It’s been an interesting week, a good week. We’ve been working on getting the voice of the church into the public dialogue. We learned this week that a community-based anti-malaria program to be launched December 5 in Sierra Leone in partnership with the General Board of Global Ministries Health and Welfare of The United Methodist Church and the Sierra Leone Annual Conference will be featured at a press conference at a Global Summit on Health sponsored by Time Magazine, ABC News, PBS and the Gates Foundation.
It’s great news because the scourge of malaria can be mitigated if not eliminated. Malaria kills more than one million people each year, four-fifths in sub-Saharan Africa. Both a cause and a result of poverty, malaria consumes 40% of public health spending in and accounts for more than half of hospital inpatient admissions in the most affected countries, and causes a net loss to African economies of $12 billion.
This disease can be contained, yet for lack of knowledge, medicines and preventive measures it continues to cause suffering and death. It’s so good that these major information and funding organizations are seeking to bring this to the attention of the world and to address the problem.
The press conference will feature The Rev. Rick Warren, author of A Purpose-Driven Life, The Rev. R. Randy Day, General Secretary of The General Board of Global Ministries, Bishop Joo Somane Machado, The United Methodist Church, Mozambique, and a senior executive from Time whose name was not available to me as I write this post.
The General Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Communications (UMCom) will partner to provide information about the program in Sierra Leone and to interpret its community-based actions to audiences in the United States. Radio will be a major channel for delivering information in Sierra Leone. In the U.S. a variety of media will be utilized.
A second public voice is being heard, or read, today in a paid commentary appearing in the Washington Post, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Baton Rouge Advocate, Jackson Clarion Ledger, Biloxi-Gulport Sun Herald, Hattiesburg American and Mobile Register in addition to www.umc.org. Rebuilding after Katrina and Rita is more than an issue of reconstructing physical buildings. It’s also about re-creating inclusive communities in which all people who have a stake are heard. The church is calling on those who are responsible for convening these inclusive conversations to give attention to all the voices of the community in order to re-create thriving, participatory, renewed cities and towns.
The ad lists two web-sites readers can access for contributing to hurricane reconstruction and for additional information for action. The ad is based on the Social Principles of the church, the social witness that is rooted in our theological and biblical heritage. It invites civic leaders to create an inclusive conversation about re-building.
I’ll post the copy here later this morning.
All-in-all, it’s been a good week for the communications efforts of the church, I think. But I’d like to know what you think about such communications initiatives. Drop me an email and let me know.