7:00 A.M. EST April 23, 2010
Community health volunteer Madelene Mwainga hangs a mosquito net in the
home of Serge Tshibal during a training event in Lubumbashi, Democratic
Republic of Congo. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.
View in Photo Gallery
Being the church is about more than sitting in a pew.
It requires “putting faith into action,” asserts Deon Roach of
Christ United Methodist Church, Chapel Hill, N.C.
That is why she and other members of her congregation will be doing
mission work from preparing health kits for Haiti to writing letters to
Russian orphans as part of this weekend’s churchwide Change the World events.
United Methodists across the United States and around the world are
gearing up for more than 900 events in 16 countries on April 24 and 25.
Together, Roach says, church members will create “a beautiful mosaic
of service and love around the world.”
Everyone can make a difference, she says, “and all of these efforts
make a massive impact, more than any of us could hope to do
individually. That is what being the body of Christ is about,” she says.
“Why wouldn’t you get involved?”
The Change the World weekend coincides with World Malaria Day on
Sunday, April 25. Many congregations are scheduling a community-based
work day Saturday and focusing on World Malaria Day in Sunday worship. A
special offering is encouraged to support the fight against malaria.
The Christian music group Jars of Clay will be performing this weekend
in Austin, Texas, as part of Change the World. Photo courtesy of
Provident Music Group.
Imagine No Malaria is a new effort of The United Methodist Church to
raise $75 million to eliminate malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. The
ministry will be launched officially to the denomination on World
Malaria Day, April 25, during a special event featuring the music group
Jars of Clay at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.
‘Being the body of Christ’
From Alabama to Wyoming, from the Philippines to Nigeria, and many
points in between, United Methodists will engage in a variety of
activities that illustrate what it means to be the body of Christ.
Roach’s church is offering a gamut of options for workers on April
24. Volunteers will prepare health kits for Haiti, make no-sew fleece
blankets for area ministries and write letters to children at
orphanages the church sponsors in Russia and Brazil. Off campus, they
will build Habitat homes, landscape space at local non-profit agencies
and glean local fields for crops that otherwise would be wasted.
Whitfield United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala., is hosting a
Nothing But Nets Basketball Shoot Off. “Each participant,” says program
director Patty Macready, “will collect sponsors who will contribute
money for each basketball they sink. Monies will go to UMCOR to
purchase malaria nets.”
In Oviedo, Fla., members of First United Methodist Church will
collect funds for a stove project in Guatemala. The communities need
masonry cook stoves, but residents lack the resources to build such
stoves for themselves.
“Just think,” member Jacqueline Wise exclaims, “each morning 3,000
families firing up their stoves; 3,000 women not risking blindness
while cooking for their families; 18,000 men, women and children not
filling their lungs with toxic smoke every day.”
Women incarcerated at the Indiana Women’s Prison will have an
opportunity to reconnect with their children at a Mother’s Day party,
thanks to United Methodist Women at Castleton United Methodist Church,
Indianapolis. The women will serve a family-style meal and lead games
and activities the moms and children can do together.
A big goal awaits volunteers at Corbin United Methodist Church,
Caldwell, Kan. The Heartland Feeds Haiti organization hopes to package
285,120 meals for Haiti.
Mbayo Ndala and her mother wait at The United Methodist Church's Shungu
Health Center in Kamina, DRC. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.
View in Photo Gallery
Sneaker collecting is the new hobby at Grace United Methodist
Church, Hopkinton, Mass. “We learned that the local aid organization,
Project Just Because, is completely out of children’s sneakers,”
explains the Rev. Leigh Dry. “We will be collecting sneakers for the
next three weeks. We have contacted retailers and other groups that may
wish to donate, as well as asking members to give a child a pair of
Members of FaithWay United Methodist Church, Saginaw, Mich., will
host the season opening of a special-needs park in the community.
“Special Day for Special Kids” is a free event for children and
families in the community.
Youth at the Summerfield-Siloam United Methodist Church in
Philadelphia will host “Malaria and Pizza!” Two related fundraisers—a
pizza tasting by local pizzerias and a competition for the best
homemade pizza—will net funds to combat malaria.
The environment and hungry children will benefit from two ministries
at First United Methodist Church, Hendersonville, Tenn. A Hope for
Creation simulcast, open to the congregation and the community, will
share “ways we can be greener in our choices.” In addition, throughout
the month, members are collecting food for “The Backpack Program,”
which provides school-age children with small sacks of food to take home
during the weekends and school breaks.
In the Philippines, United Methodists will assist a medical mission,
offer vacation church school and present a spiritual concert among
other activities. In Africa, opening dialogue between Christians and
Muslims is on the agenda of Gwaten United Methodist Church, Jalingo,
Nigeria. Members of First United Methodist Church, Moheto, Kenya, will
distribute anti-malaria drugs and provide a free clinic for a week.
And the list goes on.
‘Why on earth are you here?’
“Our church is participating in Change the World because we
need to be outside the walls of the church, be Christ and bring
about God’s kingdom,” said the Rev. Linda McCowen, pastoral assistant
and deacon at Pleasant Hills United Methodist Church, Middleburg
Maddie Smith, 13, meets her pen pal Katya at a Russian orphanage. Photo
courtesy of Christ UMC,
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Activities on April 24 include collecting food for the Cleveland
Food Bank, teaching children about bicycle safety, and assembling
health and layette kits for UMCOR. In her role as parish nurse, McCowen
will sell pedometers for $10 ($5 for the pedometer and $5 for Imagine
The next day, “No More Malaria Sunday,” the children will take a
special collection for Imagine No Malaria.
“Our pastor, the Rev. Sarah Cerreto, is very gifted in altar design
and has created a gorgeous altar using the colors of Africa, the
geography of Africa and a mosquito net,” McCowen notes. “The
banner asks us, ‘Why on earth are you here?’”
McCowen believes that as congregations Change the World, they will
“Everyone in our church is working together to make a difference in
the lives of many people,” she says. “We will be blessed. I don’t
think our church or the community will ever be the same.”
*Dunlap-Berg is internal content editor for United Methodist
News media contact: Barbara Dunlap-Berg, Nashville, Tenn., (615)
742-5489 or email@example.com.