Thrivent Charitable staff and donors often reflect on outcomes from each initiative and explore possibilities for continued impact. From these discussions related to the creation care initiative, the concept of water as a guiding focus within the initiative arose. Access to clean water is a basic and essential right, yet is increasingly compromised by droughts, pollution, rising tides, flooding and other natural disasters.
Why water as a focused issue?
Water makes life possible. It is an essential element to physical and spiritual existence. Storms and wildfires of unprecedented magnitudes have caused environmental stresses and impact on humanity all over the world. Some one-third of the world’s population is living in either water-scarce or water-short areas. It is predicted both climate change and population growth will take this number to one-half of humanity.
Thrivent Charitable is uniquely positioned as a catalyst and connector throughout communities. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, grants from this initiative will aid in building the transformational capacity of faith leaders to create change in communities where help is an utmost necessity.
The creation care initiative with a focus on water begins its work with three new grantee partners:
- Creation Justice Ministries (CJM) – Started in 1983 by the National Council of Churches, CJM represents a broad coalition of ecumenical members (38 denominations) in the work of educating and mobilizing Christian denominations, churches and individuals to protect, restore and rightly share God’s creation. CJM has responded on the front lines of water crises, such as Flint, Detroit and Appalachia. This grant will deepen Christian engagement on water issues on a national level, with specific focus on Appalachia and Michigan.
- Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA (MAS) – The largest synod of the ELCA, MAS is the first and only ELCA synod to have on staff a Congregational Organizer for Environmental Justice. One initiative of MAS is the EcoFaith Network, which is leading “Our Watershed Moment”, engaging communities of faith in dialogue and action around water. This grant will replicate their organizing structure ecumenically with local judicatories, including AME (African Methodist Episcopal Church).
- Ecumenical Water Network of the World Council of Churches (EWN of WCC) – The WCC is a fellowship of 348 churches representing 560 million Christians in more than 110 countries, the broadest and most inclusive expression of the modern ecumenical movement. This grant will support one of its networks, EWN, in holding its second annual Eco-School on Water, Food and Climate Justice. In 2018 this training will bring together 25 young people from Latin America and the Caribbean in an ecumenical setting to study the local, regional, and international manifestation and causes of the world’s water crisis, challenges to food security and the effects of climate change.
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