December 2017 Issue 1
  • Reflection: Lighting Candles for Hope
  • Donate_Button.jpgAnnual Appeal
  • Letter to the Editor from Cannon Patrick Collins
  • Maryland Legislative Session Begins Soon
  • One Water Partnership Congregations are Lighting the Way!
  • Fund Your Projects - Next FREE Mini-Grant Webinar This January
  • Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program
  • Join our Trees for Sacred Places Efforts - See the New video
  • Funding Available in Gaithersburg and Harford County
  • Potomac Pipeline Resistance
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs

Lighting Candles for Hope

At this time of year, many spiritual traditions focus on a flickering light in the darkness of the season. 

advent_wreath.jpgFor each night of Advent, Christians light candles - adding one each week to signify faith, hope, love, and peace - until Christmas day, when they light the Christ candle in the middle to celebrate Jesus' birth. During Hanukkah, Jews celebrate the "Festival of Lights" by lighting one new candle on the Menorah for 8 nights, recalling the rebellion of the Maccabees against their oppressors, and when the temple was purified, the oil in the lamps miraculously burned for 8 days, even though there was only enough for one day.

menorah.pngLike the symbol of hope that the growing light from candles bring, our acts of restoring the waters, the earth, and air of our communities grows and inspires others to "go forth and do likewise." As we ignite candles of hope, the joy and light spreads, as this Buddhist saying expresses:   

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. ~Buddhist teaching

In this season of lights, we can celebrate the light from our own "candles of hope," taking inspiration from Reverend Victoria Safford's essay "The Small Work in the Great Work" in The Impossible Will Take a Little While: Perseverance and Hope in Troubled Times.

We stand where we will stand, on little plots of ground, where we are maybe "called" to stand (though who knows what that means?) - in our congregations, classrooms, offices, factories, in fields of lettuces and apricots, in hospitals, in prisons (on both sides, at various times, of the gates), in streets, in community groups. And it is sacred ground if we would honor it, if we would bring to it a blessing of sacrifice and risk...

Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope - not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges (people cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through); nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of "Everything is gonna be all right." But a different, sometimes lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle. And we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see.

Where are you planting yourself? What signs of hope do you see? Here at IPC, we see your actions taken for healing God's Creation are truly "lighting candles of hope," and that light is growing!

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly ~Isaiah 58:8
A light shines in the darkness but the darkness does not overcome it.  ~John 1:5

Resources for reflection on Creation and Advent:
Praying with the Web of Creation: Advent/Christmas Year B  (a prayer for each Sunday of Advent)  
Ideas for Reclaiming Advent and Christmas from Presbyterian Hunger Program
Laudato Si - Joy Advent 2017 with a beautiful Creation Novina Dec. 16-24, reminds me of the Native American Great Thanksgiving with each day honoring a different aspect of Creation.
Hannukkah: The Sacred Green Menorah - Deeper Meanings of Hanukkah & Earth

Annual Appeal

Can you support us this year? We have a goal of raising $3,000 in December. Can you help us reach this goal? Your donations support all of this great work and enable us to reach more congregations. There are 5,000 congregations in Maryland....can you help us reach more of them? Thank you for your donation!

Letter To the Editor from Cannon Patrick Collins

The Rev. Canon Patrick A. Collins, Canon to the Ordinary of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, published this letter-to-the-editor in the Star Democrat

Rev. Canon Collins reminds us that we all can do more to protect God's Creation - all of us need to move outside our comfort zone. Referring to Rep. Andy Harris, the US Congressman representing District 1-Eastern Shore, he asks him to do more than simply vote "yes" for Chesapeake Bay funding, but to also lead his peers in fighting for clean water. Thank you to Rev. Canon Collins and all the faithful who bear witness to our sacred duty to care for God's Creation!

Maryland Legislative Session Begins Soon

The 2018 legislative session in Maryland begins in January and advocates are gearing up for the work ahead. Last year we never thought a fracking ban would be passed -- what exciting progress is in store for 2018?!?  Click here to get more involved in advocacy work this session. And old these dates on your calendar:

  • January 10 - Opening Day of Session Rally
  • January 18 - Environmental Legislative Summit - RSVP HERE - attend Advocacy 101 training and hear from Maryland state legislators on important environmental bills this session
  • January 25 - Advocacy Briefing for Faithful Stewards - Details and Registration coming soon - All are welcome to join a conference call co-hosted by IPC and IPL to hear about environmental legislation that will be proposed in the Maryland General Assembly and actions you can take to support them.

One Water Partnership Congregations are Lighting The Way!


Congratulations to Govans Presbyterian Church who broke ground on their new bio-retention area which is a part of their participation in the One Water Partnership. Read the Baltimore Sun article HERE. They also held a very successful movie night where almost 100 members from their community came together to watch the movie "Plastic Ocean". Similarly, Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church worked in conjunction with Memorial Episcopal Church and Corpus Christi Church to host the showing of "Merchants of Doubt" followed by a panel discussion.  Shrine of the Sacred Heart has held a tree planting at Lake Roland Park and done a stream clean up. Click HERE to see a list of the member congregation's plans. Click HERE for summary of the work that has already begun. 

You can read a synopsis of the One Water Partnership program in this Bay Journal article that also highlights the work of Chizuk Amuno and The Church of the Redeemer. If your congregation is in the Jones Falls watershed you can help all of them spread the light! Connect with the 30+ congregations already taking actions to improve their communities. Check out what your congregation can do by Clicking HERE for our full Menu of Actions. Email Bonnie Sorak or call her at 443-799-0349 for the details. Fill out this brief interest form and we'll follow up to schedule a conversation about your congregation's interests and capacity.

Fund Your Projects - Next FREE Mini Grant Webinar on Sunday, January 21 at 2PM

Is your congregation looking for funds to carry out an environmental or health themed program or in-the-ground project? Then IPC can help. IPC is providing support for four-eight congregations to apply for Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Engagement Mini-Grants (up to $5,000). Earth Forum of Howard County has submitted their first application and you can too! The secondFREEinformational webinar will be held on Sunday, January 21st, at 2 PM.Click HERE to go to our webpage to learn more, to register and to see how IPC can help. Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349 for more details. Please see and share the promotional flyer HERE or print version HERE.

PG_County_Seal.pngPrince George's County Alternative Compliance Program 

Interested in learning more about how your congregation can save money through the Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program? IPC staff are offering free one-on-one support to help you achieve reductions in your congregation’s Clean Water fee. This support is paid for by a grant from the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, but is open to only 10 congregations. Questions? Contact Anna Awimbo at [email protected] or call410-609-6852.

Trees_For_Sacred_Places_logo.jpgJoin our Trees for Sacred Places Efforts

This year people of faith planted more than 1,500 trees through our Trees for Sacred Places Program.  This brings our total to over 14,000 trees since the program began!  if you'd like to learn more, check out our new video HERE. Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349 for more details.

Funding Available in Gaithersburg and Harford County

Is your congregation located in Gaithersburg or Harford County, and has your community been wanting to do install a rain garden, plant trees, or some other pollution-reducing project? Chesapeake Bay Trust has funding available immediately for congregational projects that reduce stormwater pollution. For more information or to ask questions, please email Jodi at [email protected]

Potomac Pipeline Resistance

Join other advocates at a public hearing on December 19 to resist the pipeline being proposed for UNDERNEATH the Potomac River. Details on the hearing and to RSVP to attend, please click HERE. We need your voice!

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • January 18 - Environmental Legislative Summit - Join us for advocacy training (12-3PM) or hear from your state representatives on specific environmental bills (4-6PM) RSVP HERE
  • January 21 2PM - IPC hosts Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Engagement Mini Grant Webinar. Click HERE for more information
  • January 21 2PM - Earth Forum of Howard County-First Presbyterian Church of Howard County. Click HEREfor more information
  • January 25 7:30PM - Advocacy Briefing for Faithful Stewards (Details and RSVP page coming soon!)
  • January 26-27 Working Together: Healing Our Climate and Our Nation sponsored by Citizen's Climate Lobby. Click HERE for more information.

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • 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 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? 
Thank you!