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Let justice roll on like a river

Local churches in a Brazilian community affected by flooding are protecting people and the environment.

Written by Agnes McGrane | 05 Nov 2021

Credit: Instituto Solidare

People living alongside the Tejipió river in Brazil felt helpless as floods swept through their communities again and again. The nearby river had become a dumping ground for waste and litter – contaminating the water, harming wildlife, causing blockages and increasing the risk of flooding. But then, the local churches started working together to protect both the river and the community.

Riverside communities had become used to seeing their homes being devastated by floods and having piles of washed up waste blocking their streets.

Tearfund’s local partner, Institute Solidare, saw the damaging impact that the floods were having on the community and equipped local pastors to step up and make a difference. The pastors developed an emergency response plan, working alongside schools and other community leaders to be ready to provide help, should disaster strike.

 Flooding and piles of waste block the streets in a riverside community. Credit: Instituto Solidare

A new response

When the river burst its banks again, the pastors put their plan into action. Their coordinated response limited the damage to the community and ensured that aid was able to quickly get to those who needed it most.

Thanks to the success of this effort, the local churches gained respect for making a powerful difference in their community. And pastors started to view caring for creation as a crucial part of their Christian faith.

‘As the project developed, so did our understanding of how urgent the role of the church in environmental issues is,’ says Pastor José Marcos Silva.

‘There is no way to speak of the good news of salvation if there is death for the other creatures of creation.’
Pastor José, Brazil

Speaking up for change

Our local partner encouraged the pastors and members of the community to engage with local authorities and call for them to take action.

Churches, schools and hundreds of people affected by the floods all came together to lead a peaceful protest, calling on local authorities to respond to their concerns about the waste and flooding. They also organised a petition which gathered nearly 14,000 signatures.

As a result of this campaign, the local government allowed community members to participate in public policy consultations and started to take steps to protect the flood-affected communities.

Hundreds of people from flood-affected communities campaigned for their local government to take action. Credit: Instituto Solidare

Seeing results

Local churches have continued to raise awareness of the importance of caring for the environment and have led initiatives to clean up the river. And, after a year of these efforts, the community was overjoyed when the river did not flood the region after the heavy seasonal rains.

‘This has generated hope for the local communities, but there is still a long way to go,’ says Pastor José.

Please join us in praying for this community, the local churches and everyone involved in these efforts to protect the environment.

Pray with us 

Dear God,

Thank you for the way that these churches in Brazil have worked together to make a difference in their community and protect your creation. We ask that their efforts will continue to be successful and that local authorities will take further action to protect the river and the people living nearby.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Written by

Written by  Agnes McGrane

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