"Water is an integral part of God's radical expression of God's love for all humanity. Water cannot be monopolized or privatized. It is to be shared like air, light, and earth." - 2008 Book of Resolutions, #1029, "Protection of Water"
Nevada City United Methodist Church will host a one-day Conference, "Water: Sacred and Profaned," Saturday, March 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The conference will focus on the growing scarcity of fresh water, water as a right, and the need to preserve water for humans and all living things. It will feature presentations, discussion, film, Native American drumming, song, and ritual. Speakers will include Nancy Price from Defending California Water for Life (Alliance for Democracy), the Rev. Sharon Delgado, and others.
According to Delgado, the world faces a severe shortage of fresh water. The situation is rapidly worsening due to pollution, diversion, rapid industrialization, over-pumping of aquifers, and climate change, she says.
"Around the world, conflicts have erupted over control of water," Delgado points out. "The struggle to control water has led to violent aggression, human rights abuses, and citizen protests. At the same time, global corporations are seeking to profit from diminishing supplies of fresh water. Many communities are rising to this challenge, calling for 'water justice' and organizing around the theme, 'water for life, not for profit.'
"I lived five miles from Felton, in Santa Cruz County, when a large trans-national corporation took over the small town's water supply," Delgado says. "After six years of struggle, the community finally succeeded in getting the water back into public hands.
"Struggles to protect water are going on around the world. Some communities that have been successful in such struggles are within the bounds of the California-Nevada Annual Conference – including Felton, Stockton, Mt. Shasta, and Reno."
According to Delgado, United Methodists can support such struggles, be faithful stewards of God's gift of water, and advocate for the preservation of water as a right for all people and all parts of creation. "This day-long conference will help us experience the sacred value of water and begin to understand what it will take to preserve it in perpetuity," she says.
The Conference is being organized by Earth Justice Ministries, which recently received a Peace with Justice Grant from the General Board of Church and Society to promote "water justice," with the goal of educating people in faith communities about the growing scarcity of fresh water and advocating for the protection of water resources. The organization is a recipient of Ecumenical Agency Grant funds from the California-Nevada Board of Church and Society, as well.
Suggested donation for the "Water: Sacred and Profaned," conference is any amount up to $25.
Download flyer here (in PDF format).