The Season of Lent is a special time of year for many churchgoers, and Lent is celebrated in various ways. For many, Lent represents a time of deep reflection. For others, Lent is a time for dieting or giving up favorite foods. The day before Lent begins is commonly referred to as “Fat Tuesday”) as some of us indulge by eating a pastry known as a Paczki.
We launch our new series on Wednesday, February 22, with an Ash Wednesday service at Court Street Church. The themes for our series is shared among Flint area United Methodist Churches. Our series is based on content provided by a local nonprofit, Clean Water for the World.
At Asbury Church, we’re calling our series Thirsty.
Water is a powerful metaphor in scripture. From the creation story in Genesis to the river of the water of life in Revelations that sparkled like crystal, water is crucial to life. Life is unattainable without water, but not all water is suitable for human consumption.
In this series, we’ll dig into a few water stories from scripture as we explore the obstacles preventing access to clean water for everyone. And we’ll learn about responses and how we can help ourselves and others.
The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church, adopted in 2016, calls access to clean water a human right. Yet, estimates of water usage predict that global water demand could surpass sustainable supply by 40 percent by the end of the decade. This prediction is based on energy production utilizing 75% of total water consumption combined with rising energy usage and population growth.
In the U.S., we take access to clean water for granted. At least we did until 2016, when residents of Flint discovered that our public water supply was unsafe to drink.
Speaking of Thirsty. Did you know Flint is not the only U.S. city dealing with lead in their public water? According to the NRDC, high levels of lead are showing up in the public water of Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Newark, New York, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. Another study estimates that over half of U.S. residents drank water with detectable levels of lead between 2018 and 2020.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the number of lead service lines to be between 6 to 10 million. However, a 2021 NRDC survey estimates a number closer to 12 million. Either way, there is a lot of damage left to undo.
Lead is a national crisis, and President Biden has called for eliminating all lead service pipes. But is this enough?
Most Flint residents are familiar with the dangers of lead. We took the time to learn about lead because too many of us ingested lead by drinking water coming out of our public water source. In 2016, Flint appeared in headlines worldwide when it became public that children were testing for high lead levels. In fact, lead levels had doubled since the city water began coming from a different source.
If life itself is a human right then so is access to clean water. I invite you to join us for this series that promises to be informative, challenging, and inspiring.
We welcome Pastor Brian Willingham from Bristol / Burton Christ Churches who plans to be at Asbury on March 12.
I pray that you will join us each Sunday morning at 10:30 am. We share our weekly episodes on our YouTube channel. We go live at 10:30 am. You can find these links along with more information about us, or join our live broadcast on our website at FlintAsbury.org.
Clean Water for the World, a Michigan nonprofit. Find more information at CleanWaterfortheWorld.org.
The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church 2016. © Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 2016.
Keith Mulvihill. “Causes and Effects of Lead in Water,” © NRDC, July 09, 2021. Retrieved from: Link.