The three winning photos. ©gabrielmatyias ©subhadipindia ©aleksanderwasyluk

The three winning photos. ©gabrielmatyias ©subhadipindia ©aleksanderwasyluk

Between 7-27 March, more than 100 images with the hash tag #7Weeks4Water were posted by Instagram users who joined the World Council of Churches (WCC) contest. Most of them told stories about water justice, illustrating the Lenten campaign “Seven Weeks for Water,” promoted by the WCC Ecumenical Water Network annually since 2008.

A jury formed by representatives from member churches, partner organizations and WCC staff selected the three winners of the contest, who will receive a selection of WCC recent publications, including “The Ecumenical Movement,” an anthology that embodies the ecumenical century and is considered a definitive collection for reference on the issue of the contemporary search for Christian unity.

Instagram user “gabrielmatyias” received first prize with an image of girls from Fasayil struggling to get water from an old tank. “Like many communities in the Jordan Valley, either there's no access to running water or the springs and wells are getting drained by Israeli excessive pumping, which is diverted to nearby flourishing settlements,” he wrote.

“subhadipindia” posted a picture of a foot-washing ceremony in India. He won second prize. The caption reads: “I am married to a Munda tribal girl from the state of Jharkhand in India. As a tradition when I visited her house for the first time my mother-in-law washed my feet with water and then applied mustard oil to my feet. Initially I was hesitant but I was told that this is the tradition and was a sign of acceptance into the family as some one of their own #7Weeks4Water.”

Third prize was offered to Instagram user “aleksanderwasyluk,” who shared an image of Ethiopian children with bottles for water. “The photo was taken in October 2015. We were on the way from Lalibela to Bahir Dar,” says Aleksander. “I submitted this photo to the contest because this year is very difficult for Ethiopia. I was there just after rainy season and rivers were quite empty.”

Commenting on the outcome of the contest, Marcelo Schneider, WCC communication officer and chair of the jury, stressed that the three selected images illustrate important areas of the current work of the WCC and its member churches. “This year, the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace is focusing on the Middle East, especially the situation in Palestine and Israel. The picture posted by Gabriel tells a little bit of that story”, he said.

“We also praised the photo posted by Aleksander, especially because the WCC has been working to improve children's well-being through a variety of projects”, he added. “The image from India has clear biblical links and theological appeal. It also and reveals some solid contextual aspects and solid personal story telling”, concluded Schneider.

The WCC thanks all Instagram users who joined the contest and invites them to encourage other users to follow the WCC on the world’s main free online mobile photo-sharing service.

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WCC campaign Seven Weeks for Water