Conference launches new Imagine No Malaria campaign

The Eastern PA Conference has embarked on a new, short-term Imagine No Malaria campaign to build broad awareness and financial support for the life-saving mission to eradicate the deadly disease of malaria.

Bishop Peggy Johnson and her Executive Secretary, Amy Botti (campaign coordinator), presented details to the Bishop’s Cabinet in early September to launch the education and fundraising campaign, slated to run through the end of 2015. Districts and churches are being encouraged to promote awareness and generous giving to help The United Methodist reach its $75 million Imagine No Malaria goal by May 2016, when the denomination’s global General Conference meets.

Currently, we are at about $66 million in a campaign to help eradicate malaria and save countless lives threatened by the deadly, mosquito-borne disease, which mostly strikes children in Africa. That leaves $9 million more to go in this race to the finish line.

Bishop Johnson is appealing to leaders, members and churches of the Eastern PA Conference to “Press on toward the goal,” in the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12b. Please read and share with others her recent Bishop’s Blog essay about the Imagine No Malaria campaign.

She wants every congregation to contribute $10 for each worshipping member to the campaign. We have nearly 40,000 reported worshipers among our approximately 460 churches.

Equally important is the widespread public awareness we want to generate. Every member of every congregation should know something about the tragic, unnecessary toll in human lives that malaria takes–mostly in Africa and mostly among children–and about The United Methodist Church’s commitment and capacity to help eradicate this dreaded disease through its support for life-saving measures.

Those measures go far beyond the many thousands of insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets that our donations since 2007 have purchased and provided. Other strides to remedy this lethal disease include training local volunteers and health agents to teach and encourage people to use the protective bed nets.

By the end of December 2015 churches will be contacted and resourced to support their participation. Campaign donation guidelines for church treasurers have been published. We have obtained 3,000 colorful Imagine No Malaria collection boxes to distribute at conference meetings and events. Meanwhile, churches can order more boxes for themselves to creatively facilitate and promote donations.

Churches and groups can encourage seasonal giving to this special mission endeavor during Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas. More information will be available to support those special giving opportunities. While the campaign will officially end Dec. 31, the Conference Treasurer’s Office will continue to receive contributions through January 2016.

By all means, please let us know what your church is planning or doing or already did to raise awareness and support for the Imagine No Malaria campaign. For instance, Ridge Avenue UMC in the Roxborough area of Philadelphia will present the choral group United Praise in concert Sept. 19, at 7 PM, as a fundraiser for Imagine No Malaria. West Chester UMC holds a “Beat the Bug” marathon race each year to raise funds to provide mosquito-repellant bed nets. What can you do between now and Dec. 31? What will you do? Whatever it is, please let us know. Write to us at communications@epaumc.org or call 484-762-8227.

There will be much more information, ideas and inspiring stories to share and spotlight in this campaign. So please visit and revisit the Imagine No Malaria page on our conference Website, and also stay informed through NEWSpirit, our quarterly Newspaper and weekly News Digest, and through our Facebook and Twitter pages. We might even post some video on our conference YouTube channel.

There are already plenty of great videos to watch and enjoy on the Imagine No Malaria YouTube site and plenty of information and resources to see and use on the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria Website. So go ahead: log on, open up, dig in and get what you need to help your church members become informed and inspired to participate in our Imagine No Malaria campaign. Let’s “Press On” together and win our pursuit of this vital, life-saving goal to save precious lives.