Ecumenical Water Network

The Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) promotes the preservation, responsible management and equitable distribution of water for all, based on the understanding that water is a gift from God, a common good and a fundamental human right.

The Ecumenical Water Network

The Ecumenical Water Network, based in Geneva, is an initiative of the World Council of Churches. It is comprised of churches and church-related organizations that promote the preservation, responsible management and equitable distribution of water for all, based on the understanding that water is a gift from God, a common good and a fundamental human right.

We believe water is to be preserved and shared for the benefit of all human beings and the wider creation. That’s why we speak out and act when life-giving water is pervasively and systematically under threat.

We promote the preservation, responsible management and equitable distribution of water for all.

The Ecumenical Water Network facilitates an exchange of information and provides materials for churches, organizations and individuals about the global water crisis and solutions; and promotes and coordinates international advocacy for the human right to water and sanitation. 

WCC-EWN is  a leading faith actor contributing towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 6: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

The Ecumenical Water Network does not provide project funding or grants, but we are happy to explore how we can work together to address the water crisis.

Important EWN documents
Blue Community

WCC Blue Community implements water changes in the Ecumenical Centre

The WCC celebrated implementation of its responsible water commitments in an event on 15 February in the Ecumenical Centre. The WCC became a Blue Community In October 2016. The special occasion was marked by the visit of Dr Maude Barlow from the Blue Planet Project, Canada, who awarded a “blue community certificate” to the WCC and raised awareness of the problems created by indiscriminate use of disposable plastic bottles and their negative impact on our planet’s ecosystem.

Joining Blue Communities, WCC turns from bottles to taps

WCC is casting out its bottled water and has joined the Blue Communities Project. Maude Barlow, co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, on 25 October awarded the WCC a “blue community certificate” and launched tap-based public water fountains at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva.

World Council of Churches joins Blue Communities Project

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network is committed to the human right to water and can no longer ignore the disastrous impact of bottled water on the environment and the well-being of so many women, men and children worldwide.

Seven Weeks for Water 2021 (North America)

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network invites you to use the season of Lent to reflect on God’s gift of water. Since 2008, the WCC– through its “Seven Weeks for Water” campaign – 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).

According to the Christian tradition, Lent is a time to prepare for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. During this period many people engage in fasting and practice moderation or self-denial in order to focus on repentance and consecrating oneself to God. While water has a strong spiritual significance in the Christian tradition as a gift of God, around the entire globe, human misuse and pollution threaten this essential resource, and billions lack any access to clean water.

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standing rock march

Church voices have joined the chorus demanding respect for indigenous peoples’ rights and eco-justice in connection with Standing Rock, a location at the heart of the struggle against the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota, USA.

Photo:

The WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace will have a regional focus on the North America region in 2021. Accordingly, the 2021 Seven Weeks for Water takes us on a pilgrimage of water justice in North America.  We will explore globally familiar places: Flint, Michigan, representative of the many American cities with drinking water contaminated by lead; Standing Rock, where the Dakota Sioux have successfully fought the destruction of sacred waters by the Keystone Pipeline, and the Navajo Nation, where lack of water for handwashing has heightened the toll of the COVID pandemic in the Southwest. We will also explore other less storied places where we search for water justice from the verdant valleys of California to the salmon streams of the Pacific Northwest. Our guides are theologians and water justice activists from diverse faith traditions and spirituality.

The reflections show that North America faces diverse water issues:

  • securing clean water for handwashing to protect us from COVID-19 and other diseases;
  • battling to rid Flint and other American cities from the scourge of lead contaminated drinking water;
  • assuring salmon and other freshwater fish have water to survive and thrive.
  • protecting underground sources of drinking water from contamination by agriculture and oil and natural gas fracking.
  • preventing depletion of groundwater by excessive agriculture withdrawals that threaten the availability of  groundwater for future generations;
  • struggling to prevent destruction of sacred waters to transport fossil fuels that should stay in the ground, as the droughts induced by greenhouse gas emissions that afflict the West become more frequent and severe;
  • removing those dams that unnecessarily destroy rivers as well as the creatures who depend upon them, while making modest contributions at best to local economies, and
  • denouncing the commodification of water to the point that speculators now trade in water futures on Wall Street as the ultimate abuse of God’s gift to life.    

Though North America generally enjoys plentiful water resources, the water problems that North Americans face resemble those of people around the globe.  In highlighting the difficult water problems of this region, the reflections in this series resonate with struggles facing people in every region, revealing the truly global dimensions of the pilgrimage of water justice.

During the Lent 2021, churches in North America will have many activities focused on the Seven Weeks for Water. However, due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, a series of virtual events will take place throughout the Lenten period.

Like previous years, the World Council of Churches has commissioned Biblical-theological reflections and resources on the water crisis in the North America region, which it is publishing online.  We encourage our member churches around the world to use these resources during the Lenten period. The WCC Ecumenical Water Network webpage will also feature interviews of North American water activists, including the authors of these Lenten reflections. 

In collaboration with the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace host committee and Ecumenical Water Network International Reference Group, a series of webinars on the above topics are also being explored throughout the Lenten period to delve deeper into the water issues from the North America region. 

Below are the topics of reflections, authors, and publication dates:   

Week

Publish

Topic & Focus

Authors

  1.  

17 February 2021

The rainbow color of the pilgrimage of water justice in North America 
I
n this reflection the author, based on several instances of large scale water contamination in many cities in the USA, comes to a conclusion that lack of access to clean water in USA is a result of systemic racism.

Michele Roberts, Environmental Justice Health Alliance

  1.  

22 February 2021

Water for life: not guaranteed for the indigenous people of the Navajo Nation 
In this reflection, the author highlights the challenges of mining and fracking in the Navajo Nation based on her conversation with Bitahnii Wayne Wilson. He not only challenges these unsustainable practices but also provides small-scale solutions to indigenous communities in time of COVID-19.

Annika Harley, Creation Justice Ministries

  1.  

1 March 2021

Water for creation: protecting water for the sacred C’iyaal, C’waam & the Koptu 
In this reflection, the author  draws inspiration from the restoration of the  Israelites from the Babylonian exile as promised by Ezekiel, and hope and pray for the restoration of the Klamath Tribes and other indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest to their rivers, waters and fishes, namely the C’iyaal, the C’waam & the Koptu.

Jesse Cruz Richards, Willamette River Network

  1.  

8 March 2021

Gendered water: women fight for safe drinking water in their communities
In this reflection, the author enumerates the problem of lead contamination of Flint’s water and how an initiative by Black Millennials 4 Flint is fighting for water justice for the victims, who are predominantly people of colour.

Krystina White, Black Millennials 4 Flint

  1.  

15 March 2021

Water on Wall Street: the ultimate abuse of God’s gift
In this reflection the authors discuss how water was listed for the first time in history as a tradable commodity and compare it to Water, promised as a gift of God and for free (Isaiah 55:1). They further Discuss spiritual vs economic value of water, reflecting on the theme of World Water Day 2021

Susan Lea Smith (United Church of Christ)  & Dinesh Suna (WCC)

  1.  

22 March 2021

A universe reborn: in the context of Standing Rock
In this reflection the author Indigenous perspective of water, with reference to the  Standing Rock Sioux and the Keystone XL pipeline; perhaps mention the campaign of IEM’s Dallas Goldtooth and others to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Archbishop Mark Macdonald Anglican Church of Canada

  1.  

29 March  2021

Healing the water heals the wounds of the earth and its people
In the reflection during the Holy week, he is using a small town in the USA as a case study to emphasize how local communities can take small initiatives to “resurrect” the contaminated or “dead”  groundwater to life-giving waters.   Leaving us on a positive note he ends by saying, “if Holy Week teaches us anything it’s that death is not final”.

Andrew Schwartz, Center for Earth Ethics (Lutheran)

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 Click below to explore the reflections from previous years

2020

Seven Weeks for Water 2020, week 7: "Thirsty for justice", by Frances Namoumou and Netani Rika

The seventh and last reflection of the seven weeks for water 2020 of the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network is written jointly  by Ms Frances Namoumou, Programmes Manager, and Mr Netani Rika, Communications Specialist, Pacific Conference of Churches.  In the following reflection they have analysed the water scarcity situation in the Pacific that is getting worsened by climate change with a justice perspective from the narratives of the persistent widow of the bible. They challenge us not to give up our “thirst for justice” under any circumstances.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2020, week 6: "Water, food and trade: Impact on the Pacific Islands", by Athena Peralta and Dr Manoj Kurian

The 6th reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2020 is by Athena Peralta and Dr Manoj Kurian, programme executives of the World Council of Churches Economic and Ecological Justice programme and Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, respectively. In this reflection, they are focusing on the perils of cash crops such as sugarcane, produced primarily for exporting, threatening to impact the freshwater levels of Fiji. Over-dependency on food import for its sustenance is not a sustainable practice.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2020, week 5: "Water and Climate Change", by Dinesh Suna

The fifth reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2020 is by Dinesh Suna, coordinator of Ecumenical Water Network, World Council of Churches. He is a Lutheran and comes from India. In the following reflection, he explores the importance of “hand-washing” in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic while this basic facility is not available to millions of people, particularly to children. He dedicates this reflection to World Water Day which is being observed on 22 March with the theme “Water and Climate Change.”

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2020, week 4: "Water: a gift of God, a public good and a human right. Should we privatize it?", by ev. Dr. Donald Bruce Yeates

The fourth reflection of the seven weeks for water 2020 of the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network is by Rev. Dr. Donald Bruce Yeates, a minister of Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church of Suva, Fiji and a consultant chaplain at The University of the South Pacific. Bruce has been active in the Pacific since 1975 as an academic in social work, community development and social policy having served at the University of Papua New Guinea and The University of the South Pacific. In the following  reflection he underlines the importance of human right to water and the onslaught of privatisation in the backdrop of  world’s most famous bottled water which comes from his home country, the “Fiji waters”.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2020, week 3: "Feminization of Water Poverty: Women’s Perspective on Water Justice", by Adi Mariana Waqa

The third reflection of the seven weeks for water 2020 of the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network is by Adi Mariana Waqa, the Child Protection Coordinator of the Pacific Conference of Churches with contributions from Frances Namoumou Programmes Manager, PCC  and Mereani Nawadra (Project Officer for Gender Equality Theology,  Methodist Women’s Fellowship. In the following reflection they critique Abraham’s decision to send off Hagar into the wilderness with a child with very little water. They draw comparisons that Hagar then and women of today take on the responsibility of securing water needs of the family at the cost of their own safety and wellbeing. This reflection is to commemorate International Women’s day in the context of right to water.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2020, week 2: "What moves above the waters: fresh water challenges of the Pacific", by Nikotemo Sopepa

The second reflection of the seven weeks for water 2020 of the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network is by Nikotemo Sopepa, an ordained minister of the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu. Married with two children, he is currently the  Mission Secretary of the Council for World Mission in the Pacific region.  In the following reflection he compares the life affirming spirit of God that was hovering on the waters in the beginning of the creation story with today’s “death dealing” spirit of commercialization of water over the waters of the pacific region which is worsening its fresh water availability.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2020, week 1: "Solwara: Saltiness and the Liquid Continent – An introduction to the Seven Weeks of Water from the perspective of Oceania", by Rev. James Bhagwan

The first reflection of the seven weeks for water 2020 of the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network is by Rev. James Bhagwan, an ordained minister of the Methodist Church in Fiji.  Rev. Bhagwan holds a Bachelor of Divinity (with Honours) in Ecumenical Studies from the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji and a Masters of Theology in Christian Social Ethics from the Methodist Theological University in Seoul, South Korea. He currently serves as the General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches. In this introductory reflection of the Lenten campaign, he identifies himself and his community as “ocean people” and laments that the very saltiness that makes the ocean unique for earth’s sustainability is in danger of losing it.

WCC Programmes
2019

Seven Weeks for Water 2019, week 7: "Privatisation of water: an onslaught to the human right to water in Asia", by Ismael Fisco Jr.

The seventh and last reflection of the “Seven Weeks for Water 2019” of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network is by Ismael Fisco Jr., a young adult from the United Methodist Church in the Philippines, and former Chairperson of the ecumenical youth movement Kalipunan ng Kristiyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas (KKKP). He currently works as Director for an international digital publishing company while pursuing his Law degree. He writes for several publications and was part of the communication team of past General Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). In this reflection, Ismael laments the recent water crisis in Manila, Philippines, which is his home country. Inspired by Isaiah 55:1, he argues that water should not be commodified and therefore must not be privatised. He proposes that the blue community is the way to go to address the water crisis.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2019, week 6: "Leaving no one behind: the crux of water for all in the context of SDG 6", by Dinesh Suna

The sixth reflection of the “Seven Weeks for Water 2019” of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network is by Dinesh Suna, coordinator of the network. Suna comes from the Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church in Odisha, India. In the following reflection, Suna emphasises that "the lost, the least and the last" are at the heart of both the Bible as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. From the gospel according to Luke, Suna identifies parables by Jesus that demonstrate Jesus’s preference for vulnerable communities and challenge us to have that positive bias towards them.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks fo Water 2019, week 5: "Securing water for food security and climate adaptation", by Athena Peralta and Manoj Kurian

The fifth reflection of the “Seven Weeks for Water 2019” of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network is done jointly by Dr Manoj Kurian and Ms Athena Peralta, the Coordinator of WCC-Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and Programme Executive of WCC Economic and Ecological Justice programmes respectively. In the following reflection, they underline the nexus between water, food and climate change and how our irresponsible consumption pattern on one can influence the other sectors.  They further challenge us to review our footprints on water, climate change etc and encourage us to take actions this Lent for making our planet more sustainable.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2019, week 4: "Stigma and discrimination: an impediment to human right to water, with specific reference to Casteism in India", by Rev. Dr Raj Bharat Patta

The fourth reflection of the “Seven Weeks for Water 2019” of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network is by Rev. Dr Raj BharatPatta, an ordained minister of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church in India. He has recently completed his PhD on the topic Subaltern Public Theology for India from the University of Manchester, UK. He served the Student Christian Movement of India as its national General Secretary and also the National Council of Churches in India as one of its Executive Secretaries, particularly focusing on Dalit and indigenous people. He currently serves as an Authorised Presbyter at the Stockport Methodist Circuit in UK with a pastoral charge of three churches. In the following reflection, he narrates the story of Hagar through her voice, when she was left in the desert to fend for herself without an adequate supply of water to survive with and to keep her son Ishmael alive. Patta, draws similarities between the Dalit communities in India and that of Hagar, when it comes to access to water.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2019, week 3: "God’s Gift of Water", by Grace Ji-Sun Kim

The third reflection of the “Seven Weeks for Water 2019” of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network is by Grace Ji-Sun Kim, an ordained minister of PC (USA). She received her PhD from the University of Toronto and works as an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion. She is a prolific writer and the author or editor of 16 books including, Making Peace with the Earth. Kim is part of the World Council of Churches working group on climate change. In this reflection, she recollects her early days in Korea and how she looked at the water then and now, as an eco-feminist theologian. She further reflects on the promise of God "I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground…" and contrasts it with today's consumeristic lifestyle, which is polluting our water bodies and denying millions from enjoying this life-giving gift of God – Water!

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2019, week 2: "Pilgrimage of water justice in the context of India", by Metropolitan Dr. Geevarghese Mor Coorilos

The second Reflection of the “Seven Weeks for Water 2019” of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network is by Metropolitan Dr. Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, the Bishop of Niranam diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church in India. He also serves the World Council of Churches as Moderator of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.  In this reflection, he elaborates on the story of Jesus's encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well and relates it to the Indian context of caste untouchability and discrimination.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2019, week 1: "Challenging “gendered water”: an important step towards women’s empowerment", by Renemsongla Ozukum

The first Reflection of the “Seven Weeks for Water” of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network is by Renemsongla Ozukum, a theologian and a member of the Baptist Church Council, Nagaland India. She has been engaging with grassroots women in North East India for more than a decade. Married to Pangernungba Kechu, she is enjoying learning child theology from her two adorable sons Lenir and Akumdong Kechu. In this reflection she recalls her childhood in North East India as to how she related to water. She further  goes on to dissect the “gendered waters” where girls and women are subjected to exploitation, losing productivity and discriminated against.

WCC Programmes
2018

Seven Weeks for Water 2018, week 7: "Water: a calling to the blessing of caring!", by Raquel de Fátima Colet

The seventh reflection of the of the "Seven Weeks for Water", of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network, is by Raquel de Fátima Colet, a consecrated Catholic member of the Company of the Daughters of Charity of the Province of Curitiba/Paraná/Brasil. She is a member of the Ecumenical Movement of Curitiba (MOVEC).  In the following reflection she relates the beatitudes in the context of respecting and protecting our waters. She says, “The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) present us with a path to follow Jesus, in the commitment to his Kingdom of love, justice and peace. From Latin America, from its exuberant nature and the lives of our peoples, today we want to proclaim the beatitudes of caring, translated into our prophetic participation in the promotion of a fair and equal access to water a universal gift and right”.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2018, week 6: "The open taps in Latin America", by Prof. Dr Jerónimo Granados

The sixth reflection of the of the "Seven Weeks for Water", of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network, is by Prof. Dr Jerónimo Granados, an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Church of Río de La Plata. The following reflection recognises the promise of living water, the water that quenches the thirst of the world for Jesus Christ. However, he underscores the importance of the clean water to run through taps of people of Latin America which is vital for a dignified life. He also draws inspiration from the “Pachamama” of the native people of this region to respect and protect our waters.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2018, week 5: "Good living: the Road Map to Hope - an Ecuadorian perspective!", by Veronica Flachier

The fifth reflection of the of the "Seven Weeks for Water", of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network, is by Veronica Flachier, a journalist and theologian from Ecuador. In the following reflection she turns a leaf from the Ecuadorian Constitution and its national plan for gender equality and poverty eradication, which  puts drinking water and sanitation at its center.  She further adds that Ecuador recognises Good Living or Sumak Kawsay as an alternative to the so-called “development” and promotes living in harmony and in balance with the cycles of Mother Earth and “mother water”.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2018, week 4: "The Daily Struggle for Water, Especially for Women", by

The fourth reflection of the of the "Seven Weeks for Water", of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network, is by Rev. Adelaida Jiménez Cortes, a pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia.  She has a master’s degree in Theological Studies and currently she is a doctoral candidate in Education with a specialty in Pedagogical Mediation. In the following reflection she draws a parallel between the situation of Hagar, who had the challenge to survive and keep her son Ishmael alive in a desert without water, to a village in the northern region of Colombia where women have the socially entrusted “responsibility” to fetch water for their families amidst water scarcity.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2018, week 3: "Sweet water", by Rev. Dr Dario Barolin

The third reflection of the "Seven Weeks for Water", of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network, is by Rev. Dr Dario Barolin, a pastor of the Waldensian Church in Uruguay. He is also the executive secretary of AIPRAL, the Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches in Latin America. In the following reflection he recalls an encounter with two youths of his church who are trying to revive a creek which has lost its freshness due to water pollution by industries. He then draws a parallel to the story of Exodus where Moses turns the bitter water of Marah into sweet, fresh water with the help of a plant, thereby implying plantation being key to watershed.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2018, week 2: "Is there fullness of life without water?", by Gloria Ulloa

The second reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water is by Rev. Gloria Ulloa, an ordained priest of the  Presbyterian Church of Colombia and the president of the World Council of Churches, Latin American region.  In the following reflection she relates her own experiences of growing up in her village by the riverside.  She laments the current situation of water in the Latin American region and challenges the churches to address this water crisis to usher fullness of life among us.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2018, week 1: "Water - Gift and Source of Life", by Ivo Poletto

The first Reflection of the “Seven Weeks for Water” of World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Water Network is by Ivo Poletto, a philosopher, theologian and social scientist from Brazil. He is also national advisor to the Climate Change and Social Justice Forum in Brazil. In the following reflection, he analyses the water cycle of Brazil, the “flying rivers” of the Amazon but also laments on fast depleting forests which are breaking the water cycle and making clouds as well as aquifers disappear.  He insists that water is one of the common goods that require special care, as there is no life without water.

WCC Programmes
2017

Seven Weeks for Water 2017, week 7: "Blue Community: Churches response to the right to water", by Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri

The final reflection of the Lenten Campaign: Seven Weeks for Water 2017 of the Word Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) is by Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri.  Dr Phiri is the deputy general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and responsible for WCC’s work on Public Witness and Diakonia. A Malawian by nationality, Apawo Phiri was a professor of African theology, dean and head of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, and director of the Centre for Constructive Theology at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.  In this reflection she explains the concept of a ‘blue community’ and points out why the bottled water industry is an impediment to the human right to water. She then takes us through the journey of the WCC into becoming a blue community through one of its ecumenical initiatives, the EWN.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2017, week 6: "Water: a source of conflict and a source of peace building", by Rev. Frank Chikane

The 6th reflection of the Lenten Campaign: Seven Weeks for Water 2017 of the Word Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) is by Rev. Frank Chikane. Rev. Frank Chikane is a former Director General and Secretary of Cabinet in the presidency of South Africa under Thabo Mbeki (1999 – 2008), Khalema  Motlanthe (2008-2009) and Jacob Zuma (2009). He was also Director General in Office of Deputy President Mbeki and Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet during President Nelson Mandela’s Presidency. He is also the former general secretary of the South African Council of Churches (1987-1994). Currently, he is the moderator of the WCC’s Commission of Churches on International Affairs and is the author of many books. He is remembered for his struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa during his student days and the rest of his adult life until 1994. In the following reflection, relating to his own context as well as from the biblical story of Isaac’s wells, he highlights how water can be a source of conflict as well as a source of peace-building. Water has the potential to create peace when it is shared. He further explores the River Nile on the African continent as an example.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2017, week 5: "Normative content on human right to water in Africa", by Dr Rogate Mshana

The 5th reflection of the Lenten Campaign: Seven Weeks for Water 2017 of the Word Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) is by  Dr Rogate Mshana. Dr Mshana, a renowned economist is a former staff member of World Council of Churches responsible for its programme on Poverty, Wealth and Ecology, later known as the Economy of Life. He is currently working as a consultant on Economic Justice for the Council for World Mission and based in his home country, Tanzania. In the following reflection, he deals with the 5 normative contents of human rights framework on water in the context of Africa. He further relates water as a key element to achieve food security, health security and gender justice.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water, week 4: "Why Waste Water?", by Prof. Jesse N.K. Mugambi

The 4th reflection of the Lenten Campaign: Seven Weeks for Water 2017 of the Word Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) is by Prof. Jesse N.K. Mugambi, PhD, FKNAS, EBS. Prof. Mugambi teaches at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He is also a Member of the Working Group on Climate Change and is an active member of the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network. In the following reflection, he meditates on the theme of the World Water Day 2017: “Wastewater”. He asks, “why waste water?” Then he goes on to reflect on the African context: how we can reduce, reuse and recycle fresh water for our consumption. A frugal lifestyle when it comes to water use is the way to go for Prof.  Mugambi.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2017, week 3: "Nexus between water and food security", by Rev. O. Kolade Fadahunsi

The 3rd reflection of the Lenten Campaign: Seven Weeks for Water 2017 of the Word Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) is by Rev. O. Kolade Fadahunsi. Rev. Kolade is the Executive Director of Nigeria’s Kairos Foundation. He is also the programme associate for the national food security project of the Christian Council of Nigeria.  In the following reflection he underlines the inter-dependency of water and food security, given that 70 per cent of fresh water is used for food production and one third of food produced goes to waste.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2017, week 2: "Feminization of water poverty in Africa", by Dr Agnes Abuom

The second of the seven reflections of the Lenten Campaign: Seven Weeks for Water 2017 of the Word Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) is by Dr Agnes Abuom, moderator of the WCC’s Central Committee. 

Dr Abuom is the first woman and first African to hold this important position. She is also the Executive Director of TAABCO Research and Development Consultants, based in Nairobi, Kenya. In her reflection, being an African woman on the eve of International Women’s Day, she explores the linkages between poverty, water scarcity and its impact on women.  It is also contextual in that today Kenya is reeling under a serious drought which is deteriorating the situation for women as they are mostly responsible for fetching water for their families.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2017, week 1: "Christianity, Sacredness and Scarcity of Water", by Rev. Dr Benebo Fubara Fubara-Manuel

This is first of seven reflections for the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network’s (EWN) Lenten campaign, "Seven Weeks for Water" in 2017. Rev. Dr Benebo Fubara Fubara-Manuel is an ordained minister, theologian and ecumenist of The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria. Fubara-Manuel currently serves as Rector of Essien Ukpabio Presbyterian Theological College, Itu, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria and is President of the Christian Council of Nigeria.  He is a member of the Covenanting for Justice Network of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). In his reflection, Fubara-Manuel elaborates on the Bible’s Exodus story of the pilgrimage of the Israelites in the wilderness of Shur. It tells of their days of travel without water and, finally, when they found water, it was bitter! Fubara-Manuel relates it to today’s global water crisis.

WCC Programmes
2016

Seven Weeks for Water 2016, week 6: "Palestinians deprived of clean water, an essential human right", by Simona Abderhalden

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isaiah 1:17)

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come (Isaiah 55:1)

Access to water and sanitation is a human right. This human right is in itself essential for life and dignity, but it is also the foundation for achieving a wealth of other human rights, including the right to health and the right to development.”
(Navanethem Pillay[1] United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014)

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2016, week 4: "Water: from a spiritual feature to a factor of discrimination in the Holy Land", by Fr Michel Jalakh

The gap between demand and supply of water in the Middle East--and the urgent need to reduce the gap needs to be discussed seriously. We need to address the challenges and the available opportunities to ensure sustainability of water in the region. Today, on the eve of Lent, and upon the attention of the international organizations and non-governmental and humanitarian organizations upon the subject of water, due to its importance for the continuity of life and by coincidence with the World Water Day, several questions are asked in terms of the Middle East as a whole or the Holy Land in particular. Water is a basic necessity of daily life, and cannot be dispensed with because of its importance for humans, animals and plants. Towns and villages were established only where there was a resource of water. In this context, Apostle Peter says, "By God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water." (2 Peter 3:5).

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2016, week 3: "Pilgrimage of Justice through the Beatitudes of Matthew (5:3-12)", by Ani Ghazaryan Drissi

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness..." 
(Matthew 5:6a)

The justice and righteousness of the fourth beatitude are presented by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew as a necessity. This justice is the way to happiness promised by the fourth beatitude: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Only those who hunger and thirst for divine justice will be satisfied and filled with happiness. However, for centuries, a major question arises over the meaning of this justice: what is the justice that Matthew presents? Why, contrary to the evangelist Luke who presents a physical hunger and thirst (Luke 6:21), does Matthew emphasize the need to suffer hunger and thirst for righteousness? What kind of justice does the first Gospel present?

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2016, week 2: "The water of life - not in Palestine. A Kairos perspective", by Hind Khoury

“To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.” 
(Revelation 21:6) 

It is not a coincidence that our holy book, the Bible, comes from a desert area: Palestine, Jordan and Egypt. In fact, water has been and continues to be truly the source and essence of life. What the Israelites experienced in biblical times, drought and water shortages, is the experience of Palestinians today.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2016, week 1: "And we are still thirsty for water!", by Bishop Munib Younan

Salaam and grace to you from Jerusalem, the Holy City. As an Arab Christian, I am thankful for the opportunity to write a reflection for this year’s “Seven Weeks for Water”. Of course, this part of the world always has been dealing with water issues because of its dry climate and few water resources. Today, however, the Palestinian people face an even greater water challenge. It is a crisis that grows worse year after year.

WCC Programmes
2015

Seven Weeks for Water 2015, week 7: "Theological Reflection on Water from a Salimist (Korean Eco-feminist) Perspective", by Prof. Chung Hyun Kyung

The last in the series of theological reflections of the Lenten campaign “Seven Weeks for Water” is by Prof. Chung Hyun Kyung, a Korean Theologian teaching at the Union Theological Seminary in the USA. She reflects on the issues related to water from a Salimist (Korean eco-feminist) perspective. She highlights how we cannot serve both God and the Mammon at the same time and that Lent provides an opportunity to repent from our sins of abusing resources of mother earth, particularly of water, driven by capitalism. She emphasizes strongly on the “restorative justice” in making our relationship with God and nature – a just one!

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2015, week 6: "Bringing Paradise Closer to Earth", by Susan Smith

The 6th biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2015 is by Susan Smith, a Professor of Law and Director of the Certificate Program in Sustainability at the Willamette University, USA. She teaches environment law, including water law and is a water activist. She represents the United Church of Christ at the International Reference Group of the Ecumenical Water Network of the WCC. In this reflection she highlights that the kingdom of God/ paradise can be witnessed here on this earth, if we make water available for all for their basic sustenance with dignity, contrary to the model where water is “harnessed as fuel for the engine of economic growth to serve the twin gods of economic efficiency and profit”.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2015, week 5: "Prophetic voices coming from the Pachamama", by Veronica Flachier

The fifth biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2015 is by Veronica Flachier, a journalist and theologian from Ecuador. She is a representative of the CLAI (Latin American Council of Churches) to the International Reference Group of the Ecumenical Water Network of the WCC and currently one of the co-chairs. In this reflection, she highlights that the water crisis we currently experience has been determined by the ambition of certain powerful corporations that formulate the rules in a world that is regulated by the logic of the consumer driven market, where not only water is a commodity, but so is the entirety of nature and even the human beings. Only by re-ordering the quality of the relationships in the frame of ethics and justice, can we dream of re-ordering our Pachamama – the mother earth.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2015, week 4: "Water, Image of the God of Life", by Elias Wolff

The fourth biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2015 is by Elias Wolff, a Roman Catholic priest and professor from southern Brazil’s Curitiba region and a representative of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) to the International Reference Group of the Ecumenical Water Network of the WCC representing the CNBB. He highlights that water as a gift of God becomes the image of God, who gives life. It is an instrument by which the life plan of God comes true on earth. God’s self-revelation is sometimes experienced through the image of water.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2015, week 3: " Pilgrimage of Water Justice: A Liturgical Celebration", by Rommel F. Linatoc

The third biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2015 is by Rommel F. Linatoc, the Christian Conference of Asia representative to the International Reference Group of the Ecumenical Water Network of the WCC. He is currently the executive secretary for Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations at the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. He highlights the importance of using water imagery in our liturgies to talk about justice. He also challenges us to not limit our liturgical celebrations to Sunday services but that they should become a part of our life.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2015, week 2: "Carrying our cross for water justice: stories from the subaltern communities - Indian context", by Rajendra Sail

The second biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2015 is by Advocate Rajendra Sail, a founding member of an ecumenical social change organization, Raipur Churches Development & Relief Committee (RCDRC), in Chhattisgarh (Central India). Through this reflection, he challenges the rampant commodification of water by the profit oriented corporates, when people are denied access to water for a dignified living.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2015, week 1: "Engendering Water: An Eco-Feminist Reading from Southern Africa", by Kuzipa Nalwamba

The biblical reflection for the first of the Seven Weeks for Water 2015 is by Kuzipa Nalwamba, an ordained minister of the United Church of Zambia (UCZ), who is currently pursuing her PhD from University of Pretoria. She highlights  the undeniable underlining gap between men and women’s political, economic and social conditions, contribution and participation,  which also gets reflected on access to water. More often than not, the burden of meeting water needs for the families, unfairly rests on the women.

WCC Programmes
2014

Seven Weeks for Water 2014, week 7: "A Lenten Journey: From the wilderness of drought to the springs of living water", by Stephen Larson

The seventh and final reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Stephen Larson, the interim pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva, English-speaking congregation. In this reflection, he narrates the “watery Lenten journey” of his congregation, inspired by the EWN’s Seven Weeks for Water. His congregation chose water as the theme for all the 7 weeks of Lent, including Holy Week through Easter. You can find various worship resources used by this congregation during their Lenten journey on the EWN website.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2014, week 6: "Mission as Breaking Ground: Jesus’ “I Thirst” and its Relevance Today", by Raj Bharath Patta

The sixth Biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Raj Bharath Patta, an ordained pastor from the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church in India, currently serving the Student Christian Movement of India as its general secretary. He understands the fifth word of Jesus  on the Cross (“I thirst”), as expression of his physical need. In this reflection, Patta illustrates the missiological relevance of this word of Jesus to us today, in our own contexts.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2014, week 5: "No one owns water, it is God's gift", by Fulata Moyo

The fifth  Biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Fulata Mbano-Moyo, a Malawian Reformed systematic theologian and  WCC's programme executive for women in church and society.   Reflecting on the story of the Samaritan woman, she highlights that water is life: important for renewal; needed by everyone, regardless of race, sex, age, ability or any other quality; a gift of God that should not be privatized and confined to the powerful so as to deprive the less powerful; and that like the Samaritan woman, each one of us should make sure that we work towards making physical and spiritual water accessible to all.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2014, week 4: "Water – A Gift of God and a Human Right: A Critique of Anthropocentrism", by Geoff Davies

The fourth Biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by the “Green Bishop” Geoff Davies, executive director of the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environmental Institute. Citing several examples from the Bible, he brings a strong critique of the anthropocentric  understanding of our theology  and  encourages us to become “earthkeepers”. He also strongly advocates that water  is a gift of God and no one should be denied of this life giving resource.

 

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2014, week 3: "A pilgrimage towards water of life", by Guillermo Kerber

The third Biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Guillermo Kerber, the World Council of Churches programme executive for Care for Creation and Climate Justice. Based on a personal experience of a pilgrimage on water in the Bible, he underscores water as the “source of life” and introduces water as the protagonist of crucial moments in the history of people’s lives in the Bible.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2014, week 2: "Water for Life", by Bishop Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm

The second Biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Bishop Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Germany. Citing  examples from the Bible, he highlights that water is absolutely necessary for life and that everybody has the right of free access to water for their sustenance,  irrespective of their economic status.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2014, week 1: "Pilgrimage towards Water Justice: Foretaste of a Redeemed Earth", by George Zachariah

The Biblical reflection for the first of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by George Zachariah, associate professor at the United Theological College, Bangalore, India. Drawing on insights from the book of Revelation, he rejects the imperialistic market forces that tend to commodify common resources, including water, and affirms water as a free gift for all.

WCC Programmes
2013

Seven Weeks for Water 2013, week 7: "We need to wash our dirty feet!", by Anderson Jeremiah

Jesus uses water as an effective and surprising channel to demonstrate the central aspect of his vision for the disciples' ministry. According to John's gospel the Last Supper took place in an undisclosed and secret room, in order for Jesus to be alone with his disciples and loved ones. There were no slaves or helpers to break the bread or to pour the wine - just the gathered few.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2013, week 5: "Sister Water or Blue Gold?", by Dom Tomás Balduino

At the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Ricardo Petrella, a professor, author, and water activist from Italy, reported that Nestlé and Coca Cola are buying up large tracts of land in Brazil that contain permanent water springs. Those multinationals are investing vast sums of money in Europe in the bottled water market. Their aim in South America is the same. The International Monetary Fund has put pressure on African governments to accept water privatization as a condition for their receiving subsidies for development. 

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2013, week 4: "Thirst for water - thirst for life", by Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser

The biblical writings reflect the conditions of life in a country where water was scarce and therefore precious as the most vitally necessary means of survival. People depended on water from springs and wells, or from rainwater collected in cisterns which were carefully dug out. The availability of a well or cistern was of particular importance for semi-nomadic people and their flocks. As the conflict between Abraham and his son Isaac with Abimelech shows, the ownership of a well could easily become the subject of quarrels between those with large flocks (Gen. 21, 22ff; 26, 15ff).

WCC Programmes
2012

Seven Weeks for Water 2012, week 4: "Food Waste and Water"

In this season of repentance, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) encourages us to reflect on the fact that more than one third of the food produced on this planet for human consumption - the daily bread for which we pray and with which we are graciously and abundantly gifted - is wasted; not through natural disasters, but through our own disgracefully negligent stewardship of this gift. 

WCC Programmes
2011

Seven Weeks for Water 2011, week 4: "Water the source of life – and not of violence", by Rev. Dr Priscille Djomhoue

Water is the source and powerhouse of life. Without it the earth would be an arid desert, where life would be impossible because of famine and drought. Even though we know that it can be the cause of death (through floods, drowning and water-borne diseases), water is generally seen and appreciated for the advantages and benefits that it brings to the life of living beings.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2011, week 3: "The Earth is the Lord’s", by Linwood Blizzard II and Shantha Ready Alonso

The psalmist once declared, “The Earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it” (Psalm 24:1). From generation to generation, we have a lifespan to enjoy and steward God’s Earth. However, in recent decades, industries that unsustainably extract from God’s Earth have been spinning out of control. Their actions challenge God's sovereignty over the gifts that were created for sharing by  all Creation and for all generations. Extractive and other industries have been privatizing the natural gifts of God’s Earth and have excluded local communities from sharing in these gifts.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2011, week 2: "Transforming the bitter waters of Marah", by Rev. Canon Dr Ezekiel Babatunde

Since primordial times, people have struggled for basic natural resources, including water which is such a crucial element of life. We find examples of this struggle throughout the Bible. For instance, the biblical story in Exodus 15:22-27 tells how the Israelites searched for clean water to be able to survive after crossing the Red Sea into the wilderness. They arrive at a place called Marah – Hebrew for “bitterness” – where they find water but discover that it is not fit for drinking. 

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2011, week 1: "Adamah – the land we come from", by Ani Ghazaryan

The Bible begins with the story of creation by God, with the Genesis of the Earth. Before the creation of humankind, God creates the heaven and the earth; he then separates the earth from water which he called “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas” (Genesis 1:9). God then plants a garden and puts humankind in the middle of this garden to live there and to cultivate the land and take care of it and his creation (Genesis 2:15). Land is the place where humankind is invited to live and called upon to be its stewards.

WCC Programmes
2010

Seven Weeks for Water 2010, week 7: "The waters of Easter", by John Gibaut

The streams and themes of these Seven Weeks of Lent and of these Seven Weeks for Water flow together as Lent draws to its conclusion. The Seven Weeks of Water during Lent recall the final seven weeks of preparation for candidates for Christian Initiation in the early church, culminating in the waters of the baptismal pool and the bread and the cup of the eucharistic table at Easter. 

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2010, week 6: "Foot washing", by John D. Roth

For most Christian traditions, the drama enacted by Jesus at the Last Supper focuses on the simple elements of bread and wine, and the not-so-simple mystery of the body of Christ made present in the world as the church gathers to reenact that final meal.  Yet before Jesus offered his disciples the bread and cup, he enacted another drama that has gone nearly forgotten in many churches—he poured water into a basin and knelt down to wash their feet.

WCC Programmes

7 Weeks for Water 2010, week 4: "Week 4: Living Wet", by Chip Andrus

Water has always been an instrument of both death and life.  In the beginning the Spirit of God moved over the water, calling forth creation and life. Death came upon the earth in the form of a massive flood during Noah’s time.  Hagar found a well in the wilderness that became saving water for her and her child Ishmael. Life and death, dying and rising, water and Spirit are foundational to the life of faith we share as baptized children of God.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2010, week 3: "Theophany - Blessing of the Waters", by Elias Crisostomo Abramides

In Holy Tradition and in the Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Churches water has a profound symbolic presence. Water in the sacrament of baptism is intimately related to the Feast of the Theophany. Celebrated on 6 January, Theophany (from the Greek theophania, meaning "appearance or manifestation of God to the world"), is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church.

WCC Programmes

Seven Weeks for Water 2010, week 2: "The Baptism of the Lord", by David R. Holeton

Jesus’s baptism by John in the River Jordan is a fundamental image invoked at virtually every Christian baptism today. But Jesus’s baptism by John could not have been without embarrassment for the first Christians.  John, after all, was seen by many at that time as a rival to Jesus.   There were those who believed that John was God’s last word of revelation to humanity and there are groups who hold such beliefs to this day.  Thus, Jesus coming to John for baptism could have served to substantiate the claims of John’s followers.

WCC Programmes
2009

Seven Weeks for Water 2009, week 7: "We need to wash our dirty feet!", by Anderson Jeremiah

Jesus uses water as an effective and surprising channel to demonstrate the central aspect of his vision for the disciples' ministry. According to John's gospel the Last Supper took place in an undisclosed and secret room, in order for Jesus to be alone with his disciples and loved ones. There were no slaves or helpers to break the bread or to pour the wine - just the gathered few. 

WCC Programmes
2008

Dinesh Suna, coordinator of the Ecumenical Water Network: Dinesh.Suna@wcc-coe.org  

Visiting address:
Ecumenical Water Network, 
World Council of Churches
Ecumenical Centre,
1 Route des Morillons
1218 Le Grand-Saconnex
Switzerland

Postal address: 
Ecumenical Water Network
World Council of Churches
150 Route de Ferney
CP 2100
1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland 

 

Join the Blue Community movement!

On 25 October 2016, the WCC became a Blue Community. The concept of a Blue Community is based on the following three criteria:   

  • Recognizing water as a human right.
  • Saying “no” to the sale/use of bottled water in places where tap water is safe to drink or look for sustainable alternatives.
  • Say “no” to privatization of water and promote public control over water services.