Seymour church members running to help provide clean water to Africa


Nearly 6,000 people filled the streets of Indianapolis to run in the 2017 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

Among them were people running to raise awareness and funds for one of nearly 30 good causes.

That includes Team World Vision, which believes access to clean water changes the lives of children. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice, according to

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It’s the largest non-governmental provider of clean water in the world and last year reached more than 4.6 million new people with clean water.

Teams around the United States help by running and fundraising for clean water.

Donning orange and white running jerseys, runners are easy to spot at the events.

For this year’s Monumental Marathon on Nov. 3, there are 1,184 Team World Vision participants registered. That includes 32 people from two Seymour churches — The Point and Seymour Christian Church.

Each team has a $25,000 goal. As of Tuesday, The Point was at $23,699.96, and Seymour Christian Church was at $5,215. They have until race day to meet their goal.

Eric Parker, a member of The Point’s team, said in the developing world, the average person walks about 4 miles for clean water.

“The idea is that we’ll run so they don’t have to walk or we’ll walk so they don’t have to,” he said.

The fundraising will go toward building infrastructure to bring clean water to communities in developing countries. World Vision gets to know the people and develops a community board to oversee the operation of building rainwater catchall systems or digging wells.

“Through fundraising, they build infrastructure to bring clean water, rather than just give them clean water,” Parker said. “It’s based on the whole idea of teach a man to fish instead of giving him fish.”

Every $50 goes to help build and support the infrastructure that will help provide clean water to one person for the rest of their life.

“Because (World Vision is) going in helping create something but then making it self-sustainable so they can leave and the community is now running its own water,” Parker said.

The people can have better health and improved nutrition and go to school instead of spending the day fetching water.

“The impact of clean water just blows you away,” Parker said.

This is the third year for The Point to be involved with Team World Vision, leader Brian Terrell said.

Steve Spear from Team World Vision spoke at The Point in the spring, and church members had an opportunity afterwards to sign up to run a half-marathon or marathon. There were 22 who did so.

“From a personal standpoint, it was a good step for me to get to know people in the church,” Terrell said of his decision to participate.

This is the first year for Seymour Christian Church to get involved. Group leader Jessica Ritz said Team World Vision Indianapolis representative Amy Claire Patterson spoke at the church, and 10 people signed up to run.

“It’s funny because the pastor was talking about, ‘What’s the Goliath in your life?’ and mine just happened to be I needed to know where to go from here, so I felt like God placed her here at the right time, and we just decided to do it,” Ritz said.

Fundraising and the 18-week training period both started the first week of July. Every Saturday, the group meets at 7 a.m. in the Seymour High School parking lot to run. They also run on their own throughout the week.

For most of the people, it will be their first time running a half-marathon (13.1 miles) or marathon (26.2 miles).

Parker said he did two 5Ks in college 10 years ago but has never run a marathon.

“I think the main motivation is just it pricked your heart to say there are people in need around the world,” he said. “One of our callings as Christians is to give, to go, to be the hands and feet, so we signed up.”

Ritz will be running her first half-marathon.

“There are kids that need what we have here, and they don’t have that opportunity, so I feel like if we can be the hands and feet of God to get that to them, we’re going to do it,” she said.

Terrell is no stranger to running, as he ran across the state last summer to raise money for Seymour Main Street.

This time, he’s doing it for people who need clean water.

“It’s a pretty good outreach to try to help out with that and help people that can’t help themselves,” he said. “It definitely warms your heart, makes you feel good. You want to be bigger than just yourself. You want to set personal goals, but when you’re helping others, it’s so much more rewarding.”

Now, the challenge is to complete the run Nov. 3.

“It would be a whole different ballgame if we knew we could to it already,” Parker said. “For most of us, we’re leaning on our faith in God to take every step, but you also think every step you take is one step that somebody in a developing world won’t have to take for water. It’s being a part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s not about me running a marathon. It’s about running it for them and raising money for them.”

Ritz said training has been fun, and she’s ready to see it all pay off in Indianapolis.

“What I’m most excited about is knowing that we all got there and that we’ve got 13.1 ahead of us and we’re going to make it happen,” she said. “We’re just excited, and we’re going to make it happen.”

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Team World Vision participants from Jackson County

Seymour Christian Church: Adam Jackson, Ashley Moore, Brandon Moore, Dave Ritz, Jessica Ritz, Keia Blair, Ken Gillaspy, LeaAnn Schroeder, Mya Findley and Stephanie Martin

The Point: Amelia Simms, Anita Reecer, Brian Terrell, Chrissy Hubers, David Reecer, Diana Nolan, Diane Davidson, Eric Parker, Holly Sipe, Jacob Mullins, James McFall, Joyce Rere, Julie McFall, Kelly Samons, Lydia Hauer, Megan Parker, Nikki Eldridge, Patti Terrell, Ryan Wirtz, Sonja Scott, Stephanie Montana and Tom Cope

Each team has a $25,000 fundraising goal. To contribute, visit, do a team search for “The Point” or “Seymour Christian Church” and make a donation to the team or an individual.

Donations also may be made at The Point, 311 Myers Lane, Seymour; Seymour Christian Church, 915 Kasting Road, Seymour; or Parker Dental, 502 S. Main St., Brownstown.

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“For most of us, we’re leaning on our faith in God to take every step, but you also think every step you take is one step that somebody in a developing world won’t have to take for water. It’s being a part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Eric Parker on training for running the Monumental Marathon and raising money for Team World Vision


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