“It is not God’s will that the earth is destroyed. We the creatures, we who are supposed to be stewards of creation, are unjustly self-destructive”, read the sermon of the Rt. Rev. Arnold C. Temple, president of the All Africa Conference of Churches, at the opening service of World Council of Churches (WCC) Lenten Campaign “Seven Weeks for Water”, on 5 March, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Temple was unable to be physically present in the launch event in Chiang Mai due to visa issues.
Since 2008, the WCC-Ecumenical Water Network 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, which always falls during the Lenten period.
The event was held under the auspices of the Christian Conference of Asia and in the presence of the Reference Group of the WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.
While water has a strong spiritual significance in the Christian tradition as a gift of God, this scarce resource is threatened and denied to billions around the world.
In 2019, the WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace has a regional focus on Asia. Accordingly, the WCC’s Lenten campaign will offer Biblical-theological reflections and resources on the water crisis in the Asian region, prepared to encouraging member churches around the world to join the water justice agenda.
“Christ calls for a church in solidarity with the vulnerable and that’s why we are here to reflect on water justice as we start the season of Lent so that we can strategize and take action for the benefit of the vulnerable people in our world”, wrote Temple, who also serves as co-chair of the International Reference Group of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network.
His sermon was delivered by WCC’s deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri. After the service, she commented on the importance of having the launch event as part of the meeting of the reference group: “The launching of this campaign during our meeting offers an opportunity to address the concrete realities on the ground related to water justice”, she said. “For the WCC, this is also an opportunity to anchor one of its flagship campaigns within the format of the pilgrimage, which brings the water justice cause closer to the member churches”.
WCC's Pilgrimage turns its eyes to Asia (WCC news release 4 March 2019)
Peace is common denominator of all major religions (WCC news release 6 March 2019)