• Reflection: Ministries of Healing  
  • Donate_Button.jpg2017 Maryland Environmental Legislative Session
  • NEW! Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program Workshops & Consulting to help Congregations Save Money
  • Vacation Bible School Program on Water - Prince George's County
  • Opportunity in Charles County and Gaithersburg
  • Get Ready for Spring Plantings!
  • FREE Workshop & Webinar - Learn how to apply for CBT Community Engagement Mini Grants
  • Upcoming Events
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs

Ministries of Healing 

How are people of faith and health advocates alike?  Both care deeply when someone is being harmed.

That is what got me started as both an environmental advocate and a health advocate, speaking out to policy-makers in Maryland about people being harmed. A decade ago, I was running community health services in Baltimore's poorest neighborhoods and realized I had to do something to change the unhealthy environments people were living in. I felt called to do more. In our beautiful and wealthy state, I saw how the environment was harming some people a lot more than others.

That led me to volunteer with Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC). And eventually to my being on the IPC Board. It also led me to found the hands-water.jpgMaryland Environmental Health Network. I joined the IPC Board to further act on this call to minister to the brokenness around me. IPC’s focus on the Bay and its watersheds is fundamentally a focus on the people living in these places, people whose lives are diminished when we pollute. Through this work, I have joined many other people of faith, not so much because of any shared theology or dogma, but because of this shared desire to care for others. People of faith are often called to do more. We are healers, called to minister to our world – the people and the places.

This ministry has many seasons and follows many paths. During the winter months in Maryland, when we can't plant trees or native shrubs, there are other ways to minister. One of these is through legislative advocacy.

No matter how you feel about our federal government, the legislative process still matters, and at the Maryland state level, our democracy is alive and well. This winter, our state representatives will be making critical decisions on issues that affect the health of the Bay and our neighbors - from clean renewable energy, to the role of the gas industry in Maryland, to overuse of antibiotics in factory farming, to banning polystyrene in food packaging.

A call to your state legislator is an easy - and very important - way to advocate for a healthy ecosystem and a fairer world. IPC's web page on Advocacy offers a short menu of Maryland issues that need your voice. Read over the list of issues and pick one or several that you care about.

Click here to find the phone number and address of your state senator and delegates. Law-makers pay attention when constituents take the time to write, call, or visit. Join us at the Maryland Legislative Summit on Thursday Jan. 26th and show our state representatives how important these issues are to Maryland voters. Or, attend this free webinar to learn more details about these issues. After you get educated on the issues, share your thoughts with your neighbors, colleagues, or family. Encourage them too to make a call or send a hand-written note to their state delegate or senator. 

People of faith are already advocates in our complicated secular world - for justice and healing. Let's claim that word - Advocacy - for all its nobility and power and include it in our many ministries. 

~ Rebecca Ruggles



2017 Maryland Legislative Session

The Maryland legislative session is underway, and your state representatives will be making decisions on major environmental policies. Learn more about these policies at FREE webinar on January 30th, and join us at theLegislative Summit on Jan. 26th to show state representatives that we care about God's Creation - let's fill the room!

Prince George's County Congregations Come Learn How to Save Money through Alternative Compliance Program Options 2 & 3

free_button.jpgIPC and our partner the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay will be offering FREE workshops AND additional consulting support to help congregations navigate Options 2 & 3 of Prince George's County's Alternative Compliance Program. Sign up HERE for one of the workshops offered on March 4th, April 4th and May 10th. Download and share the flyer HERE.

Hurry to Sign Up - Only 6 spots left in our Vacation Bible School/Sunday School Program in Prince George's County

image_of_kids.jpgThanks to Fort Washington Baptist Church, Walker Mill Baptist Church, Jerusalem AME and Richie Baptist Church that have already signed up!

A FREE training and curriculum for a Vacation Bible School (VBS) or Sunday School program will be 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! Our program offers, for free:

  • water-themed curriculum for 5 separate activities with materials
  • training for your lead teachers, including a boat ride on the Anacostia for an in-depth experience of the content you'll be teaching
  • pre-printed banner to hang outside and advertise your program
  • one-on-one support for your team to help you succeed in putting on the program for your youth
  • participating congregations will receive a 25% discount off their Clean Water Fee since this satisfies the educational requirement 
  • More information on this flyer
  • Click HERE to register for the workshops
 Email [email protected] to reserve your spot today!

Charles County and Gaithersburg Opportunities

funding_with_book_and_tree.jpgIs your congregation located in Charles County or City of Gaitherburg? There are grant opportunities open in both of these jurisdictions for projects such as tree plantings or rain garden installations. If you think your congregation would be interested in planting trees, installing a rain garden, installing a cistern, or doing education/outreach to the surrounding neighborhood, and you'd like to take advantage of these grant funds, please contact us. We will be putting together an application for these projects and can include your congregation in the request. Email our Program Manager Anna Awimbo at [email protected]

Free Trees Available for Prince George's County Congregations CTK_TFSP_9.jpg

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 at [email protected].

View and download Prince George's Flyer HERE.

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 Georges 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? Email [email protected]

In-person Workshop Coming Up on Sunday, Jan. 29th at 2 PM Click HERE to register . 

Click HERE for the flyer you can share with all the details. Click HERE to access our webpage with dates and more information and to register. Sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. 

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

  • January 26 4-6 pm Environmental Legislative Summit at the Maryland Statehouse
  • January 27 (snow/ice date February 10) Film Screening "Before the Flood" with Leonardo DiCaprio, at Towson Unitarian Universalist, Potluck at 5:30 PM, Film at 6:30 PM.  Details click HERE.
  • January 29 2 PM Free CBT Community Engagement Mini Grant Workshop. Held in-person at Christ The King Lutheran Church 1930 Brookdale Road Windsor Mill, MD 21244 (Baltimore County) Click HERE to register
  • January 30 7 to 8 pm For the Faithful ~ Environmental Advocacy Briefing - online webinar covering some of the top environmental priorities this legislative session in Maryland - must RSVP to attend
  • February 4 10 AM Free CBT Community Engagement Mini Grant Webinar hosted by IPC. Click HERE to register to learn how to apply for funds
  • February 8 Foam Ban Lobby Day! Talk to your legislator about banning styrofoam in Maryland. Need help setting up a meeting? RSVP here and we'll help you!
  • March 1 5PM Deadline for Baltimore City congregations & organizations to submit applications for CAMP grants. The application may be found by clicking HERE.

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • We need a laptop computer, gently used is fine, with an iCore 7 processor or higher. 
  • We purchase a lot of printing from Staples and Vistaprint - we could use gift cards to these vendors!
  • Thank you Laura Heller for gifting us a small canvas case for our projector and speakers! 
  • Do you like photographyVidoegraphy? We are always looking for help taking photos at our events, and putting them together in slide shows. This is a good way to inspire other people and show them the work that is taking place across Maryland.  
  • Are you willing to make 5-10 phone calls each week for us to help us follow up with engaged congregations? 
  • Do you have skills in financial review? IPC is looking for probono support for an internal financial review. Call Jodi Rose at 410-609-6852 if you can help. 
Thank you!