We all dream about it; at least I do anyway—a cause that brings the church together working as part of a whole to make the world a better a place. We dream about all members of the body of Christ serving God by serving others and seeing their faith rooted in that service. It is what the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America dreams about and acts out too.
We are on the precipice of living out that dream in a new way. In August at the Churchwide Assembly there will be a vote to move forward with the ELCA Malaria Campaign. With that vote every member of the ELCA, via their representatives, will be voting to be part of this campaign that will impact the world in a big way. The ELCA has a long heritage of combating malaria via companion churches in Africa and this $15 million campaign is a continuation of that heritage alongside the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Goal six specifically names malaria, along with Tuberculosis and HIV and AIDS, as a disease that needs to be contained. Therefore the ELCA Malaria campaign is part of a global movement that will reduce the number of deaths related to Malaria worldwide.
Recently at the churchwide offices in Chicago, members of the Malaria Campaign and other World Hunger staff picked the brains of various members of the ELCA who are knowledgeable about malaria and about ways to best spread the word about the campaign. During the Malaria Think Tank’s three days of intense discussion, the Malaria Campaign staff was blessed with fruitful and invaluable dialogue that will help the ELCA in all its expressions take on this endeavor.
The greatest hope from this meeting was that members of the ELCA will use this campaign as a way to go deeper in our faith and in our service to God and to our brothers and sisters around the world. Malaria is a complicated disease to wrap our minds around. It is easy to focus our entire understanding of malaria around bed nets. That’s what most people associate malaria relief with. While providing nets is part of the solution it will not, by itself, save lives. As ELCA members and synods go deeper in their understanding of Malaria and the mission of the Malaria Campaign they will see the bigger picture of malaria within the complex web of poverty. While this particular campaign will end in 2015, our struggle against hunger and poverty will not end. We will need more time and energy grounded in thoughtful discussion, education and prayer if we are to address in any meaningful way global poverty.
So let’s hear your opinions! What do you know about malaria and the ways to help fight it? What are your hopes and dreams for this campaign? How will you or your church or your synod be a public witness in your area? How will you take part in the Malaria Campaign? I can’t wait to hear from you!
God Bless! Karen