|Florida faith leaders join in fight against malaria|
United Methodist Bishop Thomas Bickerton challenges Miami-area pastors
to join in the Nothing But Nets campaign against malaria. UMNS photos by
By John Gordon*
April 25, 2007 | MIAMI (UMNS)
Leaders of about two dozen churches in the Miami area learned on Africa
Malaria Day how $10 can help save the life of a child in Africa.
Nearly 70 people representing more than 20 churches in greater Miami
attend the Faith Leaders' Breakfast in observance of Africa Malaria Day.
Nearly 70 United Methodist pastors attended a Faith Leaders'
Breakfast on April 25 to find out more about the Nothing But Nets
campaign, a partnership involving the people of The United Methodist
Church, the United Nations Foundation, Sports Illustrated, the
National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, Major League Soccer’s MLS
W.O.R.K.S. and other groups. The meeting was hosted by Christ Church
United Methodist in nearby Fort Lauderdale.
Nothing But Nets has raised $5.5 million to send insecticide-treated
sleeping nets for children in Africa. The nets are considered one of the
most cost-effective ways to prevent malaria, which kills 1 million
people a year -- most of which are children, according to United
Methodist Bishop Thomas Bickerton.
"I get blown away when I read … repeatedly of the number of people
who die every year," Bickerton told the faith leaders. "Every 30
seconds, a child dies."
The breakfast was held in conjunction with Africa Malaria Day, designed
to raise awareness of the deadly disease. At the same time, the United
States observed Malaria Awareness Day for the first time.
Former Miami Heat basketball coach Stan Van Gundy lends his support to the cause.
A $10 donation will send a net to Africa and provide community
workers to help families learn how to use them. Bickerton said he hopes
malaria someday will be eliminated like polio.
"Nothing But Nets is our opportunity," he said. "We can prevent a killer disease."
The Florida event kicked off a multi-city tour to promote grassroots
awareness of the malaria problem and encourage church groups,
sports teams and others to raise money for the campaign.
*Gordon is a freelance producer and writer based in Marshall, Texas.
News media contact: Fran Coode Walsh, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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