Healing Creation, Healing Ourselves
Congregations are rooted in community. That includes all of God’s Creation in all of it’s beauty as well as it’s brokenness. In many urban areas like Baltimore, the brokenness is prominent, as evidenced in crumbling streets and school buildings, along with a lack of green space and accumulated trash that reflect insufficient resources invested in these communities. These are wounds within the community and obscure the inherent beauty of God’s Creation. But how can congregations be “restorers of the streets to live in”? - as so poignantly stated in Isaiah 58:12. The whole community needs “healing from trauma” as Pastor Gary Dittman, of Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church said in preparation for IPC’s Covenantal Partners Program. IPC staff led a group of leaders from Amazing Grace through a Visioning process guided by the theme “Healing Creation, Healing Ourselves,” drawn from this quote of Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai: “We are called to assist the earth, to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own~ indeed, to embrace the whole Creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder.” Through scripture reading, guided meditation and prayer, the group discerned that they wanted to address a rather intractable problem in the neighborhood: trash - on God’s Holy Ground! By making this commitment the people of Amazing Grace signed a Covenant to heal the neighborhood, and by doing so enhance safety and affirm the beauty of God’s Creation.
Another church participating in the Covenantal Partners Program, Gwynn Oak United Methodist Church, pastored by Rev. Dell Hinton, decided at their Visioning Session to develop a Summer Youth Program focused on Creation Care. They are excited about educating and involving the youth in faith-based understanding of earth stewardship and offering ways for them to express a passion for healing of the neighborhood by growing vegetables, understanding where their water comes from, and how to take care of it.
These acts of “Healing Creation, Healing ourselves” are not separate from the riots and destruction in Baltimore. In fact as Rev. Dell Hinton said “I know this [Summer Youth Camp] will help heal the community.” Healing Baltimore one rain garden at a time, attendees at our Walk the Talk gathering on April 26th toured the Cathedral of the Incarnation's newly planted rain garden to get ideas for their own congregations. And just this past weekend, the Cathedral's rain garden was blessed by its community - see the video here. Amazing Grace ELCA, Gwynn Oak UMC, and Cathedral of the Incarnation are congregations engaging in ministries of healing in Baltimore, becoming the “leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations” - Rev. 22:2.
Welcome Pastor Thomas!
IPC is pleased to announce that Rev. Nathaniel B. Thomas of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church has joined our Board of Trustees. We are excited about the wealth of talent, expertise, and experience, Pastor Thomas brings to the organization. Read more about him, and all the IPC Trustees, here.
NEW IPC Prayer Cards
As people of faith, one of the primary ways that we can express our hope for healing of Creation is through prayer. IPC has produced a beautiful prayer card that calls us to heal the water, the source of all life and which flows through everything. The prayer cards were designed by a student at Messiah College and the prayer is a combination of input from people of many different religions. Next time you’re leading off your green ministry meeting, you might want to use this prayer before diving into your work! View and print the prayer here: Front and Back. Or, you can request printed prayer cards on 4x6 cardstock paper, with a suggested donation of $50 per 25 cards. Please email email@example.com to request prayer cards be sent to you. ($2 per card seems high to me)
June 30 Deadline for Prince George's congregations to reduce their Stormwater Fee
Do you or someone you know attend a congregation in Prince George’s County? Did you know that Prince George’s County congregations can beautify their grounds, reduce their polluted stormwater fees, restore our rivers, all for FREE?
The County continues to enroll congregations in their cutting edge program that builds stormwater projects on congregational land in order to help places of worship reduce their polluted runoff. However, if your church doesn't sign up for the program before June 30th, then you’'ll pay the 2015 fee and won't be able to put your fee "on hold" until next year. It's not a pro-rated approach. The County puts your fee on hold for the whole year if you're registered by June 30th of the year...otherwise you’ll need to wait until June 30th of the following year. How to register? Come to the FREE Faithful Stewards Workshop on May 31st at Jerusalem African Methodist Episcopal Church. Details here. Click on picture at left for Flyer.
For some congregations, the fee can be upwards of $3,000 per year or more. One congregation in Glenarden originally had an annual fee that exceeded $15,000. Through participation in the program they were able to reduce their fee to about $20 per year - - Sadly though, only about 10% of the 700+ congregations are enrolled in the Alternative Compliance Program. Many more can be taking advantage of this program, beautifying their grounds, and contributing to a healing of our watershed!
Prince George’s County Bans Styrofoam!
The Prince George’s County Council, during Council session on Tuesday, April 28, approved Council Bill 5-2015, prohibiting the sale and use of certain polystyrene products, commonly known as Styrofoam, in Prince George’s County. Read more here. We celebrate this victory that will greatly aid in healing of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which has been severely impacted by styrofoam trash.
Earth Day Celebrations
Tell us about your congregation’s Earth Day Celebrations! How did you put your faith in action? Did you take photos? Share them with us so we can post them to our Facebook page. At IPC, we celebrated with many of you! We spoke at your congregations and led a Visioning Session in Baltimore. Jodi was interviewed by Annapolis Green, which you can hear online, scroll down to April 22nd and click on Listen (she starts about 10 minutes in). Please share your photos with us so we can use them to inspire more people!
We’re on Facebook
Many of you asked, so now we have answered! You can find us on Facebook. Connect with us and be part of a growing movement! Any volunteers willing to help us keep our page active? Please email Bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org.
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