Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake


  • NEW Toolkit for Faithful Stewards
  • Service Day
  • Tree Plantings
  • The Long Path of Renewal
  • Prince George’s Congregations Get Engaged
  • Faith Community Speaks Out
  • Grant Opportunity for MD Congregations

NEW Toolkit for Faithful Stewards


Soon 18 congregations in Anne Arundel County will be making their grounds a source of watershed restoration and healing for God’s Creation. RiverWise participants in the Watershed Stewards Academy have been learning the in’s and out’s of rain gardens, stormwater runoff prevention, rain barrel installation and other best management practices that contribute to cleaning the waters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In collaboration with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, each Steward’s congregation will be installing their project as a model of earth stewardship both within and beyond their congregation to the wider community. Stewards also learned faith foundations of caring for God’s Creation offered by IPC, which they will share within their congregation in order to deepen and broaden their engagement faithful stewardship.


One of these Watershed Stewards, Chris Gordon, is restoring his congregation’s grounds at Holy Family Catholic Church (HFCC) to heal the Chesapeake Bay watershed. He said, “HFCC has supported four different invasive [plant] removal events. To get things started fellow Watershed Stewards Betsy Love, Sandra Kirkland (shown right) along with Laura Mulvaney and our parishioners began removing invasive plants on the property. That first event was followed by 3 youth events as we continue to create new gardens and remove invasives.”  

To further facilitate and enhance this kind of engagement, we produced a Toolkit for Faithful Stewards: Making the Most of Watershed Projects to Raise Awareness and Build Momentum. The Toolkit is aimed to inspire and support stewards like you who want to make the most of your watershed project, no matter how small, to maximize impact and participation. The Toolkit contains:

  • Watershed 101 - Basics
  • Watershed Environmental Justice
  • Communication tools for Messaging, Press Releases, Public Service Announcements
  • Liturgy, Prayers, and Blessings for Groundbreaking, Tree Planting, Project Completion Celebration
  • Field Trip Guidelines for spiritual reflection in nature
  • Faith-based educational resources on Care for Creation for Children and Adults
  • And that’s not all!  Here’s an adaptation of the Closing Blessing:

We pray that through this Toolkit

  • you are strengthened in body, mind and spirit
  • your actions are fruitful
  • your stewardship will inspire more people like you to take the steps needed to heal God’s beautiful Creation.  

Through your dedication and commitment we are all creating a ripple effect! 

Service Day

We are excited to partner with Koolhof Earth on a HUGE planting project in the Chesterfield Community of Pasadena. We are looking for 200 volunteers to come together for a service day in October (October 3rd and October 17th). This is a great opportunity for groups of all faiths - particularly those who can’t do projects on their own grounds, but do want to engage in watershed restoration projects. Want to put your Youth Group to work? Is your Men’s Ministry looking for a hands on project? Does your congregation want to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis with an intergenerational and interfaith activity? This could be just the opportunity for you. Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or410-609-6852 to sign up your group. 

Tree Plantings

Thank you to the Shrine of St. Anthony and the OFM Our Lady of Angels Province - our newest faith facility to sign up for Trees for Sacred Places. One of the  best ways to help restore creation is to plant trees! We are currently enrolling faith communities for free tree plantings in 2016! Congregations of all faiths are needed to join in this united effort to heal Creation through tree plantings. Our Trees for Sacred Places Program provides everything your community needs for the tree planting, customized support, and an educational/spiritual workshop specifically for your faith tradition. If you know of a religious-owned property (congregational grounds, retreat center, summer camp, retirement community, etc.) that has open spaces that can be converted from lawn to forest, contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 410-609-6852. This program is available throughout the state of Maryland. 

The Long Path of Renewal


“A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.” ~ POPE FRANCIS (LAUDATO SI’, 202)

The Covenantal Partners Program offers a facilitated path of spiritual renewal to help your congregation develop a response to the environmental challenges of our time. We are actively seeking groups interested in learning more about the program. Click here for details and contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 410-609-6852 if you have questions.   


Prince George’s Congregations Get Engaged

Congratulations to those who participated in our Faithful Stewards of Prince George’s County Workshops. Thanks to Mishkan Torah Synagogue, Jerusalem AME Church, and Turner AME Church for hosting these gatherings where congregational members learned how to help restore local watersheds, beautify their grounds and SAVE MONEY on their stormwater utility fee through the county’s Alternative Compliance Program. If you were unable to attend please visit our website where you can access the presentations that were shared. 

Faith Community Speaks Out

Faith-based groups and Individuals:  Sign-on Letter to Chesapeake Bay Executive Council

On July 23, the Chesapeake Executive Council will hold its annual meeting to discuss progress toward the Blueprint’s goals and set policies for the next two years. The Council includes the governors of the six Bay states, the Mayor of Washington, DC, the Administrator of the U.S. EPA, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and the Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. As members of a faith community, you have a unique perspective that our elected leaders need to hear. Voice your support for clean water byJuly 21st by adding your name to a letter we are sending to the Council. Review the letter and list of signatories here. 

Climate Commission Public Meetings

The Maryland Climate Commission must report next fall on our state's progress in meeting the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 levels, by 25% by 2020. Five public meetings are scheduled across the state this summer, to gather public input into this report. Attend one of these meetings to offer your perspective on the importance of reducing climate warming emissions and bring the faith voice to these discussions.  Meeting locations are spread throughout the state so there should be something near you!

Good News: US Court Upholds EPA’s Limits on Pollution in the Chesapeake Bay

You might recall that in September 2014 Federal Judge Sylvia Rambo in Pennsylvania issued a ruling in defense of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to enforce the Clean Water Act. The Farm Bureau and others appealed her decision, but the decision was upheld by a US Court of Appeals on July 6. The EPA’s plan would implement reductions in polluted runoff from agricultural and construction sources. Read more here. 

Climate in the Pulpit

We support Interfaith Power and Light’s “Climate in the Pulpit” campaign and encourage you to participate. On September 24, Pope Francis will be visiting our region and speaking on Capitol Hill about our moral obligation to care for our neighbors by taking action on climate change. The following weekend,September 25-27, clergy are asked to integrate climate messages into your sermons. Sign up here.  

Grant Opportunity for all Maryland Congregations

Do you have a project in mind to reduce watershed pollution, but need help getting it done? There is a grant track open now until September 3 from Chesapeake Bay Trust to help with technical and financial burdens for improvement projects. Faith properties are eligible to participate. To learn more click here. If you seek advice or support to apply for this grant, please contact us. We might know of other congregations in your neighborhood who are also seeking grant funding and together your combined proposals could be more impactful.