Archived Sections, Lutherans in the Twin Cities

The race for clean water

Did you know that an estimated one billion people live without clean drinking water? Or, that a child dies from a water-borne disease every eight seconds?
Reports indicate that between one-fifth and one-eighth of the world’s population lives without clean, drinkable water. In many countries, inexpensive, ceramic water filtration systems can clean unsafe water that families in developing countries are getting from dirty rivers or from contaminated water pumped into their modest homes.
“Time is of the essence,” said the Rev. Karsten Nelson, pastor of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (ELCA) in St. Paul. “People can’t wait for clean water. Ceramic water systems are inexpensive, very efficient, good for the environment, easy to use, and can transform the lives of families that travel countless miles to gather water or spend the precious few dollars they have on bottled water.“

Pastor Karsten Nelson, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in St. Paul and Chad Wallace from the Dominican Republic were part of a “Running for Water” team that ran in the Twin Cities Marathon. Photo provided by Jacqueline Nelson

Pastor Nelson ran in a “Running for Water” race as part of the Twin Cities Marathon.

Our Redeemer Lutheran is partnering with a nonprofit organization called Filterpure Filters that is not only bringing ceramic systems to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Tanzania, but creating jobs for people in those countries to make the filter systems as well.
To raise awareness, Pastor Nelson ran in a “Running for Water” race as part of the Twin Cities Marathon on October 3 with a team of runners, including Lisa Ballantine of Filterpure in the Dominican Republic. The runners and their supporters raised enough money to bring 100 new filters to the homes of families that need clean water.
Ceramic water filtration has been around for 200 years. The systems were originally invented in England to prevent the outbreak of cholera.
The technology is simple, effective and sustainable. A round-bottom ceramic pot, serving as the filter, is made from clay, a combustible material such as sawdust, and colloidal silver. During the firing process, the combustible material is burned out, leaving micropores coated with the silver to clean the water! Water is easily poured into the clay pot, cleaned and funneled through a spigot for daily use.
The cost for one filter is $30. With these simple filters, families in developing nations are also able to avoid having to buy water in throw-away plastic containers that increase global warming, trash, and pollution.
“These filters are a small way we can all make a big difference,” Nelson said. For more information, visit

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