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'H2oly Water: Source of Life' Regional Training Events Focus on Water

June 4, 2004, WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Water is one of our most precious resources. Yet, changes in land use such as an increase in urban sprawl and housing developments, ongoing use of fertilizers, and inadequate water treatment facilities are jeopardizing valuable water resources.

In response to this growing environmental threat, the National Council of Churches USA and its Eco-Justice Working Group, in partnership with local faith-based organizations, have organized several regional training events that will take place in cities across the country this year.

Clergy and lay leaders will be able to participate in “H2oly Water: Source of Life,” a day and half program, in Annapolis, Md., (June 25-26) and Toledo, Ohio (October 22-23). The program will include basic information about water, how to motivate and inspire congregations to take action, hands-on field trip opportunities, fellowship, and congregational success stories.

The first “H2oly Water” gathering was held earlier this spring in Tempe, Ariz. (March 26-27).

Special clergy events with continuing education credits will be held in Annapolis (June 28) and in Detroit, Mich. (July 19).

“All these training events will help empower clergy and lay leaders to preserve and protect water, which is a fundamental necessity in our lives and part of our Christian sacrament,” said Cassandra Carmichael, NCC’s Director of Eco-Justice Programs, Washington, D.C.

ANNAPOLIS, MD., JUNE 25-26: In Annapolis June 25-26, clergy and lay leaders will explore water issues affecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The event will feature a presentation by John Flood, who is the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s conservationist of the year. The Friday evening reception, held at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's LEED-certified green building, will feature a green building tour and a screening of the movie Thirst!, a documentary about water privatization.

The training day will be held at Calvary United Methodist Church on College Creek in Annapolis from 9am-4pm on Saturday, June 26, and will include lunch, workshops, hands-on demonstration projects, fellowship and worship. All of the training activities will be based upon a theological framework for understanding the importance of preserving water resources.

ANNAPOLIS, MD., JUNE 28: In addition, on Monday, June 28, in Annapolis, there will be a clergy training on an historic Skipjack sailboat so that clergy have an opportunity to learn about the Chesapeake Bay from both a scientific and theological perspective. Featured instructors include Rev. David Radcliffe from the New Community Project and Dr. Matt Baker, a scientist from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. A registration fee of $20 is required for this event and continuing education credit is available.

DETROIT, MICH., JULY 19: The Detroit interfaith clergy training event will be held on Monday, July 19, and will focus on water and climate change issues. Dr. Rolf T. Bouma, who is Director of the Center for Faith and Scholarship at the Campus Chapel in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a lecturer on environmental ethics at the University of Michigan, will lead a workshop and theological reflection on water issues affecting the Great Lakes region. Continuing education credit is also available for this event.

The focus on water grew out of a survey conducted in 2003 at NCC’s bi-annual Eco-Justice Conference in Seattle. Overwhelmingly, at a ratio of 2:1, participants in the Seattle conference said the most important environmental issue for them-and the one that resonates the most within their congregations-is water. The training events were developed to respond to this congregational need.

For more information about training events or for information about scholarships, contact Cassandra Carmichael at ccarmichael@ncccusa.org

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Media contact: 202-544-2350 x 11; ltune@ncccusa.org


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