- Reflection: Giving Thanks for "All Our Relations"
- Tree Planting Opportunities
- Outdoor Experience for Young Adults - Huge Success!
- Join #Giving Tuesday and support IPC!
- Advocacy Updates & Paris Talks
- NEW DATES Announced for Stewardship Service Days
- Funding, Funding, Funding!
- Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
Giving Thanks for "All Our Relations"
As we gather together for what has been called the "original American holiday" called Thanksgiving, it can be an opportunity to recall the original inhabitants of this land, from whom we continue to learn how to live in harmony with the Earth. Whenever they gather for a big feast, they offer a traditional invocation of gratitude called the "Great Thanksgiving Address " or "Greetings and Thanks to the Natural World." In so doing, they give thanks in a long role call to "all my relations." These "relations" are not limited to only the 2-legged human relatives, but also the 4 leggeds, the winged ones, the plant relations, the insect relations, and all the other living beings brought into being by the Creator in the whole web of life. Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer (a biologist of the Potawatomi tribe) describes this understanding in her book Braided Sweetgrass: We use the same words to describe the living world as we use for our family. Because they are our family.
I spent many years working in support of the land rights struggles of native peoples who express a deep humility with gratitude and respect for the natural world. This gratitude stems from an understanding that there is really no separation between the "natural world" and human world, they are one in the same totally interdependent web of life. Acknowledging our utter dependence upon the Earth is central to the gratitude as expressed in the Thanksgiving Address: We are thankful to our Mother the Earth, for she gives us everything that we need for life.
Perhaps an even more profound source of their gratitude is a conviction that the other-than-human relations have a wisdom of their own. They have teachings for us to learn about how to live a life in balance with Creation and they offer guidance for our survival if we listen to and respect them as "all our relations" from the same Creator. We may be surprised to find similar words are expressed in the Bible's book of Job:
... ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being. Job 12:7-12
If we learn more lessons from the other-than-human world to inform our choices in the future, it will be for the mutual benefit of the "life of every living thing and the breath of every human being." Jeanette Armstrong, (Canadian author of the Okanagan tribe) calls us to: Imagine a future in which the human has attained its full potential. Imagine the world in which the good of each human being and each species is considered in every decision made.
May your Thanksgiving be an occasion to expand your "family" to honor and give thanks for the teachings indigenous inhabitants and their descendants as well as "all our relations," from whom we have much to learn. We pray that every tree planted, cistern installed, rain barrel placed, rain garden constructed, letters written to advocate for environmental justice and access to clean water, and every act that expresses your care for Creation be a healing blessing to all the living beings throughout the sacred web of our watershed. Perhaps then, "all our relations" will give thanks for us too. I listen, longing for the day when we can hear the land give thanks for the people in return. ~Robin Wall Kimmerer
Tree Planting Opportunities
We are enrolling faith communities for free tree plantings for 2016. Trees for Sacred Places provides everything your community needs for the tree planting, customized support, and an educational/spiritual workshop specific for your faith tradition. This program is available throughout the state of Maryland and we are especially looking for congregations in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. Contact Bonnie Sorak at email@example.com or 410-609-6852. View and download Flyer here.
Outdoor Experience for Young Adults
Over the past month, roughly 30 different young adults (aged 20s and 30s) participated in "Our Common Home", an outdoor experience of Laudato Si'. They paddled at Jug Bay Wetland Sanctuary and learned how
wetlands are the kidneys of our watershed, taking care of us silently and serving as the first line of defense from extreme weather. They also paddled on the Patuxent, in the shadows of the large coal plant that has been the root of complex environmental injustices in Eagle Harbor. Lastly, they heard from a wide variety of activists on how to translate that call into action. A closing prayer reflection on the final day was a moving reminder that while we each might feel we are not doing much, we have power in numbers and are moving mountains!
Thank you to all participants and partners for making this pilot program a success!
What's #Giving Tuesday?
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It’s the nonprofit sector’s response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, proving that the holidays is about both giving and giving back.
This year #GivingTuesday is Tuesday, December 1!
Mark your calendar to support Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake as we launch our new donation page!
You’ll join a global community of giving by supporting your local watershed. Thank you for your support!
Support for Plastic Bag Ban in Baltimore... and Beyond
Inspired by its study of the Pope's Encyclical to care more deeply for Creation and coached by IPC as a participating congregation in the Covenantal Partners Program, St. Matthew Catholic Church in Baltimore is sponsoring a parish-wide letter signing in support of a plastic bag ban in Baltimore to be sent to the Mayor and their City Council representative. During weekend masses, 88 parishioners signed the letter (in picture above). No matter where you live in Maryland, if you want to speak out against our growing addiction to plastic, you can support a statewide bag ban when the bill is introduced next spring. Feel free to use St. Matthews' letter to as a starting point for your own congregation's letter. See St. Matthew's letter here and join them in this effort!
Baltimore County and the Stormwater Fee
In an unfortunate battle between the Baltimore County Council and the County Executive, the Council voted to stop collecting storwmater fees on the basis that the County's budget was sufficient to address stormwater pollution emanating from the County. The County Executive claims there is insufficient funds to address their EPA-mandated clean water requirements. Only time will tell. We are disappointed that a decision was made before the financial discrepancies could be clarified. Many dedicated organizations such as Blue Water Baltimore, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Maryland League of Conservation Voters will now have to watch-dog Baltimore County to make sure they don't back-track on their obligations. Our own Board Vice-Chair Rev. Mary Gaut, Interim General Presbyter, spoke out at the rally, and you can read her comments here. Thank you to everyone who supported her at the rally! Onward...we will continue to work for justice for the Earth and all future generations!
From November 30 – December 11, 2015, the most significant ever United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 21) will take place in Paris, France. Through prayer, you too can be part of this pivotal moment. From Friday December 4th through Sunday December 6th, people are invited to take time to reflect on Earth’s life-giving environment in whatever way they choose – contemplation, prayer, meditation, or otherwise. More information is posted at www.globalreflection.org.
Stewardship Service Days - New Dates!
Announcing New Dates for this mega tree planting in Pasadena, Anne Arundel County. Saturday, March 12th & Saturday, April 9th Beginning at 9 AM
More than 200 volunteers of all faiths are needed for an interfaith mega-planting to help restore Rock Creek and Stoney Creek. This can be for youth groups, family groups, men’s groups, etc. We seek to partner with 20 congregations or other faith-based volunteer groups, each bringing 10-20 volunteers to participate together. Activities will include a kickoff interfaith liturgy in the morning, followed by tree and shrub planting. We provide everything – tools, gloves, and training! Congregational groups will work together with a pre-assigned trained crew leader.
Thank you to American Turkish Friends Association who are sponsoring this even and have committed to bringing 50 Muslim friends each Saturday! A kickoff interfaith liturgy will be held each Saturday at 9 amat Mt. Zion Magothy Church in Pasadena.
Sign up today... If you can bring a group of any aged volunteers ready to get to work, please contact Bonnie Sorak to pre-register at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-609-6852. Download and share the flyer HERE.
Funding, Funding, Funding!
There are many open grant opportunities right now. Check out this list of funding programs from Chesapeake Bay Trust with deadlines coming up soon. Additional opportunities are below, too.
We are providing limited information below, but you're welcome to reach out to us if you need help in preparing a plan of action or seek advice on applying for a grant. Contact us at 410-609-6852 for support!
- St. Margaret's Episcopal Church Grant Endowment - Flexible grants available for a wide variety of social justice issues, including environmental conservation. Due November 30th.
- Chesapeake Bay Trust Outreach and Restoration Grant - Up to $50,000 for outreach and up to $75,000 for restoration projects, available throughout Maryland. Due December 2nd.
- City of Gaithersburg Watershed Grant - Up to $50,000 in funding for on-the-ground restoration that will help meet local water quality and runoff reduction improvement goals. Due December 4th.
- Anne Arundel County Watershed Restoration Grant - $20,000 to $300,000 in funding for restoration projects in the County, outside City of Annapolis. Due December 3rd.
- Mini-Grants for Restoration - Up to $5,000 for restoration projects, tree plantings, etc. Rolling deadline.
- Environmental Education Grants - Limited to accredited K-12 Schools, including faith-based schools are eligible. Both large and mini-grants available. Mini-grants are rolling deadline, larger grants due December 4th.
- Nov. 24th - RiverWise Stewards' Commissioning, 6:30-8 PM, Mt. Olive AME Church, 2 Hicks Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401
- Nov. 30th to Dec. 11 - Conference on Climate Change in Paris - keep world leaders in your prayers
- Dec. 1st - Giving Tuesday! Click here to donate to Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake
- Dec. 5th - Covenantal Partners Program Visioning Session at Catonsville Presbyterian Church
IPC Needs Volunteers
- Help with our Database
- Volunteers to staff our table at events
- Become a member of our Speaker’s Bureau
- Help with Administrative Tasks
- Assist with Website updates
- Visit congregations and inspire them to take action
- We’ll tailor something to suit your expertise!
If you have some time and would like to help us to spread our message more effectively please contact Bonnie Sorak at Bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org.