The next time you reach into your refrigerator for a bottle of water or turn on your faucet, stop and think how blessed you are to have clean, safe water so readily available. Eleven percent of the world’s people do not have clean water, and that, coupled with poor sanitation, results in the deaths of 2,000 children every day. Through the Build a Well project facilitated by Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), the lives of people in isolated villages in Central and South America are transformed.
Last summer, St. John’s, Chula Vista decided to support this worthy cause in a small way. The cost of building a well is $5,000 and includes training in basic sanitation, but a share of a well can be bought for $790. This was our goal. We communicated the idea to our members in the Sunday bulletin and during the announcements. Our display at church was a waterfall, pictures of a Nicaraguan village well surrounded by its happy owners, and a map of Central America. Each Sunday, water bottles full of pennies, nickels and dimes were dropped off and, as usual, our congregation entered enthusiastically into the fun. After two months we ran a competition to guess how much we had collected. The final count was $870. I presented our project to the Summit Workshop in July 2013.
And then . . . the Build A Well project was taken up by the Diocesan Service Coalition as its winter collaborative project. To my complete amazement and joy, eleven diocesan congregations participated throughout the whole next year. World Water Day in March was a jumping-off point for many parishes.
I am pleased to report that together, the following churches have raised enough money – $10,000 – to buy two wells: St. Paul in the Desert, Palm Springs; St. Mark’s, City Heights; St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego; Christ Church, Coronado; St. John’s, Fallbrook; St. John’s, Chula Vista; St. David’s, San Diego, St. Philip, San Diego; St. James’, La Jolla; St. Andrews’, San Diego; and Good Samaritan, San Diego.
This is something we can all be proud of. Through our support of the ERD well project, we have transformed the lives of many men, women and children. In the near future they will have access to one of life’s basic necessities—clean water. We have given them the opportunity to build healthier and happier lives for years to come. Good work, Diocese of San Diego.
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