- Reflection: Like a bridge over troubled water
- Great Walks in the Park
- Sacred Grounds Webinar & Workshop for Montgomery County Congregations
- FREE Trees Available for Prince George's County Congregations
- Be Part of the Trees for Sacred Places Project on the Eastern Shore and in Howard County
- Congregation Receives CBT Grant
- Exploration Charters in Upper Bay
- Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
- Volunteer & In-Kind Needs
"Like a bridge over troubled water" ~ Simon& Garfunkel
Many of the waters in our world and in our own watershed are "troubled" by pollution, degradation, trash, and a toxic legacy of chemicals. As people of faith, we are called to be stewards of the waters. The RiverWise Stewards, people of faith trained by the Watershed Stewards Academy (WSA) and IPC, provide assistance and inspiration to faith communities on how to become stewards themselves. Some of these Master Stewards recently gathered, "like a bridge over troubled waters" to share their stories of projects to heal local waters, and offer a bridge of fellowship across faiths at the Interfaith "Care for Sacred Waters" Gathering held at the Makkah Learning Center (MLC) Masjid (Muslim house of worship) on May 13.
Current Watershed Steward (Class 9) candidates Ammar Hanif and Martha Scott, members of the MLC and Muslim Center of Annapolis, hosted the event. Presentations were offered on the both Christian and Muslim teachings about our responsibility to assure that all have access to clean, healthy water. Rev. Johnny Calhoun (Class 7 Watershed Steward) described the basis of Christian stewardship for Creation in this way: GOD created human partners and collaborators to participate in creation. Ammad Hanif shared a story from the Hadith (stories about Mohammed, PBUH) exemplifying that sharing water with our neighbors who live downstream from us is an act of faith. And in advance of Ramadan (May 26-June 25), Martha Scott's presentation urged reducing the use of water bottles during Ramadan with this video. From the Qur'an she shared this teaching "Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption (pollution).” (Qur’an 2:60)
Stewards Kirvin Bonner from Payne Memorial AME and Chris Gordon from Holy Family Catholic Church (both Class 7) described how their congregation projects - especially the ongoing maintenance of them - helped people understand more fully the necessity of keeping the installed rain garden or rain barrel operating effectively. Their stories were also filled with the excitement of witnessing a renewed beauty of the landscape (e.g. without invasives), new visits by butterflies, a butterfly moth, and other unexpected wonders of God's Creation as if the Garden of Eden were coming back to life before their very eyes. IPC showed their video retrospective of the RiverWise Program which clearly shows the before and after effectiveness of the congregation projects to prevent stormwater runoff. IPC also offered examples of the many ways that congregations have been engaged in watershed stewardship with projects like these as well as through education and advocacy statewide.
A wide array of children's watershed awareness activities were offered by Natalia Sanchez of WSA and Venice Alexander, member of MLC. The children were fascinated to watch what the "rain" carried "downstream" on the watershed model brought by WSA (photo right). Venice, a seasoned teacher led these activities: a Water Polluters/Water Cleaner-upers Relay Race, What's in your lunch bag? (How much trash?), Take home Planting - with pea seeds, painting a rain barrel, and planting a tree - just to name a few! Activities like this are bridging across the generations with watershed literacy.
That said, we cannot wait for the next generation to clean up the mess left behind by previous generations, including our own. By building bridges across faith communities to celebrate both our differences and our commonalities we can become a powerful force for healing the "troubled waters" of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Great Walks in the Park
CLICK HERE for a 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.
This is a great way to learn about what's happening in our watershed and connect what you learn to your spiritual traditions. One Water Partnership is a new program designed to help congregations deepen their commitment to protecting the Earth and the local watershed. Through the One Water Partnership program, fifteen congregations in the Jones Falls 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.
Sacred Grounds Webinar & Workshop for Congregations in Montgomery County.
IPC is partnering with the National Wildlife Federation and others to offer Montgomery County congregations a Sacred Grounds webinar & workshop to learn how your community can receive up to $10,000 to beautify your grounds, conserve water and create habitat for wildlife. Join us! Click HERE to learn more.
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.
Be Part of the Trees for Sacred Places Project on the Eastern Shore and in Howard County
Do you live on the Eastern Shore or in Howard County? IPC and the Alliance for the Chesapeake will be expanding the Trees for Sacred Places Project into Howard County and the Eastern Shore. If your congregation is interested in learning more, please contact our Program Manager, Anna Awimbo.
Congregation Receives CBT Grant
Congratulations to People's Community Lutheran Church whose Chesapeake Bay Trust Watershed Assistance Grant will help them remediate the stormwater from their parking lot. Their story is highlighted in the Delaware Maryland Lutheran ELCA newsletter. Read it HERE.
Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
- May 22 7:30 PM Chizuk Amuno in Baltimore County dedicates their new bio-retention area. Mazel Tov!
- May 22 12pm - 1pm Sacred Grounds webinar for congregations in Montgomery County click HERE to register.
- May 23 8th Annual Choose Clean Water Coalition Conference. Workshop presentation. Tools for EJ: Authentic Community Engagement.
- May 27 St. Stephen Baptist Church Tree Planting, Spiritual Workshop. Temple Hills, MD.
- June 18 9:30am St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, College Park. Trees for Sacred Places Workshop.
- June 18 2pm - 5pm Sacred Grounds Workshop. Adat Shalom, Bethesda.
- June 25 2 PM One Water Partnership Nature Walk. Location To Be Determined. Contact email Bonnie Sorak for details or pre-register HERE to get updates.
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 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?
- 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)
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