October 2017 Issue 1


  • Reflection: St. Francis - Caring for the Whole Family of Creation
  • Donate_Button.jpgHands Across the Potomac
  • Lutheran 500 Trees Project-Celebration at Carroll Lutheran Village
  • One Water Partnership Completes Cohort-Still Space for One-Two Action Congregations 
  • Silver Spring UMC Installs Stormwater Habitat Features
  • Calling All Baltimore City Faith Leaders
  • Eco-Reformation Day - October 21
  • Join Us Oct. 13 for a Second Sacred Grounds Workshop for Montgomery County Congregations
  • Prince George's Congregations Needed to Plant Trees
  • Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs

St. Francis - Caring for the Whole Family of Creation

Oct. 4, the Feast of St. Francis, marks the culmination of the Season of Creation celebrated by Christians around the world. Many churches observe the Feast of St. Francis as an opportunity to renew their commitment to care for what Francis of Assisi called "our dear Sister Mother Earth." On this occasion, some congregations celebrate a "Blessing of the Animals" when people bring their pets to receive a blessing, thereby honoring creatures in the way of Francis. He held the animals with such deep respect that "Francis called all creatures, no matter how small, since he knew they had the same source as himself" (Bonaventure) - Sister Bird, Brother Wolf for example. He preached to the animals and even wanted the emperor to ask all citizens to scatter grain along the roads on Christmas Day so that the birds and other animals would have plenty to eat.

The native trees planted by congregations through the Trees for Sacred Placesprogram is another way that people of faith are supporting the web of life so that wildlife have plenty to eat. Only native trees host the native insects, whose larvae become the caterpillars that feed baby birds. It takes about 6,000 caterpillars to feed just one nest of baby Chickadees until they fly!  Let us know if your congregation is interested in planting trees next year ([email protected]) and share this flyer to promote the idea as a way to start or expand your Creation Care or Green Ministry. And the 500 Trees project, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, is planting trees too, such as those at Carroll Lutheran Village, putting their faith into action planting 60 native trees, celebrated with a blessing from Bishop Gohl. (See story below) 

Saint Francis, known as the Patron Saint "of those who promote ecology" (declared by Pope John Paul II), lived in a largely pre-literate society, so the common human experience of the world was not yet mediated through words, but rather through direct experience. There wasn't then the deep rift we have inherited, a kind of dualism - humans vs. nature. And Pope Francis, who took his name from St. Francis, expressed these connections in the encyclical, Laudato Si, Our Common Home, which is a wonderful book study for people of any faith. The encyclical articulates how we heal our wounded relationship with Creation:

Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth. (92)

So, during this Season of Creation - and beyond!, we invite you to take a few moments to turn to Creation for a time of reverent mediation as Francis did to restore your souls, to mend our relationship with earth, and to strengthen you for the healing work of restoration. May this prayer from Francis offer a start:

Our hands imbibe like roots, so I place them on what is beautiful in this world.
And I fold them in prayer, and they draw from the heavens light.

Kolya Braun-Greiner, MDiv
IPC Religious Educator

Hands Across the Potomac

In a show of defense of clean water and equitable distribution of natural resources, you can participate in a public resistance against a pipeline that is proposed under the Potomac River. Join "Hands Across the Potomac," an event organized by Chesapeake Climate Action Network. For event details and to RSVP, click HERE. This event will take place Saturday October 14, 2017 at 12 noon, in Sharpsburg, Maryland. 

Lutheran 500 Trees Project - Celebration at Carroll Lutheran Village 
During 2017 congregations throughout the DE-MD Lutheran Synod (and around the world) are commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The DE-MD Lutheran Creation Care Team, in collaboration with Maryland Episcopal Environmental Partners (MEEP) is recruiting congregations to celebrate by planting trees through its  500 Trees Project. For more information or to sign up for tree planting next year, contact Deacon Laura Heller, [email protected]Carroll Lutheran Village was motivated to participate by the enthusiasm of Jean Hauk, member of the Exterior Care & Grounds Committee along with Carl Martens (both are pictured left in the middle with Bishop Gohl), who helped design a planting plan with a wide variety of native trees.  They were inspired to participate in 500 Trees by attending a Workshop led by IPC at Mar-Lu-Ridge Retreat Center. They successfully organized the planting of 60 native trees at Carroll Lutheran Village. On September 13, a gala celebration was officiated by Bishop William Gohl who blessed all the trees and the volunteers during a beautiful ceremony. Read more about this story in the Carroll County Times

Final_OWP_Facebook_Graphic.jpgOne Water Partnership Fills Cohort of Covenant Congregations 

Still Openings for More Congregations to get Involved by doing One or Two Actions

We have reached and exceeded our goal of 15 "covenant" congregations joining the One Water Partnership. Congratulations to all these congregations who, in addition to forming or supporting their congregational Green Teams and signing a commitment, will also take at least 4 actions to improve their shared Jones Falls watershed over the next year: Beth AmBrown Memorial Presbyterian ChurchCathedral of the Incarnation ,  Chizuk AmunoGovan's Presbyterian ChurchHar SinaiHomewood Friends Meeting,  Memorial Episcopal ChurchMt. Lebanon Baptist ChurchSt. Ignatius Catholic ChurchSt. Luke's on The Avenue Lutheran Church with six:eight ChurchSt. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, The Church of the Guardian Angel, The Church of the Redeemer Shrine of the Sacred Heart

Thanks to these 14 congregations that are participating by taking at least one action: Ark Church, Baltimore Ethical Society, Corpus Christi Church, First Unitarian, Grace Lutheran Church, ​Homestead United Methodist Church, Kingdom Restorers International, Mt Vernon Place United Methodist Church, New Waverly United Methodist Church, Nu Season Nu Day, St. David's Episcopal Church, St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Sweet Prospect Baptist Church

Check out what you might do at your congregation 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 on your congregation's interests and capacity.

 Let's add your congregation to this list!

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.

Eco-Reformation Day - October 21

Please join in the celebration of the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation by planting trees and learning about how to be good stewards of God’s bountiful creation at at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 4301 Raspe Ave, Baltimore, MD. At 2:00 PM, planting of Maryland native trees and fruit trees will begin. Following the planting, there will be information shared by the Delaware-Maryland Synod Creation Care Ministry on energy conservation, clean energy, clean water, community gardens, and other creation stewardship topics. Free plants and garden seeds as well as pumpkins and gourds will be available for participants to take with them. The day’s events will conclude with a joyful worship service beginning at 5:00 PM.  For additional information please contact Deacon Laura Heller, [email protected]443-791-0248.

postcard_nwf_invite_sacred_grounds-001.jpgJoin Us October 15 for a Second Sacred GroundsWorkshop 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 15, 2:30-6PM 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.

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 20 congregations. Questions? Contact Anna Awimbo at [email protected] or call 410-609-6852.

 Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • October 3 Trees for Sacred Places Workshop, 10-11AM at the Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City.
  • October 6 Film "Racing Extinction" 7PM. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville. More info HERE.
  • 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 Workshop: "Seed Saving in Your Garden" presented by UME Master Gardners, 9-10AM. Parks & People Foundation, 2100 Liberty Heights Ave, Baltimore. Click HERE for more info.
  • 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 21 Eco-Reformation Day, 2PM with oyful worship at 5PM, at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 4301 Raspe Ave, Baltimore.
  • October 25 BES Community Open House. Informal gathering hosted by Parks & People Foundation to share the research of Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES). Free and open to all. 5:30PM. Click HERE for details.
  • October 29 Tree Planting Day and Workshop, (Time TBA) at Central Baptist Church, Temple Hills.
  • November 5 Film "Merchants of Doubt" followed by a panel discussion, 3PM, Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church. Click HEREfor more info. A One Water Partnership event.
  • November 13 "Your Voice, Your Earth Take Action!" Learn from elected officials on how to impact state and national environmental issues in the year ahead. 6-8PM Van Gogh Cafe (300 S. Ann St., Baltimore). Registration is free and required. Click HERE for more info.
  • November 16 11th Annual Trash Summit at Nationals Park in Washington DC. This year's theme is Transforming Communities for Clean Land, Safe Water and Healthy Lives. Early bird registration is now open

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • 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? 
Thank you!