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GBGM joins “End Pandemic” campaign

Pandemic strikes Philippines

The General Board of Global Ministries supports UNICEF’s global vaccine distribution efforts to end the pandemic. A new Advance Special #3022671 has been created for fundraising.

October 18, 2021 | ATLANTA — Global Ministries is launching a new initiative and joining interfaith partners in an effort to increase the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine around the world. Funds donated to a new Advance giving project will support “Love Beyond Borders: The Interfaith Movement to End the Pandemic” campaign supporting UNICEF’s global vaccine distribution efforts.

Proposed to Global Ministries by First United Methodist Church of Boise, Idaho’s, missions team, “Love Beyond Borders: The Interfaith Movement to End the Pandemic” seeks to engage The United Methodist Church in supporting UNICEF’s global COVID-19 response, including distributing safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility, diagnostics, and treatments.

Through this initiative, members of The United Methodist Church will contribute to UNICEF’s historic efforts in leading the procurement and supply of 1.4 billion COVID-19 vaccines to approximately 196 participating COVAX countries and economies by the end of 2021. For just $37 dollars, members can help provide 10 people with two doses of the vaccine. Global Ministries has created Advance #3022671 for this effort to ensure that 100% of donations go directly to UNICEF USA for this project.

“Since the start of the humanitarian crisis, Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) have responded with health boards, medical professionals, disaster management coordinators, and faith leaders to help, as comprehensively as possible, manage the crisis and strengthen existing work,” said Roland Fernandes, general secretary of Global Ministries and UMCOR. “It has been said that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Helping to fund the equitable distribution of vaccines through this Advance will help United Methodists play a key role in efforts to make that a global reality.”

Vaccines to end pandemic

“United Methodists in the Northwest have been saving lives by fighting COVID-19 for more than a year. Our people and churches have made this a priority by masking, keeping distance, meeting immediate needs for food, shelter, and community, suspending in-person worship, singing and communion, welcoming and encouraging vaccination,” said Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky, episcopal leader serving the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church. “But it was hard to know how to extend our love of Christ and one another beyond local communities to neighbors around the world. ‘Love Beyond Borders’ is a grassroots campaign, envisioned by one member of one church in the Oregon-Idaho Conference. Now, as an Advance project within The United Methodist Church, working with interfaith partners and UNICEF USA, it offers a beautiful way to protect and save lives around the world.” 

The coronavirus pandemic continues to have severe consequences, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable populations. Accelerating the rate at which all people are vaccinated is the key to ending the pandemic, alleviating suffering, and stopping deaths.

Global Ministries and UMCOR have supported partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America as they work to respond to the pandemic and its impacts. Grants have been awarded for personal protective and essential medical equipment; cleaning solution, soap, and handwashing stations; assistance with salaries, livelihoods, food, rent, and utilities; awareness and training in COVID-19 prevention; and vaccine promotion.

Activities with partners and communities have included training and grants, directed and administered through Global Ministries’ Global Health program.

In July, as part of the Interfaith Vigil for Global COVID-19 Vaccine Access, Global Ministries urged President Biden to share COVID-19 vaccine stockpiles and advocated for equitable global distribution of vaccines. He has pledged 500 million vaccine doses to the world’s lowest-income nations, but far more will be needed to stop the spread of this deadly illness.

At its August meeting, the Connectional Table, a United Methodist leadership body, took an action affirming the importance of equitable COVID-19 vaccine distributions.

According to research from Northeastern University, 61% of deaths globally could be averted if an effective vaccine were distributed to all countries proportional to their populations. While many wealthy countries have made significant inroads into vaccinating their citizens, this is not the case in less-developed countries. The Love Beyond Borders campaign will support COVAX’s initiative to equitably distribute vaccines around the world.