By Jana Hall
Nashville, Tenn. – The annual (regional) conferences are leading the way and building momentum in the effort to save lives through Imagine No Malaria. Fundraising activities during 2013 conference sessions reached $1.27 million, the largest cash contributions ever made to Imagine No Malaria from annual conferences.
During annual conference sessions in May and June, 24 annual conferences raised cash donations for Imagine No Malaria. With the help of annual conferences, financial commitments to Imagine No Malaria have moved the campaign past the $40 million mark. And contributions are still coming in from annual conferences for Imagine No Malaria. The campaign seeks to raise $75 million by 2015.
Holston Conference made the largest cash donation of $352, 298 followed by the Texas conference which donated $319, 182.89. The totals were reported by the Conferences at the end of each of their sessions. To see other conference donations, click here.
Imagine No Malaria support at annual conferences included offerings collected during conference events, banquet-style fundraising dinners, an Imagine No Malaria themed worship service, 5k walks and runs, and youth campouts under mosquito nets.
Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference was among the conferences engaged in saving lives through Imagine No Malaria. Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, fundraising chair of Imagine No Malaria and Bishop of the Western Pennsylvania Conference said, “I am excited about the momentum we have for raising money for Imagine No Malaria. The enthusiasm for the campaign has continued to grow throughout the year and it has really spread during the annual conferences.”
Numerous annual conferences such as Kentucky, Holston and Louisiana held 5K runs during their conference sessions to raise both awareness and money to help save lives. The Louisiana Annual Conference hosted 10 “Skeeter Runs” across the state with more than 2,500 participants.
“The awareness for Imagine No Malaria has increased dramatically among Louisiana’s United Methodist congregations and individual members,” said Louisiana Bishop Cynthia Harvey.
Louisiana Annual Conference members signed petitions sent to Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter in support of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria.
“Awareness has also increased throughout the state with the help of external communications, including the use of statewide radio and billboard campaigns along with numerous radio and TV interviews,” Bishop Harvey said.
The Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference raised awareness through a skit during annual conference, which featured “Marvin the Mosquito.”
“I am happy that we have given and continue to raise money for this effort. This is connectionism at its best,” said Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Bishop Peggy Johnson.
Director of Connectional Ministry for the Holston Annual Conference, Ann Travis, noted that the Holston Annual Conference did not raise funds through traditional giving but rather gifts from churches raised through creative initiatives.
“We have one District Superintendent who walked 100 miles across his district to raise money for Imagine No Malaria in Maryville, one District Superintendent who bicycled 100 miles and three teenagers running 350 miles to raise funds for Imagine No Malaria,” Travis said. “We’ve done some pretty unique things.”
The people of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, in the midst of recovering from October 2012 devastation from super storm Sandy, have pulled together to include Imagine No Malaria in their “A Future with a Hope Mission Fund Campaign.”
Bishop John Schol of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference said, “Challenging times call for big visions, bold actions and courageous disciples.”
Hall is the communications intern for Imagine No Malaria.