August 2017 Issue 1


  • Reflection: Learning to be God's Water Heroes
  • Donate_Button.jpgProposed Pipeline Under Potomac River
  • Chesapeake Bay Trust Grant Funding Opportunities Now Open
  • One Water Partnership Churches Complete Visioning Session
  • Capitol Hill Lobbying Day - September 6
  • MoCo Pesticide Restrictions Shot Down
  • 2nd Sacred Grounds Workshop in Montgomery County
  • Trees for Sacred Places in Multiple Regions
  • Howard County Master Watershed Steward Certification Program
  • Exploration Charters in Upper Bay & Anacostia River
  • Upcoming Events
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs

REFLECTION: Learning to be God's Water Heroes


Children, youth and adults in congregations across Prince George's County this summer have been learning how to care for their local watershed through IPC's Vacation Bible School (VBS) curriculum, "God's Water Heroes, Splash into Living Waters!" So far, 4 churches have offered the VBS program at their churches for the youth in their communities. 

Fort Washington Baptist Church held their VBS and the youth class created "Creation Care Raps," which their group leader LaSonji Holman printed into booklet to share with their congregation. The preschool children learned how to plant seeds. 

VBS_-_Mt._Ennon_3.jpgAt Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, over 200 children attended, shepherded by 60+ adult volunteers, all dressed in bright blue "God's Water Heroes" T-shirts! Rev. Josette Franklin, Director of Children's Ministry at Mt. Ennon, creatively augmented the curriculum with a field trip to the Accokeek Ecosystem Farm where all the children learned more about environmental stewardship of the land and water.

VBS_Union_Bethel_AME_06.11.17_-_5.jpgAt Union Bethel AME Church, following the bible study on the connection between baptism and local waters, participants (adults and youth) went outdoors and visited the congregation's Prayer Garden. They observed the fence enclosed marsh that is protected, while leader Valerie Jones explained how the plants in the marsh serve as a pollution filter. The class engaged in a few moments of silent reflection and listening for the sounds in nature (birds, wind, frogs). Then they walked over to an adjacent area to compare this experience of the marsh with that of a pond at the edge of the forest located at the bottom of meadow slope. The pond was covered with algae and no buffer plants were around the edge of the pond. Valerie asked, "What do you see and how is it different from the other area?" Various responses were offered:  "It's covered with scum!" "Not very many plants in it." "It looks stagnant." Then they heard that this was a great example of what happens when too many "nutrients," like fertilizers and sediment caused by erosion (e.g. trees are cut down for development, but not replaced) get into the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay. Algae blooms like this cause "dead zones" that choke out the oxygen so that fish and other water life cannot survive there.

In response, Elder Ronald Crump shared a story. "Ten years ago, I brought my grandson to this pond and we caught fish in it, but there aren't any there now. Lakes and ponds throughout Prince George's County used to be good fishing sites and the County stocked many of them with fish, but you can't find them now." Valerie replied, "How can we care for these waters, right where we are, on our church property? Maybe there's something we can do for this pond.  Let's find out what we can do."

"Finding out what we can do" is exactly the beautiful result of these VBS programs which has trained over 400 children and adults about watershed stewardship! We celebrate the accomplishments of these congregations while IPC continues to work with them as they take next steps like participating in Trees for Sacred Places, Alternative Compliance Program and reducing water bottle use, just to name a few.

If you would like to lead a similar VBS program at your congregation, please reach out to our Religious Director Kolya Braun-Grenier.

Let's be God's Water Heroes together!

Proposed Pipeline Under Potomac River

No_Pipeline.jpgA pipeline is being proposed by TransCanada of Keystone XL to be built underneath portions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland, including underneath a 3-mile stretch of the Potomac River. This is the same company who recently spilled 21,000 gallons of oil on South Dakota farmland. This is a grave threat to our drinking water and would trigger more upstream fracking and deepen our dependence on dirty fossil fuels for years to come. 

Governor Hogan has the ability to stop this fracked gas pipeline by denying the 401 Water Certification necessary for the project to go forward. You can take action by taking these steps!

  1. Writing a letter to Governor Hogan using this LINK.
  2. Calling Governor Hogan: 1-855-969-5613  "Hi my name is _____ and I am calling to reject the pipeline under the Potomac."

To stay abreast of this issue, sign up for our Advocacy Alerts by signing up as a Volunteer, then clicking "Advocacy Work".

Chesapeake Bay Trust Grant Funding Opportunities Now Open

Have dreams of making your congregational grounds more environmentally friendly by adding stormwater remediation or working to educate your members or the surrounding community about the actions they can take to have a positive effect on local waterways but you just don't have funds to do it? Look no further - - The Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) has opened several grant tracks for which you can apply. Email Bonnie Sorak or call her at 443-799-0349 for guidance on which program your project would be best suited. Click HERE to check out the different categories. There are specific funding streams for organizations in Baltimore City and Gaithersburg and in the counties of Anne Arundel, Charles, Montgomery, Harford and Howard.

One Water Partnership Still has Openings!

Final_OWP_Facebook_Graphic.jpgIt's not too late to participate! If your congregation is in or near the Jones Falls subwatershed in Baltimore City or County you can still get involved. Join with other congregations that are planning movie nights, tree plantings, native plant sales - - and the list goes on. 


Click HERE for our Menu of Actions that you can choose from. Email Bonnie Sorak or call her at 443-799-0349 for the details. Fill out this brief interest form and we'll follow up to schedule a conversation on your congregation's interests and capacity.

Congratulations to the churches that have already decided to take action through the One Water Partnership by completing a Visioning Session to prioritize their efforts. They include: Brown Memorial Presbyterian ChurchCathedral of the Incarnation Episcopal ChurchChurch of the Redeemer Episcopal Church, Church of the Guardian Angel, six:eight ChurchGovan's Presbyterian ChurchGrace Lutheran ChurchHomewood Friends MeetingMemorial Episcopal ChurchMt. Lebanon Baptist ChurchSt. Luke's on The Avenue Lutheran Church and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic ChurchGrace Tabernacle Baptist Church and St. Ignatius Catholic Church are planning to join as well. Let's add your congregation to the list!

Capitol Hill Lobbying Day

In collaboration with National Religious Partnership for the Environment, IPC faith leaders are invited to lobby on Capitol Hill on September 6 to push for continued funding of Chesapeake Bay restoration and educational efforts. If you are interested in learning more, please email Jodi Rose.

MoCo Pesticide Restrictions Shot Down

An appeal by opponents of the recent restrictions on pesticide use in Montgomery County have won on appeal. The presiding judge ruled that the pesticide restrictions were legal only to the extent that the County was limited in how it could administer pesticides on publicly-owned land, parks, soccer fields, etc. The judge ruled that the law could not legally limit private use of pesticides on privately-owned land. This is a disappointing outcome for all those who will walk in our footsteps. Click HERE to learn more about the ruling.

postcard_nwf_invite_sacred_grounds-001.jpgJoin Us October 15 for a Second Sacred Grounds Workshop for Montgomery County Congregations

IPC supports the National Wildlife Federation and others to offer Montgomery County congregations a Sacred Grounds webinar and in person workshops to learn how your community can receive up to $10,000 to beautify your grounds, conserve water and create habitat for wildlife. The first workshop was held on June 18th and a second workshop will be offered Sunday, October 152:30-6PM at the Imaam Center, Silver Spring, MD. Join us! Click HERE to listen to a recording of the webinar.

FREE Trees and Program Available for Prince George's County Congregations 

Would you like to beautify your grounds and leave a legacy for future generations of your faith community? Want to save money on your stormwater fee charged by the County?  Wish to engage youth and adults in a community building activity that expresses your care for God's Creation?  Does your congregation have room for 30 trees?  Are you excited to hear about this free program, Trees for Sacred Places, that offers all of these benefits along with a spiritual workshop offering your faith tradition's teachings on stewardship of the earth and waters?  

We are still looking for several congregations, retreat centers or religious schools located in Prince Georges's County. You can learn more about the program HERE. Interested? Contact Bonnie Sorak

View and download Prince George's Flyer HERE.
Pictured: Carolina Missionary Baptist Church

Trees for Sacred Places Project on the Eastern Shore and in Howard County


We’re delighted to be joined in our Trees for Sacred Places Project in Howard County by First Presbyterian Church of Howard County and St. Andrew's Episcopal ChurchWe may still have space for more churches to complete the program. If you live or worship in Howard County and would like to join us, we would like to hear from you. To learn more, please contact our Program Manager, Anna Awimbo.

Congratulations to the churches who are participating on the Eastern Shore: Old Trinity ChurchSt. Luke’s United Methodist ChurchSt. Paul’s Church, Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church and Old Wye Parish. Their "Train-The-Trainer" Workshop will be on Tuesday, Sept. 19th at 6PM at Waugh Chapel. If you would like to join them, email our Religious Educator Kolya Braun-Greiner to let her know that you are coming.

Howard County and Anne Arundel Master Watershed Steward Certification Programs

HoCoWSA.jpgAs an affiliate of the University of Maryland Extension - Howard County Watershed Stewards Academy(HoCoWSA) is a training program that empowers residents to improve the water quality of local streams. Through a series of classes and community-based activities, concerned citizens learn how they can spearhead individual and community efforts aimed at reducing the harmful effects of polluted stormwater runoff into local streams, which eventually makes its way to the Chesapeake Bay.

The HoCoWSA is holding a series of informational sessions to highlight its Master Watershed Steward Certification program and is looking for innovative problem-solvers who are interested in serving their community by preserving and improving water quality at the local level. The next training class will commence on September 5, 2017. The final information sessions will be held on August 10. An application package for enrollment will be available at the information sessions. For more information contact Terry R. Matthews at 410-313-2711 or [email protected] or visit their website HERE.

In Anne Arundel County the Watershed Stewards Academy is also starting up its new round of classes this fall. To learn more about the program or attend one of the upcoming orientations go HERE for more information. Master Watershed Stewards must live, work or worship in Anne Arundel County.  To become Certified, Stewards attend a 10 session certification course, offered from October to April.  Following the coursework, Stewards complete a capstone project including a community assessment, outreach and education and the installation of a small restoration project. 

Exploration Charters in Upper Bay and on the Anacostia River

Want to take your faith group out on the water to get up close and personal with God's Creation and see firsthand how faithful stewards can better protect it? This summer you have 2 Options!

Upper Bay: Coastal Anthology, a boat tour/guide outfit in the Susquehanna/Upper Bay area, is offering up to 4 cost-free, 4-hour, on-the-water exploration charters for faith groups of 6 or less. IPC can provide discussion questions that your group can take with you. After those 4 slots for free charters are filled, up to 6 additional faith groups can request a tour at a negotiated price. The standard price is $60 per hour for a 4-hour tour.  A description of Coastal Anthology charters can be found HERE.

Anacostia River: Anacostia Riverkeeper is once again offering free boat tours. 1-hour and 2-hour tours are available for groups up to 20 people. Grab your spiritual leader and go take a reality tour of DC's River!

Contact IPC at [email protected] to request a tour on either of these trips.

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • August 10 Howard County Watershed Stewards Academy information session (training class to begin Sept. 5). Central Branch Library, 7PM. For more information contact Terry R. Matthews at410-313-2711 or [email protected] or visit their website HERE.
  • August 10 Anacostia Riverkeeper sponsors Thursday Night Kayaking. Free guided kayaking experience of the Anacostia River on Thursday evenings. 5:30-7:30PMClick HERE for more info.
  • August 11 Anacostia Riverkeeper sponsors Friday Night Fishing. Free - all gear and bait provided. Click HERE for more info.
  • September 6 Capitol Hill Lobbying Day to discuss Chesapeake Bay Funding. 
  • September 9 Trees for Sacred Places tree planting, 9-11AM at Walker Mill Baptist Church, Capitol Heights, MD.
  • September 10 Trees for Sacred Places Workshop and tree planting day, 9:30-10:30AM at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, College Park, MD.
  • September 10 One Water Partnership Visioning Session, 2PM at Shrine of the Sacred Heart, Baltimore, MD.
  • September 12 Columbia Solar Cooperative Information Session, 7-8PM. Amherst House, 7251 Eden Brook Dr, Columbia. View the flier HERE or for more info contact Danielle Bodner at 410-715-3000 (ext 2525) or [email protected].
  • September 16 Trees for Sacred Places tree planting day, 10:30 AM-12PM at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, College Park, MD.
  • September 19 Trees for Sacred Places "Train-the-Trainer" Workshop Eastern Shore 6PM at Waugh Chapel, Cambridge, MD.
  • September 30 Trees for Sacred Places workshop and planting day, 8:30-10:30AM at Christ Kingdom Church, District Heights, MD.
  • October 1 One Water Partnership Covenant Signing 5-7:30PM at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church. 
  • October 3 Trees for Sacred Places Workshop, 10-11AM at the Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City, MD.
  • October 14 Trees for Sacred Places tree planting day, 9-11AM at Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City, MD.
  • October 14 Anacostia River Festival - 11AM-4PM View flyer in English or Spanish. IPC could use some help tabling at this event especially if you can speak Spanish. Please contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] if you can help.
  • October 15 Sacred Grounds Workshop, 2:30-6PM at the Imaam Center, Silver Spring, MD. 
  • October 21 Our ED Jodi Rose will be speaking at the Call To Action Regional Conference in Baltimore.

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • Do you speak Spanish or know someone else who can? We need some help to translate some of our print materials and/or help us at an information table at the Anacostia River Festival (see above). If you can help for an hour or two at the event or are willing to help translate some print materials please contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected]
  • Do you have extra 1-inch 3-ring binders at home or the office? We are looking for binders that have a slot on the front cover to slide a cover page in. 
  • Do you like photographyVidoegraphy? We are always looking for help taking photos at our events, and putting them together in slide shows.  
  • Are you willing to make 5-10 phone calls each week for us to help us follow up with engaged congregations? 
  • Are you willing to help us coordinate volunteers? We can use your help!
  • We could use colored pocket folders (blue, green, yellow or orange - to match our logo colors)
Thank you!