Free concert set for June 7 in Florence
By Jessica Brodie
When it comes to United Methodist work to Imagine No Malaria, the church is ready to celebrate, both on the global stage and here in South Carolina.
In South Carolina, supporters are gearing up for a free concert June 7 during Annual Conference in Florence featuring popular contemporary Christian band The Digital Age.
While there is no admission, a love offering will be taken, and organizers are asking people to bring a campaign pledge to turn in that night, as well as consider donating the cost of a typical concert ticket as a contribution. The South Carolina Conference has promised to raise $1 million for Imagine No Malaria, and it has two more years to turn in the funds. Pledge cards are available at inm.umcsc.org, and the conference can also provide resources to help with local fundraising efforts.
All are welcome at the concert, even those not attending Annual Conference.
Speaking at the UMC’s General Conference May 14, Sheri Altland, campaign director for Imagine No Malaria, applauded the work South Carolina has done to help the global campaign.
“I think what we have experienced across the United States and other countries is to unite in a grassroots initiative to bring hope, healing and the love of Jesus Christ to our brothers and sisters in our malaria work,” Altland said.
But Altland said it is important to keep focused because malaria has not been eliminated, though she said we are well on our way. Today, because the UMC has been at this for several years, children are dying at an average of every two minutes instead of an average of every 30 seconds. Much work remains, but much has been done and much can be celebrated, she said.
Also at General Conference, Jacquie Mujinga of the South Congo Conference expressed deep gratitude for South Carolina’s efforts to eradicate malaria.
“Thank you, thank you for Imagine No Malaria,” Mujinga said, standing in front of a bed net display. “Thank you very much!”
GC2016 celebrates Imagine No Malaria
On a global level, General Conference continued that “thank you” theme in Portland, Oregon, the morning of May 18 with a massive celebration performance featuring “American Idol” contestant Jeremy Rosado debuting a new Imagine No Malaria anthem, “Able,” performed with a bevy of praise-filled singers and dancers in the background.
The performance and an accompanying highlights video celebrated the UMC’s strides toward eradicating the mosquito-borne disease. The “Able” song is available as a free download as a gift for all at Amazon Music and the Imagine No Malaria website (www.imaginenomalaria.org), as well as on YouTube.
Prior to the celebration, General Conference lifted in prayer Bishop David Yemba, Central Congo Episcopal Area, who had to be rushed to the hospital; he has been diagnosed with malaria.
Many said Yemba’s hospitalization underscored the need for the Imagine No Malaria campaign.
Next steps: Abundant Health
Also during the General Conference celebration, the church announced its next global health initiative, “Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children.” Coordinated by the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries, the initiative aims to reach 1 million children with lifesaving interventions by 2020. It will focus on four core areas impacting the health of children throughout the world.
The initiative aims to ensure safe births, address nutritional challenges and promote breastfeeding, advance prevention and treatment of childhood diseases and promote children’s health and wholeness.
For more information: www.umcmission.org/abundant-health.