Stirring the Waters

Women in Church and Society (WICAS) Asian Regional Consultation
17-22 April 2006 Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Keeping track of our discussions and meetings, and keeping others in the LWF Youth Consultation up-to-date.

Please feel free to leave your comments by clicking the appropriate link below each post.
You can also email the posts to your friends by clicking the little envelope icon below the posts.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

When all is said and done

Asian Consultation on 'Stirring the Waters' ended

The Asian Consultation on 'Stirring the Waters', attended by over 30 participants representing the major regions of Asia, has come to an end.

The three Asian youth participants of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Office for Communication Services (OCS) and the Department for Mission and Development (DMD) Training Program 'Towards a Communicating Communion – A Youth Vision’, together with two resource persons, have successfully provided coverage of the weeks events through this web log.

The aims of this program have been to educate, equip and invite women to take up leadership in calling for and participating in a Global Campaign for water for the healing of the world. Water issues have been well addressed by several international aid agencies through a rights-based approach. This consultation explored a faith-based approach. Unique to this program three participants were drawn from other faith traditions (Hinduism and Islam), representing the LWF Department for World Service field offices.

The Lutheran World Information (LWI) published the following news story about the "Stirring the Waters" Asia Regional Consultation:
Water: The Challenge of the 21st Century - LWF Discusses "Stirring the Waters" in Phnom Penh. More…

The full text of the closing statement of the Phnom Penh meeting can be found as a pdf document on the LWF Web site. (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to access this link.)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

An ending to start the future...

Closing worship

Bringing the consultation to a close today, participants gathered together for a worship time. Prepared and led by several participants, the service was rich in symbolism and songs on the theme of water.

Upon entry to the worship space, participants washed each other's hands, a symbol of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Later, through marking the sign of the cross on their foreheads, water was used as a reminder of baptism.

Following the Lord’s Supper worshippers were invited to drink a cup of water mixed with juice, which the leader explained symbolized 'the bitterness and the sweetness of what we have heard and shared'.

Friday, April 21, 2006

FEATURE: I Have Learnt About My Human Rights

LWF/DWS Cambodia Empowers Communities in Self-Sustainable Development

The first thing you notice about Chea Phan is the right sleeve of his shirt hanging empty at his side. His arm was severed just below the shoulder during the civil war. His wife's disability is not so obvious. She walks with a minor limp. It is not until Saw Pheap points downward to the parched earth that you notice the plastic mould where her left foot used to be.

Phan and Pheap live in Kauk, a dry, dusty village of about 270 people in poverty-stricken Oral District in the Province of Kampong Speu, Cambodia. The couple and their eight children sleep in a very small bare hut, propped up by one-meter-long stilts of roughly hewn timber. The family cooks and eats outside, around a big cooking pot hanging over an open fire. Kauk is only 98 kilometers from Cambodia's bustling capital, Phnom Penh. But it could be a world away. They have no such luxuries as furniture or electricity, not even a regular, reliable water supply. Villagers struggle to produce enough food for their families, especially now that the drought is in its third year. For Phan and Pheap it is an endless fight, working long hours in stifling heat, and fetching water from the village well for their vegetable crops. More…

Over 25 Years of Service in Cambodia

The LWF's involvement in Cambodia began in 1979, as part of an effort by a consortium of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to respond to the devastation caused by the Khmer Rouge regime. From 1975 until 1979, under Pol Pot's leadership, the Khmer Rouge killed from 1.5 to 2.3 million people out of a population of some 8 million. The regime targeted Buddhist monks, Western-educated people, and others who appeared to be "intellectuals," for example, people who wore glasses, or who spoke foreign languages, "non-laborers" identified by their soft hands, people with disabilities, or people from ethnic minorities, such as Laotians and Vietnamese. More…

A Deep Well - A Glimmer of Hope

Ven Samy, 37, is physically weaker than most of the men in her community, but she possesses another kind of power. When asked to identify who their leader was, about 15 villagers pointed to Samy. They had good reason. She works hard organizing women's meetings, three days a week, in each of the five villages in her district. She conducts a human rights' advocacy program, organizes the local community banking system and trains women in dress-making - all with the assistance of the LWF Cambodia program.

Samy belongs to the Suoy ethnic minority group in the village of Kaor Dauntey in the commune of Sangkei Satop. Her simple hut has a wooden floor. Its roof and walls are made of entwined palm fronds. With fellow villagers, she suffers from the effects of the three-year drought, which is exacerbated by illegal logging, slash-and-burn farming, and the widespread harvesting of forest trees for charcoal production.

She struggles to educate her people about their human rights and how to live a life of dignity. This earns her respect and close relationships with the women’s groups in the community, but not with the political leaders. "We are now becoming more aware of our rights as humans, unlike before," Samy says. "However, the authorities are not happy about this. They fear that if we are empowered we will fight against them." More…

Further information about LWF/DWS work in Cambodia on the LWF Web site.

Profile: Our children need clean water

Ms Sabina Yasmein
Program Manager
LWF/DWS Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS), Bangladesh

'Without clean drinking water, we could not ensure the good health of our children,' says Ms Yasmin. 'The whole human being depends on water. Without water all living creatures will die.' This consultation is significantly on time because it addresses water-related issues and concerns.

Being the program manager of RDRS, she is concerned with the education of the children in her working area. She shared that most of the parents in Rangpur do not encourage their children to go to school. Instead, they take their children with them to the farm or send them out to work for a living. To motivate the parents, RDRS has to assure good health and security of their children in school. Hence, they must guarantee that the water these children are drinking is clean and safe. Otherwise, without good health, the children will not comprehend well what they are learning in school.

Web site of the LWF/DWS Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS) in Bangladesh.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Presentation: Tsunami & the Church’s response

Afternoon presentation from the tsunami affected countries

Participants from India, Thailand and Indonesia presented reports on the church’s action and challenges in response to the tsunami devastation of December 2004. For more information please click the appropriate links below.

India – Vidhya Rani
Actions include supplying clothing, rations, stoves, storage, boats, nets, motors and other fishing equipment to local fishing communities.

A free medical store and a medical camp were provided to attend to victims. Children were counseled and supplied with books, bags, stationery, uniforms and health checks in order to get them back to school.

Self-help groups and Entrepreneurial Development Programs (EDP) were started for the men and the women, and villages were reconstructed.

To prepare for future disasters, training in first aid was provided and youth response teams were formed. Networks in the community and church were established, as well as an information system including pre-warning documentation.

Challenges include acceptance/inclusion of others, interfaith and gender issues, social/caste dynamics, needs versus expectations, conflict resolution.

To read this report please click here.

Thailand – Saiphan Jakleang
Actions include provision of food, blankets, drinking water, medicine and fishing equipment. Houses, schools and centers for the local people have been built, and volunteers have been sharing the gospel with them in order to encourage them.

Counseling has been provided to help affected people overcome the grief of their losses, and re-training has been provided for many of the local men, who were fishermen, to provide more career options.

Indonesia – Nelly Maria Msi Hutahaean
Actions include general care for victims. One church reported adopting 100 children, both orphans and those whose families had economic difficulties. They supplied money and clothes, and provided education.

A major challenge is the lack of money given to the churches for church development/re-development.

Profile: Water is real life

Ruth Sovana Nayak
Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research, India

‘Water is a precious gift of God. It shouldn’t be personal, but it is for us all,’ says Ruth.

Once Ruth had refused to share water from her personal well with others in her village. Then later, she herself could not get water, when she had to buy it in the hostel in which she was staying. She realised then that water should be available for all.

Rev. Dr Chandran Paul Martin's paper about the privatization of water impressed Ruth a lot. She says, ‘People are following modern society instead of taking care of water.’

In her own region the Indravati River had been a blessing for the people of the Nabarangapur District, for whom agriculture is the main livelihood. Then, due to insufficient rainfall, the Indravati Dam was constructed to supply water to the farmers for cultivation. But, due to deforestation, over the last few years there has not been any water in the dam in the summer months. In this situation the farmers cannot cultivate crops; thus they are facing health and financial problems and it is becoming increasingly difficult to educate their children.

‘In a few years we are going to face water crises all over the world,’ says Ruth, ‘even though some countries like Nepal have plenty of water.’ She believes that it is our responsibility to enable future generations to find solutions for these impending crises.

‘People are thinking that water is related only with the Bible, but not with real life,’ she says. As a theological student, Ruth believes that she can communicate the water issue to congregations by using the word of God.

Presentation: Did you know that...?

Morning presentation by Ms Priscilla Singh
Secretary for Women in Church and Society (WICAS)
The Lutheran World Federation, Department for Mission and Development

'Over two billion people worldwide are likely to be victims of devastating floods by 2050.' (That's impossible!, you might say.) However, this United Nations forecast is likely to happen if we continue with our unjust activities against nature.

Ms Singh presented the effects of global warming and the ongoing activities of the different worldwide organizations which are monitoring the foreseen worst-case scenario of global warming and aiming to prevent it.

She challenged the participants to take part in changing the disastrous course of the planet. 'The Bible says that where there is no vision, people perish, but everything is possible to the one who believes,' she concluded.

Please click for more information on Women in Church and Society (WICAS) - as the LWF Women's Desk is known today - on the LWF Web site.

Profile: A chance to shape the future

Raniame Ipatas
Gutnius Lutheran Church - Papua New Guinea,
Elder leader

'We don't have problems of scarcity of water.' Raniame comes from a rural place where the water is not polluted, but it is starting to become polluted.

'There is plenty of rain water for agriculture throughout the year,' says Raniame. 'The main challenge in my church is that the issue has not been addressed by the bishop and pastors.'

Dr Wai Man (Sarah) Yuen's paper, 'Stirring the Waters: What can Christians Learn from Feng–shui?', influenced her to preserve water as a part of creation. As a mother looks after her children, we have to take care of water.

'Sooner or later we are going to face the same problem of water in our place,' says Raniame. 'We have to be sensitive and careful about how we use water.'

Profile: I can't be silent any more

Glenice Hartwich
Lutheran Church of Australia
Volunteer with Australian Refugee Association and with Habitat for Humanity

'The issue of water had never been addressed in my church,' says Glenice. 'As a country we are just beginning to understand the problem.'

She says that this consultation has spoken to her and challenged her. The active participation of women in the consultation in caring for creation has encouraged her a lot.
When she returns home, she will encourage her church and family to conserve water, and she has decided not to buy bottled water anymore.

'I am repenting for my lack of concern and for my wastage of water,' says Glenice. 'I can't be silent any more.'

Study: Springs of water

Third morning bible study by Rev. Dr Barbara Rossing
Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, USA

In her third Bible study, Dr Rossing focused on water, as recorded in John's Gospel.

She based her study on John 7:38 and John 4:14, two verses which speak not only about living water flowing from Christ, but also from us. 'Each of us is to be the one in whom the water of life wells up and flows out in the world,' she said.

When John refers to 'eternal life' (John 14:4) that comes from the living water, this does not necessarily mean that we will live forever in some death-defying way. The western tendency is to spiritualize texts like this and thereby attempt to escape from our responsibilities in the world. But John's gospel helps us to see the world in an incarnational way – that we are part of this world and are called to bring living water to it.

Eternal life is more like the 'abundant life' that John speaks about in 10:10. It is about 'knowing God' (17:3); this is the well of water that springs up in us and flows out of us into the world.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Profile: In search of awareness

Emi Okada
Accountant, Lutheran Church of Japan, Tokyo.

Emi realizes that Japan is in a unique situation; the isolation of being surrounded by ocean means they have no neighboring countries vying for their water. 'Japan has plenty of water,' she explains, 'and although the public is advised not to use water from wells for drinking, other water sources are very clean and drinkable.'

As far as water problems go she says that 'some rivers in Tokyo have had to be cleaned up and are now back to an acceptable quality, however Japan’s main water related problems are natural disasters such as floods in the typhoon season and tsunamis which are caused by earthquakes.'

Before arriving in Phnom Penh, Emi was a little apprehensive about how she would be received. She shared with me that traveling in Asia is very uncomfortable for the Japanese; she was concerned about the way that Japan had treated its Asian neighbors in the past and was afraid of possible animosity because of this. She has been relieved and happy to see that participants at the consultation have received her graciously and with open arms.

She enters this consultation hoping to learn more about water issues which the Asia region and the world are facing in the hope of returning home to inform and educate the Lutheran church in Japan.

Presentation: LWF field office experiences

Afternoon presentation from LWF/DWS field offices

Reports on water use and experiences were received from the offices in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Cambodia. Brief run-downs the reports follow; for more details please click the appropriate links.

India – report by Anjana Biswas
Lutheran World Service India (LWSI) is assisting communities to increase their access to water when and where they need it. LWSI has been operational since 1974, implementing relief, rehabilitation, disaster preparedness and integrated development programs in several states of India.

There are a total 38 projects in 69 villages with 12,472 households. Projects include creation of drinking water resources (tube wells, hand pumps etc), waste-water management, training for people to disinfect water sources and the Million Wells scheme.

Please click here for more details.

Please click here for more information on the LWF/DWS India Program on the LWF Web site.

Nepal – report by Mina Parajuli
Nepal is the second richest country in water in the world, yet still has the following water problems: increased pollution, water quality problems from arsenic, coli form, iron, lime etc, technology problems, source disputes, geographical situations, rapid urbanization, and lack of government commitment and good governance.

The LWF activities include installation of drinking water and irrigation infrastructure, gravity flow systems, hand pumps, drip irrigation, treadle pumps and overhead tanks.

Please click here for more details.

Web site of the LWF/DWS Nepal program.

Please click here for more information on the LWF/DWS Nepal Program on the LWF Web site.

Bangladesh – report by Sabina Yasmein
Bangladesh is a very small country, yet it has many rivers. However the land is becoming dryer and agriculture is being affected, people are losing jobs and becoming poor as a result. Flooding has had devastating effects and access to fresh drinking water is a problem in large cities, with arsenic contamination in many water supplies.

LWF has been active in ensuring that flood victims have access to clean drinking water. As many wells were contaminated by flood waters, LWF is running a well de-siltation program.

Web site of the LWF/DWS Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS) in Bangladesh.

Please click here for more information on RDRS on the LWF Web site.

Cambodia – report by David Mueller
The LWF Cambodia program has the mission to empower poor and vulnerable individuals, groups and communities in rural areas in order to claim their universal rights to life with dignity.

LWF water projects in Cambodia include water and sanitation awareness, deep drilled wells and hand-pumps, shallow open wells, water catchments, family ponds, communal ponds, small-scale irrigation systems and water-pump user groups.

Please click here for more details.

Web site of the LWF/DWS Cambodia program.

Please click here for more information on the LWF/DWS Cambodia Program on the LWF Web site.

Presentation: Irrigation water management – a gender perspective

Mid morning presentation by Ms Carolin Arul
Water resources engineer, Lecturer at the Anna University, Chennai, India

Ms Arul highlighted the importance of empowering women in managing irrigation water.

She says that laws related to irrigation should have enough space to accommodate gender issues. Besides basic education, awareness related to water issues needs to be provided to women either by government or NGOs. The methodology, which will be prepared for any development program, should be gender-sensitive so as to improve the status of women laborers in agricultural-related activities. Women should be motivated to take part in associations where decisions related to water management take place.

To read the presentation, please click here.

Presentation: Water by the claws of privatization

Morning presentation by Jan Willem Rosenboom
Country Team Leader, Water and Sanitation Program,
World Bank, Cambodia

The essence of free water, which is a gift of God, is lost in the sharp claws of privatization. However, privatization of water systems in developing countries is often seen as a solution to the problem of scarcity of water supply.

According to Jan Willem Rosenboom, a water supply engineer working with the Water and Sanitation Program in Cambodia that is administered by the World Bank, 1.1 billion people currently do not have access to any water services. The developing countries may have the technology but they cannot address the issue without capacity and money; hence, the intervention of private firms is deemed necessary.

Mr Rosenboom said that governments seek to involve the private sector in water and sanitation generally because of the following reasons:

  • To bring technical and managerial expertise and new technology into the sector
  • To improve economic efficiency in then sector—in both operations performance and the use of capital investment
  • To inject large-scale investment capital into the sector or gain access to private capital markets
  • To reduce public subsidies to the sector
  • To insulate the group from short-term political intervention in utility operations and limit opportunities for intervention by powerful interest groups, and
  • To make the sector more responsive to the need of the consumers and preferences.

He also cited the result of a study conducted in 2005 by groups of researchers that, 'there is no significant difference between the efficiency performance of public and private operators in this sector.' He claimed, however, that across sectors, the more relevant variables include the degree of competition, the design of regulation, the quality of institutions and the degree of corruption.

Mr Rosenboom has been working in Cambodia for 13 years and a few years in East and West Africa.

To read the presentation, please click here.

Study: Revelation warns against unjust political economy

Second morning bible study by Rev. Dr Barbara Rossing
Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, USA

'Injustice against earth and against the poor cannot continue,' said Dr Rossing in her second Bible study on the book of Revelation. 'Oppressors' own actions will ultimately come back around upon them, in boomerang-like fashion - as expressed in Rev 16:6.' She emphasized that some of the terms in the Bible can be taken literally as well as symbolically.

Reflecting on Rev 17-18, Dr Rossing explained that Revelation envisions not primarily the destruction of the earth but the Roman imperial order of oppression and destruction. 'God promises to put on trial the imperial oppressors in a divine courtroom. In this class-action lawsuit of Revelation 18, Roman oppressors will be called to account for their unjust actions; they will be sentenced and receive what is their due.'

She related that Revelation presents us with a vision of two cities with contrasting political economies—the city of Babylon/Rome with toxic economy of injustice, and the city of the New Jerusalem with an economy of life.

'God's people must come out of Babylon in order to enter into the blessing of the New Jerusalem, in order to drink of its waters and share in its tree of life,' she concluded.

To read the bible study, please click here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Profile: 'No more Coke for me!'

Rev. Selma (Shu-Chen) Chen
The Lutheran Church of Taiwan (Republic of China), LWF Council member

After learning at the 'Stirring the Waters' Regional Conference for Asia that the Coca Cola company uses 12 litres of fresh water to make one litre of Coke, Rev. Selma (Shu-Chen) Chen decided not to drink Coke again.

Selma is related in an organization which is working to overcome the problems of water. She is attending this consultation in order to gain more knowledge about water-related problems. In particular, she feels she can gain a lot of insights from the Indian and Nepalese participants, because their countries have been forced to respond to these issues for many years.

By contrast, in her own church there has been little discussion about water, so Selma had little knowledge about the problems. For her, 'water was just water', and she hadn't thought much else about it. But now she wants to learn about privatization of water and how the churches are responding to this disturbing development. She wants to raise this issue at the next LWF Council meeting.

The cultivation of rice, an important food crop around Selma's region, is dependent on the regular supply of water. But poor rainfall during the summer has reduced the amount of available water in the dam, and cultivated land downstream is drying up.

Selma wants to make the people of her church more aware of water-related problems. She thinks that Christians have concentrated on the theological dimension of water, but have not linked it to real-life situations where people are dependent on the regular supply of water for their life and livelihood. 'For me, water is essential for body, mind and spirit,' says Selma.

Presentation: Ethical concerns and implications on Water: some Perspectives

Afternoon presentation by Rev. Dr Chandran Paul Martin
Executive Secretary, United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India (UELCI)
presented by Ms Vidhya Rani

I never knew that parts of rivers could be or were being privatized, but according to Dr Martin it has happened! His paper primarily discussed the privatization of water in India by large corporations, and the implications of privatization on poverty not only in India but also globally. He presented some troubling statistics about water, including:
  • about 1.1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water
  • about 2.4 billion people lack access to sanitation (mostly in Africa and Asia)
  • more than 90 per cent of the people in west Asia live under severe water stress
  • by 2020, water use is expected to increase globally by 40 per cent.

He named multinational companies that use massive amounts of water, often to the detriment of local producers and small industries. The Coca-Cola company, for example, uses an average of 350,000-650,000 litres of water per day. Together with other large manufacturing plants, the Coca-Cola plant in Palakkad, India, is sucking the region dry; thousands of acres of prime agricultural land are turning into desert and villagers are facing an acute drinking-water shortage.

His paper encouraged churches to consider the ethical issues of privatization and to speak up about privatization of water resources, since access to clean and fresh water is the right of every person, not only those who can afford to pay for it.

To read the presentation, please click here.

Profile: Sopheak says let us manage water wisely

Sopheak Kanika Nguon
Program Assistant, LWF/DWS Cambodia

Sopheak is a polio victim; she uses crutches to travel from one place to another. However, her condition did not discourage her from joining this consultation and to air her call for the wise use of water. 'I would like to call all women around the world. Let us work together to manage water wisely. Let us also include those disabled and vulnerable women in the discussion about water issues.'

'This is my first time to be with people from other nations and I am so excited about this. Now I know more about water,' says Sopheak.

Sopheak shared that she learned that water, a gift from God, is important to our life. Without water we cannot live. 'I also learned about different Asian stories and cultural practices about water.'

Presentation: Ecumenical Water Network - Churches and ecumenical partners acting together

Rev. Dr Martin Robra
Programme Executive for Ethics & Ecology, World Council of Churches
presented by Ms Priscilla Singh, LWF

Rev. Dr Robra highlighted the importance for all churches to speak up about misuse of water resources.

The Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) was formed in 2005 by church-related development agencies, ecumenical organizations and churches. Within the EWN a strong group has advocated for water to be seen as a human right and for the provision of fresh water and sanitation for all.

Robra highlighted some fundamental convictions: water is the condition for protection and survival of life for sustainable management of water for the long-term, public responsibility is needed water must not be treated as private profit, and effective judicial remedies should be given to all water management responsibility should be placed into the hands of the respected communities the dream will come true only by international solidarity.

To read the presentation, please click here.

Profile: Caring for God's gift

Mid morning presentation by Rev. Nelly Maria Hutahaean, MSi
Lecturer in Religion and Society at the Sekolah Tinggi Teologia (STT) of the Protestant Christian Batak Church (HKBP) in Pematangsiantar, Indonesia

Nelly says that God has given us everything we need to live, and water is one of his most precious gifts to us. We honor God when we respect the gift and use it for his good purposes.

Where Nelly lives, the government is making clean water readily available in urban centres, but people in rural areas are missing out. Especially during flood times the water becomes very dirty and the people are unaware of the danger of drinking it. Many people in remote areas remain uneducated about the health problems associated with unclean water and about managing water resources. In summer, when water is scarce, they have to walk long distances to find water.

Nelly was especially interested in attending this consultation because it was organized by the LWF women's desk. She believes that women need to become better informed about problems related to water, since women are much more likely than men to bear the load if water is scarce or polluted.

Nelly believes that she will learn much from this consultation. By listening to people from different places about their problems and what they are doing to solve them, she will go back to her church better equipped to inform people about the value of water. 'We must stop polluting water and misusing it. There is no life without water.'

Presentation: Who is my neighbor?

Morning presentation by Dr Yuen Wai Man

'Who is my neighbor?' (Luke 10:9). We often think of our fellow humans when we are confronted with this question. Dr Yuen Wai Man, Director of the Institute for Mission and Intercultural Studies at the Lutheran Theology Seminary, Hong Kong, challenged participants in the 'Stirring the Waters' Regional Consultation for Asia to think that their 'neighbors' are not limited to human beings; nature is also their neighbor.

In her paper she explained that the cultural practice of Chinese feng-shui could be adopted by Christians as a positive approach towards nature. In the absence of monotheistic concepts in Chinese thought and religions, the Chinese view of nature tends to be more holistic than Christianity, Dr Yuen said.

'By looking at how the environment affects one’s life, Chinese people are more ecologically sensitive in the sense that humans are tied to nature and conscious of the serenity that it brings.' Since feng-shui does not see nature as something to be dominated or controlled, it can help Christians to see that nature and humans are rooted in solidarity. 'As our poor sister is under mistreatment, our task of struggling with her and fight on the side of her is prominent.'

To read the presentation, please click here.

Study: Free for all

First morning bible study by Rev. Dr Barbara Rossing
Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, USA

'God wants to renew and transform the world rather than destroy it,' Dr Barbara Rossing, Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, USA, said in her first Bible study on the book of Revelation at the 'Stirring the Waters' Regional Consultation for Asia. 'God’s vision for the world is to come to live with us, not snatch us up out of the world,' she said. 'God's promise in the book of Revelation is to bless the world and to heal it'.

She pointed out that one of God’s free gifts is water, which flows from the spring of the water of life (Rev. 21:6b). Since water is God's gift, it should be accessible to everybody. In Revelation 21:1,2, God invites all people to come and drink from the river of life that flows from the throne of God and from Jesus Christ the Lamb.

Asking participants to describe the rivers in their own countries, she said that the more we can connect with the rivers in our own lives, the better we will understand the Revelation texts describing rivers as sources of healing and renewal and also of injustice and tragedy.

To read the full bible study, please click here.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Profile: Thirsty about water issues

Carolin Arul
Water resources engineer, Lecturer at the Anna University, Chennai, India

Carolin's vision is to 'conserve each raindrop'. Water resources are something like bank deposits, she says. Water is a finite resource. We can't keep misusing it and using it up and not replenishing it; otherwise it will run out one day.

The author of Water Laws and Rights in India, Carol is studying towards her PhD in water management using remote sensing and geography information systems. She developed an interest in this area after reading a newspaper article about water issues in rural districts. It impressed her a lot and made her 'thirsty' about these issues. Her grandfather is a farmer and she wanted to do something for farmers. This increased her thirst for learning about the problems of the local people.

Water management must involve people at the grassroots, says Carolin. Technology and scientific knowledge are of no use unless we work in conjunction with the local people and understand their needs and concerns. The major water-related problems in her area are privatization, depletion of groundwater, and salination.

Carolin has a special interest in helping farmers because they are poor. Only educated people can understand technical terminology and language; she wants to give farmers the benefit of technology and knowledge by communicating with them in language they can understand.

From this consultation Carolin expects to gain knowledge and learn about the experiences of women from other countries.

LWF program aims to educate, equip and invite women to take up leadership

LWF to develop an 'Action Plan on Water'

The Asian Consultation on 'Stirring the Waters' is the third follow up program to address the commitment of the 2003 Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Tenth Assembly to develop an 'Action Plan on Water'. It includes resource mobilization, as a way of highlighting a) how essential water is for every person and all of creation, and b) the dilemmas of just, affordable distribution and the privatization of water which increasingly is occurring under economic globalization.

Please click here for the LWF Tenth Assembly Message or the Compilation of Resolutions and Statements adopted by the LWF Tenth Assembly in Winnipeg, Canada.

The LWF program aims to educate, equip and invite women to take up leadership in calling for and participating in a Global Campaign for water for the healing of the world. Water issues have been well addressed by several international aid agencies through a rights-based approach. This consultation explores a faith-based approach. Unique to this program three participants are drawn from other faith traditions (Hinduism and Islam), representing the LWF Department for World Service field offices.

The consultation is providing exegetical and theological materials to facilitate discussion in order to move the member churches, congregations and communities from an anthropocentric/egocentric approach towards a holistic eco-centric model of understanding creation, including all people.

Young Asian communicators in training

Invitation to follow the Asian Consultation on 'Stirring the Waters'

Three Asian participants of the LWF Office for Communication Services (OCS) and Department for Mission and Development (DMD) Training Program 'Towards a Communicating Communion – A Youth Vision' are attending the Cambodia consultation. As part of their training program they are providing, together with two resource persons, this Web blog to allow Web users to follow this consultation.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Hi all,

Welcome to the blog for the LWF 'Stirring the Waters': Women in Church and Society (WICAS) Asian Regional Consultation, held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 2006.

This is where you can come to find out what we are doing and to keep up to date on what is happening at the consultation in Cambodia.