Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Occasional Word: by Bishop Crutchfield

Each year, between 350 and 500 million people are infected with malaria. Ninety percent of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. Photo: UMCOR

Dear Friends:

These are only some of the facts.

I am not a fast reader, but in the two minutes it takes me to read aloud these “occasional words,” four children will die of malaria.

Each year, between 350 and 500 million people are infected with malaria. Ninety percent of them are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Each year, more than a million people die from malaria, and many more are incapacitated for varying periods of time.

The most startling fact is that if we are committed to putting our money where our mouths are, we can make malaria a memory in our lifetimes. If we work at it with passion, it can be essentially eradicated by 2015.

While we have been very fortunate to have essentially eliminated malaria in the U.S. (there are only a handful of cases each year), still it is a disease that knows no national identity, no racial, ethnic, gender, age or economic boundaries. Did you know that George Clooney, the award winning actor, recently contracted malaria while filming a documentary in Sudan?

The United Methodist Church has joined in a global alliance with a wide variety of foundations and global health partners to work toward the eradication of malaria in the next few years. The General Conference of  2008 stepped out in faith and declared that we as a church would raise $75 million over the next several years to do our part.

No apportionment dollars have been allocated toward this goal. It will depend on the efforts of local churches if this is to transpire.

Our continuing work through UMCOR and our efforts with our global partners involve not only providing mosquito nets for families, they also involve public health training, increased efforts to eliminate standing water, associated water projects, treatment facilities and medications. All of this accompanies our continuing work on a spiritual level as we respond to mind, body and spirit.

In areas where the governments of malaria-ridden countries are unable to respond, the church is already present. We have a network of laity and pastors ready and able to carry the heavy burden. We simply need to step up and give them the tools.
 Other information on this page can help you tell the story. There will be suggestions about how you can be personally involved. You might even throw a party....

In the name of Jesus Christ, for the sake of all God’s children, we can be world-transforming.


Charles Crutchfield

by Bishop Charles Crutchfield, The Arkansas Annual Conference ~March 4, 2011
Read his original blog posting here.

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