Father of Environmental Justice

Inside:

  • Reflection: Father of Environmental Justice
  • Introducing Anna Awimbo
  • Sweet success! Congregations Receive Grants
  • Donate_Button.jpg2017 Maryland Environmental Legislative Session
  • NEW! Vacation Bible School Program on Water - Prince George's County
  • CAMP Offset Grant Application Now Available
  • Get Ready for Spring Plantings!
  • FREE Webinars & Workshop - Learn how to apply for CBT Community Engagement Mini Grants
  • Thank you for your donations!
  • Ace Hardware Petition
  • CMEC Job Opening
  • Upcoming Events
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs - Fresh Ideas!

Father of Environmental Justice

Let justice roll down like waters , and righteousness as an everflowing stream. (Amos 5:24)

I lifted up these words from the prophet Amos during a speech I gave years ago while serving as President of the National Farmworker Ministry. I was making the connection between the working conditions and environmental health of farmworkers exposed to dangerous levels of pesticides. So too, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was making these connections decades earlier during the days immediately before his death as he was marching in the streets with the sanitation workers of Memphis, TN.  Dr. King took an all inclusive view of issues that some wanted to put into isolated boxes. In that vein, "environmental health" can be framed in ways that broaden collaboration across faiths, economic class, and race, just as he did. Demolition.jpg

As Dr. King said, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Communities of faith bring a moral voice that upholds life in all its forms, broadening our perspective to view the whole Creation as members of the family of God, and our neighborhoods as tied to the whole environment in a network of mutuality. We need to build relationships that are based upon this premise of our faith that we are not separate from one another or the natural world, but live in a sustainable web of interdependence. A task force of pastors, rabbi's, and impacted community members created this Moral Case for Environmental Justice to guide you and your congregations in prayerful consideration of what's happening in terms of injustices here in Maryland and how you can bring to bear the faith voice on these issues. For more information on environmental justice issues in the 2017 Maryland legislative session, click HERE.  

Martin Luther King, Jr. has been referred to as the "father of environmental justice." This may come as a surprise to some of us in the environmental movement. Looking more closely at the history of his life and mission during the civil rights movement, we can see that he laid the groundwork for connecting the real environmental conditions in which people live and work as a cause for justice. In this overview of the environmental justice (EJ) movement "What is Environmental Justice?" we read:   

Civil Rights leaders like Dr. King fought for all people to have safe places to live, learn, work, play, and pray—with the knowledge that access to these rights was not equal. The American environmental justice movement continues this legacy, guided in major part by Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act...  Read full text here.  

Environmental justice also includes health issues impacting our daily life: housing, the air you breathe, the water you drink (or baptize or cleanse with) and the impact these have on our children. The health of the water and it's direct impact on people's lives has largely not been "front and center" in much of faith-based organizing. If we use a "watershed lens" with which to view the environmental justice aspects of our work at IPC, then we can see that projects we advocate for support the long term environmental and physical health of present and future generations of -- human and biotic -- communities of God's beautiful Creation. 


Introducing Anna Awimbo
Annaphoto_2016.jpgIPC is proud to welcome our new Program Manager, Anna Awimbo. She is an expert on issues related to the impact of technological and cultural changes on the environment, economy and society. She has more than 20 years of experience identifying and developing effective alternative systems to address climate change, poverty, and unemployment. She most recently directed the Collaborative Communities Program at the Center for a New American Dream where she designed and coordinated their trainings focused on greening communities, creating sharing systems and supporting local economies.  In her free time, Anna enjoys volunteering at her children’s school in Maryland where she has led efforts to launch a green neighborhood initiative and build an outdoor classroom and garden.  She received her undergraduate degree in Economics from St. Lawrence University and her MBA from George Washington University. You can reach Anna via email at anna@interfaithchesapeake.org.


Sweet Success!
Congratulations to our partner Congregations who have just learned they will be recipients of Chesapeake Bay Trust Grants!!! Contact us to see how your congregation could join this list next time. 

  • Catonsville Presbyterian Church – CBT Watershed Assistance Grant (Design) – Covenantal Partners Program
  • People’s Community Lutheran Church – CBT Watershed Assistance Grant (Design) – Blue Water Congregation
  • The Episcopal Church of the Holy Covenant – CBT Watershed Restoration Grant (Implementation) – Blue Water Congregation
  • Govan’s Presbyterian Church – CBT Watershed Restoration Grant (Implementation) – Blue Water Congregation
  • St. David’s Episcopal Church – CBT Watershed Assistance Grant (Design) – Blue Water Congregation
  • St. Vincent Du Paul’s Catholic Church – CBT Watershed Assistance Grant – Blue Water Congregation
  • Christ the King Episcopal Church – CBT Community Engagement & Outreach Mini-Grant – Blue Water Congregation-project installed

2017 Maryland Legislative Session
The Maryland legislative session begins this week, and your state representatives will be making decisions on major policies:

Learn more about these bills and their connection to our faith teachings on our Advocacy Cheat Sheet on our website (or, from our home page, just click on the "Advocacy" button at the top).  We will update this cheat sheet throughout the next 3 months while legislature is in session, so check back often for new developments. 

Would you like to come hear about these bills from advocacy organizations leading the effort? Join us at the Environmental Legislative Summit on Jan. 26th4-6 pm at the Maryland Statehouse. Please RSVP to jodi@interfaithchesapeake.org if you'd like to attend. 

Sunday School or Vacation Bible School Program on Water - Prince George's County

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A FREE training and curriculum for a Vacation Bible School (VBS) or Sunday School program will be offered to churches in Prince George's County, through a grant provided by Chesapeake Bay Trust and the PG County Department of Environment! Our program offers, for free:

  • water-themed curriculum for 5 separate activities with materials
  • training for your lead teachers, including a boat ride on the Anacostia for an in-depth experience of the content you'll be teaching
  • pre-printed banner to hang outside and advertise your program
  • one-on-one support for your team to help you succeed in putting on the program for your youth
  • participating congregations will receive a 25% discount off their Clean Water Fee since this satisfies the educational requirement 
  • More information on this flyer
  • Click HERE to register for the workshops
We only have 6 spots left. Already, Fort Washington Baptist Church, Walker Mill Baptist ChurchJerusalem AME and Richie Baptist Church have signed up! Email bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org to hold your spot!


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CAMP Offset Grant Application Now Available

The Office of Sustainability is pleased to announce the 2017 Critical Area Management Program (CAMP) Offset Grant application is now available.  The City of Baltimore accepts proposals from non-profit organizations wishing to access CAMP Offset monies.  This application is released on an annual basis to encourage existing and prospective grantees to come up with exciting ideas for CAMP-funded projects that will improve quality of life and the quality of our waterways in Baltimore.  Any community group, non-profit, faith-based organization, or other non-profit institution may apply.  The application may be found by clicking HERE.


Gear Up for Planting Trees Next Spring Carolina_Missionary_Baptist_11.05.16_-1.JPG

We still have openings for congregations to participate in the Trees for Sacred Places Program.  On a beautiful autumn day, members of Carolina Missionary Baptist Church turned out to plant trees dedicated in honor of loved ones.   Pastor Anthony E. Moore (pictured at right) offered a blessing of the tree planting and affirmed the role that people of faith can play in restoring God's Creation:

"The whole idea of tree planting is critical to our being good stewards of the earth. It's part of the command that the Lord gave unto us when he gave us the earth, the land.... to be good stewards of the land which all of us have to live on, the earth. That's why we're planting trees, so that we can give more back to the earth than we take from it."

We are still looking for several congregations, retreat centers or religious schools throughout Maryland, and specifically Prince George's County.  The program offers for FREE: professional planting plan, native trees, deer protection, all necessary tools to plant AND environmental and spiritual workshops (tailored to the congregation or religious school's needs) about the importance of planting trees and caring for God's Creation. You can learn more about the program on our webpage HERE.

View and download the flyer for all locations EXCEPT Prince George's County HERE.
View and download Prince George's Flyer HERE.


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Next Webinar Coming Up on Sunday, Jan. 15th at 2 PM Click HERE to register . 

Click HERE for the flyer you can share with all the details. Click HERE to access our webpage with dates and more information and to register. Sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. 


Thank you for your donations!

Thank you for your support this giving season. We raised over $8,000. Your support is critical to this work! 


Ace Hardware Petition

bee_on_daisy.jpgCalling all Maryland faithful who want to speak up for voiceless beesPlease sign this letter to Maryland retailers. According to the Smart on Pesticides Coalition, Maryland suffered 61% bee losses in 2014-15 and 56% losses in 2015-16. Bee losses threaten our food supply, which will drive up food costs, impacting the poor first and foremost. Bee losses also reflect a web of life out of balance. This letter asks Ace Hardware and other Maryland nurseries to stop selling neonic-treated plants and seeds. Thank you to Lowes and Home Depot because they have pledged a timetable to remove these products. 

Beekeepers and farmers will deliver the letter and signatures to Ace Hardware corporate offices and other Maryland retailers once they reach 5,000 signatures. Let's help them reach that goal soon!


CMEC Job Opening

The Central Maryland Ecumenical Council (Baltimore) is currently hiring for their next Executive Director. The Council organizes Christian denominations around issues of peace, justice, and sustainability. For more information, click HERE. 


Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

  • January 12 7pm Trees for Sacred Places Workshop at Walker Mill Baptist Church
  • January 13-14 Creation Care Ministry of the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) retreat and 2017 planning session at Mar-Lu Ridge Center. All are welcome (you don't have to be Lutheran to attend). Contact Laura Heller at lheller1@msn.com for details
  • January 15 2 PM Free CBT Community Engagement Mini Grant Webinar hosted by IPC Click HERE to register to learn how to apply for funds
  • January 15 2-4 PM Earth Forum of Howard County, Following the Flood: Ellicott City, Now & In the Future. James Robey, head of the County’s His­toric Elli­cott City Flood Work­group, presents the progress, challenges, and perspectives impacting the rebuilding a sustainable, as well as historic, city. First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, 9325 Presbyterian Circle, Columbia. Earth Forum is free and open to all. Contact earthforum@firstpreshc.org or call 410-730-3545. Child care is provided for infants and toddlers.
  • January 16 10am-12 Annual MLK Worship Service, at First Baptist Church of Highland Park, sponsored by Collective Empowerment Group.
  • January 20-21 IPC's Board of Trustees will be meeting for their first annual overnight planning retreat - please keep them and the whole IPC team in your prayers
  • January 23 Virginia Conservation Lobby Day, $25 each, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Richmond, VA - details click HERE
  • January 26 4-6 pm Environmental Legislative Summit at the Maryland Statehouse - come hear what environmental groups will be fighting for in the 2017 Maryland Legislative Session
  • January 29 2 PM Free CBT Community Engagement Mini Grant Workshop. Held in-person at Christ The King Lutheran Church 1930 Brookdale Road Windsor Mill, MD 21244 (Baltimore County) Click HERE to register
  • February 4 10 AM Free CBT Community Engagement Mini Grant Webinar hosted by IPC. Click HERE to register to learn how to apply for funds

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • We need a laptop computer, gently used is fine, with an iCore 7 processor or higher. 
  • We can always use extra supplies such as flip chart paper, flip chart markers, and colorful pocket folders.
  • We purchase a lot of printing from Staples and Vistaprint - we could use gift cards to these vendors!
  • We need a small canvas case for small external speakers (used with a projector). Do you have something you can pass along? 
  • Do you have skills in financial review? IPC is looking for probono support for an internal financial review. Call Jodi Rose at 410-609-6852 if you can help. 
  • Do you like photographyVidoegraphy? We are always looking for help taking photos at our events, and putting them together in slide shows. This is a good way to inspire other people and show them the work that is taking place across Maryland.  
  • Are you willing to make 5-10 phone calls each week for us to help us follow up with engaged congregations? 
Thank you! Email jodi@interfaithchesapeake.org if you can help.

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