Every year since 2005 IPC or its predecessor organization, Chesapeake Covenant Community, has held occasional day-long or weekend gatherings to bring together our supporters and introduce new people to our circle. These gatherings combine a spiritual focus with some "business." In the early days the business was greatly concerned with the formation and organization of our group, clarifying our vision and defining our mission. More recently the gatherings have had, in addition to spiritual or inspirational content, teaching and learning opportunities and group dialogue and problem-solving. Gatherings have been held in Annapolis, MD, Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC, Adelphi, MD, Chestertown, MD, Baltimore County and in Patuxent State Park, MD.
Sustainable Congregational Watershed Awareness Program (ScWAP)
With over 5,000 congregations throughout the State of Maryland, there is quite a lot of land owned by our faith institutions. How are we managing this land?
Polluted runoff emanating from parking lots and streets is real and is a significant threat to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Throughout the past year, three Baltimore County congregations have been exploring particular challenges in mitigating polluted runoff emanating from their properties and developing plans to address these challenges ways. Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake brought key players together to talk – like you would around a kitchen table – about the problems that need solutions and various ways to solve them. Find out how this project went, what solutions were developed, and the status of these projects today. MORE
Covenanting for Creation
In June, 2010 IPC hosted an event for leaders of major denominational groups in Baltimore where nine denominational leaders and 60 others signed a Covenant to work for the restoration of creation. The Covenant promise: " ... we commit ourselves to working toward the fulfillment of the sacred, equitable, and joyous partnership of God, humanity and all creation." The event was hosted by the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and took place at the Bolton Street Synagogue on the banks of the Stony Run.
Neighbor to Neighbor
In 2011, IPC organized the Neighbor-to-Neighbor home energy conservation project which recruited congregants in local congregations in Baltimore to train families/households in the congregations on ways to reduce their home energy consumption. The trained advisors reviewed household energy use with their fellow congregants and neighbors, offered home energy conservation education, and suggested retrofits that would save energy and lower electric/gas bills. In 20 low and moderate income homes, Civic Works, Baltimore’s urban service corps, provided labor and a menu of services and materials to retrofit those homes. This project was underwritten by a grant from Baltimore City’s Sustainability Office.
At the Choose Clean Water Coalition Annual Conference in June 2013, IPC organized a workshop to overcome barriers between faith institutions and environmental organizations. The win-win “dating” session introduced people from different faith communities to people from environmental organizations in three 15-minute discussion intervals for the estimated 30 participants. This easily arranged workshop can be adapted to many audiences and settings and is successful in facilitating numerous connections in a short period of time in a relaxed environment.
Watershed Stewards Academy
In 2012, IPC organized a faith-based course in Washington D.C. as part of the Watershed Stewards Academy (http://www.aawsa.org/). Approximately ten students participated in the course and learned about the threat of stormwater runoff in urban settings. Stewards were trained on the causes of stormwater and its effects, and learned how to identify specific examples of best management practices (BMPs) to control stormwater loads. Stewards from the 2012 class were successful in influencing Prince George’s County council members to develop a stormwater incentive program similar to those in Montgomery County and the District of Columbia. IPC is now in the process of building on the success of this training course to develop a stand-alone faith-focused program.
In 2015-16 IPC ran a pilot program in Baltimore City and County called Covenantal Partners Program. We worked with 6 congregations to discern how they could get started, or move forward, in caring for Creation? IPC's Covenantal Partners Program (CPP) was a 2-3 hour visioning session, rooted in a spiritual context, for a group of 5-15 people who have self-identified as wanting to lead their faith community in earth stewardship. For many faith communities, this was an already-established "green ministry" - for others it was a group of people who wanted to start a "green ministry" at their place of worship. Through the process, the groups articulated their dreams for their community and begin to establish and take their next steps. Follow-up support from IPC was provided over 6-9 months following their visioning session. MORE
In 2015 IPC worked with young adults to bring Pope Francis' "Our Common Home" encyclical to life in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with an experiential, interfaith series for young adults (20s and 30s). This program helped them to raise their awareness and learn how to advocate for clean water for all. MORE
Chesapeake Bay Trust Mini Grant Workshops & Webinar
In 2016 IPC partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Trust to help congregations learn about their mini-grant program through a series of webinars and workshops. Click Here to watch a recorded version of one of the webinars to learn best practices to enhance grant applications and make them stand out. With a cap of $5,000 eligible projects include, but are not limited to: community gardens that encourage use of the outdoors and education about natural resources; community clean-ups that benefit both communities and local waterways; Projects that combine art with an increased awareness of stormwater issues, such as storm drain stenciling or rain barrel installations; community greening projects, which have been shown to beautify communities, improve health via air quality, and lead to reduced crime, as well as improve stormwater, such as tree plantings;Projects that beautify communities, capture rain water and improve wildlife habitat such as pollinator habitat plantings and rain gardens; Projects that educate and get residents outdoors, which has been shown to improve human health or other ideas. This grant program generally reopens on July 1st of each year.