US churches host movie parties to fight malaria

United Methodists are encouraging church members to get together to watch HBO's new movie "Mary and Martha".

But they don't just want people to enjoy the movie but use the parties an opportunity to save more people from the scourge of malaria.

"Mary and Martha" stars Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn as two women who meet in Africa and work to raise awareness of malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that claims a life every 60 seconds.

The Church has created movie party kits including exclusive invitations, event planning tips, themed recipes, easy instructions for making mosquito costumes, fun activities for children, and information about the fight against malaria.

Funds raised from the parties will support the Church's Imagine No Malaria campaign, which has so far raised $31.2 towards fighting malaria. That money has been used to train more than 5,800 community health workers and distribute 1.2 million mosquito nets in Africa.

Following the parties, watchers can join the cause and donate to Imagine No Malaria by texting 'MOM' to 27722. A hundred per cent of donations go to fighting the disease in Africa.

The parties are being held ahead of World Malaria Day on 25 April.

"A child shouldn't have to die from a mosquito bite," said Imagine No Malaria spokesperson Bishop Thomas Bickerton. "Malaria is both preventable and treatable.

"Our campaign has distributed over 1.2 million life-saving insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets, but we need millions more. Just $10 provides a net which can protect up to four people from the silent killer."

"Mary and Martha" premieres Saturday 20 April at 8pm EDT on HBO. It is also scheduled to air Sunday 21 April at 12:45am and 5:30pm and Tuesday 23 April at 10am.

Additional opportunities to raise awareness continue next month starting 5 May, as NBC affiliates begin airing "Killer in the Dark: An Extraordinary Effort to Combat Malaria". The documentary, produced by United Methodist Communications, is about the intense and continuous work being carried out to help make the world malaria-free.

Get your party planning kit now at