Although we live in a naturally arid climate, generations of Californians have taken a reliable supply of water for granted. Numerous golf courses and expansive residential lawns are testament to this belief. But the past four years of drought are changing perceptions, and Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent edict to cut our water use by 25 percent has awakened many to the seriousness of the situation. Of course, people in many other countries experience much worse water problems than ours. Because of this, the United Nations observes World Water Day every year in March to bring awareness of the need for clean water in the world’s most impoverished countries. On March 22, a group of 33 children and adults held a fundraiser for the Christian charitable organization World Vision. Sponsored by the youth ministry of Gilroy Presbyterian Church, participants walked from the church on Miller Avenue through downtown Gilroy to In-n-Out Burger wearing special T-shirts and bibs with pictures of African children. According to Youth Director Josh Ferreira, the distance of about four miles is “typical of the journey residents of many African countries must travel to gather water in buckets to carry back to their homes. Much of this water is polluted or contains parasites that can blind or kill those who drink it.” Participants raised over $2,000 in pledges and other donations, money which will go to a village in the East African nation of Kenya. Residents of Bandaptai will benefit for at least 20 years from the clean water provided by this well. Since 1993, World Water Day has been celebrated on March 22. It is a day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water-related issues. This year’s theme explained how water links to all areas of life. Water is Health: 748 million people do not have access to an improved source of drinking water, and 2.5 billion have no sanitation facilities. Water is Nature: There is too much ecosystem degradation. Pollution from untreated waste and agriculture run-off make unhealthy water, especially in underdeveloped countries. Water is Industry: More water is used to manufacture a car than to fill a swimming pool. Water is Energy: Today over 80 percent of electrical generation is accomplished by thermal power plants where water is heated to create steam to drive generators; additional billions of gallons of water are needed to provide cooling. Water is Food: It takes nearly 4,000 gallons of water to produce two steaks. Globally, agriculture is the largest user of water, accounting for 70 percent of the total (approximately the same share here in California). Inefficient use of water for crop production depletes aquifers, reduces river flows, degrades wildlife habitats, and causes salinization of irrigated land areas. The United Nations has already chosen the following themes for the next three World Water Days: Water and Jobs—2016; Wastewater—2017; Nature-based Solutions—2018. To see a photo of the walkers who participated in the fundraiser, go to www.morganhilltimes.com. Chuck Flagg is a retired teacher with a passion for religion. Email him at [email protected]
Nearly a year ago, members of two historic South Valley churches embarked on an exciting adventure. The Gilroy United Methodist Church (7600 Church St.) and the Morgan Hill United Methodist Church (17175 Monterey Road) began sharing co-pastors.
For an engaged couple in which one person belongs to a religious congregation, the choice of wedding venue is relatively simple. But a couple with no connection to an organized religion that wants something more than a simple civil ceremony, the choice can be quite difficult.
For the past year, a Morgan Hill church has offered a unique ministry for South Valley's young adults. It welcomes those attending college, starting families or beginning careers to come Sunday evenings for “a fresh encounter with God and a connection with a community of young adults.”
Easter is the most important holiday of the Christian Church. Despite the rampant commercialism promoting Christmas (the birth of Jesus), it is the commemoration of His death and resurrection that is most deeply significant in understanding the Christian faith.
The large sign in Detroit Metropolitan Airport reads: “Religious Reflections Room.” Noted religion scholar Diana Butler Bass used this sign as her starting point while presenting a talk to a recent adult forum at San Jose's Good Samaritan Episcopal Church.
On March 14, members of Congregation Emeth (South Valley's Jewish Community) celebrated a holiday quite unlike any other. Although Jewish holidays tend to be somewhat somber, Purim is marked by revelry and merry-making.
South Valley residents are invited to an important event at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 22. Morgan Hill's Advent Lutheran Church (16870 Murphy Ave.) is hosting a concert to benefit Reach Out, the local food pantry affiliated with the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Pastor Shalea Adams has a strong connection with Morgan Hill, where she has been involved in ministry for 17 years. In 2002, she was director of the Lighthouse Outreach Center, a facility on Main Street housing an amazing array of free services for adolescents, including refreshments, tutoring, a pool and video games. As teens and their families came to know the Lord Jesus Christ, Adams planted Lighthouse Christian Church in 2003 to accommodate the socio-economically and ethnically diverse surrounding neighborhoods.
I recently reviewed a book by scholar Reza Aslan that attempted to prove the orthodox view of Jesus of Nazareth is mistaken. Indeed, he says church officials repackaged Jesus’ story to make it more appealing to first century gentiles and Roman authorities.