Flint Water Disaster, by Rev. Dr. William (Bill) Lyons, Southwest Conference Blog

Flint Water Disaster

by Rev. Dr. William (Bill) Lyons

Details of the water disaster in Flint, MI continue almost daily in the national news. Rev. Dr. Campbell Lovett, Michigan’s Conference Minister, offered UCC settings an update on the crisis Thursday morning.

“It is difficult in one email to describe the extent of this tragedy and the decades-long response that will be needed to adequately care for those who have been exposed to lead and other toxic chemicals through the drinking water.” To learn more about the crisis and its roots, Dr. Lovett encourages us to consider Democracy, Disposability, and the Flint Water Crisis, online at The Third Coast Conspiracy.

Woodside Church in Flint is a progressive, ONA, federated American Baptists-United Church of Christ congregation. They’ve begun raising money to install an ‘at source’ water filter so that the church can provide safe drinking water to residents in their neighborhood. Woodside Church is served by Rev. Deb Conrad, who is passionate about issues of social justice. Donations marked WATER can be sent to Woodside Church, 1509 E Court St., Flint, MI 48503. Woodside Church is also partnering with the Michigan Conference UCC, the Michigan Region Disciples of Christ, and Vermont Avenue Christian Church to supply bottled water, water filters, and replacement cartridges to Flint residents.

“Please continue to keep in prayer the residents of Flint, Michigan and Woodside Church that is ministering prophetically in the city,” writes Lovett. “UCC Disaster Ministries personnel have been very responsive to this situation. A Solidarity Grant has been approved by Disaster Ministries that will help provide water and filters, and advocacy for those whose water is shut off for non-payment (non-payment for water that was poisoning them!!).” Contributions may also be made to the UCC’s Emergency USA Fund.

The Michigan Conference partners with Unitarian Universalist Association congregations for advocacy efforts. Together they are urging involvement at both the state and national levels. You can help by calling Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (517-373-3400) and urging him to expedite the process of the State of Michigan for​ delivering safe water to all residents of Flint who need it, to refund all residents who have been required to pay for water that was poisoning them, and to secure state and federal funding for permanent improvements to Flint’s water system. You can also help by calling President Obama (202-456-1111) and urging him to encourage expedited federal agencies’ support to provide Flint residents with safe, affordable water, and to encourage funding for short and long-term improvements to Flint’s water system.

O Living Water, refresh the people in Flint with your powerful healing, especially the children who have been poisoned. Open a plethora of sources for safe drinking water to them. Let justice flow like rivers in their midst. And empower your churches to offer cups of cold water to all who are thirsty. Amen.

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