Mike Lindau is a lifelong ELCA member, but he had never been to a Churchwide Assembly until 2011. He found it to be an “amazing, Christ-filled experience” and an exciting opportunity to swap stories and “grasp the strength and size of our church.”
Mike was especially proud to be a voting member when the assembly officially launched the ELCA Malaria Campaign. He also made a personal financial pledge to help contain a disease that claims the life of a child every 45 seconds.
Now Mike is back at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Medford, Wis., where he is the ministry manager. He’s enthusiastic about encouraging his members to join the ELCA Malaria Campaign.
Pete Warmanen, pastor of St. Paul’s, says it’s no coincidence that the congregation is the recipient of a churchwide organization grant that pays for Mike’s salary. Grants like this were awarded to 163 congregations in 2011 to support renewal of their ministries.
“The people of St. Paul’s have always been generous, but because we have received funding through the (churchwide organization), we recognize that we have an even greater responsibility to share the gifts we have received,” says Pete.
The churchwide grant came at a critical time in the life of the congregation. It’s because of Mike, Pete believes, that the congregation’s ministries have flourished while membership and worship attendance have doubled. And that energy will fuel St. Paul’s as they begin to raise funds on behalf of malaria.
“We’re pleased that the ELCA Malaria Campaign is gaining such momentum among ELCA congregations,” says Jessica Nipp, who coordinates the churchwide campaign. “It is in congregations that we learn to put our faith into action, and faithful congregations are the backbone of the ELCA and of the work of the ELCA Malaria Campaign.”
As for Mike, he’s looking forward to playing games of “Malaria Jeopardy” and “Malaria Tag,” helping St. Paul’s members to see that now is the time to take action against a life-threatening disease that’s both treatable and preventable.
“I can’t wait to be able to say 10 or 20 years from now that we as the ELCA helped to (contain) malaria! Together we can do it!”