Home > Our World > News > News Archives by Date > 2011 > May 2011 > News - May 2011
Lay speakers give Haitians clean water

 
Translate

7:00 A.M. EST May 13, 2011



A young girl watches as filters are delivered in the Dominican Republic. United Methodist lay speakers are working with the Safe Water Team to provide similar filters in Haiti. Photos  courtesy of Triple Quest/Cascade Engineering and The Windquest Group.
A young girl watches as filters are delivered in the Dominican Republic.
United Methodist lay speakers are working with the Safe Water Team to
provide similar filters in Haiti. Photos courtesy of Triple Quest/Cascade
Engineering and The Windquest Group. View in Photo Gallery

“Lord, when did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink?” (Matthew 25:37)

With almost a million cases of cholera forecast in Haiti this year, the disease is likely to affect more lives than the 2010 earthquake.

One of the main causes of the disease is a lack of safe drinking water. United Methodist lay speakers across the United States are doing something about it.

The United Methodist Association of Conference Directors of Lay Speaking Ministries is working with the Safe Water Team to raise money for water filters for Haiti.

The Safe Water Team, a Michigan-based nonprofit group, has secured corporate pledges to match every dollar contributed by the lay speakers’ effort by July 1, up to $50,000. The goal is to provide at least 10,000 water filters to Haitians.

A solution to ‘a terrible problem’

The water filters each cost $100 and can provide clean water to a family of five for at least 10 years. That's $10 a year to provide water free of parasites and cholera-causing bacteria for a family in Haiti or for Haitian field-workers in the Dominican Republic. Matching funds lower the cost to only $50.

Rick Matson, Missouri Annual (regional) Conference director of lay speaking, brought the project to the lay-speaking ministries association meeting. The association adopted the matching funds challenge in early March.

“People without safe water have been sick all of their lives,” Matson said. “They don’t know what it feels like to be well. More tragically, a child dies in the developing world every 17 seconds from lack of safe water. Hydraid BioSand water filters are an elegant, affordable, sustainable solution to a terrible problem.”

He is hopeful that U.S. conferences will raise the entire match.

“If 40 of the 59 (U.S.) United Methodist conferences participate, each would only need to raise $1,250,” Matson said. “It’s the power of connection. That’s $1.50 a church or $1.50 per lay speaker in each conference. We can raise the $50,000 and change lives.”

The Hydraid BioSand Water Filter has no moving parts, needs no power and requires minimal maintenance and training. It works using the same principles as groundwater being naturally filtered through sand to aquifers. Manufacturing, transportation, distribution and training systems are in place through Safe Water Team agreements.



A water filter is assembled by aid workers Jim Gingrich and Julie Townsend Zahm, both of Grand Rapids, Mich., in the Dominican Republic.
A water filter is assembled by aid workers Jim Gingrich
and Julie Townsend Zahm, both of Grand Rapids, Mich.,
in the Dominican Republic. View in Photo Gallery

Matson is confident that when people understand the cause, they will give.

Serving across the connection

Jeff Baker, a lay speaker who is also the Missouri Conference Volunteers in Mission coordinator, has made presentations in the state on the filter and the Haiti project. He received a spontaneous donation of $4,000 from one congregation of 120, and a donation of $1,400 from a congregation of 28. Another church held an auction and raised $7,000. A lay-speaking class donated $700.

Matson knows of fundraising efforts across the United States for the project in United Methodist conferences in California, New York, Michigan, Oklahoma and Georgia.

Peter O’Neill, New York Conference lay speaking ministries director, says the fundraising effort seems like a great fit for his area because of New York City’s sizable Haitian community. He also likes that the project shows the strength of the denomination’s lay leadership.

“Lay speaking is more than just pulpit supply; it’s more than preaching when the pastor goes on vacation,” he said. “We seek out ways to serve the church other than speaking. This is a mission we chose to do and can do across the connection.”

In addition to the local church efforts in Missouri, one of the four offerings collected at annual conference session will be for water filters.

Donations can be made through the Office of Creative Ministries, or mailed to 3009 David Drive, Columbia, MO 65202. Make sure that “ACDLSM Haiti Water” or “Lay Speaker Haiti Water” is in the memo section or, if through PayPal, in the instructions to the seller.

*Koenig is the editor, Missouri Annual (regional) Conference Publications.

News media contact: Heather Hahn, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Comments will be moderated. Please see our Comment Policy for more information.
Comment Policy
Comments will be moderated. Please see our Comment Policy for more information.

Glad you liked it. Would you like to share?

Sharing this page …

Thanks! Close

Add New Comment

  • Image

Showing 0 comments

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

Phone
(optional)

*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW