July 2017 Issue 1
- Reflection: Are We Making Any Difference?
- Vote for Clean Water!
- Join Us in October for a Second Sacred Grounds Workshop for Montgomery County Congregations
- FREE Trees and Program Available for Prince George's County Congregations
- Be Part of the Trees for Sacred Places Project on the Eastern Shore and in Howard County
- Exploration Charters in Upper Bay & Anacostia River
- Upcoming Events
- Volunteer & In-Kind Needs
Are We Making Any Difference?
This week the EPA proposed to repeal the Clean Water Act, a move which IPC and many other watershed organizations strongly oppose. The Clean Water Act is essential to assuring clean safe drinking water, protecting it from the dumping of polluters. It's an easy temptation to get discouraged as we face the magnitude of need for healing God's Creation, causing us to wonder: Is what I'm doing making any difference? I'm reminded of these encouraging words from Mother Theresa: We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
Through faithful attention to our local watersheds, like drops of water accumulate, our acts of "justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream" (Amos 5:24). We are indeed making a difference in the healing of these sacred waters that flow in to the Chesapeake Bay. A recent report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation offers a 2017 midway review of the results from of the "Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint," offering further inspiration for our actions. "While there is significant room for improvement in all the states [MD, VA, PA], it is important to note that reduced pollution is benefiting the Bay. Over time, the dead zone is getting smaller, Bay grasses are at record levels, and oysters are rebounding, said CBF President William C. Baker. "
If progress is being made, then why would we backtrack on protections of the Clean Water Act for rivers and streams, when we know that the work we're doing today to protect these waterbodies is working here in the Chesapeake? To carry out these protections, the goals of the Blueprint are:
- everyone shares in the responsibility for cleaning up our waterways;
- two-year, incremental pollution-reduction goals—known as milestones—to keep progress on track;
- imposes consequences for failure, ensuring states and localities will meet their responsibilities.
Through projects like installing rain barrels or cisterns, rain gardens, and planting trees at over 200 congregations that IPC has assisted to accomplish, we all are indeed "shar[ing] the responsibility for cleaning up our waterways."
A beautiful example of expressing faithful responsibility for the watershed is being implemented by Watershed Steward, Betsy Love, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Eastport. Through the RiverWise Congregations program partnered by the Alliance for the Chesapeake, Watershed Stewards Academy of Anne Arundel County, and IPC, St. Luke's has been approved for a major restoration project which would return their local creek to its natural course. By re-establishing the property's lost stream channel, ...stormwater [can] through a more natural process which officials said will also reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients running into the river. (Read more in this Capital Gazette article) Betsy said that this project will transform a polluting 28 acre municipal stormwater pipe drainage system into a clean water producing engineered historic tidewater landscape... and An Advisory Board of Bay restoration experts have encouraged us to develop an environmental education campus to serve stewardship for decades to come.
Our faith calls us to "keep on keepin' on" as these words from Galatians 6:9 remind us: let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Keep calm and carry on the good work!
Inspired by Betsy and want to do similar work in Howard County? Howard County's Watershed Stewards Academy is holding information sessions for those interested in becoming more involved in restoring local waterways. Next session is on July 12th. Click HERE for additional dates and more information.
Vote for Clean Water!
In a spirit of cooperation, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake collaborates with Baltimore Watershed groups, scientists, NGO’s and local governments under the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.
Our group has been selected for national recognition as a finalist for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammie). You can support our efforts to promote clean water for all by voting for our work through the People’s Choice Award (voting instructions and details can be found here: https://servicetoamericamedals.org/peoples-choice/). Vote early and often for Urban Waters!
Want to do more to protect your local waterways? IPC has many opportunities available through our One Water Partnership, Trees For Sacred Places, Vacation Bible School, and Alternative Compliance Program Workshops, and more. Contact Bonnie Sorak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-799-0349 for more details.
Thanks to our friends at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church for hosting our Nature Walk. We hope to pick up and do more of these in the Fall. Want to sign up your congregation to participate? Contact Bonnie Sorak at email@example.com or call her at 443-799-0349 for the details. Download a promotional flyer HERE to share.
Want to learn more about the One Water Partnership? Click HERE to go to our webpage. Fill out this brief interest form and we'll follow up to schedule a conversation on your congregation's interests and capacity.
IPC is partnering with the National Wildlife Federation and others to offer Montgomery County congregations a Sacred Grounds webinar & 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 on October 15th (location TBD). Join us! Click HERE to listen to a recording of the webinar or click HERE for more info.
Would you like to beautify your grounds and leave a legacy for future generations of your faith community? Want to save money on your stormwater fee charged by the County? Wish to engage youth and adults in a community building activity that expresses your care for God's Creation? Does your congregation have room for 30 trees? Are you excited to hear about this free program, Trees for Sacred Places, that offers all of these benefits along with a spiritual workshop offering your faith tradition's teachings on stewardship of the earth and waters?
We are still looking for several congregations, retreat centers or religious schools located in Prince Georges's County. You can learn more about the program HERE. Interested? Contact Bonnie Sorak.
View and download Prince George's Flyer HERE.
Be Part of the Trees for Sacred Places Project on the Eastern Shore and in Howard County
We’re delighted to be joined in our Trees for Sacred Places Project by First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, Old Trinity Church, St Luke’s United Methodist Church, St. Paul’s Church, and Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church. If you live on the Eastern Shore or in Howard County and would like to join us, we would like to hear from you. To learn more, please contact our Program Manager, Anna Awimbo.
Exploration Charters in Upper Bay and on the Anacostia River
Upper Bay: Coastal Anthology, a boat tour/guide outfit in the Susquehanna/Upper Bay area, is offering up to 4 cost-free, 4-hour, on-the-water exploration charters for faith groups of 6 or less. IPC can provide discussion questions that your group can take with you. After those 4 slots for free charters are filled, up to 6 additional faith groups can request a tour at a negotiated price. The standard price is $60 per hour for a 4-hour tour. A description of Coastal Anthology charters can be found HERE.
Anacostia River: Anacostia Riverkeeper is once again offering free boat tours. 1-hour and 2-hour tours are available for groups up to 20 people. Grab your spiritual leader and go take a reality tour of DC's River!
Contact IPC at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a tour on either of these trips.
Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
- July 8 Rain Garden Workshop 10AM-1PM Free. St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Nottingham, MD. Click HERE for more info.
- July 13 Thursday Night Kayaking. Free guided kayaking experience of the Anacostia River on Thursday evenings. 5:30-7:30PM. Click HERE for more info.
- July 14 Friday Night Fishing. Free - all gear and bait provided. Click HERE for more info.
- July 15 Canoe and Scoop - paddle around the shores of Middle Branch Park to collect trash washed up along the shoreline. Instruction and demonstrations are provided. Click HERE for more info. Email email@example.com to reserve your spot.
- July 17 Our Streams, Our Lake, Our Community - It Takes a Village 7 PM at Slayton House Click HERE for more information
- July 22 10AM-12PM Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program Workshop (Location To Be Determined) to sign up click HERE.
Volunteer and In-Kind Needs
- Can you spare an hour or two on Sat. Aug. 26th from 10 AM to 2 PM to help staff an information table in Baltimore at Kingdom Life Church Community Event? Contact Bonnie Sorak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-799-0349 if you can help out. Click HERE for details.
- Do you have extra 1-inch 3-ring binders at home or the office? We are looking for binders that have a slot on the front cover to slide a cover page in.
- 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?
- Are you willing to help us coordinate volunteers? We can use your help!
- We could use colored pocket folders (blue, green, yellow or orange - to match our logo colors)