World Council of Churches effort draws attention to international clean water crisis
by WCC Release
BOGOTA — The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network (WCC-EWN) began the 2018 edition of its annual Lenten campaign “Seven Weeks for Water” here last week.
WCC leaders, members of WCC Reference Group of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, and local churches participated in a Feb. 14 ceremony at La Giralda, headquarters of the Colombian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The Rev. Gloria Ulloa, WCC regional president for Latin America and the Caribbean, officially launched the Lenten campaign at a prayer service in Bogota, expressing her joy about the “timely intervention by the WCC to address the water issues in Latin America.”
In her sermon, Ulloa said that “unfortunately, in Latin America and the Caribbean and in many parts of our planet, due to legal and illegal mining industries, our water resources are not considered as strategically important and are not preserved. The extractive industries promoted by the governments significantly threaten the backwaters, rivers, lakes and groundwater.”
“In Colombia, for example, the multinational oil and mining companies have received all sorts of benefits, namely flexible environmental regulations from the government,” Ulloa added.
Prof. Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary, recognized the importance of the Lenten campaign on water justice.
“Thanks to the work of the WCC-EWN, the WCC has become a Blue Community by respecting the human right to water, promoting public ownership and control of water resources and saying no to bottled water where tap water is safe to drink,” said Phiri.
“The Lenten campaign is a constant reminder to us of our commitment to being a Blue Community,” she added.
In 2018, the WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace has a regional focus on Latin America. Accordingly, the WCC-EWN is offering through the “Seven Weeks for Water” a series of Biblio-theological reflections and resources based on the water crisis in the region within the framework of justice and peace.
The 2018 reflections are written by theologians and environmentalists from the region and are available at the WCC-EWN website.
Dinesh Suna, coordinator of WCC-EWN, expressed his gratitude to all participants and authors of the Lenten resources on water and hoped “these resources will be used by congregations and individuals during the Lenten period to rededicate their commitment to water justice.”
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