April 22 is officially Earth Day, but the whole month of April offers an opportunity to focus on our stewardship and care for God’s Creation.  Many faith traditions take this opportunity during April to observe an “Earth Worship” on a designated Friday (Muslim), Saturday (Jewish), or Sunday (Christian) to celebrate God’s love and our gratitude for Creation.  Numerous liturgical and educational resources are available to equip congregations in this observance and we have posted some of them in the Current Seasonal Resources area of our website.

Here’s an inspiring story from last year’s Earth Day at United in Christ Lutheran Church in rural Lewisburg, PA:  In preparation for the service, the Confirmation students spent several class sessions creating three “trees”:  Creation, Eco-crucifixion, and Eco-Resurrection.  The project was part of their unit on the Apostle’s Creed, focusing on God as Creator (a collage of images of Creation); Earth as being “crucified” (a collage of images of environmental devastation); and humans working with the Holy Spirit to restore and heal Earth (images of renewable energy, restoration projects, children planting gardens, etc.). Read more here.

IPC Good News

  1. Executive Director, Jodi Rose, announced the Anacostia Congregations program to a group of about 100 pastors on April 4.  Anacostia Congregations will be a group of 8 congregations of color in Prince George’s County who will embark on actions that embody caring for Creation in an effort to bring healing to the Anacostia River and inspire others to do the same. Jodi was slated at the end of their agenda, behind headliners such as Senator Cardin and the White House Faith Based Outreach staff.  However because the headliners were late, Jodi was moved up in the agenda.  As she walked up to the front, in walks Sen. Cardin and the White House staff.  So, the presiding pastor invited them to have a seat because she was already up to the front and he told her to go ahead and proceed. What a fortuitous opportunity to share our story of being called to care for Creation - right in front of Sen. Cardin and Obama’s staff!  A moment of grace?  Certainly a blessing!
  2. Walk the Talk Baltimore Highlights: On Sunday, March 30th IPC hosted “Walk the Talk Baltimore: An Interfaith Response to Polluted Stormwater Runoff”. The event was designed to inform congregations about polluted stormwater runoff, the new stormwater utility fee in Baltimore, and “Blue Water Congregations”, a program to help empower Baltimore  congregations to be part of the solution. With over 50 attendees representing more than 25 diverse congregations, the event was a great success. Click here to check out a clip from ABC News Channel 2 where Jodi reiterated the importance of reducing polluted runoff not only to reduce our fees, but because it is the right thing to do.  
    If no one from your Baltimore area congregation was able to attend and you would like to learn how you can participate in Blue Water Congregations, find more information here or email [email protected]
  1. Successful Defense of Legislation: Congratulations to the many citizens who worked hard to keep the 2012 Maryland stormwater law on the books to reduce polluted runoff and help heal the Chesapeake Watershed’s many streams, rivers, and waterways. Despite the 20 or so bills introduced to weaken or repeal this legislation, none of them were passed. With this successful defense of the storwmater bill, Maryland paves the way (with permeable pavers of course!) for other states in the Chesapeake Watershed to create similar bills to reduce polluted runoff. While some language nuances were added at the end of the session, the bill was not substantially changed and has effectively been given a chance to do what it was designed to do. So, let us – as leaders in the faith community – pick up this baton and run with it. It is now OUR time to turn legislation in to action! You can read a press release about the final ruling here. To engage your congregation in actions to curb polluted runoff, contact [email protected], or [email protected]. Thank you to everyone who wrote letters, contacted their legislators, engaged their peers on dialogue about this issue, editorialized in print, or took other actions to protect our waterways!

10,000 Trees Program:   Nearly 500 Trees to be planted April-May  (Total since start date: 279)

Spring Tree Plantings schedule:  April-May 

The following Workshops and / or Tree Planting Days have been scheduled:
4/6:  9:45 am Environmental Workshop: All Saints Lutheran, 16510 Mt Oak Rd, Bowie, MD
4/12:  9:00 am Tree Planting Day at Christ Episcopal, 220 Owensville Rd, West River, MD:  70 Trees
4/16: All day planting and program: St. Andrew’s United Methodist School, Edgewater, MD: 134 Trees
4/26:  Tree Planting Day at Woodbrook Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD: 16 Trees
4/27: 9:45 am Spiritual Workshop at All Saints Lutheran, Bowie, MD
5/3: 10am-1pm Tree Planting Day at  “          “          “         :   40 Trees
5/4: 9am-10am Spiritual Workshop at St. Mary Ann’s Episcopal, North East, MD
5/18: 9:30 am Tree Planting Day at Temple Emanuel, Reisterstown, MD: 234 Trees

Find more information here or contact Kolya Braun-Greiner, Project Coordinator of 10,000 Trees: kolya@interfaithchesapeake.org

Covenantal Partners Program

IPC wants to walk with you and support your congregation’s green ministry. Invite us to lead a Visioning Session with your green ministry and let’s see what we can build together! So far, IPC has conducted three pilot sessions and two more congregations are waiting in line. Don’t miss an opportunity to embark on a journey with support from IPC, other partners, and other congregations. Learn about the Covenantal Partners Program on our website, or email [email protected].

IPC Out and About

April 26: Bonnie Sorak, IPC Outreach Coordinator, will be at Baltimore Greenworks on April 26th 

April 27: Jodi Rose, Executive Director, will be at the Earth-Water-Faith Festival in Annapolis on Earth Day Sunday, April 27th 

Are you willing to staff these events with us? Bonnie and Jodi would love the company! If you’re willing to help staff our booth alongside us for an hour on either of these days, please email Bonnie or Jodi

Need Inspiration?

IPC now has a Speaker’s Bureau! If your congregation would like a speaker, please contact [email protected]. Speakers are free and can cover a variety of topics and locations. Thank you to our fabulous volunteers who are donating their time to inspire others.

Call for Volunteers

IPC seeks volunteers for the following tasks. Do you want to put your fingerprints on the growth and development of our organization? Do you have skills and talents that would benefit this movement? Then join us as a volunteer so that together our impact will be greater. Please email [email protected] if you would like to help with the following:

  • Online research to identify active green ministries at congregations
  • Blog writing - writers and editors to help us with our email blasts
  • Visiting congregations in your area to invite them to engage in stewardship
  • Photography
  • Video Production
  • Grant-writing
  • Board committees – our Board of Trustees will soon begin recruiting for Board Committees in the areas of Fundraising/Finance, Communications, and Programs.

What is your skill? If you have a talent you want to share with us, let us know so we can find a place for you!

Kolya Braun-Greiner