Ecumenical Group Launches Lenten Campaign for Water Justice

A girl rests after carrying water uphill in a camp for homeless families set up on a golf course in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.(Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance)

Seven weeks of raising awareness for water justice will be the focus of one ecumenical group's campaign during this year's Lenten season.

Starting on Monday, Feb. 15, Christian coalition group the Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) will be launching their Seven Weeks for Water campaign as an initiative to help people make Lent a "time to promote water justice and water as a human right," according to the group's website.

Held under the theme "Holy Water," this year's campaign will explore the meaning and uses water in liturgical traditions and their relationship to the way we use water in everyday life.

"This year's Seven Weeks recall the deep liturgical roots of baptism and baptismal preparation as the heart of Lent, pointing to the use of water by the church at prayer," said the Rev. Dr John Gibaut of the World Council of Churches (WCC), a group that works closely with the EWN.

"The Christian community's liturgical use of water has the potential to be a rich source of theological reflection about what water is, and about the care with which it is used," he added.

Worship and meditation materials are provided on the EWN's website for groups wishing to participate in the campaign.

Among the posted materials are weekly essays authored by leaders in the faith community, with pieces this year including a reflection on Christ's baptism by Czech theologian the Rev. Dr David Holeton, the Blessing of Waters by Elias Crisostomo Abramides of the Greek Orthodox Church in Buenos Aires, and "Living Wet" by Presbyterian theologian and song-writer Rev. Chip Andrus.

Special resources are also provided for the United Nations' (U.N.) World Water Day on March 22, the Fifth Sunday of Lent on Mar. 21, and Maundy Thursday on Apr. 1.

"From the moment our lives begin, water is key to our future. Without it, we will die," Anne Louise Mahoney, a Roman Catholic lay person writes in this week's reflection. "We drink it, cook with it, bathe in it, wash clothes and dishes and floors with it, nourish animals and plants with it, and use it in manufacturing of all kinds. As Christians, we are baptized in it."

"Each year, the Easter Vigil offers us a stark reminder that water is God's gift to us – in baptism and in our everyday lives. Indeed, water is life," she continues.

"In baptism, Christians touch this source of life in a way that has the potential to change our lives completely. We rise with Christ to newness of life."

"As we go forth in Christ, we must remember that water is a blessing to be treasured, to be shared with all people, to be protected for future generations," she concludes.

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