Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake


  • Fasting from the Throw-Away Culture
  • Searching for an Administrative Assistant
  • Lenten Calendar Resources
  • Blue Water Congregations
  • #Bee My Valentine!  
  • Experience Trash - Clean a Stream!
  • Upcoming Events

Reflection: Fasting from the Throw-Away Cultureimage_of_letter-bb.jpg

Bishop Larry Lee Thomas gets it.
Fr. Joe Muth gets it. 
Imam Hammad Ahmad gets it. 
From struggling urban churches, to denominational leaders throughout the state, people understand that the time has come for a ban on plastic bags. In fact, 10 denominational leaders, representing thousands of people of faith, signed a letter in support of the Bag Ban.

Senate Bill 57/House Bill 31 was introduced this session in the Maryland state legislature to ban plastic bags from being distributed freely at retailers. You can read all about the legislation here. Already there are many places in the US where plastic bags have been successfully banned, including Washington, DC! China and India have banned them too. What's taking us so long to "get it"? 

“I support the legislation to ban plastic bags. It is time for us to protect our planet and our environment, and to become healers. It’s time for Maryland to take a bold step to change our mindset to save our communities.”
- Bishop Larry Lee Thomas, Empowering Believers Church of the Apostolic Faith, Glen Burnie

The Bag Ban bill was introduced very early in the legislative session this year, and thus hearings and votes will take place early. If you're going to act, you need to act quickly in order to have influence.

There is an alarming "throw-away culture" in American that idolizes economic gain at the expense of the poor, the environment, and future generations. The culture that seems to have forgotten that there’s something seriously wrong with extracting fossil fuels that have been in the ground for millions of years in order to produce a plastic bag that will be used once and thrown away. The culture that expects jurisdictions to pay to remove unsightly trash from parkways, tree branches, and economically decaying places, simply because we feel it is inconvenient to be asked to stop generating that trash. 

“When I visited Alaska last year I was impressed that the most pristine rivers, lakes, and sea areas were battling plastics of every sort. It is a much larger problem than I realized. We need to address this issue here at home in our own waters to clean up and protect our own rivers, lakes, and seas.”
- Fr. Joe Muth, St. Matthews Catholic Church, Baltimore

In congregations operating on the margins of society, the most commonly reported environmental problem they struggle with is oppressive trash in their neighborhoods and local streams. According to Trash Free Maryland’s research, approximately 80% of consumer debris polluting local waterways is food-related, and most of that is plastic since that’s what survives the journey in the wind and sewer system. This plastic waste is what our urban neighbors see when they go out for a walk or meander along their local stream. 

“Prophet Muhammad once told his followers that the entire earth has been created as a pure and clean place of worship and that we are all stewards over it. This lays a great responsibility on us toward the environment and to do everything we can to preserve it. The proposed legislation is a great step in this direction.”
- Hammad Ahmad, Imam, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, Silver Spring

For many Christians celebrating Lent, fasting is a journey that draws us closer to our God to reflect on the changes we want to make in our lives. This Lent, consider the throw-away culture we live in, our individual role in it, and how we can be a witness to God’s desire that we treasure the sacred around us.

Ready to to insert YOUR STATEMENT here? 

Join Rev. Robert E. Walker, Rev. Dottie Yunger, and Rev. Ryan Sirmons at a Rally to Ban the Bag. Join us and kick off Lent with your voice! Or, get your rabbi or pastor to sign a letter to be submitted to your state representative in support of the bill. 

Bag Ban Rally -  February 9th in Annapolis - click here for details and to RSVP
Letter from your Congregation - Needed ASAP!! - Click here for a template to use   

This movement needs your quick action. It is time we all fast from the throw-away culture...permanently.

Administrative Assistant Contracted Position

IPC is looking for qualified candidates for a time-limited contracted Administrative Assistant position. This is ideal for someone who is great with computers, has a little extra time each week, and can work independently from home or from our Annapolis office. Please check out the position description here and if interested, submit a resume to [email protected] with "Administrative Assistant" in the subject line of the email. Please share with any friends who you think might be the right fit. Thank you for contributing to the mission of IPC in this way!

Lenten_Calendar_screen_shot.jpgLenten Calendars

Keep God's Creation in mind when starting your Lenten journey. These state-specific calendars offers suggestions for caring for creation on each day of Lent in a variety of ways. Feel free to download and print them for your congregation, too!

Maryland Lenten Calendar
Virginia Lenten Calendar
Washington, DC Lenten Calendar

Blue Water Congregations

Attention Baltimore City and Baltimore County Congregations - we still have a few spots left in this program. This free program provides congregations in Baltimore with technical support, decision-making support, a spiritual context to stormwater management, and grant-writing support to procure funds for green projects. Read about Blue Water Congregations on our website, or email [email protected] to get more information.

Since 2014, over 30 congregations have participated and are working to reduce their stormwater. Examples of the type of support this program offers was manifested right before the holidays, when two of our congregations learned they will receive grant funding (one $18,000 and the other $21,000!) to design stormwater management projects for their grounds. And, hats off to our partners, Blue Water Baltimore, for their grant-writing guidance and support!

We'd love to work with your congregation to help you receive similar grants!


#Bee My Valentine

No Bees = No Valentine Flowers for your Sweetheart! 

In Maryland, 61% of bee colonies were lost last year, according to Smart on Pesticides. Scientists attribute the death of bees largely to unfettered use of neonic pesticides. Maybe people don't realize that when they buy flowers or plants for their gardens, they might be buying products that have been treated with neonic pesticides, and by planting them at home they are unknowingly contributing to bee colony cllapse. We feel proper labeling of products should be too hard to ask! 

Maryland legislators will be voting on the Pollinator Protector Act of 2016, which you can read about on our cheat sheet.  It aims to address inadequate product labeling and limit use of neonic pesticides. You can raise your voice in support of this bill by signing a petition here.  You can also participate in meetings with your state representative - email [email protected] if you are willing to have a one-on-one meeting with your representative's staff to share your support of this bill.

Thanks for taking action!


Experience Trash First-hand: Clean a Stream!

Want to see first-hand the trash that accumulates in our sacred waters? Volunteer with Project Clean Stream or Alice Ferguson Foundation's Potomac Watershed Cleanup and be forever changed! Get your Men's Group, Bible Study Group, Boy Scout group, or Green Team together for a field trip and join the movement. This is free and easy to organize. There are many stream cleanup projects organized throughout the state, but here are two of the bigger ones. 

Project Clean Stream - April 2nd
Alice Ferguson Foundation Potomac Watershed Cleanup
 - April 16th

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

  • February and March Lobby Nights - Speak out in support of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. Click here to sign up to participate and connect with Interfaith Power and Light for more information.
    • February 8 - for those living in Prince George's and Anne Arundel Counties
    • February 22 - for those living in Baltimore City
    • March 7 - for those living in Montgomery County and Western Maryland
    • March 21 - for those living in Southern Maryland and Eastern Shore
  • February 9 - Rally to Ban the Bag! 9 am at Lawyer's Mall in Annapolis. Details and RSVP here.
  • February 9 OR February 18 - Webinar: How to Green Your Congregation's Grounds in Montgomery County.  Feb. 9 at noon or Feb. 18 at 7:30pm. Learn about ways that you can transform your congregation's grounds into sacred places that improve water quality, attract birds and butterflies, and stay resilient in a changing climate. Programs featured for Montgomery County will include IPC's Trees for Sacred Places, National Wildlife Federation's Sacred Grounds certification, and Montgomery County's Rainscapes. Register for the webinar here.
  • February 12 - "Unacceptable Levels" Movie Screening & Potluck 6:30PM Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in the Chalice House 9601 Cedar Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814 followed by a discussion “Develop Strategies to Improve the Situation". Click here for more details.
  • February 12, 21, March 18 - Ecological Stations of the Cross. St. Matthew Catholic Church in Baltimore conducts Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. Several alternative stations readings will be focused on the earth/environment. The Liturgy Committee will be offering theseEcological Stations of the Cross on the following dates/times:  Friday, Feb. 12 (noon), Sunday, Feb. 21 (10 am), Friday, Mar. 18 (noon). This is a good way to remain focused on Pope Francis's call to "Care for Our Common Home"!
  • February 18 - Mayoral Candidate Forum for Baltimore City - come hear what mayoral candidates think about the importance of caring for the Earth in light of all of Baltimore's complex problems, Moderated by Tim Wheeler (formerly of the Baltimore Sun), 5:30-7:30 pm, Parks & People, 2100 Liberty Heights Road, Baltimore. Click here for more details. 
  • February 21 - Interfaith Scriptural Reasoning on Creation Care, 6:30pm (Refreshments served), Calvary UMC Church, Annapolis. Click here for more details
  • February 21 - Interfaith Forum: Skills Training for Creation Care, 2-5pm, (see and share this Flyer), will have speakers from IPC and Interfaith Power & Light, sponsored by Muddy Branch Alliance, at Epworth United Methodist Church, Gaithersburg. RSVP at the bottom of that page
  • February 21 - Earth Forum of Howard County2-4pm, First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, "Where Climate Change Hits the Hardest", Dr. Gaye Burpee, Senior Advisor on Climate Change & Rural Livelihoods for Latin America Catholic Relief Service
  • February 28 - Baltimore Green Forum 4-6:30 PM,  Maryland Electric Power Generation: Fossil Free by 2018 Speakers: Will Candler & Phil Favero Click HERE for more information Maryland Presbyterian Church 1105 Providence Road, Towson MD 21286