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    Make Malaria History

    Marching in the Light of God

    Posted on May 15, 2013 by jessicanipp
    Lutherans from the Hartford, CT area gather together for "Lutheran Happy Hour."

    Lutherans from the Hartford, CT area gather together for “Lutheran Happy Hour.”

    Last night, ELCA members from 10 different local congregations gathered together at a community center in Hartford, CT to celebrate “Lutheran Happy Hour.” On the menu were African-inspired appetizers, beverages featuring tonic water (once reknowned for its malaria-fighting abilities), a presentation about the ELCA Malaria Campaign, and a joyful musical celebration. 

    Participants were invited to begin the evening by gathering in small groups and creating a poem, song, or creed about global health and disease. One group broke into a rousing rendition of “Fever.” Another authored this four-word poem: “Disease divides. Christ unites.” A third group created the soon-to-be Sunday School favorite (sung to the tune of “I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner”):

    A talented family of musical leaders had all of the participants "marching in the light of God" and sharing in the percussion duties!

    A talented family of musical leaders had all of the participants “marching in the light of God” and sharing in the percussion duties!

    “I wish I were a teeny mosquito. 
    That is what I really want to be-ee-ee. 
    ‘Cause if I were a teeny mosquito,
    nobody would take a bite of me!” 

    During the presentation, participants voiced compelling questions that invited everyone into conversation about the effects of malaria in our world and how the ELCA and our Lutheran sisters and brothers in Africa are responding. A rousing cheer went up in the room (twice) when they learned that the New England Synod had raised $150,000 so far!

    After the malaria presentation, a whole boxfull of rhythm instruments was distributed and everyone–including the caterers!–joined in a joyful celebration with music that we’ve learned from our sisters and brothers in Africa. (The talented bunch fulfiled all Lutheran stereotypes by breaking out into four-part harmony!)

    Event co-organizer, Pastor Lydia Wittman Grebe said, “Lutheran Happy Hour was a fun and creative way to meet other Lutherans in this area, get to know each other and learn about something that affects all of us in our world—the ELCA Malaria Campaign—and ways in which we can get involved!” 

    Would a Lutheran Happy Hour work in your area? We’d love to hear all of your creative ideas! Send stories and photos to Jessica Nipp Hacker at

    Energetic Education: Students in Zimbabwe Sing and Dance Against Malaria

    Posted on May 10, 2013 by allisonbeebe

    A class of students at Burure Primary School in Zimbabwe sings a song about malaria.

    When I stepped onto the grounds of Burure Primary school in Zimbabwe, the first sound that I heard was a room full of first graders singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” It was fun to hear this familiar tune in a place so far from home. Indeed, singing is a great way for children to learn. In addition to songs about barnyard animals or the alphabet, school children in Burure also learn songs to help teach about malaria.

    On a visit to the Burure Primary school, we had the opportunity to see children sing, dance and offer poems – all on the topic of malaria. There are about 1000 school-aged children in Burure. A group of courageous kids bravely performed in front of a crowd of several hundred people, a group which included fellow-students, school staff members and international guests.

    Some songs described symptoms that people should beware of. Others talked about different prevention techniques. One class came together and sang beautiful songs as a choir.

    Poem Zim

    A student shares her experience with malaria through poetry.

    A memorable poem was given by a girl that was lamenting how malaria was making many of her family members sick. “Malaria, malaria,” she cried, “First my father, and now my brother.”  Another poet proclaimed, “Fever, aching, chills – when will it end?” It was clear that these students had experienced malaria in a personal, impactful way.

    One dance group was particularly memorable, thanks to their energetic and rousing routine. The children chanted, shouted and cheered as they danced, ran and pounded percussive dumbbells together. Their songs were all in the local language, but the content was clear. Every now and then a strong, “Malaria!” would ring out – a word that is in the same in English as it is in many other languages.

    At the same gathering, there was a question and answer session related to malaria, which was led by Yeukai Muzuzewa, Malaria Project Coordinator for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe. She would ask questions related to malaria and the students would raise their hands quickly, eager to give an answer. She asked for examples of symptoms, she asked about vulnerable populations and she asked about bed nets. With each question, she couldn’t stump the students. It was clear that this is a well-educated community in the area of malaria.

     Visiting the school makes me hopeful for the future. With so many young advocates already learning how to identify, treat and prevent malaria, I’m confident that the deaths from malaria will continue to decline as the months and years go on. Perhaps there wasn’t such a clear public health message when their parents were growing up, but certainly the next generation has the tools to make malaria history. 


    Singing, dancing and cheering from an energetic group of Zimbabwean students!

    Drum roll please…

    Posted on May 9, 2013 by jessicanipp

    Zambia MJ xylophone 3There’s a lot of exciting news to report this week– drum roll please…

    The ELCA Malaria Campaign has met its $250,000 goal for World Malaria Week! (In fact, we far exceeded our goal– but we’re not sure yet by how much, exactly.) This means we’ve raised enough money to jumpstart malaria programming in the Katakwi District of Uganda, in partnership with Lutheran World Federation.  Thank you to everyone who participated in the commemoration of World Malaria Week through prayer, education and giving.

    And… we’re halfway to our goal!  The phenomenal results from World Malaria Week have propelled us beynod this very important milestone.  Members, congregations and synods of the ELCA have given more than $7.5 million so far to support malaria programming run by Lutheran churches and organizations in Angola, Central African Republic, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. That brings us over halfway to our goal of $15 million by 2015.

    Just a personal note here: I am so proud to be a member of a church that is so generous and so committed to the health of all of God’s children! I’ve seen these malaria programs in action, and I know that our transatlantic partnership is strong– much generosity in the ELCA, and much expertise and hard work among our Lutheran sisters and brothers in Africa, and much prayer surrounding all of us. We are truly walking hand in hand to make malaria  history!

    Metro DC Synod celebrates World Malaria Week

    Posted on May 1, 2013 by jessicanipp

    MetroDC childrens sermonThere has been a lot of malaria-related activity in ELCA congregations this week– thanks be to God!

    Many thanks to Dorothy Sorrell, Synod Malaria Coordinator for the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, for gathering these photos and updates!

    The Metropolitan Washington, DC Synod showed its support of World Malaria Week in a variety of ways.  A few examples include:

    – Pastor Gerry Johnson of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Fairfax, VA, gathered children under a mosquito net to tell them about malaria.  Pastor Michael Gutzler and the members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Woodbridge, VA saw beautiful butterflies as a way of reminding everyone of the need to support the Malaria Campaign through the purchase of nets.  MetroDC net with mosquitoesPastor Robert Lewis, Jr. and members of Messiah Lutheran, Alexandria, VA,  made the mosquitoes disappear as nets were purchased.  Pastor Margrethe Klieber and the members of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Fairfax, VA, began their month-long congregational Malaria Campaign on Malaria Sunday.

    – The Synod Global Mission Committee met on Malaria Sunday, and Pastor Robert Allard, Chair of the Committee,  led the group in the ELCA Malaria Litany and Prayers.

    – The Metro DC Synodical Women’s Organization listened to Dorothy Sorrell, Synod Malaria Campaign Coordinator, describe the people who are being helped as we accompany Lutheran Church bodies in Africa, and were provided resource materials.Metro DC Messiah butterflies

    The Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod is committed to the work of the Malaria Campaign, and is on its way toward meeting its goal of $250,000 and 100% participation by Synod congregations.

    We’d love to share updates from your synod, too! How did congregations in your synod celebrate World Malaria Week? How will you continue to support the work of the ELCA Malaria Campaign now that World Malaria Day is finished? Send your stories to Some will be featured on our blog!