The Glorious Impossible

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

Inside:

  • Reflection: The Glorious Impossible
  • Donate_Button.jpgThank you for your donations!
  • Ace Hardware Petition
  • NEW! Vacation Bible School Program on Water - Prince George's County
  • 2017 Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit
  • Virginia Conservation Lobby Day
  • CAMP Offset Grant Application Now Available
  • Get Ready for Spring Plantings!
  • FREE Webinars & Workshop - Learn how to apply for CBT Community Engagement Mini Grants
  • Upcoming Events
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs - Fresh Ideas!

The "Glorious Impossible"

christmasstareveningsky.jpgThis week, Christians and Jews alike will be celebrating the wonder of miracles - and actually it's the first time in decades that Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah coincide. The author Madeline L'Engle called the birth of Jesus the "Glorious Impossible." Historically, Jesus was born during a period of the Roman Empire when oppressive power and taxation were sorely hurting the people, and many were driven off their land. A widening gap was growing between the rich and the poor, and oppression was taking hold. Similarly, roughly two hundred years earlier, the Jewish Macabees were driven to the mountain tops, fleeing from oppression against their beliefs and way of life. Refugees of different eras...how relevant to our world today.

Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem in answer to the Emperor's decree that "all the world should be registered" so that the empire could maintain records of their taxpaying citizens. When they arrived there, all of the housing was already filled with the influx of out-of-towners. They found a sympathetic innkeeper who offered his barn for them to sleep in. Luke 2:7 recounts, "She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." And an angel says that this shall be the sign of a savior?! The famous Rev. Karpen explores this "sign": "Surely that angel must have noticed the irony in that sign: a baby born outside, wrapped in rags, and put into a feeding trough. That's supposed to reassure us? That's a sign to a hope-starved world?" And when the Macabees reclaimed the temple after a 3-year guerrilla war, their holy oil was supposed to be sufficient for only one night, but instead it burned bright for 8 days. In the midst of suffering and destruction, a simple light that didn’t die out would become a sign of hope for generations to come. For Christians, Jesus' birth is a joyful sign of hope for the world, even in the midst of adversity and suffering, even for "such a time as this". We are challenged to live out the ministry that Jesus embodied - serving the poor, the underserved, the disenfranchised, those marginalized by society.

What does all this have to do with our work to be faithful stewards caring for sacred waters? It means, Glorious Impossible comes in ironically humble forms. All of the ways that you protect and preserve the waters of our watershed - even though they may seem unnoticed - are the signs of hope that feed the faithful around you. Your acts may not make the nightly news, or the papers, and you may feel your work has been "relegated to the barn." But, you are enacting the magnificent work that will someday be the glorious impossible.

Caring for our shared waters is humbling, overwhelming, and not for the weak. It is essential so that all may have the right to clean water, in present and future generations. Let us unite across all faiths to continue to work together to someday bring about the glorious impossible.

"Fear not!" says the angel declaring the good news of the glorious impossible to the trembling shepherds:
"Rejoice! I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." (Luke 2:10)


Thank you for your donations!

Thank you for your support this season, and on Giving Tuesday! Our goal was to raise $5,000 this time of year, and we have already met that goal! 

If you would still like to support IPC, there are many ways you can help:

  • Cash Donation - You can donate online, or mail a check to Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, 501 6th Street, Annapolis, MD 21403
  • Collection Basket - Consider asking your pastor, rabbi, or spiritual leader if you can take up a collection for IPC to contribute to this mission. This not only raises awareness about the work we do, but it helps us with our annual operating budget. Any little bit helps!
  • Smile.Amazon.com - If you shop on Amazon already, consider starting at Smile.Amazon next time instead. It's the same shopping choices,amazonsmile.jpg but you can designate IPC as your charity of choice -- and Amazon will donate to us 0.5% of every purchase you make! But, you must START at Smile.Amazon.com for your purchase to count. Simply click HERE to get started. 
  • Volunteer Your Time - We need assistance with our website, database, phone calling to our congregations to follow up with them, and mentoring new congregations to get them started. You can help us from home, or you can come to our office in Annapolis and we will provide you a computer to work on. We also could use photographers/videographers, social media gurus, and help with Spanish translation of our materials. Click HERE to sign up to volunteer.  
  • In-Kind Donations - We are in need of flip chart paper, colorful pocket folders, flip chart markers, and gift cards to Staples or VistaPrint where we do a lot of printing of handouts and flyers. Thank you!

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. What signs will we pay attention to if the silent bee death is not enough to catch our attention? This letter asks Ace Hardware and other Maryland nurseries to stop selling neonic-treated plants and seeds. Scientists say that when seeds and plants are treated, the neonics are expressed in the plants’ nectar, pollen and fruit for months and sometimes years. Yes, that beautiful mum you planted in October may have been labeled as bee-friendly, but may have been produced from a neonic-treated seed, contributing to the demise of our bee population. If labeling does not help consumers make better choices, then please -- we need to get this stuff off the shelves! Thank you to Lowes and Home Depot because they have pledged a timetable to remove these products. Other Maryland stores need to make this change, too.

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!


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 SundaySchool 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 12 spots left. Already, Fort Washington Baptist Church, Walker Mill Baptist Church and Richie Baptist Church have signed up! Email bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org to hold your spot!


2017 Environmental Legislative Summit

The Chesapeake advocacy community is hosting an Environmental Legislative Summit at the Annapolis Statehouse on Thursday January 26, 2017, 4-6 pm. This is a chance for Maryland Delegates and Senators to hear about environmental priorities, and see how energetic the public is about these bills. We need to fill up this room! If you would like to attend, or if you can help staff our informational table at the summit, please email Jodi at jodi@interfaithchesapeake.org


Virginia Conservation Lobby Day

Bills move fast in the Virginia General Assembly! Virginia Conservation Network organizes Conservation Lobby Day to ensure a strong conservation voice is heard early in the legislative session. Volunteer advocates are invited to meet with state legislators and encourage them to support environmental policy advancements. Tickets are $25. Details HERE.Monday, January 23, 2017 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond, VA. 


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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 left) 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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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. 


 Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

  • 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 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. 

 

ON AIR: IPC in the Media

Living Questions: Faith-Inspired Environmentalism. Listen HERE as IPC's Executive Director Jodi Rose, Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin and Emmalee June Aman discuss the role faith plays in motivating environmental activists and what religious scriptures and faith leaders say about humankind's responsibility in caring for Creation. The discussion was originally aired June 7, 2017 on WYPR 88.1FM.

On March 29, 2017, Jodi appeared on The Green & Sexy Radio ShowListen to the conversation HERE.