Healing Waters Retreat
October 14th-15th, Charleston, WV
Welcome to the Healing Waters Retreat Landing Page! Check out the schedule and get to know your fellow attendees before coming to the retreat.
Monday, October 14:
4pm Welcome and introductions
5pm Storytelling/ World Cafe
7:30pm Water walk presentation- Sharon Day
8:30pm Theological Reflection and Prayer Service
Tuesday, October 15:
8 am Breakfast
8:30-10:30 am Oil and Gas threat map
10:3 am Snack break
10:45 am Next Steps Resources brainstorming
11:30 am Follow-up planning
12 pm Lunch
1 pm Closing-One Water
Shantha Ready Alonso
As Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries, Shantha is tuned into the Church's unique role in uplifting our sacred relationship with water. She believes that as Christians, we have a moral responsibility to protect, restore, and rightly sharing this gift of God's creation which sustains all life. She looks forward to learning from water justice leaders of West Virginia, and weaving networks of solidarity, prayer, and change. Shantha is from Indio, CA.
Janet Keating retired from the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition after 24 years and was this OVEC’s Executive Director from 2007-2016. OVEC’s work encompasses protecting the Ohio Valley region’s water, air, land and people from the harmful impacts of industrial pollution. As a graduate student she focused primarily on water and believes access to clean, potable water is a human right. At the retreat, Janet wants to deepen her connections with others who share her belief that water is a sacred gift from God and learn ways to articulate this to others. She will be coming from Glenwood, WV.
Harold Woodson is in charge of the Bethel Help Center-a water ministry located in Flint, MI. The ministry distributes water and nutrient-rich food that mitigates the effects of lead. Harold looks forward to sharing of information with other communities facing the same challenges. He is traveling from Flint, MI.
Patricia Gundram has been concerned for years about land, mineral, animal, and water conservation. She is on the board with the WV Highlands Conservancy. Patricia looks forward to meeting and participating with the group, some of whom she already knows. She is located in Charleston, WV.
Bryanna Baker-Meckley is coming from Duck, WV. Bryanna is in her last semester as an MSW student at Concord University, and is working on a community organizing project for Dr. Darden's class on the subject of water. The community she works with has no access to water, and she is working in the community to change that. Bryanna hopes to learn as much as possible about access to water issues, and would love to learn tips on how to move forward with her project.
Angie joined West Virginia Rivers Coalition as the Executive Director in 2012, bringing a background of working in West V on social justice issues in the non-profit sector. She grew up near the Ohio River and now lives along the banks of the Elk River, and enjoys swimming and boating in it and many of West Virginia’s waters. Her motivation for clean water advocacy is personal; she wants to be able to swim in her backyard river. Her motivation is also political; she believes everyone has a right to enjoy clean water and that conservation of our water resources is central to a shared prosperity.
Annika Harley serves as the Creation Justice Fellow where she focuses on advocating for everyone's right to clean & accessible fresh water. Annika looks forward to connecting with and learning from front-line fresh water advocates. She is located in Washington, DC.
Rev. Robin Blakeman
Rev. Robin Blakeman serves as the project coordinator for the Ohio [River] Valley Environmental Coalition, (OVEC), which has a focus on multiple environmental issues including West Virginia and Ohio River Valley water quality. Rev. Blakeman is an ordained Presbyterian minister, and very aware of a calling to help care for and preserve God's good creation. Rev. Blakeman hopes to gain stronger connections with other water justice warriors in West Virginia and other places. She hopes to re-charge my spiritual batteries,as the struggle to preserve healthy ecosystems is incredibly draining.
Dr. Martina Angela Caretta
Dr. Caretta focuses her academic practice as an assistant professor of geography at WVU and a feminist geographer believing and teaching equal access to clean resources. She looks forward to getting to know people that are organizing against the industry and that believe in clean water. Dr. Caretta is coming to the retreat from WVU, Morgantown.
Krystina's connection to water justice was initially uncovering the events a d decisions that lead to Flint Water Crisis and co-founding an organization that fights for the eradication of lead specifically in water, the air and the soil nationwide. Every human on this earth has a right to access clean water. Black and Latianx communities are more susceptible to lead exposure. She hopes to be exposed to other organizations that are doing similar work for further collaborations, to uncover other ways that water justice intersects with lead abatement and eradication, to gain more perspective on how water justice/ injustice interacts with public health policy and the general transfer of organizational knowledge. Krystina is from Fairfax, VA
Dr. Leah Rampy
Dr. Leah Rampy is part of Interfaith Power & Light. Additionally, She is the founder and guide for the recently-formed Church of the Wild ~ Two Rivers; we invite people to deepen their spiritual connection to the sacred waters through time in nature. Dr. Rampy hopes to connect with others who are seeking a greater understanding of and commitment to issues of water protection and justice, and to bring the learning back to the communities I support. Dr. Rampy lives in Sheperdstown, WV.
Sharon M. Day
Sharon Day is a speaker at the retreat. She is the executive Director of the Indigenous People's Task Force and leads water walks. Sharon is looking forward to learning more about what is happening in West Virginia in terms of water. She will be coming from Saint Paul, MN.
Rev. Jeff Allen
Rev. Jeff Allen is a United Methodist pastor and the executive director of the West Virginia Council of Churches. The West Virginia Council of Churches is one of the oldest councils in the nation and is very concerned about environmental issues in West Virginia. Rev. Allen would like to learn more about the environmental issues facing West Virginia, make connections, and find out how the member bodies of the Council can take action to preserve our water in West Virginia. He will be coming from Charleston, West Virginia
Sue DeVall is on the WV Interfaith Power & Light. This year she testified before the EPA regarding the Mercury Standards Rule and works in various ways to get the RECLAIM Act passed. Sue looks forward to learning about the multitude of water related issues in West Virginia to take this info back to the Eastern Panhandle. She also looks forward to sharing about water issues in her part of the state. Sue lives in Hedgesville, WV in the Eastern Panhandle.
Dr. Ellen Darden
Dr. Ellen Darden is a faculty member at Concord University. In addition to teaching she a is a co-founder of Protect Our Water, Heritage Rights Coalition. She is also with Preserve Montgomery County VA and serves on the board of directors for the New River Conservancy. Dr. Darden looks forward to continued connection to others doing similar work and a rejuvenation as it can often be lonely and isolating work. She is coming from Athens, WV.
Cathy Kunkel was a co-founder of Advocates for a Safe Water System, a community group that formed after the 2014 water crisis in Charleston to advocate for improvements to their local water utility system. She hopes to connect with people from across the state who have been trying to improve the safety of the water in their communities. Cathy is located in Charleston, WV.
Water Justice means that we must end the pollution and privatization of water, and make safe, drinkable water a human right. Phoebe grew up in and around rivers and lakes, and believes that we must protect all our freshwater systems and make them accessible to all people. Phoebe hopes to learn from the people of West Virginia who are on the front lines of the water crisis, and from everyone who has been merging prayer and advocacy in the fight for water justice. She is coming from Washington, DC.