Center for Missional Outreach News
Munger Place Church in East Dallas has scheduled a Community Ebola prayer service to be on Monday, October 13, 2014, at 6:00 p.m.
The news that there is a second Ebola patient in Dallas, and particularly that she lives in this East Dallas neighborhood, is troubling. Whatever you believe, this is a time for the community to come together.
We will host a simple prayer service to reach out for strength, courage and understanding. All are welcome.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a fact sheet on the Ebola virus. Click the link below to read the full information on transmission, signs and symptoms, risk of exposure, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Excerpt from fact sheet:
Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).
Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. There are five identified Ebolavirus species, four of which have caused disease in humans: Zaire ebolavirus; Sudan ebolavirus; Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus; and Bundibugyo ebolavirus. The fifth, Reston ebolavirus, has caused disease in nonhuman primates but not in humans.
Ebola is found in several African countries. The first Ebola species was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa.
The natural reservoir host of Ebola remains unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is animal-borne with bats being the most likely reservoir. Four of the five subtypes occur in an animal host native to Africa.
CDC's full fact sheet on the Ebola virus:
Since June 2014, the General Board of Global Ministries' United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Global Health unit have been working in collaboration on a global scale to coordinate an integrated approach in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
Community education about the disease, health worker protection and psychosocial counseling for affected people and their families are the strategy's three prongs, said Dr. Olusimbo Ige, of Global Health.
To date, UMCOR and Global Health have worked together to ensure that grants totaling $400,000 for educational programs, protective equipment and other Ebola-related supplies have been provided primarily to United Methodist health boards in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire.
"Our approach is to work closely with United Methodist health boards in affected countries, listening closely to them as they identify needs and strategies we can support," said Rev. Jack Amick, UMCOR executive who heads the organization's International Disaster Response unit.
Amick is in charge of disbursing UMCOR emergency funds, while Ige advises that distribution in the case of the Ebola response. Together, they hold a weekly conversation by telephone with the United Methodist health boards in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
It has become apparent to the international humanitarian community and the governments involved with this crisis that the epidemic will likely have a long-term negative impact on the health systems, economies and social practices of these countries.
Global Ministries is partnering with local health boards, bishops, missionaries, UMCOR technical offices and others to enable a long-term approach that not only responds to the current Ebola crisis but, also, helps strengthen healthcare capacity in the region to make it better prepared to meet any possible future crisis.
This long-term, integrated approach reflects the established standard for response to health crises and issues of sustainable development. To financially support these immediate and long-term goals, please write "Ebola response" in the memo section of your check. This will ensure that funds go where intended.
Please give to one or more of the following Advance projects:
- 982450 International Disaster Response
- 3021951 UMCOR Sustainable Recovery and Development
- 3021770 UMCOR Global Health
- 15124A Pastors and District Superintendent Salary Support – Liberia
- 14552A Salary Support and Training for Pastoral Leaders – Sierra Leone
Ms. Gbanga is a Registered Nurse and Midwife, formerly with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health. Dallas was just one of her stops as she criss-crossed America talking with United Methodists about Sierra Leone’s plight and making requests for funding via the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
Ms. Gbanga began her remarks by recalling how the disease started in her West African nation.
“A woman came down with something called ‘the strange illness,’ ” she recalled. “Ultimately, the woman died, the hospital staff that tended to her died, and the ten people who helped to bury her also died. They all died because they were not educated about the disease,” she said. “Ebola has similar symptoms as typhoid and malaria. There has been confusion about this, and this has led to so many deaths of health workers.
“Ebola has ravaged Sierra Leone,” she continued. “We have lost 150 health workers. We have lost 4 of our 200 doctors. The economy is gone because no one can get to the markets. The markets cannot operate, and there is no food. The schools and universities have been shut down since June. Can you imagine young people at home all that time?” Ms. Gbanga asked the group.
The social life of Sierra Leone residents has been hampered by the Ebola virus. “We are a very social people,” she explained. “People come by and visit all the time. Now when the calls come to say they are coming by, my response is ‘no, do not do that.’ We usually hug and touch each other, but now touching is risky business. Instead, we blow a kiss, bow or give [a] thumbs-up sign.”
A large audience attended the Ebola seminar.
According to national media reports, five people are currently being infected with Ebola every hour in Sierra Leone, and over 600 people have died so far. Liberia is the worst-hit nation, with almost two-thirds of the 3,338 deaths in West Africa.
When asked by the NTC Connection to explain the differences between Sierra Leone and Liberia’s ability to fight the disease, Ms. Gbanga spoke proudly of Sierra Leone’s Episcopal Leader, John K. Yambasu. “He got out in front of it. He brought together a coalition of religious leaders: the Catholics, Muslims and the United Methodists. They were asked to speak about Ebola from their pulpits. The churches provided chlorinated water for their worshippers to wash their hands as they entered and exited the churches.”
To get a hold on the disease, Ms. Gbanga urges the end of mass burials. “I have seen the mass graves. I am very upset with this because we drink our water from wells. The ideal is to be burned.” Also, she added, “If we had testing kits, we could determine patients with typhoid and malaria from Ebola.”
Mary Miriti, pastor of Oasis Fellowship, attended the seminar with a specific set of questions. “I am a Kenyan,” she said. “I want to know how this disease impacts the entire African continent. I have many persons form Sierra Leone in my church. One of my members lives in the same complex as the Liberian man who has the Ebola virus. I came to learn how to talk to my members.”
Sharon Heimbuch of St. Andrew heard Ms. Gbanga speak of the huge impact of UMCOR. Ms. Heimbuch left the seminar impressed with the strength of UMCOR. “It has so much power. It is wonderful, ” she said.
Florence Campbell of Spring Valley UMC and president of Sisters of Sierra Leone
Florence Campbell, president of the Sisters of Sierra Leone (an umbrella group of support), and a member of Spring Valley UMC, has concerns about family members. She indicated that Sierra Leone residents living in America are inundated with requests from family members back home. “There are lots of people from Sierra Leone living here in Dallas, and we are constantly sending back home items that our people need such as hand wipes, gloves, masks and food. We are also tending to another emerging group, the orphans of Ebola.”
Ms. Gbanga not only requested funds, she asked for prayers for her nation. "I pray every morning that this epidemic be controlled. It has damaged every aspect of life.”
She plans to return to Sierra Leone on October 23, 2014.
How you can help
Your donation to Beatrice Gbanga (#13108Z) supports her mission work in Sierra Leone.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — January 10, 2015, is the deadline to apply for a Human Relations Day Grant from the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). The grants are to support ministries that respond to non-violent young offenders through education, advocacy or leadership training and development.
Grant funds are raised through The United Methodist Church’s Human Relations Day Special Sunday each year. Special Sundays are an opportunity for United Methodist churches to celebrate the denomination’s connectional work. This day of social action and raising awareness supports the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program.
Human Relations Day happens the Sunday immediately following the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday: January 18 next year. The United Methodist Book of Discipline describes Human Relations Day as a call to "the Church to recognize the right of all God's children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with each other."
GBCS, which receives 10% of Special Sunday offering, distributed $63,020 to four ministries this year.
To qualify for a Human Relations Day grant, the applicant must be either:
- a United Methodist local church, district, annual conference or other affiliated group/organization; or
- an ecumenical group/organization working with and through at least one United Methodist agency or organization, whose program affects at least one United Methodist local church.
2 funding cycles
Grants are awarded on two funding cycles. January 10, 2014, is the deadline for spring funding; August 10, 2015, for fall. Grant decisions are made by GBCS’s Board of Directors at the spring and fall meetings.
To be considered for funding, a project must be initiated by or developed in partnership with a United Methodist church. The project must focus on needs of non-violent juvenile youth offenders as they address one or more chronic social problems or concerns, such as housing, employment, health care, human rights, education, the environment and racism.
Applicants must have a supervisory board consisting of a majority of members of The United Methodist Church that shall make all policy decisions.
All funding from GBCS must be used for programmatic components and not for salaries, purchase of equipment, purely administrative costs, and direct delivery of services or building construction.
Intent of the grant is to provide start-up money.
For more information, contact the Rev. Neal Christie, assistant general secretary, Education & Leadership Formation, (202) 488-5611.
Click the videos below to watch our special presentation from Monday, October 6, 2014, on how the UMC is helping with the Ebola outbreak and what more can be done. Ms. Beatrice Mamawah Gbanga, a missionary with the Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church based in Sierra Leone, West Africa, gives the presentation and leads the discussion.
EBOLA Educating United Methodist part 1
EBOLA Educating United Methodist part 2
Warren UMC and Flower Mound UMC volunteers got together to spruce up the 7-year-old Warren building. Around 45 workers joined forces after a Sunday service in September to tackle several large repair and repainting projects, including freshening up the metal cross outside the church (left). Angie McCoy and Mike Farrer organized the Flower Mound “Depart to Serve” team, and the Rev. S. Dianna Masters put together the Warren workers.
Before the volunteers got started, a Warren hospitality team served up a hearty lunch. It was a great way for the workers to get acquainted.
A deposit of $100.00 by October 7, 2014, secures your spot!
For more information, go to Christ UMC Missions travel.
To reserve your spot, please contact Missions Coordinator Linda Poole by October 7 by email or call 972-596-4303.