April 2018, Issue 1


  • Reflection: Heroes
  • One More Time: Inspirational Bus Tours
  • Sacred Grounds Workshops This Spring
  • Legislative Update
  • Deadline April 13-Chesapeake Conservation Corps Internship Program 
  • SIGN UP: Vacation Bible School Trainings in Prince George's & Baltimore
  • Earth Day Worship and Study Resources
  • Spring Nature Walks in Gaithersburg and Harford County
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs


The state of things in our world is a little overwhelming right now. In Maryland in particular, things didn’t go quite as planned this legislative session. The ban on foam food packaging products was not even brought up for a vote in the House Environment subcommittee, and the Forest Conservation amendments were put on hold, pending more studies of forest loss. (Be sure you know how your elected representative voted on these bills, and hold them accountable if they are not working for you. To find out, sign up for our advocacy emails.)

Where is the hope? It’s out there, alive and well.

Here are a handful of heroeswho are fighting the good fight and keeping hope alive. We wanted to highlight them to share their hope with you. Maybe they’ll inspire you in some way, or reassure you that you’re not working on your own. Collectively, we are making progress.

  • The Rev. Diana Caroll of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of Eastport testified at the House hearing on February 21st in support of the Forest Conservation Act amendments. She arrived at 12 noon and didn't leave until well after 8PM. She did this after returning the day before from a 3-day retreat, and wrote her testimony in one night. 
  • The Rev. Sue Lowcock-Harris of First Presbyterian Church of Howard County had this letter-to-the-editor "Thou Shall Not Steal Trees"published in the Bay Weekly about the moral duty to protect forests. She wrote it and re-wrote it 3 times because other publications were not printing it. She never gave up.
  • The Rev. Franklin Lance of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church and director of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council secured a letter signed by the leaders of 6 major denominations (United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Maryland-Delaware Synod, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Presbytery of Baltimore-PCUSA). He tracked down agreements from bishops and conference leaders right after the holidays, long before anyone was even thinking about the forest bill.
  • Molly Hauck, Jim Laurenson, and Nanci Wilkinson of Montgomery County spoke with state delegate Kumar Barve about the importance of forest protection. Some of them took time from their day-jobs to accommodate Del. Barve’s schedule.
  • Martha Ruffin and Jim Truby of Baltimore met with their state representatives about a multitude of issues on Episcopal Advocacy Day. In fact, they work tirelessly all year long to lead efforts at their congregations and throughout the Episcopal Diocese.
  • 36 congregations signed a letter reporting to their state delegates that they had already stopped using foam food products and thus a statewide ban was not a crazy idea! Behind each one of these congregations is a person like Bill Curtis, Rosanne Skirble, Lou Rimbach, and Bernadette Bailey who took the time to confirm with their congregation that in fact they have stopped using Styrofoam, and added their names to the list. 
  • 262 faithful signed this petition supporting amendments to strengthen the Forest Conservation Act – the signatures were submitted as written testimony to state officials. Many forwarded it to friends and family and posted on social media about it.

And, children in Baltimore fought for a city-wide policy to phase out foam packaging in their schools – and won.

Hope abounds. We may be far from reaching our goals, but we are never alone. Neighbors, spiritual leaders, fellow congregants – we’re all walking together. These friends are the face of God in our midst. The Spirit never abandons us – not even in our most trying times. Look around you -- that's where the Spirit of Hope is.

Jodi Rose, Executive Director

P.S. If you have not heard, Bonnie in our office suffered a fall recently, and broke both of her wrists. Please keep her in your prayers over her 8 weeks of recovery!

One More Time-Inspirational Bus Tour onApril 29th in Jones Falls for One Water Partnership 

We can't wait to do it again! We filled one bus with watershed heroes yesterday on our first bus tour. Join us next time and help us fill two more buses with people of any faith who want to learn how we can work together to improve our local environments. Come see what other congregations in Baltimore have done to help restore healing to our shared waters. Click HERE for flyer with details. If your congregation is in the Jones Falls watershed you can still can join the effort. Email Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or call her at 443-799-0349 for the details. 

Image_for_Sacred_Grounds_Flyer.jpgSacred Grounds Workshops in Prince George's County

Sign up for one of our Sacred Grounds Workshops this spring. Choose one date and come join us either Tuesday, April 10th, Saturday, June 10th, or Sunday, July 29th. You will learn the simple steps that your congregation can take to help your local environment and improve the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Three participants will receive a $250 GIFT CARD to start their garden! 

For more information CLICK HERE. Or contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349 for more details.

Download the flyer HERE

Legislative Updates - April 9, 2018

April 9th was the last day of the Maryland legislative session. Stay tuned for a summary of how our priority bills fared. To receive updates on this, sign up for our advocacy emails HERE

DOWN TO THE WIRE! Deadline: Chesapeake Conservation Corps Internship Program - April 13th

Great opportunity for young adults looking to embark on a “green” careers. IPC is working with the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) to identify young adults (ages 18-25) to apply to their Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program, a paid internship beginning August 2018. Click HERE to go to our website to learn more how IPC can help. Or contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349 for more details.

Summer Time Fun: Vacation Bible School Trainings for Prince George's  & Baltimore

SIGN UP for our God's Water Heroes, Splash Into Living Waters Vacation Bible School & Sunday School Curriculum training for Prince George's County. Click HERE for more information and to register. We are happy to report that our Baltimore City program is FULL!!! But let us know if you would like to be put on a waiting list.  This FREE curriculum and training is focused on caring for God’s waters of Creation within your local watersheds. The trainings are held in three parts.  Questions? Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349.

Earth Day Worship and Study Resources

April 22 is Earth Day and the whole month offers an opportunity to focus on celebrating and caring for Creation in your congregation's worship and educational life. Many resources are available to assist you in planning an Earth Day service, bible study, or educational event. See the IPC Resources webpage for ideas! See all the "Earth Month" activities that the Maryland Presbyterian Church is planning for April.

forest-stream-path.jpgInterfaith Nature Walks in Gaithersburg and Harford County

Is your congregation located in Gaithersburg or Harford County? Come join us on an Interfaith Nature Walk and learn about what's happening in your local watershed. This is an opportunity to begin planning for actions your congregation can take to protect Creation.

Sign up for the Sunday, May 6th walk in Gaithersburg HERE

Sign up for the Thursday, May 10th walk in Abingdon, Harford County HERE

Questions? Please email Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] 

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • April 10 6:30-8:30PM free Sacred Grounds Workshop, Mowatt Memorial UMC, 40 Ridge Road, Greenbelt. RSVP HERE
  • April 10 7-9PM Film "This Changes Everything" Homewood Friends Meeting, Baltimore. Click HERE for more info
  • April 12 10AM-12:30PM. Vacation Bible School Training for Baltimore congregations Click HERE for more information
  • April 12 8:30AM-1PM Symposium on Environmental Justice and Service to Vulnerable Communities. Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City. RSVP HERE
  • April 14 9AM-2PM Baltimore Native Plant Sale, Church of the Redeemer, Baltimore. Buy native plants directly from the grower. Learn more HERE.
  • April 14 10AM Baltimore GROW Center Pop-Up, Easterwood/Sandtown Park n' Playground. Click HERE for more info
  • April 14 3-5PM Columbia Families in Nature's Community Forest Project Site Preparation Day to create habitat, benefit our watershed, and be a positive climate action. Event is free but registration is requested. Click HERE for more info
  • April 14 Alice Ferguson Foundation's Annual Potomac Cleanup. Volunteer or lead a cleanup. Click HERE for more info
  • April 14 9AM-12PM Potomac Conservancy's Potomac Watershed Cleanup at Fletcher's Cove, Jones Point Park and Anacostia Park. Click HERE for more info
  • April 18 6PM Tom Pelton book signing, talk & discussion "The Chesaspeake in Focus: Transforming the Natural World". George Peabody Library, 17 E Mount Vernon Pl, Baltimore. More info HERE
  • April 20 6:30PM Supper 7PM Movie "Inhabit" exploring the benefits of the ecological design process of permaculture. More info HERE
  • April 21 Vacation Bible School Training for Prince George's County congregations Click HERE for more information
  • April 21 Lobbying Day on Capitol Hill - Faith leaders are welcome to represent Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake in lobbying your US Senators and Congressional Representatives. Contact Jodi at [email protected] if interested
  • April 21 10AM Baltimore GROW Center Pop-Up, Baltimore Community ToolBank. Click HERE for more info
  • April 22 3PM Inspirational Nature Walk at Centennial Park in conjunction with Earth Forum of Howard County
  • April 22 10AM Earth Day at Quiet Waters Park. Run for Nature 5K followed by the Earth Day Festival. More info HERE
  • April 28 9AM-12PM Potomac Conservancy's Potomac Watershed Cleanup at Columbia Island. Click HERE for more info
  • April 28 10AM Baltimore GROW Center Pop-Up, Madeira Street Garden. Click HERE for more info
  • April 28 10AM-1PM Rain Barrel Workshop at Dayspring Retreat Center. Click HERE for more info
  • April 29 2-5PM One Water Partnership Inspirational Bus Tour. Click HERE for more info
  • April 29 3-5PM Columbia Families in Nature's Community Forest Project Tree Planting Day to create habitat, benefit our watershed, and be a positive climate action. Event is free but registration is requested. Click HERE for more info
  • May 5 10AM Baltimore GROW Center Pop-Up, Langston Huges Community Resource Center. Click HERE for more info
  • May 7-9 Jewish Advocacy Days - Pearlstone Center - Details and registration here

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • Volunteers needed on Sat., April 22nd in Harford County from 9:45am-4:00 PM AND Sat. June 1st from 12:30-4PM. If you are available to staff an information table at these outdoor events at the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center located at 700 Otter Point Rd. Abingdon, MD 21009 contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349.
  • Want to volunteer more regularly during the Maryland Legislative Session for advocacy work? If yes, then you should sign up for our separate Action Alert emails
  • Are you willing to help us coordinate volunteers? We can use your help!
  • Do you like photography? Vidoegraphy? 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? 

If you can volunteer with us, please complete our Volunteer Signup Form.

Thank you!