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Superhero costumes and mosquito nets help Imagine No Malaria


Kathleen Rubino, Upper New York Conference
May 7th, 2015

At the UP!Word Conference Council on Youth Ministry gathering, Laurel O’Connor, field coordinator for Africa 360, asked the youth to think creatively … with mosquito nets. She challenged participants to share their stories to fundraise for mission, specifically Imagine No Malaria, designing mosquito net superhero costumes to be sent to the 2015 session of the Upper New York Annual Conference as part of a costume contest.

“Youth can use their gifts and creativity in ways that can inspire both congregations and the entire Conference,” O’Connor said. “I wanted to empower them to think in creative ways about mission that go beyond candy bar sales and special offerings.”

The design competition at UP!Word held additional significance for Imagine No Malaria, as it took place on World Malaria Day, Saturday, April 25. Since 2010, when The United Methodist Church became involved with Imagine No Malaria, malaria-related deaths have been cut in half. Churches worldwide are saving hundreds of thousands of lives, and the mortality numbers are expected to continue to decrease. For an impact report you can print out for your church, click here.

The youth participated in three workshops at UP!Word and 15 costumes were created. Each finished design was then uploaded to the Youth of the Upper New York Conference Facebook page, and voting commenced – one “like” equaled one vote. The designs that received the most votes will be entered in the costume contest during the Annual Conference session.

Those youth-designed costume submissions along with local church and small group submissions from across Upper New York will be on display during the Annual Conference session. Anyone attending the session – this includes visitors and those who have only signed up to help with the Stop Hunger Now mission – can cast a vote for their favorite design for $1 per vote on Thursday, May 28. The winning design will be worn by Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb.

Although the youth were the first to submit their designs, they won’t be the last.

Churches throughout the Conference are encouraged to submit their designs for entry into the competition, said O’Connor, and she is looking forward to the “outside-the-box” thinking that she said she knows UNY’s churches are capable of.

Click here to download the submission sheet and more information.

For more information or to send in your submission, email O’Connor at