January 2018, Issue 1


  • Reflection: A Testament of Hope for a Beloved Community
  • Donate_Button.jpgHas Your Congregation Stopped Using Styrofoam?
  • Faithful Advocates Conference Call Briefing
  • Environmental Summit - Jan 18th
  • Join the Beloved Community of the One Water Partnership!
  • Fund Your Projects - Next Mini-Grant Webinar This January
  • Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program
  • Vacation Bible School Training - March 2018
  • Funding Available in Gaithersburg and Harford County
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs

A Testament of Hope for a Beloved Community

chalk-ppl-around-world-702x336.jpgAs we embark on a new year and celebrate the 88th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 15, we can turn for inspiration to his prophetic vision of harmony and justice based on the "Beloved Community" as found in the collection of his writings "A Testament of Hope." His vision was "to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” 
“I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

IMG_2263.JPGWe may succumb to reviewing the past year and only see what "darkens life" - in the form of violence, or threats of violence, racism and hatred, along with severe weather events where people and the land have suffered the devastation of fire, hurricanes, flooding or drought. But that's not the whole story. Many positive actions have occurred with people stepping up, organizing and acting for justice for human and earth community. IPC kicked off a leading-edge watershed focused "beloved community" of the One Water Partnership in the Jones Falls Watershed where 32 faith communities so far have committed to a wide range of actions to heal and restore the land and waters, right where they live. The Trees for Sacred Places projects completed last year in Montgomery County, Prince George's County, Howard County, the Eastern Shore, and statewide, engaged 27 congregations that planted over 1,500 trees that will sequester 36 tons of CO2 and filter 1.5 million gallons of water annually. All of these seemingly small acts of loving stewardship contribute to a beloved community that is more healthy, vibrant and just, living in balance and harmony with neighbor and Creation.

Holy_Family_Catholic-cropped.jpgAs Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. says "love illuminates it (life)." May your prayers and actions this year be fueled by your love for the world, in all its beauty and brokenness. We encourage you to gather a book study or reflection group to support your prayer intentions in the new year. Go to our Resource Page to find IPC's new Recommended Reading List and other ideas for spiritual reflection. Please contact Kolya with your suggestions for other inspiring reads for Creation care! We'll be updating the list every month with new additions. Find your sources of inspiration, cultivate the spiritual practices that shore up your soul, and seek community for the support you need to joyfully share in this worthy work of repairing the world.

King's vision of the beloved community requires "a qualitative change in our souls." This offers a beautiful prayer intention for our coming year, one that can be "illuminated by love." What illumines your heart to sustain your commitment?  The scripture reading from Isaiah 60:1-6 offers these words of encouragement in this season of Epiphany:

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.... Lift up your eyes and look around...  Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice... 

Has Your Congregation Stopped Using Styrofoam?Right_thing_to_Do.jpg

As we prepare to push for a Styrofoam ban in Maryland, we are collecting the names of congregations who have already stopped using foam products to demonstrate that changing behavior is possible. 

Even if your congregation is located outside Maryland, if they have stopped using Styrofoam, please add their name to this list. It helps us show Maryland Legislators that this change is possible. 

Faithful Advocates Conference Call Briefing

Join in a conference call to hear about environmental legislation that will be proposed in the Maryland General Assembly and actions you can take to support them. Learn about the Maryland Clean Jobs Initiative, Forest Conservation Act Amendments, Ban on Foam Products, and more. 

  • Thursday, January 25, 7:30-9:00PM
  • RSVP HERE to receive call-in details
  • Free and open to all

Legislative Summit at the Annapolis Statehouse


Come on down to the Annapolis Statehouse and join hundreds of other advocates to hear from Maryland state legislators on important environmental bills this session. If there is a great turnout, that tells our representatives how important environmental progress means to us constituents!

Join the Beloved Community of the One Water Partnership!


Congratulations to Church of the Redeemer who just learned that their Chesapeake Bay Trust design grant has been improved! They will spend the next year planning stormwater retrofits for their 1 acre parking lot and looking into solar powered electric car charging stations and lighting. Homewood Friends Meeting also showed "Chasing Coral" and Shrine of the Sacred Heart is showing "Bag It" on Jan. 20Memorial Episcopal is planning a whole film series. Stay tuned for details. Click HERE to see a list of the member congregation's plans. Click HERE for summary of the work that has already begun. We are offering our first leadership training workshop called "Creation Care 101" on January 28, from 2-4PM at Church of the Redeemer (Click HERE for details). 

You can read a synopsis of the One Water Partnership program in this Bay Journal article. If your congregation is in the Jones Falls watershed you can still can join the efforts of this "beloved community"! Check out what your congregation can do by Clicking HERE for our full Menu of Actions. Email Bonnie Sorak or call her at 443-799-0349 for the details. Fill out this brief interest form and we'll follow up to schedule a conversation about your congregation's interests and capacity.
Photo: Shrine of the Sacred Heart Stream Clean Up

Fund Your Projects - Next FREE Mini Grant Webinar on Sunday, January 21 at 2PM

Is your congregation looking for funds to carry out an environmental or health themed program or in-the-ground project? Then IPC can help. IPC is providing support for four-eight congregations to apply for Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Engagement Mini-Grants (up to $5,000). Earth Forum of Howard County has submitted their first application and you can too! The second FREE informational webinar will be held on Sunday, January 21, at 2PM. Click HERE to go to our webpage to learn more, to register and to see how IPC can help. Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349 for more details. Please see and share the promotional flyer HERE or print version HERE.

PG_County_Seal.pngPrince George's County Alternative Compliance Program 

Interested in learning more about how your congregation can save money through the Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program? IPC staff are offering free one-on-one support to help you achieve reductions in your congregation’s Clean Water fee. This support is paid for by a grant from the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, but is open to only 10 congregations. Questions? Contact Anna Awimbo at [email protected] or call 410-609-6852.

Vacation Bible School Training - March 2018  


Sign up for our God's Water Heroes, Splash Into Living Waters Vacation Bible School & Sunday School Curriculum training for Prince George's County congregations.  

This FREE curriculum and training is focused on caring for God’s waters of Creation within our local watershed. The 3-part training will begin on March 10, at St. Stephen Baptist Church in Temple Hills, MD. Questions? Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349.

Click HERE to register for the training.

Photo: Fort Washington Baptist VBS participants                                                                                                                            

Funding Available in Gaithersburg and Harford County

Is your congregation located in Gaithersburg or Harford County, and has your community been wanting to install a rain garden, plant trees, or tackle some other pollution-reducing project? Chesapeake Bay Trust has funding available immediately for congregational projects that reduce stormwater pollution. For more information or to ask questions, please email Jodi at [email protected]

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • January 12 - Film "Wasted! The Story of Food Waste" 7-9PM. Annapolis Friends Meeting. Click HERE for more info
  • January 18 - Environmental Legislative Summit - Join us for advocacy training (12-3PM) or hear from your state representatives on specific environmental bills (4-6PM RSVP HERE
  • January 20 6PM Shrine of the Sacred Heart screening of "Bag It", pizza and snacks and make a reusable bag from a t-shirt. Click HERE to RSVP
  • January 21 2PM - IPC hosts Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Engagement Mini Grant Webinar. Click HERE for more information
  • January 21 2PM - Find out what's happening in Baltimore City, healthwise. Dr. Wen, Health Commissioner for Baltimore City will speak about her two-year old program to prescribe naloxone to all residents and other transformative projects. Earth Forum of Howard County-First Presbyterian Church of Howard County hosts this free program. Click HERE for more information
  • January 25 Public Forum "Medicaid in Maryland" 7-9PM. Annapolis Friends Meeting. Click HERE for more info
  • January 26 Tu'BiSh'vat services and panel discussion at Temple Sinai, a Reform congregation in Washington, DC. Services will be at 6:30PM, followed by a vegetarian dinner and discussion, approximately 7:30-9PM. Temple Sinai, 3100 Military Rd NW, Washington, DC
  • January 26-27 Working Together: Healing Our Climate and Our Nation sponsored by Citizen's Climate Lobby. Click HERE for more information
  • January 28 2PM "Creation Care 101" Leadership Training Workshop for One Water Partnership Congregations. Click HERE for more information

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • Want to volunteer more regularly during the Maryland Legislative Session for advocacy work? If yes, then you should sign up for our separate Action Alert emails
  • Are you willing to help us coordinate volunteers? We can use your help!
  • Do you like photography? Vidoegraphy? 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? 

If you can volunteer with us, please contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected].

Thank you!