Devotional book, giving calendar, puppet shows, sermon series among tools
By Jessica Brodie
As South Carolina United Methodists begin the season of Lent, Imagine No Malaria advocates are hoping they will factor awareness about the disease into this time of prayer, sacrifice and giving.
Imagine No Malaria is a key conference initiative this year, with Bishop Jonathan Holston committing South Carolina to raising $1 million to help combat the mosquito-borne disease. Imagine No Malaria’s South Carolina effort is part of a global UMC effort that started in 2008. To date, $68 million has been raised, more than 2 million bed nets have been distributed, and deaths have been reduced from one child every 30 seconds to one child every two minutes.
The team is offering a host of tools this Lenten season to help churches and individuals go deeper in their personal commitment.
A new Lenten devotional book features the voices of clergy and laity around South Carolina; it is available at inm.umcsc.org. Also on that website is a Giving From Abundance Calendar, helping people find new ways to challenge themselves to fight malaria through personal giving. There is a Lenten sermon series, a well as four new child-appropriate puppet shows to help children be more aware, too.
“Lots of people have worked together to bring these resources to the South Carolina Annual Conference, like the Rev. Terry Fleming, who organized and put together the Lenten Devotional, and then the Rev. Meg Cook who wrote and starred in the puppet shows, and Conference Communications Director Matt Brodie, who has filmed and created all sorts of materials made available on the website, just to name a few,” said the Rev. Jeri Katherine Warden Sipes, South Carolina’s Imagine No Malaria field coordinator.
Sipes said the conference has raised $187,608—just shy of 20 percent of the conference’s $1 million goal.
She said Lent is a great time for United Methodists to incorporate Imagine No Malaria into their spiritual journey.
“During Lent, we are called to pray, to sacrifice, and to give,” Sipes said. “Imagine No Malaria helps us put our faith into action as we think about the blessings in our lives and give so that others may have life and have life abundantly.”
She is particularly excited about the Giving from Abundance Calendar, which she said invites us to think every day about our access to resources and services that support our health. The proposed gift amounts in the Giving from Abundance Calendar will generate giving around $100 over the course of Lent for an average household.
“Clean water, electricity, transportation, medicine—many of us take these ‘necessary conditions for life’ for granted,” Sipes said. “In reflecting upon our abundance, we are called to help create abundant life for others.”
All resources are available at inm.umcsc.org.