A Community of Care
There are over 19,000 congregations of faith across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Each of them is a microcosm of life, with their own congregational culture.
Within each unique congregation IPC has been fortunate enough to work with, we have seen a common thread. A deep attachment too community; rooted in the people, small-businesses, and neighbors surrounding any house of worship. Here at IPC, we feel privileged that we often have the chance to witness first-hand how congregational communities give back and engrain community-care into their culture. Through tree plantings and stream clean ups, food pantries and cold-weather shelters, congregation impacts often stretch beyond their walls and into the greater community.
Through IPC's Partner Congregation Pledge, we unify congregations that are committed to caring for creation, stretching outside the bounds of their community and looping them into a watershed-wide network of faithful stewards. In 2022, 26 new congregations signed the Partner Congregation Pledge, and became a part of this community of care. We invite all congregations of faith to walk this path with us towards a cleaner, healthier, and restored Chesapeake Bay; together.
While each of our Partner Congregations have found different value in signing the Partner Congregation Pledge, Bolton Street Synagogue writes that signing the Partner Pledge connected them to other communities and catalyzed their environmental impetus:
“The Bolton Street Synagogue Green Team is one of the newest signatories to the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake Partner Pledge—and we already see ways this alliance will strengthen our respect for the Earth and our friendships with Baltimore interfaith communities. Bolton Street Synagogue sits adjacent to Stony Run Creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, so we feel an especially significant obligation toward environmental stewardship. We’re planting gardens of native grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees and learning from Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake about ways to prevent water and ground contamination caused by run-off from roofs and parking lots. We’re awed by the expertise and friendship of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake.”
Bolton Street Synagogue’s experience is similar to Partner congregations who have joined our network in previous years -
Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Anne Arundel County, MD, reported that knowing what environmental projects are possible and having “connections to other congregations” have helped lead to their success in environmental projects. For other congregations, signing the pledge reaffirms their commitment to creation care, while bringing new connections in opportunities.
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury, MD, signed the Pledge in September of 2022, and writes that:
“Our vision is ‘Christ centered, radically embracing people and Creation.’ We have long had solar panels, a community garden and composting bins. We have increasingly lived into a theology of being responsible partners in caring for God's creation. Signing onto the IPC Partner Pledge was just a natural step in what we were already doing. It was an opportunity to get the whole congregation focused on new opportunities, after struggling through the pandemic. It has also opened up new relationships as well as grant possibilities.”
Partner congregations are posted on IPC’s website, and each receives a pin on our map, signifying that they have signed the Pledge. The map can be utilized by individuals who are seeking a congregational home committed to creation care.
Likewise, Partner Pledge Congregations receive a Pledge Poster to display in their house of worship. St. John’s the Evangelist Catholic Church signed the Partner Congregation Pledge in 2021 and has since received their poster:
“We signed the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake Pledge and display it proudly in our gathering space foyer as a visible reminder that our faith calls us to care for creation. A placard next to the Partner Pledge lists things we can do at home, work, and out in the world, reminding us that every one of us can live our faith, showing respect for our Creator through our everyday actions as stewards of the earth. Displaying the pledge prominently in our building is a signal to all congregants that our community is committed to caring for creation. In joining this group, our church is now part of a greater effort to care for the planet; it is energizing to know that so many other faith communities have the same concerns and goals for our planet, and that together we can make a greater difference.”
Overall, the 26 congregations who signed the Pledge this year are joining a network of more than 120 congregations committed to faithful, green stewardship of creation. As these congregations move forth into 2023 with environmental aspirations in mind, we'd like to thank them for their fantastic commitment to caring for the Chesapeake. As we continue to grow this community of congregations committed to creation care, we look forward to watching our Partner Pledge Congregations champion stewardship and continue to grow.
Has you congregation signed the Partner Pledge yet? You can find it here!
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