Picture6.jpgYou earned this award, with us.

Together over the past 5 years, our interfaith network of watershed champions have honored all of Creation by working together to protect and restore our shared watersheds. You have signed petitions, planted thousands of trees, installed dozens of stormwater practices, reduced waste and consumables at your facilities, educated thousands of faithful on the moral imperative to be good stewards of Creation, testified on behalf of public policies designed to protect the web of life, and inspired attitudinal changes in your rabbis, bishops, peers, family, and friends.

This is your award, too.

The Presbyterians for Earth Care, a national eco-justice network within the Presbyterian Church USA, awarded IPC its national honor, the “Restoring Creation Award”. It was presented to us on June 19th at the PCUSA National Assembly in St. Louis. Our very own Rev. Ken Kovacs of Catonsville Presbyterian Church accepted the award on our behalf. How fitting, too, because Catonsville Presbyterian Church has been one of the leading champions for this work: they planted 74 trees through IPC’S Trees for Sacred Places program and removed invasives to transform an overgrown patch of trees and weeds into a beautiful and thriving forest. They now use the forest to raise awareness about conservation stewardship with their members and students from the adjacent public elementary school. The joint project brought together church members, school parents, and members of the American Turkish Friends Association, a Muslim and Turkish cultural group that meets not far from the church.

But, in the end, none of us are doing this for an award or recognition. We answer to something greater. For me, I am motivated by a deep commitment to the sacred Creation that God made. I am inspired when I am out near water in the early morning and all that can be heard are the sounds of nature and rolling water. I am ashamed by the injustice that many of God’s children face who are oppressed by the disproportionate burden of environmental harm. I am tired from the fight, but when I watch my teenages grow, I worry about what they will inherit as adults and I am refueled to keep pressing for change. This is the “why” of this work. This is God’s work, and we are merely hands and feet. In the words of the assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero, “We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.”

Jodi Rose, Executive Director, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake