Concordia Invitational Tournament to benefit Lutheran Malaria Initiative

ST. LOUIS—January 24, 2012—The Concordia Invitational Tournament set for Jan. 27-28 at Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., will benefit the work of the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI).

Proceeds raised during tournament activities will support LMI programming to end malaria deaths in Africa.

The 61st annual tournament involves both men’s and women’s basketball teams from Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon; Concordia University Chicago; Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Concordia University Nebraska, Seward. The tournament is one of the longest continuously running basketball tournaments in the country, and it is a highlight of the athletic year among the participating Concordia schools, which operate under the auspices of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Game tickets and player shirts will feature the LMI logo. Tournament attendees also will learn about LMI during a student-led carnival on campus, half-time announcements, and opening and closing worship services.

“The opportunity for LMI to be a focus of activities and events during the Concordia Invitational is unprecedented,” said Martha Mitkos, LMI director for the LCMS. “For the first time, the tournament has aligned with a mission project and is involving student leaders to raise awareness and funds for LMI. We are thrilled.

“The LMI activities and events surrounding the tournament are focusing on the work that we are doing to end malaria deaths in Africa,” she continued. “The students are excited and working hard to spread our message, heighten awareness and raise funds to directly support programming of net distribution, rapid test kits, medication and education.”

The weekend’s events will begin with a chapel service at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 27, featuring guest preacher the Rev. Matt Hoehner. Michael Pajonk, director of organizational partnerships with the United Nations Foundation, will speak about LMI during the chapel service. The opening worship service will be simulcast to all participating Concordia schools.

The first game of the tournament will begin at 1 p.m. Friday. The women’s championship game will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday and the men’s championship game will be held at 7:15 p.m. Saturday. A worship service with guest preacher the Rev. Tom Faszholz at 10 a.m. Sunday will conclude the tournament.

The Lutheran Malaria Initiative is a partnership of Lutheran World Relief and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to mobilize U.S. Lutherans in the global effort to eliminate malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. LMI is made possible through support from the United Nations Foundation.

So far, Lutheran donors have contributed more than $2.5 million toward a $45 million goal to fight malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that continues to devastate communities and perpetuate a cycle of poverty. According to the World Health Organization, about 700,000 people die of malaria each year, and every 60 seconds a child dies of the disease in sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information about the Concordia tournament and related events, visit


About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 1847, the LCMS has more than 2.3 million baptized members in some 6,200 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors. Two seminaries and 10 colleges and universities operate under the auspices of the LCMS, and its congregations operate the largest Protestant parochial school system in America. The church broadcasts the saving message of Jesus Christ over KFUO Radio, and it has relationships and active mission work in 89 countries around the world. In the last five years, the LCMS has awarded more than $35 million through more than 900 domestic and international grants for emergency response and disaster relief. Today, the LCMS is in full doctrinal fellowship with 33 other confessional Lutheran church bodies worldwide and is a founding partner of Lutheran Services in America, a social ministry organization serving one in every 50 Americans. For more information, visit



Vicki Biggs
Director, Integrated Communications
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
314-996-1236 | 314-556-3829 (mobile)

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