Over the last three months, women across faiths and traditions extended hands to help me shape a weekend retreat designed to inspire, inform and engage other women in caring for this sacred gift of water.
I am humbled by the wisdom of their words, inspired by their relationship with God or Allāh, their commitment to enlightenment, their willingness to honor the traditions of their Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Anishinabek heritage. Many use water as a symbol of purification, protection, healing, prayer, gratitude, or inclusion in their spiritual community.
Women of the Anishinabek Nation travelled several hours to take part in the Water for Life retreat with the women of the First Presbyterian Church of Holland. They spoke of the gratitude, respect and love they have for water, the role of women in caring for it. They conducted a traditional water ceremony before leading the group to Lake Michigan to give thanks.
Other women, without hesitation, offered to share their personal and spiritual stories on video so that they, too, might participate in the retreat. All were willing to be part of a weekend designed to make our water cleaner, safer, more accessible and available for ourselves and future generations.
It is a reminder. Water connects us all. It has the potential to unite.
It was an honor to facilitate the retreat and spend the weekend with the women of the First Presbyterian Church. With energy and exuberance that rivaled that of the often-told-story of the Quincy fourth graders, the women of the church voted to tackle the 22 million pounds of plastic flowing into the Great Lakes every year, the majority into Lake Michigan.
Presbyterians Oppose Plastics (POP) is the slogan.
Please consider joining the campaign.
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