ELCA is striving to begin anti-malaria work in Liberia

Date Wed, 11 Apr 2012 16:14:28 -0500

Title: ELCA is striving to begin anti-malaria work in Liberia

>April 11, 2012  

ELCA is striving to begin anti-malaria work in Liberia

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America (ELCA) are extending their observance of World Malaria Day April
25 to May 1 with a goal of raising $200,000 to help end death from
malaria. Gifts to the ELCA Malaria Campaign will allow the church to
expand its anti-malaria work to include Liberia.

Malaria, a preventable and treatable disease, is a leading cause of
death in Africa, claiming the life of a child every 45 seconds. In
Liberia, malaria accounts for 30 percent of all deaths seen in hospitals.

Through the ELCA Malaria Campaign, rolled out by the 2011 ELCA
Churchwide Assembly, ELCA members are working with Lutheran churches in
Africa to prevent, treat and contain the disease by 2015. A goal of the
campaign is to raise $15 million and support the anti-malaria efforts of
Lutheran churches and organizations in eleven African countries.

"World Malaria Day invites all of us to reflect on the global
companionship that is vital to the identity of the ELCA," said Jessica
Nipp, coordinator of the ELCA Malaria Campaign. "We are a global church,
accompanied on our faith journey by our Lutheran sisters and brothers in
countries around the world."

"Malaria is a medical injustice, and God calls us to fight against
injustice," said Nipp. "Working together, we can equip our Lutheran
companions to treat, prevent and educate about malaria in ways that will
make a life-saving difference. We are a church that rolls up our sleeves
and gets to work. It's time for us to take the next step in the ELCA
Malaria Campaign," she said.

Since the beginning of the ELCA Malaria Campaign, Lutheran churches
in Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been working to control
malaria, but the ELCA has yet to raise the funds needed to begin its
engagement in Liberia.

Health officials in Liberia have received information about the ELCA
Malaria Campaign.

"I believe that, as a Lutheran Christian, taking care of the
physical body should be a mission of the church," said Dr. Walter T.
Gwenigale, Liberia's minister of health and social welfare and a member
of the Lutheran Church in Liberia.

The ELCA and the Lutheran Church in Liberia are members of The
Lutheran World Federation. The ELCA is the federation's only member from
the United States.

On April 28 the Lutheran Church in Liberia will celebrate its 152nd
anniversary of mission and ministry. The church is well-known in Liberia
for its health care ministries.

Lutherans were the first to build a hospital in Liberia. Phebe
Hospital opened in 1921, and its school of nursing was the first nursing
school in the country. Curran Lutheran Hospital in Zorzor, Liberia, has
provided health care to residents in surrounding districts for the past
80 years.

Willie L.B. Roberts, a medical director at Curran, believes that
sharing the story of God's love and healing the physical body are
critical ministries for both the Lutheran church and medical institutions.

"Healing the sick is a mission that was started by Christ himself,"
said Roberts. "We believe that what (Lutheran) missionaries brought to
Liberia -- education, sharing the story of the love of God, and the
healing of bodies -- is paramount" to the mission of Curran.

Information about the ELCA Malaria Campaign is available at
http://www.ELCA.org/malaria, ELCA World Hunger at
http://www.ELCA.org/hunger and the  Lutheran Church in Liberia at


About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United
States, with 4.2 million members in 10,000 congregations across the 50
states and in the Caribbean region. Members of the ELCA believe that they
are freed in Christ to serve and love their neighbor. With their hands,
they do God's work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus'
name throughout the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the
German church reformer, Martin Luther.

>For information contact:
>Melissa Ramirez Cooper
>773-380-2956 or Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org
>Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Lutherans
>Living Lutheran: http://www.livinglutheran.com