Slam Dunk is the buzz at Conference
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WMC) – What’s the buzz this year at Annual Conference? Slam Dunk, that’s what! Every 60 seconds malaria claims a life in Africa. In the time it takes to read this article, five children will die from a disease that YOU can help prevent.
The global church is engaged in a $75 million dollar initiative to eliminate malaria by 2015 through health education and the distribution of treated bed nets. This spring the West Michigan Conference is providing a fun and family-friendly way to contribute to that effort.
The Rev. Bill Chu, director of the Wesley Foundation at Michigan State University describes the Slam Dunk for Imagine No Malaria as “a spectacle of advocacy, fund raising and community engagement around the elimination of malaria.” The Wesley Campus Ministries from around the Conference are working together at Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena on the afternoon of Saturday, June 9. They will provide activities that invite people of all ages to join this partnership to swat out the disease.
“First we will learn about Imagine No Malaria from the Rev. Gary Henderson, Executive Director of the United Methodist Global Health Initiative,” Bill explains. Then, after reps from the Wesley Foundations share how campus ministries are engaged in issues of global health, the fun begins. “Activities will include Zumba, board games, free throw competition, hula hoop making and clinic, Game of NETS, massage, four square and other kids activities,” Bill continues. There will also be a Basketball Fundamentals Clinic. Those who choose, “A Healthy Body” for their afternoon session on Miracle Saturday will experience all that and more.
But individuals and congregations should not wait until June 9 to get into action. Fund-raising can start today! Go to the Slam Dunk website to download a contribution form. Begin taking pledges now toward the free-throwing and the dribbling that the athletic and not-so-athletic visitors from your church will do once in the Arena on June 9. Bring the completed contribution form and dollars to the Slam Dunk event.
Or raise funds in your own way ahead of time with lemonade stands, rock-a-thons, etc. All funds raised will provide nets, education and treatment.
Resources to help you promote Slam Dunk include Malaria Talking Points and a video, “What Can One Person Do,” that will take a minute-and-a-half to show in your next worship service. Download the video from YouTube. Read the Rev. Larry Hollon's reflections on this "God-sized plan" to take on a killer.
At the 2008 General Conference in Ft. Worth, Bishop Thomas Bickerton took $10 from his wallet and challenged delegates to engage in the fight against malaria by supporting Nothing But Nets. This action led the General Conference to affirm Global Health as an area of focus for the denomination. Today, Imagine No Malaria is the fruit of this gesture. The work of the Imagine No Malaria campaign has been focused on Africa, primarily because 90 percent of the global malaria burden is in sub-Saharan Africa. Children and women, especially pregnant women, are the most at-risk group.
To date, The United Methodist Church has raised $20.2 million to support the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria campaign and has made a significant impact on hundreds of thousands of lives. The net-meter is running. What will you add to the count?
~Reported by Kay DeMoss, Weekly News Senior Writer