Blue Water Congregations

Is your congregation ready for a Rain Garden? Or to remove impervious pavement? Put in some rain barrels?

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake in partnership with Blue Water Baltimore and grant funding provided by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation are excited to offer this outstanding program FREE to congregations in Baltimore City/County within the Gwynns Falls, Jones Falls, Herring Run and Baltimore Harbor watersheds


Based upon the results of water audits completed by Blue Water Baltimore, the following congregations are considering plans such as installing rain gardens, cisterns or rain barrels, removal of impermeable surfaces, etc., in addition to pursuing any other issues they feel called to address within their communities. Ultimately, we will be helping these congregations apply for grant funding to help make their greening vision a reality. IPC wants to work together to get YOUR congregation started in the program, too! For more information contact Bonnie Sorak at Downloadable informational flyer HERE.

Congratulations to The Episcopal Church of the Holy Covenant and Govans Presbyterian Church who were recently awarded over $18,000 and $21,000 respectively from the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) for each to design stormwater remediation practices for their grounds. Congratulations to St. John Lutheran Church and Christian Temple Church who were also successful in their grant applications to CBT and were awarded $52,933 and $25,000 respectively as well. Learn more about their projects HERE

Blessings to them as they embark on the planning of their projects. Stay tuned to see how their projects turn out.

Our gratitude also to the following congregations that have engaged in Community Visioning (CV) to set their priorities on how to mitigate the polluted stormwater generated by their properties:

Transforming Life Church

Gospel Tabernacle Baptist Church

Knox Presbyterian Church

Elevation Chapel AME Church

Freedom Temple AME Zion Church

Kingdom Life Church

Govans Presbyterian Church

Beth Am Congregation

St. Lukes Evangelical Lutheran Church                                                                     Rain Garden at the Cathedral of the Incarnation

St. Johns Lutheran Church

Christ the King Episcopal Church

Christian Temple Church

The Episcopal Church of the Holy Covenant

The Shrine of the Sacred Heart 

First Christian Church including members of:  The Gathering of Baltimore, Beit Tikvah, St. Andrews Christian Church, Mt. Olivet Christian Church

First and Franklin Street Presbyterian Church                                                                          

Church of the Redeemer                                                                                                        

Faith Presbyterian

Kadampa Buddhist Temple

St. Anthony's of Padua Catholic Church

St. Pius X Catholic Church


If your Baltimore congregation has not already done so, you should check your water bill to make sure you have received your religious structure fee reduction, which provides a reduced fee of $3/ERU/quarter for structures used exclusively for worship or K-12 education (as compared to the regular fee of $15/ERU/quarter).


Blue Water Congregations Program Overview - 84 Congregations in Total

Community Visioning Tract-Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake Led

Facilitated Action Tract-Blue Water Baltimore Led

24 Congregations over 3 years

60 Congregations over 3 years

Technical and grant-writing support from Blue Water Baltimore

Technical and grant-writing support from Blue Water Baltimore

Classes of 5-10 Congregations on rolling cycle


For More information:

For More Information:

Involves stakeholders in your community, motivate from within, set environmental and aspirational goals; not limited to storm water runoff.

Develop shovel ready projects to mitigate polluted storm water runoff.


First Step - Contact: Bonnie Sorak or

443-799-0349 Cell

First Step - Sign up for a water audit at:

Contact: Ashley Traut

410-254-1577 Ext. 103


What is Stormwater? (We call it Polluted Runoff!)

Polluted Runoff is created when rain flows over surfaces such as parking lots, sidewalks, roofs, and landscaped lawns, picking up oils and lawn chemicals along the way. This combined slug of water is called Polluted Runoff, and is the only source of pollution that is increasing in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.


As property owners, congregations can reduce their contribution of polluted runoff by installing rain gardens, retrofitting their parking lots, and managing their facilities in ways that reduce the amount pollutants that can combine with rain water. This photo of a rain garden at St. Martin's Lutheran Church in Annapolis, MD is a prime example!



 VIEW a new video from Clean Water Coalition



What can my congregation do about it? 

Blue Water Baltimore and Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake are teaming up to offer congregations the technical and organizational support they need to embark on construction projects that will address polluted runoff.  Here’s how this program works:


  • Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake will facilitate with your congregation a discussion process that will help you understand the issue of polluted runoff, how to address it, and what types of projects might be the right fit for your congregation. This will be done through Community-Based Participatory Research, which allows your congregational representatives and local watershed authorities to talk – like you would around a kitchen table – about solutions that work for everyone.
  • Blue Water Baltimore will conduct a free Water Audit, or site assessment, and provide professional recommendations on potential projects for your site.
  • After your congregation decides which project(s) to take on, Blue Water Baltimore and their partners will help you with grant applications for the design and installation of your projects.
  • Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake will continue to support you throughout the decision-making and funds-acquisition process.
  • Congregations are asked to participate in 3-4 meetings over a 6-month time frame to facilitate the Community-Based Participatory Research process and develop shovel-ready projects.
  • Congregations are also asked to communicate to other congregants what they’ve learned, the projects that will be implemented, and ways that polluted runoff can be addressed at home and work. This might take place after the project is installed, and would offer educational and spiritual guidance for your congregants.

This amazing package of guidance and support is available to congregations for FREE, thanks to a generous grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation.


Why is this free?!? 

Bay restoration groups like National Fish and Wildlife Federation and Blue Water Baltimore understand the issues facing the Chesapeake Bay and how to address them, and they recognize that places of worship are important partners in this restoration effort. They also understand that with very tight budgets, congregations struggle to get projects in the ground. Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake partners key people with key funders to make things happen. It’s that simple!

 There will be spots for 8-10 congregations in 2015 and again in 2016. Sign YOUR Congregation up TODAY!

Spots will fill up fast, so please call Bonnie Sorak at 410-609-6852 or email if you would like more information or to enroll your congregation in this program. A waiting list will also be maintained so that congregations who are not selected for 2014 can participate in 2015 or 2016.

Why is this important to me?boy.jpg

We are made by our Creator to respect and care for the Earth and all its inhabitants. As contributors of polluted runoff, property owners of all kinds are asked to play a role in curbing the growing problem of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

God makes the rain, but we make the runoff! 

Model to your community that caring for Creation is part and parcel to being a part of a cohesive society! Take advantage of this great opportunity to show your love for Creation with the support of professional organizations that want to help.










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