Home > Our World > News > News Archives by Date > News Archive 2008 > July 2008 > News - July 2008
Sunday school hits links to build wells for Africa

  Golfers line up their carts for the St. James United Methodist Church Golf Classic in Little Rock, Ark., to raise money for a new water well in the Congo.
UMNS photos by Jane Dennis.

A UMNS Report
By Linda Green*

July 10, 2008

Participants warm up on the course. 

Proceeds from a golf tournament sponsored by a Sunday school class in Arkansas will provide a well with clean water for a village in Africa.

The June 21 golf classic, hosted by the Stepping Stone class of St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock, netted $10,000.

The money will go to build at least one well in Kamina, a village in the North Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Rick Layton, a golf enthusiast who proposed the tournament, said the event was a way to respond "to God's tugging at my heart to do some type of activity" that involved the entire 3,700-member St. James congregation in a mission that would "make a life-long impact to save lives."

The tourney included 19 four-person teams from area churches and community and business organizations. "We had participation that we were not anticipating, and we were very pleased," said Paige James, who helped organize the fundraiser.

The 25-member Sunday school class learned about water needs in Kamina from a delegation from the church's Arkansas Annual Conference that visited the village last July. James said church members have witnessed poverty through mission projects in Mexico and other Third World countries "but it is nothing like Kamina," which is made up of "people who just have nothing … but they have spirit."

James said it quickly became clear that the $6,000 cost to construct a well "seemed like nothing when it would make a huge difference in the lives of so many people."

Water is a life-source

Kamina's 300,000 people now have only five wells to provide clean water. A river is the nearest and easiest source of water but is contaminated and filled with harmful bacteria. In North Katanga, women and children walk miles daily in search of water, even dirty water. Water is a life-source and, without it, disease and death run rampant, according to the North Katanga Conference Web site.

(From left) Bob Fotioo, Don Bacon, Jim Womble and Marty Fiser win the tournament hosted by the Stepping
Stone Sunday school class

Led by Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo, United Methodists in North Katanga are working to dig additional wells for clean water.

"To be able to provide this one little well and increase the total from five to six is huge," James said.

Since the class exceeded its fundraising goal of $6,000, members are considering raising additional money for a second well and other needs.

"Members of the Stepping Stone Sunday school class feel passionate about the call to do what they can to save lives by providing something many of us take for granted: good, clean, safe drinking water," said Jane Dennis, a class member and editor of the Arkansas United Methodists, the newspaper of Arkansas United Methodists.

The idea of tapping into a fresh and accessible water source right there in the village was appealing to the 24-year-old class. "We couldn't imagine not having water readily available, or children getting diseases or even dying for lack of clean water, as they do in places like the Congo," Dennis said.

The Arkansas Conference has a mission partnership with the church's North Katanga episcopal area that includes developing relationships, mission efforts and educational scholarships, as well as supporting clergy and laity in ways such as purchasing Bibles or bicycles.

The well project supports one of four areas of focus approved for the denomination at the 2008 General Conference: to improve global health and fight killer diseases of poverty.

Sisters Holly (left) and Amy Hilliard tee off.

The conference's goal is to involve at least 10 congregations in supporting ministries in the Congo by 2013. Money already had been raised to build 12 wells, and the St. James' effort increases the number to 13.

UMCOR project

Providing clean water is one of 11 projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the United Methodist Committee on Relief, annual conferences and churchwide agencies. UMCOR states that the water project (Advance Special #127730) is an answer to "prayer for those women and children who must carry water for miles so their families can drink, bathe, and cook with clean water." The relief agency recently opened an office in Kamina and is seeking funds for additional wells.

*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Related Video

Safe Water For Africa

Related Articles

Congo partnership touches lives, makes a difference

Joint effort brings medicines to the Congo

Church mission team brings safe water to Ghana

United Methodists join in Sudan water mission project

Drilling for water ‘works miracles’ in parched country


St. James United Methodist Church

North Katanga Annual Conference

Arkansas Annual Conference

The Advance

The United Methodist Committee on Relief

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.


*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

Original text