The Church as a Loudspeaker

Workers erect a temporary isolation ward for patients with the Ebola virus at the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS
Workers erect a temporary isolation ward for patients with the Ebola virus at the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

The Ganta United Methodist Hospital now functions not only as a treatment center, but as a hub for the national public awareness campaign. In addition to their normal duties, the staff is helping the Liberian government to get the word out through pamphlets, radio programs and word of mouth.

 

The messaging for these awareness campaigns has to walk the line between emphasizing the threat Ebola poses and reassuring citizens that it’s worth it to seek medical care. “People who get Ebola [have a] better chance for survival if they notice it quick and begin to get the proper treatment,” says the narrator in a BBC radio spot that ran in Sierra Leone “to tackle misinformation about the virus.” The announcement describes the symptoms of Ebola and urges people to go to the hospital instead of caring for Ebola patients in the home.

 

Bishop John K. Yambasu of Sierra Leone sees the church’s role as not only a healthcare provider, but a loudspeaker. “As religious leaders,” he writes, “our followers listen to us more than they do politicians, especially on matters relating to faith and health.” An inter-religious task force on Ebola, which he chairs, called for three days of prayer and fasting, August 6-8.

 

“Our goal is to… work with the government and other nongovernmental organizations to give hope to those communities and persons who are going through pain, fear and denial,” writes Bishop Yambasu. “Ebola is real. In spite of the threat it poses to life, all is not lost. There is hope for intervention if people seek early medical help.”

 

In a pastoral letter issued last month, Bishop John G. Innis of Liberia urged United Methodists and the people of Liberia to “accept the fact that the Ebola Virus is actually present in Liberia” and “observe every medical advice given by Health authorities and institutions” there. “Specifically” he wrote, “United Methodist Pastors, District Superintendents and Sunday School Teachers must share the information about the Ebola virus with their local churches and districts.”

What you can do: pray, share and give

Ecumenical leaders in both Sierra Leone and Liberia have called for three days of fasting and prayer, August 6-8. If you can participate, please do. This is also a good time to activate your church’s prayer chain.

 

Public awareness will be crucial to stopping the spread of Ebola. You can help spread good information by sharing this article with your friends, family and social network. Your gift to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450, empowers UMCOR to continue its crucial work in the fight against Ebola and in response to other natural and human-caused disasters

© 2017 Diamond United Methodist Church
Connected Sound - Websites for the Barbershop Community