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Mount Vernon, NY — At the break of dawn on July 20, Rev. Carol E. A. Fryer, senior pastor, director of Church Relations at The Wartburg Adult Care Community, and pastor of United Lutheran Church on The Wartburg campus was amazed as she gazed out at the rising sun having just reached the summit of Uhuru Peak atop Mt. Kilimanjaro.
She successfully climbed the tallest snowcapped mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet above sea level, participating in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Malaria Campaign to support African companion churches in their malaria prevention and treatment programs. This ELCA campaign is in conjunction with the United Nations Millennium Development Goal, with a long-range objective to raise $15 million and contain malaria by 2015.
As Rev. Fryer explained, “For every challenge in life, there is an opportunity. So if it takes climbing a 19,340-foot mountain to get people’s attention that every 45 seconds malaria kills a child under five years old in Africa, then count me in. Sure it was difficult, but not nearly as insurmountable as a child fighting diarrhea and pneumonia as malaria drains the life from his underdeveloped immune system… all because there weren’t enough mosquito nets, or medication, or education or food. Our mission was to raise awareness and to raise money to give these kids a fighting chance.”
Making this historic climb with Rev. Fryer were Rev. Jack Horner, the assistant to the bishop for Evangelical Mission at the Metropolitan New York Synod of the ELCA, and Rev. Wvyetta Bullock, executive for administration in the Office of the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA. Together, under the care of their three local guides – Seraphine, August & Anicet, a cook and 16 porters, the group began their journey on July 14 filled with anticipation and determination. Along the way, they climbed through five different climate zones, learned a Swahili folk song and never lost sight of their mission – to conquer malaria. The climb took seven days to summit and one day to descend.
“When we were on the mountain, we were in a “malaria-free zone.” That’s what we hope for everyone – in Africa and around the world – a malaria-free zone. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was a life-long dream of mine. Being able to fulfill that dream and at the same time inspiring others to support the fight against malaria made it even more incredible. If climbing Kilimanjaro again would bring an end to malaria, once and for all, I would do it in a minute!” said Rev. Fryer.
Wartburg Cares!, an outreach ministry of The Wartburg, supported Rev. Fryer and participated in the ELCA’s Malaria Campaign – reaching across continents to provide support to the African communities touched by this terrible disease each day while carrying out their mission of providing ministries of healing and hope to those in need.
David J. Gentner, president & CEO of The Wartburg and The Wartburg Foundation added, “We at The Wartburg could not be more proud of Rev. Fryer’s accomplishment. We are privileged to have her as our Pastor, as we benefit from her spiritual leadership here on campus every day. Through her innovative Wartburg Cares! Program, she has instilled a practical, life-inspiring spirituality throughout our campus, and beyond. She leads by example…not just words. She doesn’t talk the talk, but rather walks the walk. In this case, an historic walk that has truly inspired us all.”
The ELCA Malaria Campaign slogan is “A Penny A Foot!”. Since Mount Kilimanjaro is 19,340 feet high, the suggested contribution is $193.40 – a penny a foot. However, any amount is welcomed and gratefully received. Wartburg Cares! reported that the “penny a foot” slogan enabled everyone on The Wartburg campus – residents, registrants, family members, staff, volunteers and visitors – to participate in raising funds to eradicate Malaria in Africa. Residents of The Wartburg’s skilled nursing facility donated over 100 individual “Wartburg bingo bucks” in support of Rev. Fryer’s climb. “I was inspired by Rev. Fryer’s unselfish act of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro that I just had to donate my bingo bucks to support her.” noted a resident.
Wartburg Cares! continues to accept donations in support of the ELCA Malaria Campaign. For more information about how to donate, please contact:
Rev. Carol E. A. Fryer: 914-513-5163, firstname.lastname@example.org.
JoAnn G. McGraw: 914-513- 5128, email@example.com.
Metro New York Synod ELCA Malaria Campaign: www.mnys.org