• Prayer for Ellicott City
  • Reflection: Baseball, Fireworks and Hope at the Top
  • Grant Funding Available
  • How do your legislators stack up?
  • Annual Watershed Forum
  • Environmental Justice Task Force
  • AME Churches Address Climate Change
  • World Day of Prayer Celebrating the Season of Creation
  • Free Water Audits in Baltimore
  • Tree Plantings at Congregations
  • New Round of Grant Funding for Tree Plantings
  • Free Cisterns for Congregations in Prince George's County 
  • Support IPC through Amazon Smile!
  • Upcoming Events
  • In-Kind Needs - Can you help us?

Prayer for Ellicott City

Please join us in holding in your prayers all of our brothers and sisters who have suffered as a result of the historic flood in Ellicott City. While no amount of planning or mitigation could have prevented this tragedy we know that the efforts of all of you, our partners, will continue to make a difference towards improvements for the future.   

We invite you to pray and reflect with us on these words from Psalm 42: 7-9 & 11. At times like these it may seem that God has forgotten us, but we are reminded that God mourns with us in our suffering, and God's love is always present.  

watching_over_you.jpgWhy are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows have gone over me.

By day the Lord commands steadfast love, and
at night his song is with me,  a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise God, my help and my God.

Track the Trash: Trash Free Maryland & The Patapsco Heritage Greenway is hoping to track some of the debris from the storm. See how you can help HERE.

Baseball, Fireworks and Hope from the Top


Recently, I returned from a family vacation to Cooperstown, New York. Home of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Otsego Lake, the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay. The reason for the trip was for a baseball tournament for my youngest son’s team at Dreams Park. Every week, for 13 weeks of the summer, 104 teams of 12 year old boys (that’s around 1600 players and their families) descend on this rural New York town.

To celebrate the July 4th holiday week, one night while the team was at dinner, I gave the boys some “Pop Its” to have fun with in the restaurant parking lot. Pop Its are little paper wrapped pellets of gunpowder that make a popping sound when thrown. Young boys LOVE to throw them at each other. Striking a balance between fun and responsible is always a challenge, but I felt that since Pop Its only leave biodegradable paper behind, this would not be a problem. I asked that the boys be respectful and make sure that we collected the boxes and bags of packaging so as to not leave trash, but in the end there were hundreds of the tiny paper wrappers on the parking lot.

Dreamspark.jpgNext thing I know, a teenager who had been bussing tables inside the restaurant came out and said to me, “You have to stop this right now. You are making a mess and it needs to be cleaned up!” He brought me an (ineffective!) broom and dustpan to sweep up the mess. I tried to tell him that I didn’t think these were a problem, that one good wind would blow the biodegradable wrappers away. But his response impressed me: He said, “We are at the beginning of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and what blows into our waterways pollutes the watershed”!!! Here was this teenager taking very seriously his responsibility of living at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay. Wow – I was stopped dead in my tracks.

Having noticed the boys and me bending down to pick up these hundreds of tiny pieces of paper, the owner of the restaurant came out to say he would just take care of it with his blower. I told him that I was very impressed with the young man and that because of my own staunch views on environment-alism I would never squash such a spirit with protest. Turned out, the owner was the young man’s father, and we ended up having a wonderful conversation about consumerism, local food, recycling (New York has a plastic bottle deposit), and stewardship of our shared waterways…even though we live hundreds of miles apart.

Please understand that from my home in Howard County we had driven 5 and a half hours north to get to Cooperstown. But even that far away, there are people - - young and old -- who are knowledgeable, and passionate about caring for our watershed. There truly is hope from the top!

Grant Funding Available

Outreach and Restoration Grant: Howard County has partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) to provide grants for local watershed projects.  Funded by Howard County government and administered by CBT, the grants will support Howard County projects through the Outreach and Restoration Grant Program.  CBT brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the grant process. Applicants are encouraged to contact CBT to discuss grant ideas before applying. Please contact them soon if you are interested.  Non-profit organizations, community associations, faith-based organizations and more are eligible. Grant awards range from $5,000-$75,000. The grant is currently open.  Contact Abbi Huntzinger at [email protected] or 410-974-2941 x106 with questions. Application Deadline: September 28, 2016.

The Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach Grant program, offered by the Montgomery County Government and the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT), is now accepting proposals to support watershed restoration and outreach throughout Montgomery County. The goal of this program is to reduce stormwater runoff and pollutants through community-based restoration implementation as well as projects focused on public engagement through education, outreach, and stewardship. Please note that this funding opportunity is available for projects throughout Montgomery County for grant awards of up to $100,000. The municipalities of Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Takoma Park are not eligible for funding in this program; however they are eligible in the Outreach and Restoration Grant Program that is also open now. CBT welcomes applicants from community associations, faith-based organizations, youth, and civic groups, watershed organizations, and other 501C3 non-profit organizations. They encourage you to contact the Trust to discuss any project ideas you might have.

The Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach Grant Program encourages on-the-ground restoration including RainScapes practices as well as outreach and engagement activities that reduce stormflow and pollutants and engage Montgomery County residents in the restoration and protection of the local rivers and streams of Montgomery County.  Deadline: October 6th, 2016 at 5pm. For questions contact Grant Manager Jeffrey Popp at [email protected] or 410-974-2941, ext. 103

How Do Your Legislators Stack Up?

Report-Card-Freebies-300x284.jpgOur elected officials made great strides by passing strong legislation to promote renewable energy and aggressively reduce Maryland’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as landmark legislation eliminating harmful pesticides from consumer use. The Maryland League of Conservation Voters invites you to see how your legislators voted on the important issues affecting the environment on their new interactive Scorecard which includes records of votes cast on the floor of the House and Senate and in committees, along with past voting records. Click HERE to check out their new website and interactive Scorecard.

Chesapeake-Bay-3.jpgAnnual Chesapeake Bay Watershed Forum

The theme for this year's Watershed Forum is "A Personal Call to Action". The Forum is open to anyone, and provides specialized information on watershed improvement practices and strategies for encouraging behavior change. IPC will be offering several workshops at the Forum this year, too!  Come join us September 30-October 2 in Shepherdstown, WV. Click HERE for conference agenda, details, and registration.

Environmental Justice Task Force

IPC is spearheading a task force to help raise awareness within the Maryland State Legislature on the moral urgency of recognizing and addressing environmental injustices in Maryland. The task force will commit to 3-4 conference calls this fall and some "homework assignments" in between calls. Join Rev. Mary Gaut, Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, Pastor Barry Hargrove, and Rev. Ryan Sirmons in this effort. We are especially looking for people from non-Christian backgrounds, since our current task force already has several Christian participants. Our first conference call is scheduled for Monday August 29th at 3 pm. If you are interested in contributing to this task force, please contact [email protected] for the call-in instructions. 

breaking_news.jpgAfrican Methodist Episcopal Church Passes Resolution Devoted to Climate Change

Check out this article that appeared in The Guardian about how AME leaders are approaching climate change. They warn that "black people are dis-proportionally harmed by global warming and fossil fuel pollution" and calls for "swift transition" to renewable energy. Click HERE to read the whole story. Inspiring!

Pope Francis invites all of us to pray for Season of Creation Begins with World Day of Prayer on Sept. 1

His personal invitation can be seen on this wonderful video.  Catholic Rural Life is collaborating with others to take the time and effort to participate in the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.  They will provide links and resources for reflections and actions taking place through the Season of Creation, Sept. 1 to Oct. 4.

Hurry to Get a Free Water Audit for Your Congregation! Time is Running Short

cartoon-drawing-of-man-rushing-to-work-w0AfC9-clipart.jpgIf your congregation is located in Baltimore City or County and it hasn't yet had a FREE water audit NOW is the time to sign up. Learn more HERE. To schedule your water audit and register for Blue Water Congregations Click HERE

The workshop and water audits are offered free of charge through Blue Water Congregations, a program of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, Blue Water Baltimore and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Contact Bonnie at [email protected] or 410-609-6852 with questions.

IMAG0906.jpgPlanting Trees: a Great Inter-generational Activity for the Fall

Planting trees is a wonderful community building activity for your congregation as well as a healing response to climate change and water pollution. We are still looking for several congregations throughout Maryland, and in particular Prince George's and Montgomery Counties, to plant trees through our Trees for Sacred Places program. Be our eyes! If you drive by a church with a HUGE (unnecessary!) lawn, jot down the name and let us know. Or, if you have time, stop into their office and see if they might be interested. 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. 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.

Contact Bonnie at [email protected] or call 410-609-6852.

New Round of Grant Funding for Tree-Planting

We will be applying for more funding to continue the Trees for Sacred Places program in 2017.  Our next round of funding may be open to congregations who can plant as few as 20 trees on their property. If your congregation has not been able to participate in the tree-planting program before due to the minimum number of trees to be planted, but could participate if the minimum number is as few as 20 trees, please reach out to Bonnie to put your name on our waiting list at [email protected] or 410-609-6852.

Rectangular_Cistern.jpgFree Cisterns for Congregations in Prince George's County

Want to slow down the rainwater rushing off your congregation's roof? Want to reduce your Prince George's County Stormwater Fee? We can help! Grant funding secured by the Anacostia Riverkeeper is available to install cisterns at faith-owned properties. 

These cisterns will store rainfall for non-potable water uses, or facilitate slow release after the storm. The project is 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. Already St. Luke Lutheran Church, St. Camillus Catholic Church, and Silver Spring United Methodist Church have received installed cisterns. What better way to draw your members into a deeper conversation about our responsibility to minimize negative impacts on shared water resources. To learn more or express your interest, please contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 410-609-6852.

Now-Accepting-Applications.jpgWatershed Stewards is currently accepting applications for the 2016-2017 Class of Master Watershed Stewards

Watershed Stewards Academy (WSA) certification course trains and supports citizens to become Master Watershed Stewards. Master Watershed Stewards take action with their neighbors to address the problem of stormwater pollution and restore local waterways in Anne Arundel County.  You must live, work, or worship in Ann Arundel County to apply.  Find more and sign up for one of the information sessions Click HERE

Shop AmazonSmile and Support IPC

amazonsmile.pngAmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop, you'll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the ADDED bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. It's easy to begin. Simply click HERE and select Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, Inc. as your charitable organization of choice. That's it!! Next time you shop online, make sure you start at AmazonSmile and IPC will receive .5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases.

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

  • August 16 - Become a Master Watershed Steward. Information session 6:30 pm, Mt. Olive Community Life Center. Click HERE to register.
  • August 17 - "Climate Change on the Eastern Shore" roundtable discussion on impacts and policy. 11 am - 2 pm, Eastern Shore Conservation Center, Easton, MD. Click HERE to register or contact Seth Bush, 267-474-3488[email protected]
  • August 17-21 - "Coming Home to The Heart: Healing the Self as a Means to Healing our World . Five-day Workshop in Baltimore, MD led by Anne Rice, Heart Shaman, Conscious Healer & Teacher at School of the Deep Heart. Hosted by Gunpowder Valley Conservancy. Click HERE to register.
  • August 23, 1pm -  Webinar on "Reduce your Stormwater: New Tool" The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay will present a webinar on the “Reduce Your Stormwater” website, online Yard Design Tool, and native garden cost-share program.  Find out more and register HERE.
  • August 29 - Environmental Justice Task Force. If interested in joining, please contact[email protected] for instruction on how to join the first conference call.
  • August 31 - Become a Master Watershed Steward. Information session 6:30 pm, Odenton Library. Click HERE to register.
  • September 1 - October 4Season of Creation begins with World Day of Prayer - see above for details
  • September 8 - Become a Master Watershed Steward. Information session 6:30 pm, Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center. Click HERE to register.
  • September 10 - 10 AM to 12 PM Rain Barrel Workshop by Blue Water Baltimore - Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center
    1000 Frankfurst Ave. Baltimore, MD 21226 Register Click HERE to register.
  • September 11 - Cistern Workshop and blessing at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Silver Spring, MD
  • September 15 -Taste of the Chesapeake, 5:30 pm, Annapolis - we gladly support our partners, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, by announcing their annual fundraiser. Click HERE for details.
  • September 28 - Outreach and Restoration Grant deadline. Contact Abbi Huntzinger at [email protected] or 410-974-2941 x106 with questions.
  • October 6 - Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach Grant deadline. For questions contact Grant Manager Jeffrey Popp at [email protected] or 410-974-2941, ext. 103.
  • October 25-27Green the Church Summit, to be held at New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore. Click HERE for more information.

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • IPC is doing a database cleanup this summer. Do you have a few hours you could donate to us each week? Contact Andrea Proctor at [email protected] to volunteer. 
  • Are you able to staff an information table at events for us? Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or call 410-609-6852 if you're willing to help with this from time to time. 
  • IPC could use a canvas case and small external speakers for a new projector we just purchased. Do you have something you can pass along? Contact Kolya Braun-Greiner at[email protected] or call us at 410-609-6852 if you do!
Thank you!