One of the highlights of this year’s Cooperative School of Christian Mission, held Aug. 3-5 at First United Methodist Church of Hurst and Aug. 6-8 at Glen Lake Camp & Retreat Center, was learning how to make pipe cleaner mosquitoes.
What made this a highlight was the teachers — 26 youngsters who quickly learned the art of mosquito making from Connie Smith of Crowley (CSCM children’s program director). The kids — most of them from United Community Centers, a mission institution of the UMC’s Women’s Division — painstakingly taught the adults how to shape the pipe cleaners into the critters that are claiming the lives of so many children in Africa.
The pipe cleaner mosquitoes are adorable. Real mosquitoes are not!
The craft activity was part of The United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria campaign that hopes to put an end to malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa where an innocent child dies every 30 seconds from what is a preventable mosquito-borne disease. Imagine No Malaria is a ministry of the people of the UMC to eliminate death and suffering from malaria in Africa by 2015.
As a partnership of the Conference Outreach Council and United Methodist Women, participants at the CSCM plenary joined their hearts in reciting the following litany:
Leader: As we gather today, Africa is on our mind.
People: Yes, as we gather we sense our connection to our larger global family.
Leader: Our faith in God compels us to do something to alleviate unnecessary suffering.
People: So we will join others in a common fight against malaria.
Leader: Together we will eliminate this dreaded killer of children and pregnant women.
People: And today we raise our voices in a common cry.
Together: IMAGINE NO MALARIA!
A portion of the offering taken at the school will go to the Imagine No Malaria campaign, which is being supported by congregations throughout the Central Texas Conference. Many of the local churches in the conference have made pledges to this campaign, and now many of the 274 who participated in the CSCM training will take back to their congregations the issue study on Joy to the World: The Sudan, the spiritual growth study on For the Love of God: The Epistles of John, and the challenge of Imagine No Malaria.