This column helps congregations and individuals plan for the church year's upcoming celebrations, seasons or commemorations. See previous columns...
• In 2008, malaria caused nearly 1 million deaths, mostly among African children.
• In Africa a child dies every 45 seconds of malaria.
• Malaria threatens more than half of the world’s population, with a disproportionate effect on children, pregnant women and their unborn babies.
• Malaria is preventable and curable.
Source: World Health Organization
At the 2009 Churchwide Assembly, Nadine Ridley, then pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Vestal, N.Y., was moved by a missionary's presentation about the impact malaria had on his family. His wife and their children contracted malaria while in Africa.
Ridley brought the missionary's story home to Christ the King's JustFaith group. As she described in her sermon how malaria starts with a single insect bite, a canopy of netting was dropped on the congregation. The effect was profound, said Christine Knapp, a member of JustFaith, a program for adults on compassion, spiritual growth and Christian community.
|Donors received a corsage made from netting.
Since malaria affects primarily women and infants, and recognizing that one of the greatest losses is that of a child, Knapp suggested members purchase nets in honor of mothers on Mother's Day. As a society, we spend billions on flowers, candy and cards to honor mothers, Knapp reasoned. But the gift of a bed net in honor of a mother may potentially save one to four lives.
Last Mother's Day, the JustFaith group and friends made corsages out of netting. For a $10 donation to the ELCA's malaria project, the donor received a corsage and card, a mother in another country received a malaria net, and her children new life. The small congregation purchased more than 100 nets, with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans adding 50 more.
The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers