- Reflection: "Write Your Hero Story"
- Call to Advocacy
- Blue Water Congregations - Baltimore
- Covenantal Partners Program - Baltimore
- Trees for Sacred Places - Watershed-Wide
- Be an IPC Hero - Call for Volunteers
Write Your Hero Story
Ebola, ISIS, Ferguson, Hong Kong, Climate Change, 50,000+ children fleeing to the US. Pain. Sadness. It can be overwhelming.
When I was interviewed for this job at IPC, one of the questions I was asked was: “With all of the environmental problems in the world, what do you think God is thinking?” Ouch - that was a tough one! But after a moment I answered, “God trusts us. God created us and loves us. We won’t be abandoned in our failings.”
That’s what faith is all about. It keeps us from spiraling into despair. But, we can’t just stop at faith. We must use that as our energy source to keep on working at the complex problems. Faith alone won’t fix things…but, faith fixes us, so we can get back to work!
There are heroes who, through deep faith, hope, and love for Creation, are always working, never stopping! And they’re making positive impacts in their watershed communities right around us. I want to introduce you to a few local heroes…
- There’s Rev. Nathaniel Thomas of Forrestville New Redeemer Church in Prince George’s County who supported the idea of bearing individual responsibility for polluted runoff long before the rest of us did. He worked closely with County officials to develop the Alternative Compliance Program to help churches pay for their stormwater fees and own up to their responsibilities. His church is the site of the first County-sponsored stormwater improvement project, and its ribbon-cutting will be celebrated on October 22nd. Please join us in this celebration! Click here for details.
- There’s Rev. Johnny Calhoun of Mount Olive AME Church in Anne Arundel County. He single-handedly recruited 8 underrepresented churches to participate in the RiverWise Program starting this fall and is spearheading a new initiative called “Black is the New Green” to make sure everyone is invited to the table to address our most pressing issues.
- There’s Betsy Love and Rev. Diana Carroll at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis who are leading an effort to save Back Creek, which runs along their church property. Last weekend they hosted a Blue and Green festival to educate neighbors about their project to restore Back Creek – and they blessed pets in honor of St. Francis, too!
- And there’s Betty Sherbs of Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baltimore County. A marketing consultant by profession, she helped IPC with our communications work and also led her church to participate in our Trees for Sacred Places program. Betty died suddenly this week – too young and too soon. Her church’s tree-planting is coming up on October 16th…certainly these trees will become “Betty’s forest.”
You, too, are writing your own hero story. I know many of you, and I know the amazing work you do. I hope I get to know more of you in 2015 through several gatherings that we’re planning (Stay Tuned!). I hope you can tell me your hero story, but more importantly, I hope you can tell it to others and inspire them to write their own hero story.
Yes, I have faith, that God created us to be heroes in our own way. Don’t be overwhelmed by what’s happening in our world today. Keep Calm and Be a Hero!
Call to Advocacy
Cove Point – What Now?
On September 29th, FERC voted to approve construction of the Cove Point liquefied natural gas export facility. So many heroes have fought tirelessly against this because it threatens communities throughout the watershed with an expanding network of fracking wells and gas pipeline infrastructure. While we are disappointed in this outcome, ongoing campaigns will continue to try to reverse the Cove Point ruling and implore upon the Governor to intervene. Click here to learn more.
Fracking – For Your Information
In an effort to keep you informed on important public policies regarding hydraulic fracturing (fracking), we offer this report prepared by one of our partner organizations. This report summarizes the views of 40 public health advocates and environmental health experts from a recent symposium on Maryland’s study of public health effects from fracking. They recommended that Maryland delay a decision, citing ethical concerns and insufficient evidence to prove that human health can be protected. You can read the report here.
Have you seen the latest species creeping up on our rivers and streams – the “spotted clamshell”? This is one species we want to eliminate! Let’s get behind Styrofoam ban bills, and bag bills that are (or soon will be) coming up for a vote in Baltimore, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County.
While the Conowingo Dam is definitely a problem, it is not the ONLY problem – yet some messages out there try to say that until we fix Conowingo Dam, all other efforts are in vein. The Dam is being used as an excuse to let up on Bay restoration progress. If you want to bring the faith voice forward on this issue, please attend a Conowingo Dam communications session being facilitated by Elizabeth Buckman, vice president for communications at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It will be held October 15 at 11 AM at 102 E. Dover Street, Easton. Click here to follow this issue more closely.
EPA Clean Water Rule
Have you submitted your comments to the EPA yet to support the new definition of “Waters of the US”? Recent changes to the Clean Water Act have called into question protections for nearly 60% of our nation's stream miles and 20 million acres of wetlands, and we need to remind legislators that ALL waters are sacred. Additional information is provided on this fact sheet. Questions? Call Andy Galli at Clean Water Action at 410-235-8808. File your own comments to the EPA by clicking here. Please make your comments by October 20th.
EPA's Clean Power Plan
The EPA has extended its public comment period to December 1, on proposed rules to limit power plant carbon pollution. If you would like to tell the EPA to limit pollution from power plants, Interfaith Power and Light has set up a page to help you do that here.
Blue Water Congregations (Baltimore)
Join the heroes at five Baltimore congregtions that have already completed their Community Visioning to prioritize projects to mitigate polluted stormwater runoff from their congregational grounds. Become a Blue Water Congregation today by contacting Bonnie Sorak at email@example.com or call 443-799-0349. Read more about the program and which congregations are already involved here!
Covenantal Partners Program (Baltimore)
Does your green ministry need new energy or new direction? Would your group benefit from a spiritually-based visioning session and guidance? IPC is offering the Covenantal Partners Program in the Baltimore region. Email Bonnie Sorak to get more information or to schedule your Visioning Session.
Trees for Sacred Places (NEW Name)
The former 10,000 Trees Project has undergone a name change to more clearly communicate that our actions are rooted in our faith!
Student Heroes in our midst: On Oct. 5th, the St. James Academy middle school students learned about how our care for water is a way of caring for our neighbors as well as God's whole Creation. As Wendell Berry has said, "Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you." The students had been studying the benefits of native trees along with watershed science and when asked "What watershed do you live in?" most of them already knew their subwatershed*, the Loch Raven! The assembly ended with a prayer where the kids literally reached up high for the Light of God, like trees, and reached down low like roots of a tree, just as we are "rooted and grounded in God's love" (Ephesians 3:17). Then the students went out to plant nearly 140 trees!
Email Kolya Braun-Greiner to get more information or to get your congregation on the waiting list for a 2015 tree planting and education program
*Do you know your own sub-watershed? If not, click here. Want to know the health of your local stream? Click here.
Be an IPC Hero!
Please visit our Volunteer Signup page if you can donate time or money to IPC's work! We're looking for volunteers in a variety of areas, including Spanish translators, Advocates for upcoming legislative issues, IT/website support, social media support, Outreach/Education, and board committees.