ELCA Malaria Campaign

Make Malaria History

Dirndls Against Malaria?

Posted on December 6, 2012 by jessicanipp

Many thanks to Marlen Livezey of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Glenside, PA for sharing this article!  St. Paul’s has set a $25,000 fundraising goal for the ELCA Malaria Campaign, and they are already making great progress toward that goal.

So how did the people of St. Paul’s Lutheran church in Glenside PA  raise $1,175 for the ELCA Malaria Campaign in two weeks?  Here is how.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Glenside, PA is raising money for the ELCA Malaria Campaign in a way that honors their German heritage– by challenging their intern pastor to wear a dirndl!

What do you do with a Vicar who wears a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey under her alb in Philadelphia Eagles territory?  You tease her.  You tell her to wear an Eagles jersey to the CROP walk. 

What do you do when she “forgets?”  And, further, she doesn’t wear appropriate German attire for the Oktoberfest celebration either?  You tease her. You tell her that to make amends she has to wear a dirndl  (a traditional costume worn by women in Germany).  She is a good sport, so she agrees, but says, “Not for nothing.”  She demands that $750 be raised for the project to end malaria in Africa by December 31.  “Do that, and I’ll wear whatever you want,” she challenges, smugly assured that she is off the hook.

One member of the congregation, photographer Peter Kurilla, went to the council meeting with his camera in hand.  He told her that an influential member of the congregation requested a full length photo of her.  When she asked why, he said it was on a “need to know basis, and you don’t need to know.”

Then Marlen Livezey, another member of St. Paul’s put that photo on a poster– “Let’s dress our Vicar in a dirndl to help to raise $$$ to end malaria in Africa.”  During announcements after each service, she told the congregation about the ELCA’s campaign to raise $15 million for mosquito nets and medicine.  She told them that a child dies of malaria every 60 seconds.  As she spoke, the organist played a chime every 60 seconds to mark the loss of yet another child.

Working with Marlen Livezey, Kathleen Breuer fashioned a cloth dirndl to dress the vicar on the poster.  The next Sunday, Livezey brought back the poster showing the Vicar, Ashley Rossi, more than half dressed because of last week’s contributions.  By the end of the second service, people had contributed enough to add the vest and hat.  In total, $1,175. 

Now the Malaria Team at St,. Paul’s, known as SWAT,  is abuzz with plans to keep the momentum going to reach St. Paul’s goal of $25,000.  And yes, at one of those events, Vicar Ashley Rossi will be wearing a dirndl…a real one.

Keep up the good work, people of St. Paul’s Glenside!

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