Seven weeks of Lent highlight water justice in Latin America

By agency reporter
February 14, 2018

The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network (WCC-EWN)has invited people to use the season of Lent to reflect on water. Since 2008, EWN has been providing weekly theological reflections and other resources on water for the seven weeks of Lent and for World Water Day on 22 March. This year, the focus is on Latin America.

“Here in Latin America many countries are water rich and yet 45 per cent of the population does not have access to safe drinking water. I hope that our Lenten campaign on water justice will help address this issue in Latin America”, said Dr Isabel Phiri, Deputy General Secretary of the WCC.

“The Lenten campaign draws our attention to the fact that more and more countries are getting water stressed day by day”, added Phiri. “I was shocked to hear that by 12 April 2018, Cape Town, where I have lived for several years, is going to run out of water, unless the residents drastically change their consumption pattern urgently”, she said.

For Dinesh Suna, coordinator of the WCC-EWN, the Lenten campaign has been a very important action to galvanise the momentum towards the World Water Day on 22 March through WCC member churches.

“I hope the Lenten campaign on water in Latin America will help us build a momentum towards engaging with the World Water Forum and more importantly the Alternative World Water Forum (FAMA) which resists and challenges governments and corporate takeover of our water bodies”, he said. “These events will take place in Brasilia, Brazil, between 17-23 March, 2018”, he added.

The WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace will have a regional focus on the Latin America and Caribbean region in 2018. Accordingly, the Seven Weeks for Water in 2018 will take people on a pilgrimage of water justice in that region.  The Biblio-theological reflections and resources for the seven weeks are based on the water crisis in the region and take into consideration issues of justice and peace.

During Lent 2018, various activities around the Seven Weeks for Water will take place in the region, starting with the launch of the Lenten Campaign on Water Justice in Bogota, Colombia on 14 February, Ash Wednesday (according to the Western traditions of Christianity).

Leaders of the WCC, members of Reference Group of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace and local churches will participate in the launching ceremony at La Giralda, headquarters of the Colombian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Prof. Fernando Enns, co-moderator of the Reference Group of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, that gathered in Bogota, 6-10 February, shared that “the Lenten campaign has become an integral part of our pilgrimage process”, he said.

“Launching the Lenten campaign in conjunction with a Reference Group meeting gives us an opportunity to relate to the local churches through a concrete action of addressing issues of water justice in the region where we are meeting”, added Enns.

All seven reflections for 2018 are are written by theologians and environmentalists from Latin America.

*Read the reflections  here

* Ecumenical Water Network https://water.oikoumene.org/en

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en

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