|United Methodist staff mark Malaria Awareness Day|
The Rev. Larry Hollon encourages people to donate $10 to the Nothing But
Nets anti-malaria campaign during an observance of Africa Malaria Day
in Nashville, Tenn.
UMNS photos by Mike DuBose.
By Deborah White*
April 25, 2007 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)
About 450 employees of United Methodist agencies and regional offices
gathered April 25 to eat soup at United Methodist Publishing House and
donate their lunch money to help save lives in Africa.
Neil Alexander, publisher and CEO of the United Methodist
Publishing House, displays a mosquito net during an April 25 gathering
of agency employees.
In observance of Malaria Awareness Day, the gathering called
attention to the plight of children in Africa and rallied United
Methodists around the Nothing But Nets anti-malaria campaign supported
by the people of The United Methodist Church.
"This day, O God, we focus on malaria and we resolve to make a
difference," said Bishop Robert H. Spain, chaplain of the Publishing
House, as he led a special litany for Malaria Awareness Day.
"Praise God for a way to make a difference, particularly in making
malaria history. It’s infectious," said Neil Alexander, president and
publisher of the denomination's publishing agency.
The people of The United Methodist Church are one of the founding
partners in Nothing But Nets, a grassroots drive to prevent malaria in
Africa through the purchase and distribution of insecticide-treated
sleeping nets. Other partners include the United Nations Foundation, Sports Illustrated, the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, Major League Soccer and Malaria No More.
A donation of $10 pays for the purchase and distribution of one net,
which offers protection from mosquitoes that transmit malaria to people
at night when they are sleeping. Since its 2006 launch, the campaign has
raised more than $5 million -- enough to buy more than 500,000 nets.
"It’s an exciting time," said The Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive
of United Methodist Communications. "It is a step of faith that the
people of The United Methodist Church, in partnership with others, can
make a difference. It’s as simple as skipping a lunch, buying a net and
saving a life."
Bishop Richard J. Wills Jr., of the Nashville Area, attended the event
along with cabinet members of the Tennessee Area (regional) Conference.
"With complicated problems, often simple things make a huge difference –
like a net for a child," Wills said.
Karla Taylor (left) sells T-shirts to support the anti-malaria initiative backed by The United Methodist Church.
In addition to filling a large jar with cash and checks, a steady
stream of supporters bought "Buzzkill" T-shirts, watched a video about
Nothing But Nets, signed a large banner, wrote notes to children who
will receive the nets and wore buttons with images of children from
"It's very affordable for anybody to be able to contribute a net,"
said Bonnie Seay, who works as an editor in the children’s department at
the Publishing House.
Other workers echoed that sentiment and were impressed by the turnout from church agencies.
"I just wanted to do my part," said Sarah Beasley, a Publishing House
employee who bought a T-shirt. "Little ones – we need to make sure they
grow up to be good citizens."
"What a wonderful way to be involved," said Tim Mabry, controller for the publishing agency. "We can save lives."
To learn more, visit www.NothingButNets.net or www.umc.org/nets.
*White is associate editor of Interpreter magazine.
News media contact: Deborah White, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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