Jews around the world have just concluded the “Days of Awe” (Yamim Noraim), the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This period is marked by serious reflection focused both inward on how we can each improve ourselves, and outward on how we can improve the world. Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai said “Be not grieved my son. There is another way of gaining atonement, even though the Temple is destroyed. We must now gain atonement for our sins through the deeds of loving-kindness.”
As IPC’s Outreach Coordinator I am constantly awed by the many acts of “loving kindness” I am blessed to witness. At a recent pollinator garden dedication at Homewood Friends Meeting in Baltimore, a volunteer asked me, “What keeps you going?” The answer was easy. I said, “My work allows me to be part of Green Team vision and action planning sessions where dreams about projects like this garden are first born. Then, after the time and effort of dedicated groups of volunteers like yours, I am honored to be invited to events like this to see the dream turned into reality.”
At a round table discussion of clergy last month, ten faith leaders from the Gwynns Falls sub-watershed gathered to discuss the effects that recent flooding has had on their congregations and communities. The problems are grave. They learned about the causes of such disasters and ways that they can work individually and together to bring about change. There is much to be done and I cannot wait to see what they will accomplish over the next two years and beyond.
On Sunday, October 27th we will gather for the One Water Partnership Forum where we will highlight the work of 40 congregations in the Jones Falls that have taken such actions. Some of the results of their efforts include:
- Over 10,000 square feet of new rain or pollinator gardens
- 122,271 square feet of impervious surface treatment
- Prevent almost one ton of sediment pollution from reaching local waterways every year
- Almost 300 trees planted
- Combined $522,474 in grant funding secured
- Almost 5,000 people educated about the problem of polluted stormwater runoff and actions they can take to be part of the solutions
Now THAT is awe-inspiring! Please register HERE to join us as we welcome new congregations into this movement and celebrate the accomplishments already achieved. Seats are filling up fast, so don’t miss your chance to join in this celebration (the bus tour is already full, but the dinner still has space available). If you are still dreaming of the change you would like to see, this is the place for you. It is said “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it” (Pirkei Avot 2:21). Let’s get started!
By Bonnie Sorak, Outreach Coordinator