February 2018, Issue 2


  • Reflection: Purim Positive
  • Donate_Button.jpgLenten Creation Care Calendar 
  • One Water Partnership Learning Sessions
  • Legislative Actions for This Week
  • Last Chance: In-Person Workshop for Mini-Grant Support
  • Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program
  • SIGN UP: Vacation Bible School Trainings in Prince George's & Baltimore
  • Funding Available in Gaithersburg and Harford County
  • Unity Gardens Grants - Anne Arundel County
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs

Reflection-Purim Positive

purim-card-magnes.jpgLater this month Jews around the world will celebrate Purim, the salvation of the Jewish people (in the year 3405 from Creation) from Haman's plot "to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day." Haman was Prime Minister to the Persian emperor Achashveirosh, whose dominion extended from India to Ethiopia. Endorsed by Achashveirosh, Haman's decree boded the physical destruction of every single Jew on the face of the earth. On the 13th of Adar numerous battles were fought throughout the empire between the Jews and those who attempted to carry out Haman's decree. The battle went on for two days, the victory celebration was held on Adar 15. Mordechai and Esther (the Jewish heroes of the story) instituted that these two days be observed for posterity as the festival of Purim by public readings of the story of the miracle, sending food to friends, giving money to the poor, and celebrating with a meal.*

Sometimes it may feel like that the “powers that be” have decreed the destruction of God’s creation. Laws are passed or go unenforced because certain people who happen to be in positions of authority elevate other priorities over clean water and clean air. How do people of faith respond to such challenges? As IPC’s Outreach Coordinator, I can tell you they respond with positive actions on the local level and work tirelessly to make a difference.


In just one day last week I was blessed to 1) lead a gathering atThe Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in East Baltimore to learn from this largely Latino community about what environmental issues are most pressing in their lives, 2) attended a workshop at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church where leaders from the One Water Partnership learned how to amplify the voices of their congregations in order to influence legislation, and 3) met with a group of 10th grade students at Beth Shalom Congregation in Howard County to help them craft a letter to the editor in support of strengthening the Forest Conservation Act so that Maryland's forests can be protected for future generations. And that was just ONE day!

Traditionally, while the story of Purim is acted out, congregants use groggers (noisemakers), horns, drums and instruments to drown out the name of evil Haman every time he is mentioned. In countless ways IPC’s growing number of faithful stewards are working throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed to drown out negative forces. Together, we are all working to move forward to a day when all of us – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, etc. -- are free from environmental oppression.

Bonnie Sorak, Outreach Coordinator

Photo: Sacred Heart of Jesus - Community Input

*Summary adapted from Chabad.org

MD_Lent_CC_Calendar_jpeg.jpgLenten Creation Care Calendar

Lent (meaning "spring" in old English) marks a time of preparation and reflection for Christians to pray, fast, and listen more intently for God's presence during the journey toward Easter. Beginning with Ash Wednesday on February 14, and ending with Maundy Thursday, March 29, Christians are reminded of the cycle of life (including mortality) and deep connection to the earth when the words "from dust you come, and to dust you shall return" are recited in the liturgy with the imposition of ashes (from burned palm leaves of previous Easter) on the forehead. Lent's span of 40 days offers Christian communities a time to reflect on how faith can express the biblical call to "keep and tend the garden" (Gen. 2:5) of God’s Creation.

For reflection we invite you use the "Creation Care Calendar" which contains a daily action to take to help to preserve God’s great gift of Creation. 

We are grateful for the collaboration on this calendar with Interfaith Power & Light and we invite you to photocopy it double-sided to share with your community as a bulletin insert.  

One Water Partnership Learning Sessions

Circles_of_Influence.jpgOne Water Partnership Green Team Leaders learned how to effect change on a higher level through an advocacy workshop called "Circles of Influence" on February 11th at Brown Memorial Church. Upcoming events include....

If your congregation is in the Jones Falls watershed you can still can join the effort. Email Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or call her at 443-799-0349 for the details. 
Photo: Circles of Influence Workshop

ADVOCACYLEGISLATURE2.pngLegislative Actions for This Week

There are a few things to do this week to make your voice heard in response to the current Maryland legislative agenda:

  1. Call Del. Kumar Barve and House Speaker Michael Busch to express your support for the Forest Conservation Act Amendments. Here is a phone script you can use. Even if you are not in their districts, since they hold leadership positions, you can call them and express your desire that these bills pass through Committee. 
    • Call Del. Kumar Barve, Chairman of the House Environment Transportation Committee (410) 841-3990
    • Call Speaker of the House Michael Busch (410) 841-3800
    • If you live in Rockville, your call is VERY important to Del. Barve!
  2. Sign this Petition in support of the Forest Conservation Act Amendments.
  3. In support of the Styrofoam Ban, we want to show legislators that many congregations have already stopped using foam products and change is possible. If your congregation no longer uses Styrofoam, please add their name to our growing list (see links below).

Last Chance: In-Person Workshop for Mini Grant Support

its_not_too_late.jpgIs your Maryland congregation looking for funds to carry out an environmental or health themed program or in-the-ground project? Then Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake can help. We are helping the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) to support congregations to apply for CBT Community Engagement Mini-Grants (up to $5,000). Click HEREto go to our website to learn more how we can help and to register. Workshop held at Glen Mar United Methodist Church, 4701 New Cut Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21043 in Room 101. Or contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349 for more details.

Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program 

Interested in learning more about how your congregation can save money through the Prince George's County Alternative Compliance Program? IPC staff are offering free one-on-one support to help you achieve reductions in your congregation’s Clean Water fee. This support is paid for by a grant from the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, but is open to only 10 congregations. Questions? Contact Anna Awimbo at [email protected] or call 410-609-6852.

children-585730_1920.jpgSIGN UP: Vacation Bible School Trainings in Prince George's and Baltimore City 

SIGN UP for our God's Water Heroes, Splash Into Living Waters Vacation Bible School & Sunday School Curriculum training for Prince George's County and Baltimore City congregations.  

This FREE curriculum and training is focused on caring for God’s waters of Creation within your local watersheds. The trainings are held in three parts.

Click HERE for more information and to register.

Questions? Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349.

Funding Available in Gaithersburg and Harford County

funding-for-smes.pngIs your congregation located in Gaithersburg or Harford County, and has your community been wanting to install a rain garden, plant trees, or tackle some other pollution-reducing project? Chesapeake Bay Trust has funding available immediately for congregational projects that reduce stormwater pollution. For more information or to ask questions, please email Jodi Rose at [email protected].

Unity Gardens Grants - Anne Arundel County

Unity Gardens’ 2018 Spring Grant Cycle runs through the March 1, 2018 deadline. Grants up to $1,000 each will be awarded to non-profit organizations such as neighborhoods, churches, schools, scout groups and community organizations in Anne Arundel County for environmental projects and education. For more information and to apply, please click HERE to visit the Unity Gardens website. For questions, contact Barbara Dowling at [email protected] or (443) 333-9285.

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • February 20 10:00-11:30AM - "God Makes the Rain, We Make the Runoff"- Dorchester Ministerial Alliance, all are welcome. Grace United Methodist Church, 501 Race Street, Cambridge (Eastern Shore)
  • February 21 6:30-8:30PM One Water Partnership "Youth Education" Leadership Training. Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or call 443-799-0349for more information. Click HERE to register
  • February 21 10-11:30AM "God Makes the Rain, We Make the Runoff" presentation at the Dorchester Faith Alliance, Grace United Methodist Church, 501 Race St, Cambridge (Eastern Shore)
  • Feb 23-24 - IPC's Board of Trustees will be at their annual planning and strategy retreat - please keep them in your prayers
  • February 25 1-3PM One Water Partnership "How to Talk About Climate Change so That Congregation Members Will Listen". Contact Bonnie Sorak at[email protected] or call 443-799-0349 for more information. Click HEREto register
  • February 25 2PM Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Outreach and Education Mini Grant Application Workshop. Glen Mar United Methodist Church, Howard County. Click HERE for more details and to register. Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or call 443-799-0349 for more information
  • February 28 8AM-4PM Table at Taking Nature Black Conference, 8940 Jones Mill Road, Chevy Chase, MD
  • March 3 8AM-3PM Table at Baltimore Roman Catholic Social Ministry Convocation
  • March 4 2PM Unity Gardens presents "Edible Landscaping: Have Your Garden and Eat It Too" spring fundraising lecture and tour. Click HERE for more info
  • March 21 6-8PM Environment in Focus book launch event. Johns Hopkins Press is hosting a public book launch event, with a talk about the challenges faced by the Chesapeake Bay during the Trump Era. Wine & cheese and music, at the beautiful George Peabody Library at 17 East Mount Vernon Place in downtown Baltimore
  • March 21 All Day - Lobby Day on Capitol Hill - All ordained clergy are invited to elevate their voice - contact Jodi Rose at 410-609-6852

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • Want to volunteer more regularly during the Maryland Legislative Session for advocacy work? If yes, then you should sign up for our separate Action Alert emails
  • Are you willing to help us coordinate volunteers? We can use your help!
  • Do you like photography? Vidoegraphy? We are always looking for help taking photos at our events, and putting them together in slide shows.  
  • Are you willing to make 5-10 phone calls each week for us to help us follow up with engaged congregations? 

If you can volunteer with us, please contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected].

Thank you!