Protecting the Least of These

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

Inside:

  • Reflection: Protecting the Least of These...the Bees
  • Bag Ban Decision this Week
  • Blue Water Congregations
  • Lenten Calendar Resources
  • Experience Trash - Clean a Stream!
  • Upcoming Events

Protecting the Least of These... the Bees

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As you eat one of your meals today, ponder for a moment and offer thanks for the miracle of bees that are responsible for 1 of out every 3 bites of food we eat! As much as Americans would like to believe that we can engineer and manufacture our way out of all of our problems, in the end, we need God’s amazing web of life to pollinate our food. As such, we must be listening to the silent warnings that nature is sending us…the warnings that things are out of balance…that nature is quietly suffering. If we do not listen to the silent plea from the dying honeybee, we have failed at being faithful stewards of the Creation that has been entrusted to us.

Consider extending the ethic rooted in many faith traditions of being called to defend the vulnerable among us, the "least of these." We can include those beyond our human family, the wider family of all beings in Creation within our care and stewardship. Every living thing in creation is "precious in God's sight." Here is a beautiful teaching from the Qur'an honoring the bees that are "ordained by thy Sustainer":

"And consider how your Sustainer has inspired the bee: 'Prepare for thyself dwellings in mountains and in trees, and in what people may build for thee by way of hives; and then eat of all manner of fruit, and follow humbly the paths ordained for thee by thy Sustainer.' And behold! There issues from within these bees a fluid of many hues, wherein there is health for humanity. In all this, behold, there is a message indeed for people who think!"

What does this have to do with IPC's mission? Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC) educates, supports and inspires people and communities of faith to advocate for the waters of the Chesapeake through policies and practices that promote a healthier environment and healthier people. We feel it is our sacred duty to live in harmony with all of Creation around us and promote choices that sustain life, rather than destroy. And we are not alone in this position. A letter signed by 10 denominational leaders in Maryland, who represent thousands of people of faith, support the passage of Pollinator ProtectionAct of 2016, HB211. 

We invite you now to "go forth and do likewise" by taking action listed below to express your gratitude for the bees, examples of God's many amazing creations, which enrich and sustain our very lives.


Pesticide Bill Increases Awareness

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Many people don't realize that when they buy flowers or plants for their gardens, they might be buying products that have been treated with neonic pesticides. By planting these treated products at home, consumers are unknowingly contributing to bee colony collapse. There is no law in Maryland requiring neonic-treated products be labeled so consumers know what they're buying.

Can you help us change that? Maryland legislators will be voting on the Pollinator Protector Act of 2016, which will require that stores have signs explaining which products have been treated with neonics, and limiting the use of these pesticide chemicals.  You can read about the bill on our cheat sheet.  You can raise your voice in support of this bill by signing a petition here.  There is also a lobby day onFebruary 24th where you can meet with your state representative to talk to them about this legislation. Email jodi@interfaithchesapeake.org if you are willing to participate in Lobby Day.

Thanks for taking action!


canstock16179444.jpgBag Ban Decision Comes this Week

This week Maryland state legislators will be making a decision on the ban on plastic bags. Are you ready to ban the plastic bag in Maryland? Then you need to be heard!

Phone calls are needed badly this week. Please click here for an easy-to-read script, and how to find your representative's phone number. It's so important that you call this week! It takes only 30 seconds and has a huge impact. They need to hear from you otherwise they're just representing themselves!


Blue Water Congregations

Attention Baltimore City and Baltimore County Congregations - we still have a few spots left in this program. This free program provides congregations in Baltimore with technical support, decision-making support, a spiritual context to stormwater management, and grant-writing support to procure funds for green projects. Read about Blue Water Congregations on our website, or email bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org to get more information.

Since 2014, over 50 congregations have participated and are working to reduce their stormwater. Examples of the type of support this program offers was manifested right before the holidays, when two of our congregations learned they will receive grant funding (one $18,000 and the other $21,000!) to design stormwater management projects for their grounds. And, hats off to our partners, Blue Water Baltimore, for their grant-writing guidance and support!

We'd love to work with your congregation to help you receive similar grants!


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Lenten Calendars

Keep God's Creation in mind when starting your Lenten journey. These state-specific calendars offers suggestions for caring for creation on each day of Lent in a variety of ways. Feel free to download and print them for your congregation, too!

Maryland Lenten Calendar
Virginia Lenten Calendar
Washington, DC Lenten Calendar



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Experience Trash First-hand: Clean a Stream!

Want to see first-hand the trash that accumulates in our sacred waters? Volunteer with Project Clean Stream or Alice Ferguson Foundation's Potomac Watershed Cleanup and be forever changed! Get your Men's Group, Bible Study Group, Boy Scout group, or Green Team together for a field trip and join the movement. This is free and easy to organize. There are many stream cleanup projects organized throughout the state, but here are two of the bigger ones. 

Project Clean Stream - April 2nd
Alice Ferguson Foundation Potomac Watershed Cleanup
 - They'll support cleanups any time between March 26th and May 8th


Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

  • February 22-25 - Call your legislator about the Bag Ban. It is important to call this week! Click here for a script and to find your representative's phone number.
  • February 24 - Pesticide Bill Lobby Day, 8 am, House of Delegates Building, Room 431, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, RSVP here
  • February 28 - Baltimore Green Forum 4-6:30 PM,  Maryland Electric Power Generation: Fossil Free by 2018 Speakers: Will Candler & Phil Favero Click HERE for more information Maryland Presbyterian Church 1105 Providence Road, Towson MD 21286
  • March 13 - Elevation Chapel AME Church holds their Community Visioning session to kick off their participation in Blue Water Congregations
  • March 18 - Ecological Stations of the Cross. St. Matthew Catholic Church in Baltimore conducts Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. Several alternative stations readings will be focused on the earth/environment. The Liturgy Committee will be offering these Ecological Stations of the Cross on the following dates/times:  Friday, Feb. 12 (noon), Sunday, Feb. 21 (10 am), Friday, Mar. 18 (noon). This is a good way to remain focused on Pope Francis's call to "Care for Our Common Home"!
  • March 19 - 14th Annual Prayer Breakfast - Join Radio One as they honor 20 pastors in the DC region. Tickets and Tables for purchase here.
  • February and March Lobby Nights on GGRE - Speak out in support of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. Click here to sign up to participate and connect with Interfaith Power and Light for more information.
    • February 22 - for those living in Baltimore City
    • March 7 - for those living in Montgomery County and Western Maryland
    • March 21 - for those living in Southern Maryland and Eastern Shore


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