WASHINGTON (UMNS) – More than 100 Imagine No Malaria (INM) advocates from across the connection pounded the pavement and doors of Capitol Hill Dec. 4 to rally support among members of Congress for continued global health funding.
The Rev. Matthew Stultz, team leader of Indiana Conference Communication, visited the office of outgoing U. S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.) a well-known United Methodist. Stultz told his group visiting Capitol Hill that because Lugar left office at the end of 2012, he wasn’t be able to vote on issues of concern, like support for aid to combat malaria, however, the group did get a list of names of other officeholders who are supportive of overseas health issues.
Indiana’s other senator, Dan Coats, a Republican, met with Vince Zito, another INM advocate, who said Coats indicated he is very supportive of foreign aid and seemed receptive to IMN. Zito said they exchanged information and opened up a line of communication.
Stultz reported to Together, “Our group from Indiana, included Doris Clark (Central District Lay Leader of Indianapolis) and Ann Newton, (West District Global Health Advocate of Greencastle). We also visited the offices of Rep. Joe Donnelly, Rep. Andre Carson and Rep. Larry Buschon. We contacted staff people and shared the information from INM. Each office was cordial and sympathetic to the cause.”
Before visiting offices on Capitol Hill, Stultz said, “We learned from first-hand accounts about Malaria and what it feels like to have the disease from Rose Farhat of Liberia. We wept as we were told ‘thank you’ for what the church was doing in Christ’s name to eradicate malaria from the planet.
“We were reminded that in 2008, Western Pennsylvania Bishop Thomas Bickerton and Microsoft founder Bill Gates stood together on the stage of General Conference and proclaimed a war on malaria. From that relationship, The United Methodist Church has received numerous accolades for its delivery system of goods and services in Africa, fostering great confidence with large foundations that make the UMC the only partner on the ground with certain reliability.
“We were filled with hope as we learned how the efforts in Africa are helping to lower the death rates related to malaria but also the good will shared by Christians and Muslims. As Muslim nations see the cross and flames of The United Methodist Church, many are welcoming our aid workers into the country to partner and help those who are at the greatest risk of contracting the disease.”
Imagine No Malaria (Advance Special #3021190) through The United Methodist Church has committed to raising 75 million dollars by 2014. With such powerful partners as the World Health Organization, United Nations Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Global Fund, and the President’s Malaria Initiative (started by George W. Bush and continued with Barak Obama).
When we (The United Methodist Church) started in 2008, a child died from malaria every 30 seconds. Today a child dies every 60 seconds.
“If we reach our goal with our partners and each annual conference in the connection, there will be zero children that die from malaria in Africa,” reported Stultz.
Neal Christie, assistant general secretary of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, and Jefferson Knight, with the United Methodist Church in Liberia, confer at the Imagine No Malaria conference in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 3, 2012.
A UMNS photo by Jay Mallin.