- Reflection: Being the Change
- Speaking out in Maryland
- One Water Partnership
- Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program
- Vacation Bible School Program on Water - Prince George's County
- Water Justice Conference
- Lenten Calendars on Creation Care
- Spring Plantings Available for Prince George's County congregations
- Trees for Sacred Places in Howard County and the Eastern Shore
- Howard County Happenings
- Chesapeake Bay Trust grants for Gaithersburg
- Upcoming Events
- Volunteer & In-Kind Needs
Being the Change
On my fridge is a magnet imprinted with the famous Ghandi quote: "Be the change you want to see in the world." The magnet serves as a constant reminder that change isn't about telling someone else they need to fix something...change starts from within.
Change at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Covenant started with Bernadine Coates. At a stature of about 4'11", Bernadine is a formidable leader with devout love for her God and God's Creation, and a humble respect for the slow process of change. She had taken classes at a local conservancy about planting native species. After dabbling with it at home, she wanted to help her church do this, too. That’s when they heard about Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC).
We helped them connect with Blue Water Baltimore, who conducted a water audit and guided them through the process of implementing stormwater management projects on their grounds. IPC met with a large crowd from her church to help them understand why reducing stormwater is our moral responsibility. We guided them through a process to envision their church as a vehicle for healing the environment…to envision themselves as the change they want to see. Immediately after that meeting, one of the attendees walked out to their parking lot and noticed the downstream street drain was mucked up with trash and leaves, and cleaned it out right then and there! Change was beginning to take root.
The church’s 23,000-square foot parking lot/roof generates 650,000 gallons of stormwater runoff annually. After securing $72,000 in grant funds for the design and implementation of two rain gardens, they will soon begin construction of the project which will treat ~25% of their impervious surfaces. They have been patiently and steadily working on this effort for over 2 years…the slow process of change.
And, Bernadine and her church didn’t stop there. They continue to engage their community in educational programs and advocacy. Bernadine brought several women from her church to Annapolis for the Environmental Legislative Summit in January. She also shares our e-newsletters and advocacy action alerts with her fellow congregants. Bernadine’s church recognizes their ability to be change agents – on their grounds, in their messaging, and in the halls of power.
Christians started the season of Lent last week. It is a season of change, but we’re also reminded in the Bible that we shouldn’t be proud or boastful about the changes we’re making. It should be a quiet journey with our God -- one that shows by example, not by words, the love and mystery of the God's Kingdom. You will never hear Bernadine boast about the work her church has done or the changes they are slowly making within. But, you can see it when you visit them, you can hear it when you speak to her, and you can witness it when they engage in public discourse in Annapolis.
Be inspired to be that witness in your community…be that quiet, committed, constant change.
Speaking out in Maryland
This is the time that many bills are starting to be voted on in subcommittees, and then will begin to move to the full Senate or House floor. Calls to your legislators are very important in the coming weeks -- time is of the essence and emails will not likely be as influential as phone calls. To track down the contact information for your state Senators and Delegates click on www.mdelect.net and enter your address.
- Bill details and talking points can be found here.
- Those living in rural/central Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, your calls to your HOUSE representatives would be very important this week.
- Phone Script is here
Antibiotics Restrictions in Agriculture
- Bill details and talking points are here
- Calls to specific legislators are important based on their role on Senate and House committees. These include
- Senate: Kasemeyer, Peters, King, Carter-Conway, Middleton, Guzzone, Kagan, Miller
- House: McCray, Barve, Beidle, Knotts, Jalisi, Gilchrist
- Phone Script is here
- Bill details and talking points are here
- This bill will face a tough battle in the House. Please contact your HOUSE representatives, particularly ones that serve on the House Environment & Transportation Committee.
- Phone Script is here
Ban on Fracking - The rally on March 2nd was a huge success with hundreds of attendees! Continue calling your legislators if you support this bill.
One Water Partnership-Spirtually Led Nature Walks in the Jones FallsTo kick start our One Water Partnership initiative IPC, along with our partners, will led spiritually led nature walks in the Jones Falls. The first walk will be held on Sat. March 25th at 10AM and then again on Sunday, March 26th at 2PM. To see the details and to pre-register check out our web page HERE. Click HERE for a promotional flyer that you can share. CLICK HERE for a full detailed brochure about the program. To find out if your congregation is in the Jones Falls or for more information email Bonnie Sorak or call her at 443-799-0349.
Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program (ACP)
Sign up NOW for our April 4th ACP Workshop! Prince George's County congregations can learn how to save money through the Alternative Compliance Program Options 2 & 3. Sign-up HERE for either the April 4thworkshop or the final workshop on May 10th. Download and share the flyer HERE. Offered by IPC and our partner the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
Hurry to Sign Up - Only 2 spots left in our Vacation Bible School/Sunday School Training in Prince George's County
Thanks to St. Stephen's Baptist Church, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, Fort Washington Baptist Church, Walker Mill Baptist Church, Jerusalem AME, Richie Baptist Church, Union Bethel AME, and First Baptist Church of North Brentwood that have already signed up! And we are grateful that Mt. Ennon Baptist Church has graciously agreed to host the Training sessions.
A FREE training and curriculum for a Vacation Bible School (VBS) or SundaySchool program will be offered to churches in Prince George's County, through a grant provided by Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Prince George's County Department of Environment! Our program offers, for free:
- pre-printed banner to hang outside and advertise your program
- one-on-one support for your team to help you succeed in putting on the program for your youth
Participating congregations will receive a 25% discount off their Clean Water Fee since this satisfies the educational requirement. Email Bonnie Sorak to reserve your spot today!
More information on this flyer. Click HERE to register for the workshops
Project Clean Stream
Join the largest annual volunteer cleanup event in the Chesapeake Bay region! Every spring, tens of thousands of volunteers come together to clean up local streams and neighborhoods as part of the Alliance for Chesapeake Bay's Project Clean Stream. Cleanups take place across the entire Chesapeake watershed, in all 6 Bay states and DC. Cleanups will take place all spring, from March 1 to June 9. If you would like to register a cleanup or volunteer at one, please click HERE to visit their website.
Clean Drain Campaign
The Baltimore Clean Drain Campaign is a public awareness campaign to keep Baltimore's citizens fed - and homes and streams free of sewage. For every resident that pledges to dispose of their used cooking grease and wipes properly, sponsors will donate cash to a participating food pantry. The pledge drive will open on March 16. To see a list of food pantries or get more information, please click HERE.
Trinity Institute at the Cathedral of the Incarnation Baltimore will once again host the Trinity Institute Conference and this year's theme is Water Justice. Access to clean water is an essential human right, yet such access is increasingly compromised by droughts, pollution, rising tides, and flooding. These effects of climate change are most tangibly felt by the very people the Gospel urges us to look to—the marginalized and the vulnerable. This conference, infused with spiritual principles and common prayer along with science and solutions, allows us to deeply examine what connects us, and empowers us to take unified, faith-based action on the front lines of the water justice movement. The conference will be held March 22-24. Click HERE for more information or click HERE to register.
Journey Through Lent With Our Creation Care Calendar
Lent is a time when Christian communities pray, fast, and share as they listen more intently for God. This year, have your church join with many others in heeding the call to be stewards of God’s Creation. Each day calls on us to take a different action and each of these actions will help to preserve God’s great gift of Creation.
May this season serve as a wake-up call to be mindful of the ways that our daily choices impact both “our common home” and all those with whom we share it, especially people living in poverty.
This year’s calendar is produced in partnership with our friends at Interfaith Power & Light and Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions. We invite you to photocopy it double-sided and share with your community as a bulletin insert.
FREE Trees and Program Available for Prince George's County Congregations
Would you like to beautify your grounds and leave a legacy to 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 on our webpage HERE.
Interested? Contact Bonnie Sorak.
View and download Prince George's Flyer HERE.
Lutheran Congregation Plants Trees In Commemoration of 500th Anniversary of the Reformation
As part of Faith Lutheran Church's (Baltimore City) commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, their Creation Care Team received a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to help congregations plant a total of 500 trees, as well as provide outreach and educational workshops that explain the importance of stewarding God's creation. As an early adopter of this Reformation 500 tree planting project, members of Faith Lutheran Church planted eight trees (two pear, four fig and two hazelnut) in their orchard in December 2016. The harvest from their orchard is used in their community food pantry.
Do you live in Howard County or on the Eastern Shore? We’re coming to you!
Building on our success working with congregations in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, IPC and the Alliance for the Chesapeake will be expanding the Trees for Sacred Places Project into Howard County and the Eastern Shore. Interested in learning more? Please contact Anna Awimbo.
Howard County Happenings
Howard County folks can improve our local waterways through the county’s CleanScapes Communities program (up to 75% off of rain gardens) and a new Septic Savers program ($100 reimbursement). Click HERE for more information.
The Chesapeake Bay Trust is currently accepting applications for their Capacity Building Initiative grants in Gaithersburg. The purpose of these grants is to build regional networks of diverse conservation and civic organizations working to improve local environmental and community health conditions in priority landscapes. To get more information and apply click HERE.
Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
- March 11 9:30-11:30 AM Vacation Bible School Workshop. Click HERE to register.
- March 11 Discussion on Carbon Sequestration and Food Production, 2-4PM. Hosted by Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis and held at Annapolis Friends Meetinghouse. More info HERE.
- March 16 Panel discussion: Adaption to Climate Change - how can we respond to the changing climate? 7-9PM. Hosted by Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis and held at Annapolis Friends Meetinghouse. More info HERE.
- March 16-April 16 Clean Drain Campaign pledge drive for Baltimore City residents. Contact Bonnie Sorak for more information.
- March 18 9:30-11:30 AM Vacation Bible School Workshop. Click HERE to register.
- March 22-24 Trinity Institute 2017: Water Justice global conference held in NYC and webcast at Cathedral of the Incarnation, Baltimore. Click HERE for more info.
- March 24 Leonardo DiCaprio's "Before the Flood" 7-9:30PM. Free. Hosted by Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis and held at Annapolis Friends Meetinghouse. Click HERE for more info.
- March 25 10 AM One Water Partnership Spiritually Led Nature Walk. Click HERE to register.
- March 26 2 PM One Water Partnership Spiritually Led Nature Walk. Click HERE to register.
- April 1 9:30-11:30 AM Vacation Bible School Workshop. Click HERE to register.
- April 4 Alternative Compliance Program Workshop for Prince George's County houses of worship. 12PM, St. Stephen Baptist Church, 5757 Temple Hill Rd., Temple Hills, MD 20748 Click HERE for flyer. Click HERE to register.
- April 8 Clean Waterways Volunteer Cleanup Event. 9AM Anacostia Park. All supplies & water provided. Get more info HERE.
- April 23 10 AM Trees for Sacred Places workshop with Baltimore Presbytery
- April 30 2 PM One Water Partnership Spiritually Led Nature Walk. Click HERE to register.
- May 7 Alternative Compliance Program Workshop for Prince George's County houses of worship. 2PM, Location TBD. Click HERE for flyer. Click HERE to register.
- May 20 9:30-11:30 AM Vacation Bible School Anacostia River Field Trip (only for those registered to offer the VBS program. Click HERE to register).
Volunteer and In-Kind Needs
- 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)