Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake


  • Trees: Creation’s Cure-all
  • IPC Prayer Cards Are In!
  • Who will be the Lucky Montgomery County Congregation?
  • Faithful Stewards of Prince George’s County
  • Eye on Public Advocacy 
  • Upcoming Events
  • Connecting Congregations on Facebook 

Trees: Creation’s Cure-all


Did you know that a native tree is "Creation's Cure-all"? With climate change and polluted runoff weighing on our communities, mature native trees are a healing response. According to the Urban Forestry Network, 100 mature trees intercept approximately 100,000 gallons of rainfall per year. Trees hold water in their canopy, slowing the rate of impact of the droplets, thereby conserving groundwater and minimizing rapid runoff which leads to erosion and flooding. As as a natural air conditioner, trees sequester carbon and provide cooling shade. Faith communities understand our responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth and have stepped up to the plate to plant trees through theTrees for Sacred Places program. By planting and maintaining trees, we are helping to heal the brokenness human hands have created through our never-ending development of the land.

How much lawn do we really need at our houses of worship? If your congregation, retreat center, or religious-owned property is interested in converting at least 0.5 acre land back over to forest, theTrees for Sacred Places program is a free program designed to help you do this. The program is a collaboration between Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. It offers faith-based property owners a customized planting plan developed by trained arborists in consultation with your facility managers to ensure the final plan is acceptable to all essential decision-makers. On planting day, you assemble the volunteers, and we deliver all the materials, supplies, and provide a crew leader for the day - all free! We also deliver an educational and faith-based workshop to your volunteers to contextualize the moral imperative of this work. All plantings are with native species.


Last fall, a group of 30+ people including boy scouts, parents and other members of Covenant United Methodist Church participated in the workshop and planting day to plant 50 trees. They learned what it truly means to “keep and tend the garden” as well as how trees restore the web of life in our corner of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Everyone left with the sense that they have contributed to the healing of Creation in some way. As a famous prayer by Archbishop Oscar Romero says: “We cannot do everything...but, we can do something. And we can do it very well.”


Since the program's inception in 2013, over 30 congregations and retreat centers have planted over 2,000 trees. These trees, once mature, will provide habitats for native insects and mammals, sequester 40 tons of carbon dioxide each year and intercept 1.7 million gallons of rainfall annually.* Congregations are also asked to water and maintain the trees for the first few years until they are fully established...true stewardship at work!

Will your house of worship join in this effort? Funding for this program is provided by the Department of Natural Resources and Chesapeake Bay Trust. We have openings in this program for roughly 30 more congregations willing to plant 50 trees or more on their property. If this sounds like a project that might work for your site, or if you have questions, please contact Bonnie Sorak at 443-799-0349410-609-6852, or [email protected].

To the 30+ facilities who have participated in this program - thank you! Please send us photos of your planting day, your workshop day, or a current photo of how your trees are doing! We want to share these photos with others to tell the story of this program and inspire others to participate.

*Calculations based on information provided by the Urban Forestry Network and City Urban Tree Surgeons.

 NEW IPC Prayer Cards                           IPC_Prayer_Card_Back.jpg

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 Josh Patterson, a student at Messiah College as part of his Design Class. 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 cards here. Or, you can request printed prayer cards on 4x6 cardstock paper, with a suggested donation of $50 per 25 cards. Please email [email protected] to request prayer cards be sent to you.

Who will be the Lucky Montgomery County Congregation?  Cistern.jpg

We are excited to partner with the Anacostia Riverkeeper on efforts to install stormwater management projects at three (3) faith-owned properties in Montgomery County. The Anacostia Riverkeeper already has secured the needed funding to install cisterns (large rain barrels approximately 650 gallon capacity) at houses of worship in Montgomery County's portion of the Anacostia watershed. These cisterns will store and release rainfall for non-potable water uses and stormwater disposal. The project is at no cost to the church and can alleviate flooding problems as well as reduce your property’s contribution of polluted runoff.

If your congregation has a roof at least 500 square feet in size and the space to install a large cistern, please consider this wonderful opportunity for a free project on your grounds. What better way to draw your members into a deeper conversation about our responsibility to minimize negative impacts on shared water resources. Already, St. Luke Lutheran Church and St. Camillus Catholic Church, both in Silver Spring, have signed up to bring this to their community. Maybe your congregation can be the 3rd site! To learn more or express your interest, please contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected].

Faithful Stewards of Prince George’s County


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 Alternative Compliance Program to help congregations reduce their stormwater fee while also benefiting from beautifying projects implemented on their grounds. 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!

Want to learn more and participate in the County’s program? Join us at our 3rd - and final - workshop where we will provide background information on why stormwater is damaging the watershed and how places of worship can be part of the solution. June 14th at 2 pm - Mishkan Torah Synagogue - click here for free registration and details

Eye on Public Advocacy

Thank Your Representative
Many positive environmental bills were passed in the Maryland State Legislature this year. Most notable was the amended stormwater bill that adds flexibility and accountability for jurisdictions to generate funds to address stormwater, while creating assurances that money will be spent cleaning up and protecting the life-giving water we all must share. You might consider writing your legislator a note recognizing the great strides made this session. Your representative needs to know you are watching! You can find your legislator here. 

Baltimore Increase in Crude Oil Transport
The Baltimore City hearing for a permit to increase the volume of crude oil to be transported by train through Baltimore is in the process of being rescheduled due to a conflict with the Council President's calendar. We will include the corrected date in our next E-News on June 15th. Or, if you wish to be notified sooner, email Will Fadley of Clean Water Action and ask that he keep you informed. 

Upcoming Events:    whales.jpg

  • June 8th - World Oceans Day - Promote protection of the our Earth’s largest source of water and marine 
    diversity. Announcement posters for most of the major global religions. Print one out and post at your congregation to raise awareness!
  • June 14th - Faithful Stewards of Prince George’s County - 2 pm at Mishkan Torah Synagogue in Greenbelt - Free registration and details here. Learn what is happening in Prince George’s County regarding stormwater and programs available to houses of worship to implement solutions on their grounds 
  • June 14th - Active Hope, 9:30-4:30, Marshy Point Nature Center, Baltimore. An inspiring program based on the work of Joanna Macy, an eco-philosopher, Buddhist, and systems theorist. Her approach to addressing the emotional and spiritual challenges of our time will be presented by her trained facilitators. Details and registration here
  • June 21 - Montgomery County Sacred Grounds Workshop Part 2 (you need not have attended Part 1). “Tools for Greening Your Congregation’s Grounds.” Learn how to attract birds and butterflies, improve water quality, and prepare for climate change. We invite Montgomery County congregations to explore in-depth how to beautify your congregation’s grounds while reducing its environmental footprint. Details here

Connecting Congregations on Facebook 

Does your congregation have a facebook page? Bring visibility to your congregation while also helping grow IPC’s reach by liking us on Facebook. Show your members that your congregation is engaged in Creation care and expose them to the eco-spirituality that IPC promotes.

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake · 501 Sixth St, Annapolis, MD 21403, United States 
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