Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake


  • Reflection: Parting the Waters
  • Maryland Legislative Wrap-Up 
  • Earth Day Climate Prayer
  • Earth Day Giving
  • Covenantal Partners Program - New Round Opening
  • Plantings Trees = Planting Hope
  • Free Boat Tours on Anacostia River
  • Earth Day Ideas
  • Faith-Based Grants Available
  • Did you miss the DC Congregations Webinar?
  • Upcoming Events 

This is the bread of poverty that our ancestors ate in the Land of Egypt. (Haggadah) 

Growing up, Passover was always my favorite Jewish holiday. Most likely because it meant the gathering of our closest family members around a beautifully set table to hear the telling of a remarkable story and enjoying a bountiful meal. As a child this was fascinating. To be included (at least for the part when we were allowed in with the grownups and not relegated to the “kids table”) in the remembering of the pharaoh, Moses, the plagues and the parting of the seas was wondrous. Being honored as the youngest to ask the four questions and the joy of hunting for the afikomen (middle matzah) were always highlights of the celebration. And realizing that these same traditions were happening in one form or another in other Jewish homes all around the world imbued the holiday with a true sense of connectedness.

These days it is hard to achieve that feeling of connectedness. I realize this is one of main reasons that my husband and I have chosen to raise our children as Jews, and perhaps the same is true for people of other faiths. As parents, we hope to instill in our children a feeling of connectedness to what came before to give them a foundation to thrive in a world of unknowns that lie ahead; to understand that we all bear a responsibility to treasure, and protect our world and the people around us. We will try to bring this message home as we embark on our Seder this coming Friday to mark the first night of Passover and the celebration of Earth Day.

Whether or not you choose to celebrate Passover, you may want to read over these wonderful resources to help weave the ideas of social and environmental justice into the fabric of your life. Even non-Jews may choose to simply eat matzah instead of bread for 8 days and you can immediately feel connected to all of our brothers and sisters who are suffering from lack of food, clean water, safety and freedom . . . from Baltimore to Syria. Whether their plight is due to some form of tyranny, systemic discrimination or catastrophic changes in their environment it is not hard to realize that the time to take action is now. At IPC we are here to help you and your faith community to take actions that make a real difference. Please contact me so we can make a plan - - to “part the waters” of any obstacles that may be keeping you and your congregation from moving forward into the promised land of environmental equity. 

Wrap-up of Maryland Legislative Session

Pesticide Bill
Maryland became the first state in the country to restrict consumer use of toxic neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides! While we had strong bi-partisan support in the Maryland General Assembly, there is just ONE more step to make it final. Gov. Hogan needs to sign this bill. He can either choose to sign it, choose to not sign it and then it will become law on its own, or he can veto it before May 11th. He is already getting pressure from opponents to not sign the bill. If you support this bill - and 10 denominational leaders representing thousands of Marylanders did! - please urge Gov. Hogan to sign the bill. Click here to send your message directly to Gov. Hogan.  

Prince George's County Bans Fracking
On April 12th, the Prince George's County Council voted unanimously to ban fracking in the county! Click here for the full details.

Say Thank You to Legislators for Energy Bill

Maryland did it! The Maryland Legislature is on the verge of passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act and sending this landmark piece of climate legislation to Governor Hogan’s desk. By requiring that 25% of our electricity come from clean sources like wind and solar by 2020, this bill will help reduce use of fossil fuels, create thousands of new jobs in the wind and solar industry, and propel Maryland forward on a positive path of energy justice.Now is a good time to thank the legislators that worked along side you and many other organizations to bring this about. Click here to say "thank you" to your legislators about this bill! 

Greenhouse Bill Is Law!
On April 4th, Gov. Hogan signed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, which will support over 150 programs in Maryland for addressing climate pollution, and commits Maryland to reducing climate pollution 40% by 2030. We should all be proud of MD!

REDUCE Act Update
This bill (SB398/HB820) aimed to require industries, when building or expanding in predominantly low-income or minority areas, to engage with the communities to establish diesel truck routes to reduce the health risks associated with truck traffic. The bill encountered significant opposition and as an amendment would have required the Maryland Department of Environment to issue a report and recommendations from the Cumulative Impacts Workgroup and Environmental Justice Task Force to the Assembly. The bill and amendment received unfavorable votes from the Senate Committee. No action was taken in the House.

Other Bills
For a complete list of all of Maryland League of Conservation Voters' priority bills and how they fared, click hereWant to help us stay abreast of legislative bills so that we can do more to support individual grassroots campaigns? Join our Advocacy Committee! Email jodi@interfaithchesapeake if you'd like to hear what it takes to be part of our Advocacy Committee.

Earth Day Climate Prayer - at noon (your local time) on April 22. Over 100,000 people of all faiths will be coming together to pray for healing our climate and Creation.  Here's where to join people across the nation and read the prayer. 
Earth Day Giving
Our organization has a robust budget and financial support that we work hard to procure from state, federal, and private sources such as Campbell Foundation, Bancroft Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This helps us carry out our work, and offer free resources, programs, and guidance to help congregations do what they yearn to do: be faithful stewards of sacred waters.

But, we can't do this alone

Can you give back to IPC to help us with our mission? 
  • Has your congregation benefited from one of our free programs or free online resources? We worked hard to bring you that benefit.
  • Have you enjoyed our newsletters, been inspired, or learned new things from us? We worked hard to bring you relevant and compelling stories.
  • Have you given back to IPC yet? We need your support - whether that be financial, in-kind, or as a volunteer!
This Earth Day, please prayerfully consider how you can add to this movement by supporting our organization. We are always looking for volunteers to help us reach deeper into Maryland (and beyond!), in-kind donations of office supplies/equipment, and financial donations. We cannot do this alone...we need your ongoing support, prayers, and volunteerism. 

Thank you and have a blessed Earth Day! 

Covenantal Partners Program - New Round Opening

We are preparing to offer the Covenantal Partners Program (CPP) again, in light of the success of the first pilot round. This program offers congregations a facilitated process that helps your community gain the knowledge and spiritual context they need to prioritize and take action to heal water. Congregations in the pilot delivered final projects that ranged from educational programs/spiritual programs for their members to installation of green infrastructure. 

We have not narrowed down the regional focus for this next round, so regardless of where you live, if you're interested to learn more about CPP and put your name on the interest list, please contact our Executive Director [email protected]. Or call 410-609-6852. 

Planting Trees IS Planting Hope

Looking for an Earth Care action project that is all set to go? Trees for Sacred Places is available to congregations and faith owned properties throughout Maryland. The program provides everything you need to kick start your congregation to Care for God’s Creation. Engage your Youth Ministry, Men’s Group, Grounds Committee, etc. - - young and old alike can participate. Join our growing list of congregations throughout that have toiled in the soil. Each planting we do with congregations is unique to their brand of "faith" - - bringing their enthusiasm and flair. Program includes a professional planting plan, native trees, deer protection, all necessary tools to plant AND environmental and spiritual workshops tailored to your congregation's needs. And it is all FREE!!! You can learn more about the program on our webpage HERE. Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or call 410-609-6852 today to get started right away.

 We specifically have opportunities right NOW for congregations in Montgomery County and Prince George's Counties.  View and download State-wide Flyer here.  View and download Prince George's Flyer here.

Upcoming Tree Planting Days - Come check out how this works and see if you want to bring this to your congregation:

  • April 23 - at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, Adelphi, MD, 9am
  • May 7 - at Silver Spring Presbyterian Church, Silver Spring, MD, 9am

Earth Day Ideas

Looking for ways to honor Earth Day? Here are some ideas to get you going. Or, call our office and set up a time to discuss your interests with our staff so we can help you brainstorm other ideas for Earth Day. 

  • Plant Trees - congregations can receive free tree-planting support from us - call Bonnie at 410-609-6852
    • Prince George's County - must be willing to plant 30 trees
    • Montgomery County - must be willing to plant 60 trees
    • Anywhere else within Maryland - must be willing to plant 50-60 trees
  • In Baltimore, have a water audit conducted - Blue Water Baltimore will come out and walk around your congregation to give you ideas on how to reduce stormwater on your property - for free! 
  • Project Clean Stream - schedule a stream cleanup any time from now through May 31st
  • Alice Ferguson Foundation Potomac Watershed Cleanup - schedule a stream cleanup any time from now through May 8th
  • Check out our Resources page for prayers, litanies, web-of-life activity, and other learning modules
  • Organize a free boat tour on the Anacostia River, with our partners the Anacostia Riverkeeper; email [email protected] if interested
  • Organize a blessing of your already-installed rain garden or other on-site project to raise awareness and recommit your congregation to this work - sample blessings and litanies are included in our Toolkit
  • Invite IPC to come and speak to your small group about ways to engage in watershed stewardship here in Maryland
  • Host a showing of Bag It!, the movie about plastic bags - and hand out reusable bags to all attendees
  • Browse our extensive Menu for Action for a plethora of ideas - click on the Blue Headings at the top to browse multiple topic areas

Faith-Based Grants Available

Gov. Hogan's Office - In case you missed the governor's faith-based grant-making seminar 2 weeks ago, IPC was there to be your eyes and ears in the room! We were impressed with how many resources are available on the Maryland state website to help you find local funding for your projects. A great place to start your research is at On the left is a menu for state grants, federal grants, and foundation grants. Foundation grants will include a county-by-county breakdown of grants available to you, particularly from community foundations. If you need further assistance, you can email [email protected].

In case you missed the DC Congregations Webinar...

...don't worry, we got ya' covered! Click here to watch the webinar in its entirety. This webinar provides insight into DC resources and funding available to help congregations implement rain gardens, cisterns and other improvements on their grounds! 

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

  • Saturdays in April -Baltimore City's Office of Sustainability will be hosting a new project at Baltimore Community ToolBank called The Neighborhood Grow Center.  The Department of Public Works is a partner, as well as several local environmental non-profits. The Neighborhood Grow Center is a pilot to test out the viability of having a greening resource hub in the city. Every weekend in April, visitors to the Grow Center will be able to take free workshops in greening skills, get free plants and other materials on give-away days, and purchase soil products and reclaimed building materials, in addition to all the the ToolBank’s regular, awesome programming. SeeFLYER for details. 
  • April 22 - Earth Day - How will you celebrate? (You can also celebrate with your congregation the weekend before or after!)
  • April 22 - What's the Economy For, Anyway?Environmental Justice Ministry Movie Night. More information HERE.
  • April 22-23 - Eastern Shore Interfaith Gathering for Earth Day - Rev. Mary Gaut will be the keynote speaker at the Friday night dinner, and Saturday morning will offer workshops, resources, and networking. More details and to RSVP, click here.
  • April 24 - Creation Sunday at the Cathedral of the Incarnation lifting up John Muir (naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States) as a saint in the Episcopal tradition. 4 E University Pkwy, Baltimore, MD 21218
  • April 24 - Earth Water Faith Festival - Annapolis Town Centre, 2-4:30, hosted by the Chesapeake Interfaith Environmental Group-thanks to volunteers Peter Cooper and Richard Albright for staffing our table.
  • April 24 - Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia - Bonnie will be speaking during the 9 am and 11 am services. Come join us!
  • April 30 - Montgomery County Greenfest - 11 am-4 pm Takoma Park Community Center  - 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park - Short walk from Takoma Metro, or catch the free shuttle from the station. More information HERE.
  • April 30 - Spring Retreat "Let Creation Call Us More Deeply to God" - Fr. John Rausch, Pax Christi, at the Little Friends for Peace Oasis, Accokeek, MD, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (Mass at 4:30)  An Interpretation of the Ecological Education and Spirituality of Laudato Si. Fr. John Rausch, G.H.M.,JSR , Teacher of Peace, coordinates a Ministry of Appalachian Justice Education on environmental degradation and Catholic social teaching. For more information or to to register go here.
  • April 30 –  St. Vincent De Paul Church 120 N Front St, Baltimore, MD 21202- conducts a workshop designed to empower people around the issues raised by Pope Francis in Laudato Si. Explore our emotional and intellectual reactions to the encyclical and consider ways to respond to both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. Continental breakfast will be served starting at 9 AM in St. V’s classrooms. The program runs from 9:30 AM to noon. Advance registration is appreciated but not required; contact the parish office at [email protected] to register.  More Info or RSVP Here
  • May 9 - St. Vincent De Paul Church 120 N Front St, Baltimore, MD 21202 parishioner and Loyola faculty member Dan Castillo presents The Gardener and the City-Builder: Exploring Pope Francis’ Vision of the Human Person. Dr. Castillo teaches courses in liberation theology and environmental ethics at Loyola University Maryland, where he is an Assistant Professor of Theology and a Peace and Justice Fellow. Potluck dinner begins at 6:30 PM, and lecture at 7 PM. More Info or RSVP Here 
  • May 10 - Free Grant-Writing for Faith Based Organizations - Hosted by the Governor's Office - come learn about opportunities and learn new tricks. Chesapeake College, Eastern Shore. More details and to RSVP click here.  

Volunteers Needed - We are looking for volunteers to help us staff our informational tables at these events - help us inspire more people! Training is provided. Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or call 410-609-6852 today if you can spare an hour or two.
  • Sun. April 24 Annapolis - Earth Wind Faith Festival - Annapolis Town Centre - 2-4:30 pm 
  • Sat. April 30 Montgomery County Greenfest - 11 am-4 pm Takoma Park Community Center  - 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park
  • Sat. May 16 Baltimore Episcopal Archdiocese Convention 8 AM to 6 PM Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City, MD