The One Water Partnership really flexed its muscles in June as IPC worked with congregations and other partners in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford, Salisbury and Lancaster to celebrate the summer solstice and Juneteenth.
Greater Baltimore - Juneteenth Solstice Walk
A core team of volunteers from the partner congregation Mount Lebanon Baptist Church’s Green Team worked with new friends from Friends of Gwynns Falls Leakin Park to coordinate a great event at Stillmeadow Community Fellowship’s PeacePark. More than sixty people were welcomed by Pastor Michael Martin, followed by a powerful rendition of the first people’s “Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address-Greetings to the World” by our new friend, Peter Brooks, who also explained that the Solstice is essentially the highest of holy days to native people. We were then treated to a moving presentation by retired Baltimore City educator, Mr. Charlie Dugger who helped everyone understand that to celebrate Juneteenth, one must learn history. That the most important action each of us can take is to inspire the love of learning in our children that will continue on until adulthood. Watch recording of these moving presentations HERE.
We all bear responsibility to learn and teach how hard freedom is to win-- and keep! We were blessed to hear the beat of African drummers, hunted for bugs (to gratefully discover that the water quality in their stream was better than expected. Hallelujah!), learned about native plants and how to take nature photographs, created beautiful pottery, meditated with yoga and took an educational walk through the park.
If you missed it, don’t fret - - we are already talking about how to improve the event for next year!
Anne Arundel County- Juneteenth Solstice Walk
It was an afternoon of fun, laughter and reflection at Ebenezer AME Church as stewards from the congregation and across Anne Arundel County joined for a special celebration and reflection of Juneteenth & the Summer Solstice.
Beginning our program at the Ebenezer AME Church in Galesville, MD, participants had the chance to meet and hear remarks from both Rev. Drummond and Green Team leaders who are working hard to foster local environmental activism. The congregation is currently pursuing a grant to plan a variety of stormwater management practices and native plantings which will help reduce flooding, provide shade, and create habitat for local species. Together we shared and celebrated their recently completed site assessment, talked about what Juneteenth means, and began a deeper dive into the stories of local Black Americans from Galesville.
Notably among our explored stories was that of Henry Wilson, an enslaved American who was emancipated by his former master and went on to become the first African American to purchase land in Galesville. There he raised a family, just a few miles from where we were standing. Today, new plans are in motion to preserve the home of Henry Wilson to help tell his story for generations to come. You can read Henry Wilson's story HERE!
From there we walked to the Galesville Heritage Museum where we took the time to explore other stories of Black Americans from Galesville. We took the time to celebrate how far we have come from that first Juneteenth in 1857, and to reflect on how far we still have to go to achieve an “absolute equality of rights” (as proclaimed in the original general order presented in Texas, 1857). From stories for watermen and oyster-shuckers, to farmers and business-owners, our tour to the Galesville Heritage Museum gave us all a glimpse into a bigger story of America post emancipation.
We concluded down Main Street with a walk to a pocket park along the Galesville waterfront for a final celebration and reflection on our day and the stories we had learned about. We looked out at the Chesapeake Bay encircling a large mosaic compass on the ground and reflected on the symbolism of the four directions of the compass rose. Please enjoy our final reflection HERE.
Howard County Juneteenth
Dozens of friendly faces graced the halls of the Jim Rouse Theater and Performing Arts Center in Columbia MD for a celebration of Juneteenth! Music and lively chatter filled the hall as participants poured in for this mixed tabling and celebration event. IPC was proud to be among more than 10 represented organizations and municipalities from across Howard County. Together we gathered to share in what Juneteenth means and the long road to justice it represents - similar to our work that strides towards environmental justice for all.
At our IPC table we had a chance to share with others the breadth of environmentally focused work we have tackled across more than 100 congregations. We shared how each of these stories represents a community who was empowered to tackle their own self-identified environmental challenges. IPC believes that Environmental Justice is rooted in our ability to listen and give communities the tools, and consistent support they need to tackle some of their challenges.
Celebrating the Seasons ~ Celebrating the Elements Summer Solstice Hike: When Awareness Flows Like a River
On a hot summer evening IPC & the Lancaster Conservancy combined forces for a One Water Partnership summer solstice hike at Trout Run Nature Preserve. Building on our theme of awareness, we spent time quietly sitting and absorbing the sounds and sensations of the forest and waters. We explored the local waters and ecology, scavenger hunt style! Keith Williams, Community Engagement Coordinator at Lancaster Conservancy and Malinda Clatterbuck, a member of IPC's Lancaster Task Force led the hike. After spending time exploring separately, we came back together for a time of group sharing.Those that gathered learned about our precious bodies of local water together!
Save the date for future hikes in this series! Coming up next: Sept. 22nd -Autumn Equinox- A Harvest of Gratitude,
Susan Parker and Farah Yahya from two Salisbury congregations walked along the Bell Island Trail at Pemberton Park on Friday, June 24 aimed at celebrating the summer solstice. The event created an opportunity for a renewal of friendship and fellowship of members of Wicomico Interfaith Partners for Creation Stewardship (WIPCS), which had halted meetings after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived.
Along similar themes in Harford County, Highland Presbyterian Church (one of IPC’s newest Partner Congregations), hosted EcoFest, a festival celebrating creation to coincide with the solstice! At the event they celebrated signing IPC’s partner pledge in honor of Earth Sunday. HPC looks forward to sharing their eco-story with you, in hopes to inspire your congregation or community to do the same!
Thanks to all of our congregations, partners, and funders who make this all possible!
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