September 2017 Issue 2


  • Reflection: A "Birthday Gift" to be Treasured
  • Donate_Button.jpgFaith Leaders Speak Out
  • Baltimore City Stormwater Fee Regulations Revised
  • Clear Vision: One Water Partnership Actions Set
  • Tree Planting Workshops in Howard County and on the Eastern Shore
  • Baltimore City Ban on Crude Oil Terminals
  • Chesapeake Bay Trust Grant Funding Opportunities
  • 2nd Sacred Grounds Workshop in Montgomery County
  • Prince George's Congregations Needed to Plant Trees
  • Upcoming Events
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs

REFLECTION: A Birthday Gift to be Treasured

JugBayforJulie-2-3.jpgOn the evening of September 20th, the Jewish community will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the start of the year 5778 on the Hebrew calendar. Rosh Hashanah is both the beginning of a period of introspection culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, as well as a celebration of the birth of the world. Inspired by that thought, some twenty members of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland recently undertook an eco-service mission at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary on the Patuxent River south of Annapolis. At a time when Jews reflect on the birth of the world -- this amazing gift from our Creator -- it is fitting to remember our time out on Jug Bay and the ecological wonder that it is.


Our mission day started with a teaching session by Rabbi Julie Gordon that emphasized the need to actively work to protect and nourish our “birthday gift”. None of us are exempt from that mandate. It is our moral duty to be stewards of this Earth so that its bounty is equitably shared with all living beings. As the Rosh Hashanah liturgy notes, when the Day of Judgment arrives, “none will be exempt from justice’s eyes.”

The staff at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary started the day’s activities with an excellent overview of the important role the Sanctuary has in protecting the region’s water quality and as a resting place for many migrating birds. The use of the word "Sanctuary" here is tremendously fitting -- a gathering place of all that is right and good, giving honor to the beauty of Creation. After our orientation, Adat Shalom volunteers removed invasive, non-native grasses that are clogging the Sanctuary’s waterways. After a lunch break, we went on a guided canoe trip on the Patuxent River. It was a potent combination of learning new things, being challenged to see the world around us differently, and taking action to help restore healing to the watershed.

Eco-service missions have become a regular and well-supported feature of Adat Shalom’s ongoing social action calendar. This mission was a meaningful reminder that there are no geographical boundaries to our acting as agents of change - we can do it on a hurricane-ravaged Caribbean island or we can do it in the shadow of our national's capitol. If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful location and the good work that they do, check them out at: I, and the staff of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, would also be more than happy to discuss how to replicate this experience at your congregation in your watershed. You can email me at [email protected], or email Kolya Braun-Greiner, IPC's Religious Educator at [email protected]

Bill Halpern
Member of IPC's Board of Trustees
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation of Bethesda

NRPE_Lobbying_9-2017.jpgFaith Leaders Speak Out

Several faith leaders are elevating the moral perspective on national issues relating to the environment. Faith leaders from New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland met with US Senators and Representatives on September 6th about the importance of sustaining Chesapeake Bay funding in the FY 2018 Budget. On September 12th, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake and several other organizations led a prayer service followed by advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill. And on September 18th, several faith leaders from the Eastern Shore, including the Episcopal Canon to the Ordinary Rev. Patrick Collins, are meeting with US Representative Andy Harris' office to discuss the importance of maintaining full funding of Chesapeake Bay restoration in the national budget. 

As faithful stewards and informed citizens, we have a responsibility to engage in public discourse and meet with our elected representatives. The faith leaders who have been engaging in this action are critically important to the work of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake and we thank them for taking their time to prepare for and participate in these meetings. 

New Stormwater Remediation Fee Regulations

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works has updated the Stormwater Remediation Fee Regulations, which was a joint effort between the Department and DPW’s Stormwater Advisory Committee (SWAC). IPC was an appointed member of SWAC and was integral in keeping the faith voice front and center as regulatory changes were being recommended. The new regulations are now in effect and can have significant impact for congregations and your individual members. They are posted on the DPW website under “Stormwater Fee”.

A few changes to highlight:

  • Tax-exempt veterans' organizations are exempt from paying the stormwater fee;
  • Charitable, nonprofit organizations may be eligible for a hardship exemption if they can show a financial hardship and have an approved Alternative Compliance Plan;
  • Streets in cemeteries that are privately maintained and open to the public are exempt;
  • The number of volunteer hours needed to receive a $10 Participation Event credit has been reduced to 4 hours
  • Rain barrels (of at least 50 gallon capacity) are now eligible for a one-time $25 credit
  • The credit for trees has been increased from $3 to $5 (min. two trees planted)

Feel free to contact Mark Cameron at DPW [email protected] (410) 396-0732 Cell: (410) 215-1961 or Bonnie Sorak at [email protected]  to see how you can take advantage of these changes or if you have any questions.

Final_OWP_Facebook_Graphic.jpgWe Can See Clearly Now: Visions Established for Positive Actions in Jones Falls 

Congratulations to St. Ignatius Catholic ChurchHar SinaiChizuk Amuno and Beth Am volunteers who joined us for a Visioning Session on September 10th. Now they know which actions they want to take in order to make improvements in their local watershed. Check out what you might do at your congregation by Clicking HERE for our full Menu of Actions.  Email Bonnie Sorakor call her at 443-799-0349 for the details. Fill out this brief interest form and we'll follow up to schedule a conversation on your congregation's interests and capacity.

Blessings to all these congregations that have already decided to take action through the One Water Partnership by completing a Visioning Session to prioritize their efforts. They include: Shrine of the Sacred HeartBrown Memorial Presbyterian ChurchCathedral of the Incarnation Episcopal ChurchChurch of the Redeemer Episcopal Church, Church of the Guardian Angel, six:eight ChurchGovan's Presbyterian ChurchGrace Lutheran ChurchHomewood Friends MeetingMemorial Episcopal ChurchMt. Lebanon Baptist ChurchSt. Luke's on The Avenue Lutheran Church and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. Let's add your congregation to this list!

Learn how to Plant Trees at your Eastern Shore or Howard County Congregation: Train-The-Trainer Workshops for Trees for Sacred Places Coming Up Quick! 


All our spots are full for both the Eastern Shore and Howard County programs but you can still attend the training. On back-to-back nights we will be training more than 20 faithful stewards on the proper way to plant trees at their home congregations as part of our Trees for Sacred Places program. The Howard County training is on Monday, Sept. 18th at 6PM. Participants include First Presbyterian Church of Howard CountySt. Andrew's Episcopal ChurchTemple IsaiahOur Lady of Perpetual Help and Dar Al-Taqwa Mosque

The Eastern Shore training workshop is on Tuesday, Sept. 19th at 6PM and will include Old Trinity ChurchSt. Luke’s United Methodist ChurchSt. Paul’s Church, Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church and Old Wye Parish. If you would like to join either group email Bonnie Sorak to let her know you would like to come.

If your congregation is interested in participating in future similar programs please contact our Program Manager, Anna Awimbo. We would like to hear from you.

Silver Spring UMC Installs Stormwater and Habitat Features

Check out this article on Silver Spring United Methodist Church - one of our "superstar churches"! If they can do it with their congregation, you can too. Thanks to Rob Horn a wonderful faithful steward. Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] to see how to get started.

Calling All Baltimore City Faith Leaders

The Baltimore City Council will soon vote on a zoning ordinance to ban crude oil train terminals and our friends at Interfaith Power & Light have written a letter in support of the ban. If you are a faith leader living and/or working in Baltimore City, please prayerfully consider adding your name to the growing list of those who are standing together in defense of Creation. You can read the letter HERE.

 Chesapeake Bay Trust Grant Funding Opportunities 

CBT_Plate_Logo-4c.jpgHave dreams of making your congregational grounds more environmentally friendly or educating your community, but you just don't have funds to do it? The Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) offers mini-grants, county-based grants, educational grants, and more. Grants for projects in Montgomery Countyare being accepted now until early October. Email Bonnie Sorak or call her at 443-799-0349 for guidance on which program your project would be best suited. Click HERE to check out the different categories.

postcard_nwf_invite_sacred_grounds-001.jpgJoin Us October 15 for a Second Sacred Grounds Workshop for Montgomery County Congregations

IPC supports the National Wildlife Federation and others to offer Montgomery County congregations a Sacred Grounds webinar and in-person workshops to learn how your community can receive up to $10,000 to beautify your grounds, conserve water and create habitat for wildlife. The first workshop was held on June 18th and a second workshop will be offered Sunday, October 152:30-6PM at the Imaam Center, Silver Spring, MD. Join us! Click HERE to listen to a recording of the webinar.

Attention Prince Georges County Congregations: Hurry for the last spots in our FREE Tree Planting Program 

Fall planting dates are filling up fast. If you would like to beautify the grounds at your congregation and leave a legacy for future generations of your faith community please contact us NOW. This is a great way to engage youth and adults in a community building and healing activity that expresses your care for God's Creation.  Even if your congregation does not have room for 30 trees a Youth Group, Men's Ministry, Social Justice Committee, etc. can help plant trees on an off-site location. Don't wait until it is too late. Go to our Trees for Sacred Places webpage  

You can learn more about the program HERE. Interested? Contact Bonnie Sorak

View and download Prince George's Flyer HERE.
Pictured: Carolina Missionary Baptist Church

 Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • September 18 Trees for Sacred Places "Train-the-Trainer" Workshop Howard County 6PM First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, Ellicott City.
  • September 19 Trees for Sacred Places "Train-the-Trainer" Workshop Eastern Shore 6PM at Waugh Chapel, Cambridge.
  • September 19 "Learn about Little Control" Find out how the Washington area is dealing with trash in our streams through cleanups, regulations and monitoring. 7:30PM, Silver Spring Civic Building. For more info about the talk contact [email protected]More info HERE.
  • September 22 Film: Chasing Ice, 7PM at Annapolis Friends Meeting, Annapolis. Click HERE for more info.
  • September 23 Film: Chasing Coral, 7:30PM at Warner Memorial Presbyterian, Kensington. Free with Q&A to follow. More info HERE.
  • September 23 Taste of the Wild fundraising event for Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. Click HERE to RSVP.
  • September 24 Baltimore Green Forum "The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative 50% Campaign" Presentation/Q&A begins at 4PM. Maryland Presbyterian Church, Towson. Click HERE for more info.
  • September 24 Film" Chasing Coral, 7PM at St. Mark Presbyterian,N. Bethesda. Free with Q&A to follow. More info HERE.
  • September 30 Trees for Sacred Places workshop and planting day, 8:30-10:30AM at Christ Kingdom Church, District Heights.
  • September 30 Wade in the Water: Spiritual Storytelling and Service Along the Patuxent. Free but registration required. Click HERE for more info.
  • September 30 "Sweep the Creek" clean-up of Sligo Creek. Friends of Sligo Creek provides gloves, bags and water. Click HERE for more info.
  • October 1 "Sweep the Creek" clean-up of Sligo Creek. Friends of Sligo Creek provides gloves, bags and water. Click HERE for more info.
  • October 1 St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church rain garden blessing during 9AM service then outside at 1PM for the Blessing of the Animals.
  • October 1 One Water Partnership Covenant Signing 5-7:30PM at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church, Baltimore.
  • October 3 Trees for Sacred Places Workshop, 10-11AM at the Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City.
  • October 7 Trees for Sacred Places Workshop and Tree Planting Day, 8AM-Noon at LIFEPoint Church, Waldorf.
  • October 8 "Green Day" at Mount Lebanon Baptist Church, Baltimore - Speakers on solar power, home energy savings and stormwater management. Screening of "We are All Smith Islanders". Click HERE for detailed flyer. A One Water Partnership event.
  • October 14 Trees for Sacred Places tree planting day, 9-11AM at Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City.
  • October 14 Anacostia River Festival - 11AM-4PM View flyer in English or Spanish. IPC could use some help tabling at this event especially if you can speak Spanish. Please contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] if you can help.
  • October 14 Plant & Seed Swap, 10AM-12PM Parks & People Foundation, 2100 Liberty Heights Ave Baltimore. Click HERE for more info.
  • October 15 Sacred Grounds Workshop, 2:30-6PM at the Imaam Center, Silver Spring.
  • October 21 Trees for Sacred Places Workshop and Tree Planting at Union Bethel AME, Brandywine.
  • October 21 Our Executive Director, Jodi Rose, will be speaking at the Catholic Call To Action East Coast Conference in Baltimore.
  • October 29 Tree Planting Day and Workshop, (Time TBA) at Central Baptist Church, Temple Hills.

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • Are you willing to help us coordinate volunteers? We can use your help!
  • Do you like photographyVidoegraphy? We are always looking for help taking photos at our events, and putting them together in slide shows.  
  • Are you willing to make 5-10 phone calls each week for us to help us follow up with engaged congregations? 
Thank you!