Many thanks to Mary Simonson Clark of St. Barnabas Lutheran in Plymouth, MN for submitting this story to us. Mary volunteers as the ELCA Malaria Campaign synod coordinator for the Minneapolis Area Synod.
What do National Honor Society, a “sleepunder,” and singing mosquitoes have in common? They were all part of St. Barnabas Lutheran Church’s January “Gift of Love” focus. As part of his National Honors Society Senior Leadership Project, Abram Sanderson organized the sleepunder and oversaw the Gift of Love emphasis. Each month, St. Barnabas receives a “Gift of Love” offering for a ministry outside its congregation; the ELCA Malaria Campaign was the January offering recipient.
After planning with the pastors, Sanderson assumed several leadership roles to insure success in this month-long focus and special offering. Sanderson provided a worship minute or a brief awareness speech during St. Barnabas’ two morning worship services. He used this time to summarize the ELCA Malaria Campaign, announce St. Barnabas’ upcoming special offering, and invite the congregation to participate in the sleepunder.
Sanderson’s comprehensive approach included St. Barnabas’ children. He met with the third through fifth graders (the “Mariners”) during their education time and helped them make pipe cleaner mosquitoes. For instructions, see the Imagine No Malaria website. He coupled the successful mosquito construction with a two-sided worksheet that included a simple crossword puzzle and word search, which he found online. Accompanied and led by Pastor Wayne Peterson during worship, the children sang the M-O-S-Q-U-I-T-O song written by Pastor Pete Warmanen of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Medford, WI. To view the original video, click here. During the song, Sanderson used a mosquito puppet borrowed from Global Health Ministries to hover over the children. View the video of the children’s very cute musical rendition by clicking here!
The children’s participation in worship included an invitation for the congregation to join in the sleepunder either by participating or by pledging donations. Despite the winter weather, ten people participated in the full night of activities held in St. Barnabas’ fellowship hall. Sanderson provided a broad spectrum of ways to raise the participants’ awareness of malaria while also having fun. Sanderson began by presenting an overview of malaria after which he showed the documentary When the Night Comes by Bobby Bailey. To view a short trailer, click here.
They also played Malaria Tag and Malaria Jeopardy, both downloadable from the ELCA Malaria Campaign website . The focus of the event was sleeping under nets to simulate what our neighbors in Africa must do to protect themselves from deadly malaria-transmitting mosquito bites. In the morning, they ended the experience with a hearty pancake breakfast. Sanderson’s sleepunder event raised $420 through pledges. This, combined with the $1,405 from the Gift of Love offering, brought in $1,825 to prevent and treat malaria.
Why not follow Abram Sanderson and St. Barnabas’ impressive and successful example? Host your own month of activities culminating with a sleepunder. Like Sanderson and St. Barnabas, you can save lives and have fun!
Thanks to Mary, Abram, and the entire St. Barnabas community for your leadership with the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Your successful campaign and creative Sleepunder is an inspiration!