|CBS special looks at religion’s impact on poverty|
Anne Niamke covers her 6-year-old son Ange-Virgile with their new
insecticide-treated mosquito net following a distribution in
Lahou-Plage, Côte d'Ivoire.
UMNS photos by Mike DuBose.
April 9, 2009 | NEW YORK (UMNS)
United Methodists know that poverty and disease go hand-in-hand.
That’s why an effort to provide inexpensive bed nets as protection
against malaria quickly captured the imagination of church members
across the connection.
United Methodist Bishop Thomas Bickerton, the denominational
spokesperson for the Nothing But Nets campaign, is among those featured
on an interfaith television special, “Poverty: A Time for Sharing,”
which will be broadcast April 26 on the CBS network. Check with local
stations for the exact time.
In Africa, a poor child dies of malaria every thirty seconds. To date,
Nothing But Nets, which was started in 2006 by the U.N. Foundation and
Sports Columnist Rick Reilly, has raised more than $25 million and
distributed over 2.5 million nets to children and families in Africa,
at a cost of $10 per net. Religious partners in the campaign include
The United Methodist Church, Lutheran World Relief and the Union for
Bishop Thomas Bickerton challenges delegates to the 2008 United
Methodist General Conference to donate money to the Nothing But Nets
campaign against malaria.
As Bickerton has pointed out, “The reality is that we can save a
child’s life for such a small amount of money, and that message has
really touched people’s hearts and compelled them to get engaged.”
A $10 investment in a bed net means a family of four can be protected
for up to five years. Elizabeth McKee Gore, a United Methodist and
executive director of Nothing But Nets who also is featured on the
program, recently helped distribute nets to refugees in Uganda. “I saw
firsthand how these lifesaving bed nets help provide hope to parents
who are struggling to keep their children safe,” she said.
Bickerton, who leads the Pittsburgh Area, supports church involvement
with secular partners as a way to address global health issues. He has
noted that often these partners “are looking for the church to be the
glue that will give purpose and meaning to this important endeavor to
bring life to a dying world.”
The 2008 United Methodist General Conference, the denomination’s top
legislative body, approved a Global Health Initiative to combat the
diseases of poverty: HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
Elizabeth McKee Gore visits with Muji Bakare, who received an
insecticide-treated mosquito net in 2007 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Other highlights of the CBS special include the work of the American
Jewish World Service with 400 non-governmental grassroots groups in 36
countries; the global focus of the Mennonite Church on resolving
conflicts without violence and service to the poor; assistance to the
poorest of the poor by the U.S.-based Islamic Relief; and the efforts
by Catholic Relief Services to respond to disasters, foster development
and care for the poor and dying.
“Poverty: A Time for Sharing” is produced with the cooperation of the
National Council of Churches, The United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops, The Islamic Society of North American, The Union for Reform
Judaism and the New York Board of Rabbis. John P. Blessington is the
executive producer and Ted Holmes is the producer. More information can
be found at http://www.interfaithbroadcasting.com.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Interfaith Broadcasting Commission
National Council of Churches
Nothing But Nets