• Reflection: Hurdles and Victories
  • Maryland Legislative Update
  • Join Us - Spiritual Walks in the Jones Falls
  • Donate_Button.jpgPrince George's County Alternative Compliance Program (ACP) Workshop
  • Free VBS/Sunday School Curriculum "God's Water Heroes" - Prince George's County
  • Clean Drain Campaign Receives over 700 Pledges
  • Project Clean Stream Opportunities
  • FREE Trees Available for Prince George's County Congregations
  • Youth Volunteer Day Restoration of Historic AME Church
  • Mongtomery County Light Bulb Exchange Program
  • Trees for Sacred Places in Howard County and the Eastern Shore
  • Climate for Life Maryland
  • Anne Arundel Interfaith Gathering: "Care for Our Sacred Waters" & BBQ
  • RiverWise Stewards Receive Significant Ministry Award
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs


Reflection: Hurdles and Victories

We live in a world where we are pulled in so many directions that it often feels like there just aren’t enough hours in a day to complete all the important things we need to get done.  Often there is also very little time to find that quiet space each day to give thanks for all our blessings and find time to use our talents to bless others.

Over the past several months IPC and our partners have faced many of these kinds of hurdles and celebrated many victories. Through my work in Prince George’s County, I have met individuals who hold down full time jobs, have small side businesses, juggle family life, and still find the time to lead Creation Care and Environmental Stewardship ministries within their congregations.  In other parts of the state such as Howard County and the Eastern Shore, we will soon be working with congregational leaders who, in spite of the many other priorities they face, will make it a goal to lead workshops within their congregations to teach the importance of caring for our sacred waters.

Throughout the State, our Trees For Sacred Places program continues to grow. Places of worship are still making a commitment to restore the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by planting trees on their properties (more than 12,000 trees planted to date!).

Just as exciting is our new One Water Partnership that will work one-on-one with congregations to cultivate a strong faith-rooted commitment to pollution reduction. Beginning in May, IPC, its partners and other faith congregations in Jones Falls, will bring together their green teams for a series of visioning sessions to develop action strategies to guide their work throughout the year.

We have often shared how the work we all do to care for our shared waters is humbling, overwhelming, and not for the weak. But it remains essential so that all may have the right to clean water, in present and future generations.

We are excited at all the opportunities that have come our way.  Let us continue to make the time in our busy lives to unite across all faiths and continue to find ways to work together to celebrate these victories.


Maryland Legislative Update

Wow…what an intense legislative session in Maryland! At a time when national leaders are loosening environmental regulations, Maryland doubled down on protecting our shared natural resources! Here’s a summary of how things went in the 2017 Maryland Legislative Session...and a few actions we still need you to take.

Bills that Passed – But Call Gov. Hogan and tell him to sign them! These bills passed, but we’re waiting for Gov. Hogan to sign them. He has until early May to sign them, veto them, or let them become law without his signature. Please call Gov. Hogan and urge him to sign these bills! His number is 410-974-3901.

  • SB422/HB602 - Keep Antibiotics Effective Act – This bill stops the use of antibiotics on animals that are not sick. With the rise of “superbugs” resulting from profuse use of antibiotics, this bill will cut back on inhumane treatment of animals for our quick and cheap production of food, and increase the effectiveness of antibiotics for medical purposes.
  • SB 386/HB 830 - Pollinator Habitat Plans – This bill prohibits the use of pesticides known to harm bees on state-designated pollinator habitats. In other words, it was great that the state designates pollinator habitats, but this bill clarified that the state shouldn’t use neonic pesticides in those habitats!

Bills that Passed and Now Are Law

  • HB1325/SB740 – Oil and Natural Gas – Hydraulic Fracturing – Prohibition – You heard about this one I’m sure! Fracking is now banned in Maryland, despite the fact that there are actually gas reserves in our state (other states have banned fracking, but the industry was not concerned because there was no potential for fracking in those states). Congratulations to the many organizations that worked for 8 years to achieve this goal. 
  • HB 1106/SB 921 - Clean Energy Jobs Act – This was an override of a veto that Gov. Hogan imposed on this bill on the final day of the session last year. The bill increases Maryland's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) to ensure that by 2020, 25% of Maryland’s electricity is derived from renewable energy sources.

Bills that Didn’t Pass

  • SB186/HB229 - Polystyrene Phaseout – This bill received huge grassroots support and caught the attention of many legislators, but did not pass. The House Environment & Transportation Committee is now embarking on a study of plastic pollution in preparation of putting forth a study-based bill next year.
  • HB599/SB365—Forest Conservation Act Amendments – This bill passed out of the Senate, but stalled in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. The strong support in the Senate is a great foundation to work with in the 2018 session.

Curious about other bills? Click here for a wrap-up report prepared by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation of many other bills introduced during session. 

Thank you for all that you did this session to make your voice heard! We will be back at it again to help you lift your voice in the 2018 Maryland Legislative Session.


Tree_Instruction.JPGJoin Us on 3 Spiritual Nature Walks
in the Jones Falls!

For the next Spiritual Nature Walk on April 30th at 2PM we will gather at Lake Roland Park beginning at 1:30PM at the landing at the end of Lakeside Drive. Click HERE for a map. The next two walks quickly follow on Saturday, May 6th at Cylburn Arboretum and then Tuesday, May 9th at Wyman Park. To see the details about where to park and to pre-register check out our web page HERE

Click HERE for a promotional flyer that you can share. CLICK HERE for a full detailed brochure about the program. To find out if your congregation is in the Jones Falls or for more information email Bonnie Sorak or call her at 443-799-0349

We'll take a walk through the park, learn about what's happening to our watershed, and connect what we learn to our spiritual traditions. We'll also hear more about the One Water Partnership, a new program designed to help your congregation deepen their commitment to protecting the Earth and the local watershed. Through the One Water Partnership program, fifteen congregations will receive $1,000 in grant funds to support this work. Find more information HERE

Ready to get rolling as a One Water Partnership congregation right now? Fill out this brief interest form and we'll follow up to schedule a conversation on your congregation's interests and capacity.

Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program (ACP) Workshops

Sign up NOW for our next ACP Workshop on May 10th! Prince George's County congregations can learn how to save money through the Alternative Compliance Program Options 2 & 3. Sign-up HERE for the workshop and download and share the flyer HERE. This program is offered by IPC and our partner the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

Make Up Session on April 27th at Walker Mill Baptist Church for Vacation Bible School/SundaySchool Training in Prince George's County

LivingWaters_cover_FINAL.jpgDid you miss any of the VBS training sessions this month?
 There's still time to join our group of congregational leaders who are already participating in the free IPC Vacation Bible School program "God's Water Heroes."

Join us at Walker Mill Baptist Church on Thursday, April 27th, from 10AM - 1PM, 6801 Walker Mill Rd, Capitol Heights, MD 20743 for a make up session that will cover all the curriculum material covered to date.  The final session will be a boat tour on the Anacostia River held on May 20thmorning from 9AM -12PM.

Current participating congregations include: St. Stephen's Baptist Church, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, Fort Washington Baptist Church, Walker Mill Baptist Church, Jerusalem AME, Richie Baptist Church, Union Bethel AME and First Baptist Church of North Brentwood. 

This is a FREE training and curriculum for a Vacation Bible School (VBS) or Sunday School program offered to churches in Prince George's County, through a grant provided by Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Prince George's County Department of Environment. 

Participating congregations will receive a 25% discount off their Clean Water Fee since this satisfies the Alternative Compliance Program's Option 2 educational requirement!
 Click HERE to register for the makeup session workshop and the final boat tour.

P0001.jpgHurrah! The Clean Drain Campaign received over 700 Pledges

Thanks to our friends at Rehobeth Church, Knox Presbyterian, St. Vincent dePauls Church, New Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church and St. Philips Lutheran Church for working with IPC on this pilot program. We hope that through this effort there will be less sanitary sewer overflows in Baltimore City resulting in a cleaner environment that is healthier for all of God's creatures. AND we provided help to support the hungry through the donations that were made to local food pantries.

MOMs_Organic_Market_PCS.jpgProject Clean Stream

Join the largest annual volunteer cleanup event in the Chesapeake Bay region! Every spring, tens of thousands of volunteers come together to clean up local streams and neighborhoods as part of the Alliance for Chesapeake Bay's Project Clean Stream. Cleanups take place across the entire Chesapeake watershed, in all 6 Bay states and DC. Cleanups will take place all spring, from March 1 to June 9. If you would like to register a cleanup or volunteer at one, please click HERE to visit their website.


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

Would you like to beautify your grounds and leave a legacy to 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 on our webpage HERE

Interested? Contact Bonnie Sorak.

View and download Prince George's Flyer HERE.

Youth Volunteer Day in Restoration of Historic AME Church

With a grant awarded from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Earth Stewardship East is working to complete a major storm water management, native plant landscaping and public education project on the Historic Pleasant View Site (11810 Darnestown Rd, Gaithersburg). The project is expected to be completed in 2018, marking the 150th anniversary of the purchase of the property by freed slaves. Click HERE for more information on the project.

Plants and supplies will be provided but volunteers are needed. Middle and high school students are encouraged to participate on Saturday, April 29, 9AM-1PM. To volunteer please contact Merikay Smith.

lightbulb.jpgLet There Be Light (Bulb Exchange)

Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection’s Residential Energy program is looking for congregations to partner with this Spring. In honor of the change of season, they are planning to do a lightbulb exchange and need your help.

During the Spring, they would like to partner with your congregation to provide members with LED lightbulbs. Whether it’s a collection after service or inclusion in a Spring community event, they will bring an informational table and giveaways for your members. For each incandescent/CFL lightbulb that your members bring in, they will receive a LED at no cost. Pepco and Potomac Edison have graciously supplied up to three lightbulbs for each congregation member who exchanges their lightbulbs. Please email Jodi Rose if you are interested.

Do you live in Howard County or on the Eastern Shore? We’re coming to you!

Building on our success working with congregations in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, IPC and the Alliance for the Chesapeake will be expanding the Trees for Sacred Places Project into Howard County and the Eastern Shore.  Interested in learning more? Please contact Anna Awimbo.

Climate for Life Maryland

Are you getting ready to attend the April 29 Peoples March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in Washington, D.C.? There’s a new website for Maryland residents attending the march: Climate for Life Maryland. If you plan to attend the march, and want to stay to a growing movement even after the march is over, you may wish to register at their site to stay tied in to upcoming events. 

Interfaith_graphic_logo.jpgAnne Arundel Interfaith Gathering: "Care for Our Sacred Waters" & BBQ

RiverWise Master Watershed Stewards are organizing an afternoon ofeducation, action, and fellowship with BBQ Potluck dinner  at the Makkah Learning Center in Gabrills, MD on May 13, 2-5PM. Makkah Learning Center is where a Muslim community is planning to install watershed projects on it's grounds to reduce their stormwater problems. The program will include faith foundations of stewardship from Christian and Muslim traditions, activities for children and presentations for adults on watershed literacy and care for Creation.  Panel presentations with stories will be shared by Watershed Stewards from RiverWise Congregations that have successfully addressed their problems with flooding, mold, water blocking entrances, while reducing the pollution heading downstream into the Chesapeake Bay!   

This will be a wonderful opportunity for people of different faiths to learn from one another and affirm our common calling to stewardship of sacred waters. Here's a flyer about the event.  For more information please contact: Ammar Hanif or Martha Scott.  Please RSVP HERE.

bs-cgth-ac-mytime-watershed-stewards-p1-jpg-20161227.jpgRiverWise Stewards Receive Significant Ministry Award

We congratulate St. John Lutheran Church Linthicum, which will be receiving the Delaware-Maryland Synod Innovation award for the RiverWise project that was completed by RiverWise Stewards Sandy Hartzell and Brenda Schwaab (pictured at left). 

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • April 26 St. Ignatius Catholic Community presents Rev. Fletcher Harper's "A Talk on Climate Justice" 7:30PMClick HERE for more info.
  • April 26-27 Jewish Environmental Advocacy Days. Click HERE for more info and to register.
  • April 27 Vacation Bible School makeup session at Walker Mill Baptist Church (for congregations in Prince George's County that may have missed some of the earlier parts of the training). Click HERE to sign up.
  • April 27 Live Plant Giveaway, 7PM at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church (Lewis Room) 11701 Clopper Rd, Gaithersburg. Free vegetable and native flower plants and seedings. "Successful and Sustainable Gardening in a Changing Climate" presentation by master gardener, Janet Young
  • April 29 Pleasant View Project Youth Volunteer Day, 9AM-1PM, Gaithersburg. Volunteers needed. Click HERE for more info.
  • April 29 People's Climate March10AM-3PM, Washington, DC. Click HERE if you are interested in taking a bus from Baltimore or discounted Metro tickets.
  • April 30 Jodi Rose, our Executive Director, will be delivering the sermons at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Annapolis at both Sunday morning services.
  • April 30 2PM One Water Partnership Spiritually Led Nature Walk. Click HERE to register. 
  • May 5 Night Out With Nature Series: The Role of Connection to Nature on Psychological Well-Being and Spirituality" 7-9PM, Sherwood House at Cromwell Valley Park. Fee. Click HERE for more info. To register contact 410-887-2503 or [email protected].
  • May 7 Climate Justice Symposium, 11AM-4PM, Adat Shalom Congregation, Bethesda. Click HERE for more info and to RSVP.
  • May 9 "Let There Be Water" Best-selling author Seth Siegel speaks about the global water crisis and solutions developed in Israel, Q&A to follow. Dessert reception. Click HERE to register.
  • May 9-11 Blue Vision Summit Ocean Conference at Georgetown University. Click HERE for more information.
  • May 10 Alternative Compliance Workshop. Learn more about the program and get your questions answered Sign-up HERE.
  • May 13 Lutheran 500 Trees Project: Tree Planting, Spiritual Workshop, and trees give away celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. St Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Linthicum, 9AM-12PM. More information, contact Brenda Schwaab.
  • May 13 2-5PM Interfaith "Care for Our Waters" Event with community BBQ and potluck dinner at Makkah Learning Center, Gambrills, MD. Contact: Ammar Hanif or Martha Scott.  See flyer HERE. 
  • May 13-14 Green Festival Expo, DC Convention Center. Fee. Click HERE for tickets or more information.
  • May 20 9:30-11:30AM Vacation Bible School Anacostia River Field Trip (only for those registered to offer the VBS program. Click HERE to register).

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • 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!