The city of Flint, Michigan switched its water source in 2014 as a cost-saving measure. The new source, the Flint River, had high levels of corrosive contaminates, which caused lead pipes to leach. The levels of lead in the tap water became dangerous across the city, and highly toxic in the most severely affected areas.
From the cross, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." Yet, in his suffering he received only a sponge of vinegar to relieve his thirst, as the soldiers responded with contempt. For a year the people of Flint, MI cried out "We are thirsty!" Yet, they received only contaminated water to drink.
In response to the cries of their community, Vermont Christian Church in Flint became a designated water distribution center. In further response to the crisis, the Michigan Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ have taken action, launching a cooperative initiative: The Gospel in Action-Flint. Through this partnership, Vermont Christian Church will be able to continue providing water, filters, and other needed items.
With the Federal Emergency Declaration announced on Jan. 16, additional government funds are available to the city of Flint and its residents, but this assistance will cover only approximately 75% of the costs. The need for a compassionate response, thus, remains.
Week of Compassion is committed to providing support to The Gospel in Action-Flint and will continue to do so through the coming months. You can contribute to the response: donate on the Week of Compassion website, with the designation "Flint, Michigan Water Crisis."
Even now the people of Flint call to us all: "We are thirsty!" Let us respond with compassion.