January 2018, Issue 2


  • Reflection: Changing My World in 40 days
  • Donate_Button.jpgSign the Petition - Thou Shall Not Steal Trees!
  • Faithful Advocates Conference Call Briefing
  • One Water Partnership Leaders Gather to Learn How to Inspire Others!
  • Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program
  • Vacation Bible School Training - March 2018
  • Funding Available in Gaithersburg and Harford County
  • Join a Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS) Advocacy Team / Host a Weatherization Training
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs

Reflection: Changing My World in 40 days


As the season of Lent approaches, I and many others are contemplating ways to make it a meaningful season of reflection and renewal. The purpose of Lent is to prepare for Holy Week and Easter through, among other things, prayer, doing penance, and self-denial.

There are many ways that our work to be good stewards of the environment fits in very well with any actions that believers can take during the 40 days of Lent.  For example, last year I gave up the use of plastic straws. I was shocked to learn that over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day around the country. A good number of these straws find their way into our oceans and can be very destructive.  Likewise, other single-use items like styrofoam products or K-cups for coffee can also be detrimental to our environment. When I think about the negative effects these items can have on God’s creatures in our local watershed and beyond, I find it difficult to justify their use.

I am also typically very diligent about bringing my own reusable water bottle whenever I go out or travel. However, sometimes, in a rush to leave the house, I forget it and then have to decide whether or not to turn to bottled water. I always feel guilty about it, but it gives me the opportunity to seriously consider how best to avoid a similar situation in the future. For years now, I have made a pledge to remain mostly bottled water-free, a habit that I am particularly diligent about during Lent. Again the numbers around bottled water use and its impact on our waterways is astounding. Despite the fact that good-quality water flows virtually free from most of our taps, Americans buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week. That’s enough plastic bottles to circle the globe more than five times! The majority of the bottles end up in our landfills, waterways, or are incinerated—releasing toxic byproducts. I’d like to try and help by being part of the solution rather than the problem.

I know I am not alone. People of faith all around Maryland and beyond are joining their brothers and sisters in taking steps to help heal the Earth. There are many resources available to help us navigate this challenge. Here are a few additional ideas that I’ve considered:

  • Set a five-minute timer for showers
  • Avoid wasting energy by unplugging electronic devices when they are not in use
  • Reduce use of aluminum foil
  • Wash laundry in cold water
  • Eat more vegetarian meals
  • Get more involved with “green” activities at my church

One of the best things for me is that once I give up a habit for 40 days I rarely go back to it.

There are many more ideas to share. IPC is working with our partners to develop a “Green Lenten Calendar” that will be available in February. Keep an eye out for it.

Sign the Petition!Thou_Shall_Not_1-with_logo.png

Thou Shall Not Steal Trees from the next generation. Maryland lost 14,488 acres of forest to development over the past eight years (according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources), despite a state policy that says we should be dramatically increasing our tree canopy. Our Forest Conservation Act is 24 years old and needs updating to truly protect Maryland's forests. 

Sign our petition in support of Amendments to the Forest Conservation Act. Read all about this bill HERE, to learn why this is important for protecting God's Creation. 

Help us reach our goal of 350 signatures -- sign the petition today!

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

One Water Partnership Leaders Gather to Learn How to Inspire Others!Final_OWP_Facebook_Graphic.jpg

Congregational Green Team Leaders will be gathering for the first of our four leadership training workshops called "Creation Care 101" on January 28, from 2-4PM at Church of the Redeemer (Click HERE for details). Click HERE for a summary of the work that has already begun. 

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 effort. 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.

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 three-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].

Join a Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS) Advocacy Team / Host a Weatherization Training

Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions is seeking people to join its Advocacy Teams, organized by district in Fairfax County, VA, to coordinate our advocacy work. As part of the team, you'll have an opportunity to participate in monthly webinars and other training opportunities as well as directly communicate FACS' advocacy priorities with elected officials and county staff in your district along with your team. Interested in learning more? Contact [email protected].

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • January 25 7:30-9PM Advocacy Briefing Conference Call about Environmental Legislation. Learn about the Maryland Clean Jobs Initiative, Forest Conservation Act Amendments, Ban on Foam Products and more. Click HERE to RSVP
  • 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
  • January 28 Baltimore Green Forum, a monthly environmental education and discussion forum. Socializing, networking & brainstorming, 4-5:15PM and 5:45-6:30PM. Maryland Presbyterian Church, Towson. Click HERE for more info

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!