Congregations are invited to reprint this issue of the Bridge in conjunction with a special offering, event, etc. to collect money for the 2012 Synod Assembly.
Every 45 seconds a child dies from malaria, a preventable and treatable disease. The ELCA has committed to join with Lutheran churches in Africa to work toward a malaria-free future. This effort is part of the ELCA Malaria Campaign, officially launched by the ELCA Churchwide AssemblyAug. 15, 2011. A goal of the campaign is to raise $15 million over a four-year period.
“Poverty, hunger, disease – they all go together, so we find malaria more prevalent where poverty and hunger are evident. That’s where our relationship can make a difference. We stand beside (and partner with) those who suffer with malaria, those who are hungry, (and) those who live in poverty,” Rev. Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl, the campaign’s coordinator, told the 2011 Churchwide Assembly.
The Southeastern Minnesota Synod voiced their support of the ELCA Malaria Campaign at the 2011 Synod Assembly by voting overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution in support of the campaign. In the resolution, the assembly encouraged congregations to provide educational materials to members, encouraged congregations and individuals to financially support the campaign, and memorialized the 2011 Churchwide Assembly to extend the initial pilot program.
Congregations around the synod have been raising awareness about the plight of malaria in a number of ways. A number of congregations, including Fountain Lutheran Church, Fountain, have incorporated the campaign through Temple Talks, children’s sermons, and special offerings. Sample mosquito nets are one way to demonstrate how easy malaria prevention can be with the right resources. Bethel Lutheran Church, Northfield, created a receptacle out of the mosquito netting to collect gifts for their Malaria Campaign giving emphasis. Trondhjem Lutheran Church, Lonsdale, specifically tied their efforts in with Minnesota’s mosquito season.
The eighth and ninth grade confirmation class at Trinity Lutheran Church, Albert Lea, was moved to do something when they found out that approximately 800,000 people die each year from this preventable disease. They set a goal to raise $1,000 to buy 100 mosquito nets. They found more information at www.ELCA.org/malaria, presented a proposal to the congregational council, and shared their information and goal with the congregation. They are working toward their $1,000 goal.
Congregations have an opportunity to join as a synod in 2012 to make an even larger impact in working to eliminate malaria. The 2012 Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly offering will be designated for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Congregations are invited to raise awareness in their communities and collect financial offerings to bring to the assembly.
- ELCA Malaria Campaign – www.ELCA.org/malaria (look for the news release, a short video, resources including bulletin inserts, and links to donate)
- Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly Resolution – semnsynod.org/assembly/past-assemblies/assembly-2011/resolutions/2011-04/
- Other synods’ lists of ideas and resources – neiasynod.org/synod_resources/Malaria.asp and www.mpls-synod.org/programs/malaria