In a special Earth Day prayer, the Green Anglicans gave thanks for “the gift of water, the blue soul of the Earth.”
The prayer praises God for the gift of rivers, aquifers, lakes and wetlands. “We give thanks for the sacred waters of life which bring healing, cleansing and renewal,” the prayer reads. “We praise you for the flowing rivers and the shimmering lakes, for the wells that draw water from the depths of hidden aquifers.”
The prayer also gives thanks for the sacred waters of baptism. “We confess that we have failed to be guardians of these living waters, and have squandered and polluted this previous gift,” reads the prayer. “We confess to the greed that has led to the commodification of water.”
The prayer commits to upholding the rights of all living creatures to the waters of life. “Together with all peoples and living creatures let us draw water with joy form the wells of salvation,” concludes the prayer.
Weeks for water
Leading up to Earth Day, ”valuing water" was the theme of the UN World Water Day 2021. With an entire week devoted to the celebrations of World Water Day, Swiss Church Aid (HEKS), a member of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network, Blue Community Switzerland, and many other partner organizations, used the opportunity to draw attention to water challenges in Switzerland and abroad as well as to how these are interrelated.
Expedition swimmer and water ambassador Ernst Bromeis offered a live broadcast from the Zurich “Water Church.” With swimming events in Switzerland and worldwide, Bromeis campaigns for the human right to water. "Water is not only a human right…. because of pollution, unsustainable use and the consequences of climate change, we all also have a duty to protect and care for water," he urged the audience.
Another exhibition, “Water—a human right" in the “Water Church” of Zurich featured a water-themed church service and a conversation about the global water shortage as well as a variety of other events supported by a broad coalition of organizations took place.
The University of Zurich participated with several events including an online event with Blue Community founder Maude Barlow, a self-guided water tour using the CrowdWater app, and an exhibition at the Science Exploratorium to which the organization "Einfach Zürich" (Simply Zurich) contributed a “sound shower” letting visitors experience the sounds of water.
The local green party and the Reformed Church of Waedenswil together organised a world water walk. While some of the planned events had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world water walk was even extended by another week thanks to great public interest.
“All in all, it was a colorful bouquet of activities,” says Karl Heuberger, thematic advisor on access to water at HEKS and a member of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network International Reference Group.