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Ministry News


Imagine No Malaria: Our Stories

May 3, 2013

(May 3) BROADWAY BRINGS IT -- It was a rainy soggy weekend in Maryville, Tenn., but Broadway UMC had planned well for a long time to have a full day of activities to raise $10,000 to save 1,000 lives from malaria. The activities on April 28 were to include a Walk, Run, Bike-a-thon from the church to Pearson's Spring Park in Maryville. The day began with the regular contemporary service at 8:30 a.m., followed by a combined Sunday school in the Fellowship Hall led by Dr. Robert Taylor, who does research in malaria.

Following the 10:35 a.m. worship service, lunch was served by the United Methodist Women with donations going toward Imagine No Malaria.   

Since it was still raining, Plan B had to be put in place, so instead of going to the park, the destination became First Maryville United Methodist Church. Plan A had included dunking booths for Broadway Pastor Laura Rasor, District Superintendent Charles Maynard, and Mayor Tom Taylor. In Plan B, this became Cool Whip pie-in-the-face with donations going to Imagine No Malaria.

The Walk, Run, Bike-in-the-Rain-a-Thon began with the ringing of the newly installed Broadway Bell and ended at First UMC with a district rally. This marked the end of a 100-mile hike District Superintendent Charles Maynard made across Maryville District to raise awareness of the United Methodist Churches of Holston Conference Imagine No Malaria Campaign.
Broadway UMC has surpassed the goal of $10,000 by raising $18,361.25. This includes $5,000 in matching gifts by the Holston Conference Foundation due to five families donating $1,000 or more toward our goal. Some may feel ridding the world of malaria is too much to hope for, but at one time someone "imagined no polio." Can you imagine?
-- Martha McFarland, Broadway UMC, Maryville, Tenn.   

April 21: Have a Ball, Save a Life -- St. Mark UMC in Knoxville, Tenn., presents a youth vs. adults basketball game on Sunday, April 21, 3 p.m. at Bearden UMC Family Life Center. Guest player: Knoxville District superintendent Nathan Malone. Goal: Save 200 lives by raising $2,000 for Imagine No Malaria with donations and concessions. Event also includes a half-time shoot-out and pledges toward highest score.

April 21-27: The Next Mile -- The Rev. Charles Maynard, Maryville District superintendent, and the Rev. Randy Pasqua, Holston Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries director, will criss-cross the district to raise awareness and money for Imagine No Malaria. Maynard will walk, Pasqua will bike. The week-long event concludes at 3 p.m., April 28, with a district-wide rally at
 Pearson Springs Park Pavilion, 1467 Montvale Station Road, Maryville, Tenn. For more information, visit

May 17-18 -- Rev. Walter Weikel, Johnson City District superintendent, has pledged to bike across his district to raise awareness and money for Imagine No Malaria. More information to come

June 1: Skeeter Run -- Beaver Ridge UMC will sponsor at 5K Skeeter Run at 8 a.m. on June 1. Starting point: Neyland Drive at the University of Tennessee Agriculature Campus in Knoxville, Tenn. Money will be raised through registration fees, sponsors, and donations. Find out more at or call (865) 690-1060. 

(April 16) MARATHON AGAINST MALARIA -- The Rev. Wil Cantrell had never run a marathon before. He picked the Knoxville Marathon on April 7 to make history. "We asked the congregation to pledge to give a certain dollar amount per minute that I finished the marathon under four hours," said the pastor of Lebanon Memorial UMC. Cantrell finished the 26.2-mile challenge in 3 hours, 27 minutes. "We called it the 'Marathon Against Malaria.'"

Cantrell had asked his Abingdon District superintendent, the Rev. Sandra Johnson, to preach on Sunday, April 7. "We texted my finishing time to our worship leader, who announced it in church just before a great sermon by Rev. Johnson," Cantrell said. The offering was taken after the sermon. As of April 14, Lebanon Memorial had collected more than $5,400, saving 540 lives. 

"With some pledges still outstanding we anticipate finishing with at least $6,500," Cantrell said. "We also had several folks give $1,000 to take advantage of the Holston Conference Foundation matching grant."
-- Lebanon Memorial UMC, Lebanon, Va. 

(April 16) KEY TO MY HEART -- The Keys To No Malaria Club is a project of the Benton/Chestuee Youth Group, evolving from an idea shared by a senior adult member of the church. To become a Key Club member, all you have to do is donate old keys lying around your house. Most of us have that stash of keys in a drawer somewhere that we haven't used in years and have no idea where they fit. Why not put them to good use saving lives?

We haven't cashed them in yet, but we soon will be selling keys for the scrap metal value. The proceeds will go to Imagine No Malaria. We welcome receiving keys from anyone. Mail to: Rev. Betsy Switzer, 153 Franklin Drive, Benton, TN  37307. For large amounts, email [email protected], and we will make arrangements to pick them up.
-- Rev. Betsy Switzer, Benton UMC, Benton, Tenn.
Chestuee UMC, Cleveland, Tenn.

(April 16) RADICAL HAIRCUT -- To inspire Oakland UMC to give $2,000 to Imagine No Malaria by Easter, the Rev. Stephen Yeaney at first proposed that he would jump from a silo into the nearby marina. However, when a parishioner suggested the preacher should shave his head instead, church members liked that idea so much the deal was sealed.

On Easter Sunday, the last day of the challenge, Oakland had given a total of $2,700. However, the congregation didn't learn they had surpassed the $2,000 challenge until the Sunday after Easter when it was announced. "Then they brought out the barber chair," says Yeaney.

The pastor asked if others would make additional donations so they could qualify for a matching Holston Conference Foundation grant. "Then I offered anyone that wished to contribute another $10 to have a chance at cutting a lock of my hair," Yeaney said. "My daughter Heather was the first in line for that. By the end of the day, we had raised $3,119." (See video on Facebook.)
-- Oakland UMC, Greenback, Tenn.   

(March 26) FAITH AT THE FLEA MARKET -- The Hispanic congregations led by the Rev. Daniel Castillo found a way to save lives in Africa through a Saturday flea market in Alcoa, Tenn. Castillo is pastor at San Juan UMC, which meets at St. John UMC in Maryville, and Casa del Alfarero (Potter’s House) UMC, located  in Philadelphia, Tenn.
“We gave away popcorn, snacks, beverages, did some face-painting and made balloon figures,” Castillo said. “Everything was free. We just asked for donations, and although donations were small, we raised $207 to save 20 lives.”
The San Juan congregation has set a goal to save 100 lives by Easter, Castillo said. Some families have set up collection jars at home where relatives can gather their spare change. Castillo’s own children have collected firewood and cans to help their church meet its goal.
“Our goal to save 100 lives is big for our people, since some have just enough for their own families,” he said. “But they put this goal before them, and something tells me we will succeed.”
-- San Juan UMC, Maryville, Tenn.
Casa del Alfarero UMC, Philadelphia, Tenn. 

(March 26) PENNY WARS -- In Knoxville, students at the University of Tennessee Wesley Foundation waged a “penny war” to raise $1,000 for Imagine No Malaria.
“Students formed teams of three and decorated mason jars with their team names,” said the Rev. Tim Kobler, Wesley Foundation director. “Money was collected on Wednesday and Sunday nights for a month. Pennies counted as one point in favor of the team. Any other coins or paper money counted as points against the team.”
Students encouraged others to donate pennies to their team and other forms of currency to the other teams, Kobler said. “We had six teams, and almost all of the Wesley Foundation students participated through making donations.”
--UTK Wesley Foundation, Knoxville, Tenn. 

(March 26) DO IT FOR EVIE -- At Kendricks Creek UMC, the Rev. Susan Lankford looked for a way to “put a face” on the life-saving initiative known as Imagine No Malaria. She chose the youngest member – two-year-old Evie Crow – and brought her before the church.
“This is our precious child,” Lankford told the congregation. “If I told you that Evie might die, but $10 would save her life, who would not pull it out of their pockets?”
To date, Kendricks Creek – a congregation with 90 in average worship attendance – is among the top givers in the Kingsport District, raising $1,256 for the "Evie Fund," Lankford said.
--Kendricks Creek UMC, Kingsport, Tenn. 

(March 26) KNITTING IN KNOXVILLE -- Before Christmas, Mary Hawkins knitted scarves to help fight the deadly mosquito-borne disease that kills another person every 60 seconds. She sold about 50 brightly colored creations, raising $700 to save 70 lives.
“To save a life with just 10 dollars: It’s so simple, so minimal, that everybody ought to be able to do something,” says the Knoxville District administrative assistant and member at Kodak UMC in Kodak, Tenn. “You can’t do nothing.”
--Knoxville District, Knoxville, Tenn. 

(March 26) CHILHOWIE SPECIAL -- At Chilhowie UMC, 14-year-old Avery Smith created a pizza-baking kit to raise money for Imagine No Malaria.
“He started by giving a speech to the congregation with a timer that went off every 60 seconds,” said Smith’s pastor, the Rev. Sarah Slack. The timer indicated that every 60 seconds, another person dies from malaria.
Smith then found recipes for four different kinds of pizzas (including a “Chilhowie Special” dessert pizza with apple butter made by the United Methodist Men). With the help of his mother, pastor, and fellow youth-group member Lauren Rhea, Smith then rolled out dough and assembled the topping ingredients. He sold enough take-and-bake pizza kits to save the lives of 48 brothers and sisters in Africa.
-- Chilhowie UMC, Chilhowie, Va. 

(March 26) SMALL CHURCH, BIG HEART -- It would be an understatement to say that McCready UMC in Saltville, Va. (Abingdon District) has a heart for missions. Though this small membership church has an average worship attendance of 53, they were not deterred from displaying an overwhelming love for the Imagine No Malaria campaign. At a recent administrative board meeting there was a unanimous decision to support the campaign in deed and action.

“We have been so blessed and want desperately to help children escape the tragedy of malaria so they, too, can have a chance to enjoy the blessings of the Lord," a church member stated.

This was a God-inspired decision that resulted in a contribution of $2,500. Pastor Vince Krauss stated, “I never cease to be amazed at how this congregation recognizes missionary needs that they can embrace and support. I am pleased not only because of the total but because of the spirit in
which it was given." Because of their love, 250 children will be able to experience blessings God has in store for them. 
--Rev. Vince Krauss, McCready UMC, Saltville, Va.  

(March 26) JESUS LOVES THE CHILDREN -- Upon learning that the United Methodist Church is participating in a worldwide effort to eradicate malaria and that Holston Conference set a goal to save 100,000 lives by the 2013 Annual Conference, it seemed only natural that our children should be involved in this project. On the first Sunday of October, the children began collecting money for Imagine No Malaria by taking a special offering after the children’s sermon.

The children’s sermons are presented by Pastor Ray’s wife, Alice, who leads the children in celebrating the number of lives saved and then selects three children to take the special offering. As the congregation sings "Jesus Loves the Little Children," the children use nets to collect money. Along with a cumulative total, a figure of a child representing one life saved by each $10 contributed is placed on a special display board.

The children embraced this project from the very beginning and watch the total closely. One member commented that the first thing her grandchildren want to know when they get to church is, “How many lives have we saved?” Led by our children, Grant's Chapel has saved 118 lives as of March 17.   
-- Linda Franklin, Grant's Chapel UMC, Dandridge, Tenn.

(Jan. 15) SAVING PENNIES, SAVING LIVES -- On Nov. 4, during the children’s message time at Quarry UMC, I told the children (ages 5-12) about Holston’s Imagine No Malaria initiative. They listened intensely. Together, we came up with a little program of our own called “Pennies for No More Malaria.” The children planned to save all their pennies until Dec. 2, and then I, as pastor, would match the total they collected.

We are a small- membership church but my youth, six in all, proved that being small is no barrier. They sure saved a lot of pennies! When all were counted, the total was $25. Matched by another $25, we were able to send $50 to the conference office. But that’s not all …

On Dec. 9 at morning worship service, the children challenged each adult to save at least one child in Africa with a $10 donation. Our adults responded with an offering of $339! To God be the glory.
--Rev. Vince Krauss, Quarry UMC, Saltville, Va. 

-- Several Holston churches designated their Christmas offerings for Imagine No Malaria, as reported in the Nov. 18 edition of The Call. Updates received so far:

  • Cherokee UMC in Johnson City, Tenn., saved 700 lives with $7,000.
  • Ooltewah UMC in Ooltewah, Tenn., saved 575 lives with $5,759.
  • Asbury UMC in Greeneville, Tenn., served many ministries with their Christmas generosity. The portion designated for Imagine No Malaria was about $1,800 (180 lives saved).
  • Beaver Ridge UMC in Knoxville, Tenn., joined with Powell High School’s Choral Ensemble to raise $470, saving 47 lives.
  • Munsey Memorial UMC in Johnson City, Tenn., finished the 2012 year with 3,527 lives saved -- $35,277 sent to Imagine No Malaria.

(Jan. 15) BE SOMEONE'S MIRACLE -- We started our campaign in September 2012 with a goal to raise $10,000 in order to save 1,000 lives by Memorial Day 2013. At the end of November, we had raised $3,275.65, which had helped us save 327 lives. Prior to receiving our "Be Someone's Miracle Offering" at Christmastime, I said to my wife, "Wouldn't it be awesome if we could double the lives saved?" On the inside, however, I was hoping we could at least save 200 more lives.

Well, needless to say, I was blown away and completely underestimated what God wanted to do through our church. At the end of December, after all gifts were given, we raised an additional $5,112.87, bringing our total lives saved to 838 with total monies raised standing at $8,388.52. God is good, and the people at Peck's Memorial United Methodist Church have reminded me what it means to live a sacrificially faithful life.
-- Rev. Tim Jones, Peck's Memorial UMC, Maryville, Tenn.

(Nov. 20) 500 LIVES SAVED -- First Cleveland UMC is well into its Imagine No Malaria effort to help Holston Conference save 100,000 lives by June 2013.

“The youth and the children are really taking a lead,” the Rev. Tom Seay said. “One little girl, without prompting from a parent, asked for no birthday gifts. Instead, she asked that all of her gifts be money for saving lives through Imagine No Malaria.” Another child raised money to fight malaria during her trick-or-treat rounds. “The parents and grandparents have been very good about making kids earn the money and not just providing an easy way to serve,” Seay said.

Meanwhile, youth at First Cleveland participated in a service project, replacing smoke alarm batteries for the seniors. When the happy homeowner gave the youth some money for their good deed, “the youth then turned right around and gave it to Imagine No Malaria,” Seay said.

On Christmas Eve, First Cleveland will devote its offering to Imagine No Malaria. “We expect to reach our goal of 500 lives saved ($5,000) by Christmas Eve, so we are going to ask God to bless us enough to save another 500 by Annual Conference,” he said.
-- Rev. Tom Seay, First UMC, Cleveland, Tenn.

(Nov. 15) SCARY SKEETERS -- This year State Street UMC's Wednesday night children's ministry has chosen Imagine No Malaria as its year-long mission effort. Kids are learning about it and raising funds to support INM. As part of this emphasis, the annual Halloween Hoopla/Trunk or Treat had a bigger purpose. Malaria is SCARY: Imagine No Malaria was organized by Children's Ministry, Youth Ministry and the Nurture committees of our church. 

The evening began with a free hot dog supper, followed by face-painting, crafts (decorate a skeeter swatter and an INM collection box), games (all malaria- and mosquito-related), pie-in-the-face, and a special photo op with the "evil" mosquito.

The evening ended with trunk or treat. Congregants and committees were encouraged to decorate their cars to reflect the theme. Imagine No Malaria bracelets and information were distributed along with lots of candy and treats! Over 300 people attended from the congregation and community and nearly $300 was raised for Imagine No Malaria: 30 lives saved. See photos.
-- Jaymie Derden, State Street UMC, Bristol, Va. 

(Nov. 15) TAGS, T-SHIRTS, CIDER -- First Maryville UMC held an alternative gift fair on Sunday, Nov. 11. Our Imagine No Malaria Team arranged for special gift tags to be made through the children and youth departments. A local artist in our congregation, Susan Colclough, designed the tags. Our children and youth colored them. The tags were then collected into sets of six and sold for a $1 donation. (Most contributors gave more.)

We also served hot cider for donations and sold t-shirts we had designed for our church's initiative. The shirts are simple: black with white lettering in the word, "Imagine." We saved 50 lives that day with t-shirts, cider, and gift tags, and we introduced new people from other parts of our community to the initiative.  As always, God takes such simple means to do something extraordinary. See photo.
– Rev. Asa Hendrickson Majors, First UMC, Maryville, Tenn.  

(Nov. 15) JOYFUL NOISE -- At Annual Conference in June 2012, Brenda Tate and Tilda Bowling of Rugby Road UMC were touched by what they were learned about Imagine No Malaria. Tate works at the Farmers’ Co-op, where she purchased two metal buckets to begin raising money for Imagine No Malaria. On the first Sunday in July, Tate and Bowling told the story of Imagine No Malaria to their congregation, and the buckets were passed along with the regular offertory.
The idea was for loose change and other funds to make a “joyful noise” as the donations for Imagine No Malaria donations were dropped into the metal buckets. To date Rugby Road UMC has collected more than $500 for Imagine No Malaria, a portion in honor of the Rev. John Slater and Pastor Appreciation Month.
Rugby Road UMC, located in Elgin, Tenn., has 52 members with an average worship attendance of 35 to 40. The congregation set a goal of saving 100 lives ($1,000).
-- Ella Smith, Rugby Road UMC, Elgin, Tenn.

(Nov. 15) CONFIRMATION CLASS -- Students in Asbury UMC’s confirmation class in Greenville, Tenn., will learn about Imagine No Malaria as part of their confirmation process. On Sunday,  Nov. 11 the youth group will join the confirmation class for an in-depth look into Imagine No Malaria.
The Rev. Jeannie Higgins, minister of discipleship, coordinates the confirmation class each year. Imagine No Malaria will help the class understand the United Methodist Church as a connectional church: both as a conference and  global church. Students will see how United Methodists are working together around the world to end death and suffering from malaria.
“It is natural to teach and show them that when the church is united we can do so much more than when we do things separately,” Higgins said.
In addition to teaching discipleship, Asbury’s confirmation emphasizes mission ministry. Each year the confirmation class is asked to select a mission or outreach project that invites their participation. Gray Hull, now an eighth-grade member at Asbury UMC, used the opportunity to raise $1,000 for Nothing But Nets as his confirmation project. This year, sixth- and seventh-graders will choose their own local or global missions.
Imagine No Malaria is an important and timely opportunity for youth to learn about what it means to be a connectional church. The message of Imagine No Malaria is clear: $10 saves a life. The mission is something that all youth can participate in. 
-- Rev. Jeannie Higgins, Asbury UMC, Greeneville, Tenn.