Simon Estes Photosimon_estes_4x6 3002522012131640World-renowned  opera star Simon Estes will be the preacher of the day on Sunday morning, January 19, 2014. He will also sing a couple of musical selections at the 11:00 a.m. service ONLY. (Please note the change; Bob Burkhart will now be preaching at the 8:30 AM service.)  That Sunday is Human Relations Day, a special day designated by the United Methodist Church, to be held on the weekend of the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday observance.

The occasion for Estes’ appearance is his partnership with Collegiate/Wesley in eradicating the disease of malaria. Estes has pledged to try to raise $1 million to purchase mosquito nets for the organization Nothing But Nets, originally initiated by The United Methodist Church, the United Nations and Sports Illustrated magazine, among others. Collegiate/Wesley is part of the Iowa Annual Conference’s “Imagine No Malaria” campaign to purchase and distribute nets as well as bring education and health workers to Africa and other places in the world where malaria is widespread.

It is estimated that a child in Africa dies of malaria every sixty seconds. Just a few years ago, it was once every thirty seconds. Eliminating malaria from the world is a goal that can be reached. Simon Estes’ CD (Save the Children, Save Their Lives) will be on sale that morning for $15; $10 of each sale will go to fight malaria, with the other $5 going to manufacture and distribute additional CDs. A special offering will be held to benefit Imagine No Malaria.

Estes says, “I don’t need any glory. I give all the glory to God. I’m just glad I can use my gifts to fight this dread disease.” Estes is the F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Artist in Residence at Iowa State University. During his career, he has sung at most of the world’s major opera houses as well as in front of U.S. Presidents, popes and internationally renowned figures including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.