This morning, I’m at Adam Walker Cleaveland’s site, pomomusings, as a guest blogger writing about the Kingdom of God. It’s been fascinating to read what different people have to say about God’s reign.
We’re talking about the reign of God a lot at our church these days, as we dream of this world as-it-ought-to-be. We’re talking, and we’re working.
In the past, our congregation has been successful in starting wonderful programs like Miriam’s Kitchen, a feeding and social service program that serves over two hundred homeless men and women each weekday morning. But of course, we’re a small congregation of 250 people, and there’s no possible way that we can do it alone. Individuals, churches, and organizations all over the D.C. region donate time, money, and resources to keep it going.
Now, we’re literally on the ground floor of the Ethiopian Health Network. The EHN’s first initiative is a clinic in Dukem, a city one hour south of the capital that has no access to local health care, and the needs are severe. Dukem is in the HIV/AIDS High Risk Corridor, a route linking Djibouti to the east, Addis-Ababa and Kenya to the south.
Virtually no women in Dukem receive obstetric care, let alone pre-natal care. In Ethiopia, one in eight children die before age two. One in six die before age five. The EHN is working to change this. The Dukem clinic will focus on reproductive and child health, and HIV/AIDS treatment and care.
After all of these years that we, as people of faith, have been praying for a cure for HIV/AIDS, it’s miraculous that God is allowing us to be a part of the treatment. It’s been amazing to watch how many informed volunteers have gathered around this project. I’m honored to be at Western as all of this unfolds. But, as I said, we’re a small congregation, just a tiny piece in this big puzzle. And the Ethiopian Health Network will need be made up of many churches, individuals, and organizations who partner together and make this happen.
The beautiful thing about this is, there’s not a load of managers and bureaucrats running this operation. There are a couple of pastors (qualified pastors…my colleague, John Wimberly, has an MBA and a PhD in Liberation Theology…a potent combination) and some incredibly talented volunteers. We’re relying heavily on the technological skills and networks of our young congregation to get the word out. That means the money contributed is not going to keep some office in the U.S. open. It’s going to Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Health Network needs partners in this effort. We need individuals, congregations, and organizations who are interested in creating and giving birth to this healing movement. The needs are vast, but we know that the generosity and hope of our faith communities are much broader. The EHN needs everything from stethoscopes to buildings. No contribution is too large or too small.
If you’re at all interested in this opportunity, please visit the site, check out the slideshow, see what’s in place, and what we still need to do. Think about it. Pray about it. Imagine how you can be involved. And let me know if there’s anything we can do together as we long for, speak about, and work for the world as-it-ought-to-be.
The children are from Dukem, they live about 500 meters from the site, and they’ve never seen a doctor.