New Life Arises from Earth
Upcoming Events
Maryland Legislative Update
Earth Day Ideas
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As springtime emerges out of a long winter's bleak slumber, Easter and Passover bring renewal and reminders of freedom from the bondage of whatever enslaves us. In this season, I am also reminded of a poignant story Vigen Guroian told on Krista Tippet's radio show "On Being." Vigen Guroian is an Orthodox Christian theologian with a deep mystical appreciation for God's Creation which he especially experiences while gardening (his photo left), as expressed so beautifully in his book The Fragrance of God. During the interview, Guroian described his experience one spring which brings tears of joy to my eyes every time I read it:

During a thaw ..., as I was digging up the soggy soil where the peas go, I lifted a heavy mound with my shovel, and then another. The two turtles had burrowed down for winter sleep, and I had rudely awakened them too soon. So I carried them to a corner of the garden where I would not disturb them and dug them in again. When my wife said that she feared the turtles might be dead, I said I did not think so (though I wasn't as sure as I sounded). I insisted that in spring they would come up. And they did, in Easter week. Lilies and hyacinths signify the resurrection, and I can understand why. But I have a pair of turtles that plant themselves in my garden each fall like two gigantic seeds and rise on Easter with earthen crowns upon their humbled heads. 

Our God is an awesome God "...making all things new! Now it springs up; do you not see it?" (Isaiah 43:19)  And new things are springing up all over, even here at IPC.  New Resources are available for education and worship to celebrate Earth Day and beyond. The Covenantal Partners Program is expanding to include these churches in Baltimore (with room for 2 more!): St. Matthew's Catholic Parish, Gwynn Oak United Methodist Church, Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Prince of Peace Baptist Church, all engaging in new ways to express their love for and stewardship of God's Creation. And several fantastic events are coming up in April - see Upcoming Events below and get engaged!

Trees for Sacred Places is planting trees at retreat centers, religious institutions and congregations with large properties (do you know of any?).  One example is on April 1, nearly 60 trees will be planted on Washington Adventist Hospital grounds by students from the Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, during their Service Day.  These trees will help prevent stromwater runoff into nearby Sligo Creek, stewarded by Friends of Sligo Creek.   

What new things are springing up in your faith community?   Tell us and others about it on our new Facebook page. Your public witness of change will inspire other people on Facebook, and together, with God’s grace, the dream for change will spring to life, emerging into the light like two turtles. Signs of hope are also springing up worldwide as Catholics and people of faith around the world await with eager anticipation the Pope’s encyclical on Creation and respect for the environment this year. It will undoubtedly focus on repairing our relationship with the natural world especially in light of climate change.  Also on the planetary scale, we hear the hopeful news that global carbon emissions stayed the same for 2 consecutive years even though the global economy increased. However, we must not rest on our laurels, since much still needs to be done to reduce our emissions even further, as evidenced by the recent typhoon devastation of the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu.

In tireless hope,

The IPC Team 

Upcoming Events 

  • March 28th - Montgomery County Greenfest 11-4 pm Click HERE to Help IPC

  • April 1st - Student Service Day at Washington Adventist University, Kolya will preach in Chapel at 8:30, followed by tree planting at Washington Adventist Hospital
  • April 11th - Alice Ferguson Foundation Cleanup

  • April 18th - Prince George's County Workshop for congregations to learn about restoring watersheds and how reduce their stormwater fees 2-5 pm.  Click here to register.

  • April 18th - Howard County County Greenfest 10 am - 4 pm Click HERE to Help 

  • April 18th - Tree planting at Camp Pecometh, Centreville, MD
  • April 19th - Jodi Speaking at Maryland Presbyterian Church (Towson) at morning service

  • April 19th - Kolya speaking at Towson Unitarian Universalist at morning service

  • April 19th - Montgomery County “Sacred Grounds” workshop to learn how to "Green" your congregation's grounds  2-5 pm

  • April 19th - Bonnie speaking at Emmanuel Church, Chestertown “This Fragile Earth, Our Island” Home 2 pm

  • April 19th - Earth Forum of Howard County 2 pm “Water Stories from Around the World”

  • April 25th – Co-sponsoring “PEEK” Photo exhibit of beautiful biodiversity at Maryland Presbyterian Church.  Flyer here.

  • April 26thAnnapolis Earth-Water-Faith Festival 2 - 4:30 pm Click Here to Help IPC   

  • April 26th - Visioning Session with The Episcopal Church of the Holy Covenant (please keep them in your prayers!)

  • April 26th - “Walk the Talk: An Interfaith Response to Polluted Runoff” 3-5 PM Cathedral of the Incarnation, Baltimore, Keynote Speaker Rev. Dr. Angela Shepherd. Click Here to register.

  • April 26th - Kolya preaches at Accotink Unitarian Universalist, morning service 10:30 AM

Update on the 2015 Maryland Legislative Session

While many environmental bills were killed in legislature and some are passing with amendments, all bills were essential in the process of educating legislators about preserving our shared environment for the common good and for those who will come after us. Even though a bill is not passed in 2015, we are confident that the work done this session adds to the momentum of positive change. Progress will continue in 2016! Below are some recent updates; details on all 6 bills that IPC is tracking can be found on our Advocacy Page.   Severn River, by Kolya Braun-Greiner

Bag Bill - This bill died in the House - Economic Matters subcommittee. While we are disappointed that 2015 wasn’t the year for this bill, we are confident that many legislators learned new facts about the harm of so much plastic in our daily living. Keep an eye out for more momentum on this legislation in 2016!

Stormwater - Thanks to all of you who wrote letters to their legislators, called them, and a special thank you to Betsy Love who testified at the Senate hearing! (Fast-forward to 1:36:00 to see Betsy in action). Three repeal bills were killed early in the session. One repeal bill remained, presented by Senator Miller, SB 863. Heavy pressure from IPC and others resulted in amendments to the bill that keep in place a dedicated fund to address stormwater pollution at its source. While counties might choose to not assess a fee, the amended bill requires that they prove to regulatory agencies that they do have dedicated funding for stormwater projects required in their permits, or face stiff penalties if they don’t. The bill now heads to the House, which has already stated that they are concerned about any bill that weakens the state’s ability to protect our rivers and streams. Connect with us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on changes as they happen.

Earth Day Ideas

  • Menu for Action - Looking for something to do with your Green Team for Earth Day? Check out the Menu for Action for hundreds of ideas, activities, reflections, and ways to lead your congregation toward a culture of Caring for Creation. If you have an idea or activity to add to the Menu, please contact [email protected] New listings are being added all the time!

  • Project Clean Stream - We are proud to help promote Project Clean Stream, a program of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Assemble your green teams or youth groups for an outdoor cleanup experience! Visit their website for a list of possible work sites and how to enroll.

  • Tree Plantings throughout Baltimore - Starting March 21 and happening every weekend until May 16th, come out an help plant trees in Baltimore.

We’re on Facebook

Many of you asked, so now we have answered! You can find us on Facebook . Connect with us and help us inspire more people! Any volunteers willing to help us keep our page active? Please email [email protected].