calendar August 16, 2011 in ELCA

ELCA Assembly OKs Malaria Campaign


ORLANDO, Fla. (ELCA) – Every 45 seconds a child dies from malaria, a preventable and treatable disease. Now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will join with Lutheran churches in Africa, to work toward a malaria-free future. This effort is part of the ELCA Malaria Campaign, officially launched by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly Aug. 15 by a 968-19 vote. A goal of the campaign is to raise $15 million over a four-year period.
     "Throughout our life as the ELCA, we have focused our work with our global partners around the concept of accompaniment, our relationships with companion churches all over the world," said the Rev. Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl as she introduced the campaign to voting members. DeGroot-Nesdahl is the campaign’s coordinator.
     "Poverty, hunger, disease — they all go together, so we find malaria more prevalent where poverty and hunger are evident. That’s where our relationship can make a difference. We stand beside (and partner with) those who suffer with malaria, those who are hungry, (and) those who live in poverty," she said.
     ELCA members also seek to partner with African Lutheran companion churches in bringing healing and justice to our world, said DeGroot-Nesdahl.
     "It is Lutheran relationships of accompaniment that bring us to this moment of launching the ELCA Malaria Campaign. The world is calling us together, to this moment, to this effort, because of our relationships — church to church, people to God," she said.
     The Rev. Daniel Rift, director of ELCA World Hunger, told the assembly that the campaign will help Lutheran churches in 11 countries in Africa.
     "Malaria is not something to which a child should be resigned," Rift told the assembly. "We can do better than that — as a church and as a people. For me, that is the image I’ll take with me when one might ask, ‘Why the ELCA Malaria Campaign?’"
     The ELCA Malaria Campaign is a major fundraising effort of the church under the auspices of ELCA World Hunger. The assembly recommended that the campaign be developed to complement efforts of ELCA World Hunger "to achieve and grow" beyond its own annual goals.
      With 1,025 voting members, the Churchwide Assembly is the ELCA’s highest legislative authority. It’s meeting here at the Marriott World Center Aug. 15-19 under the theme "Freed in Christ to Serve."