The Faith Leaders Luncheon, hosted by the Baltimore-Washington and Northern Virginia Conferences of the United Methodist Church on Tuesday June 19th, underscored the spiritual aspect of the Nothing But Nets campaign for all who attended. Within 30 minutes, the hall at the Metropolitan Memorial Church was filled with over 200 people, who were ready to learn about Nothing But Nets and how to further support the fight against malaria.
Pastors and members of the Baltimore-Washington Conference who had just returned from a malaria observation and net distribution trip to Zimbabwe spoke to the assembly about their experiences and of the desperate need for nets in African communities. As each person shared their observations, a slide show was displayed, filled with compelling pictures of mothers and children gathered to receive the life-saving nets, health workers assisting in the distribution, and children smiling with nets in their hands.
Bishop John Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Conference provided the final remarks. With the simple snap of his fingers, Bishop Schol counted aloud up to 30 (and beyond) to illustrate the fact that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria. Bishop Schol spoke to the general lack of knowledge of this fact, and the reality that if this were taking place in the United States, more would be done to stop it. His compelling speech instilled a heightened sense of urgency with which the disease must be tackled.
Nearing the end of the event, Bishop Schol asked everyone to come to the front of the room to place a card, a pledge or a donation into an upside down bed net. As people came forward, the room filled with hymns.
By the end of the luncheon, over $1,700 had been raised.