Members of the 2014 Confirmation Class of Grace UM Church in Indiana, PA surprised Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton with a check for $11,500 for Imagine No Malaria during a visit to the United Methodist Center in Cranberry Township at the end of February. The gift came from Indiana Grace's Christmas Eve offerings.
It was presented to the Bishop, who leads the denomination's Imagine No Malaria ministry, at the start of an afternoon of Confirmation Class visits to the Center.
"As part of our Advent Conspiracy journey and our focus on worshiping fully, spending less, giving more and loving all, we collected a sacrificial offering at all five of our Christmas Eve services in support of the United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria initiative," said the Rev. David Henderson, lead pastor at Indiana Grace.
Because Henderson and one of his sons contracted malaria during a mission trip to Zimbabwe in 2012, he said the Advent focus took on new meaning. "I was able to speak to the ravages of this preventable disease in an entirely new way … both as a survivor and as a parent caring for a malaria-stricken child," he explained.
"Bishop Bickerton has led the charge for the United Methodist Church in malaria eradication efforts, and it was an honor for the confirmation class to surprise him with the check for $11,500 and to present it on behalf of the fine folks who comprise the Grace family of faith in Indiana, PA!," Henderson said. "It has been given with love and prayers and the faith that soon, through a combined effort, malaria will be completely eradicated. To God be the glory!"