side by side and shoulder to shoulder in the elimination of malaria as a disease of poverty."
United Methodists have raised more than $26 million toward the church's goal and, through the United Methodist Committee on Relief, distributed more than 1.2 million insecticide-treated nets. The last quarter of 2012 saw the distribution of thousands of nets in Angola and Zimbabwe. More than 5,000 community workers have been trained in 13 African countries. Two United Methodist churches have been started in Sierra Leone through the relationship with Imagine No Malaria.
"The campaign is something everyone in the church can get behind," Henderson added. It brings everyone together, he said.
Local churches have raised money through basketball shootouts, 5k and 10k races, dinners, movie nights and special collections. Several alternative giving programs for Imagine No Malaria started in late 2012 and will continue through June 2014, when the campaign will end.
Sandra Long Weaver, communications coordinator, Imagine No Malaria, United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tenn.