Reflection: Ramadan and Restoring the Earth
- Maryland Legislative Update - the Good and the Bad
- Free Boat Tours on Anacostia River
- Progressive Blessing and Driving Tour of Completed Projects
- Congregational Creation Care Training Offered in Baltimore
- Creation Needs More Trees in Maryland
- Free Cisterns for Congregations in Prince George's County
- Covenantal Partners Program - New Round Opening
- Support IPC through Amazon Smile!
- Upcoming Events
- Volunteer and In-Kind Needs
Ramadan and Restoring the Earth
Ramadan is a month-long period of fasting and reflection for Muslims that began after sundown last night, June 5th. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from all food and drink from sunup to sundown. Astonishing, isn’t it? And they do this for an entire month! It is a beautiful witness of their deep love and respect for Allah and each other. They often gather together in large groups for the Ramadan meals, and many of you may have even been invited to Ramadan dinners to celebrate this ritual with them.
We are living in a crazy time in America where hatred seems to be louder than love. Yet, we can only bring about healing change for the Earth when we are all working together…as interfaith partners. One of our newest partners is the Islamic Society of Annapolis. In honor of Ramadan and our new relationship with this Muslim community, we asked one of their members, Martha Scott, to reflect on how Ramadan relates to caring for the Earth. Excerpts of her response are below.
Ramadan is the time that we should re-examine how we interact with the natural world and what our “footprint” is on the environment. Ramadan is the month that the Qur’an was first sent down, therefore Muslims remember the month each year by fasting, remembering Allah and recommitting to following the dictates of Allah as delineated in the Qur’an and Hadith (sayings of the prophet). Since the Qur’an and Hadith speak often of the need to protect the environment, Ramadan is the perfect time to implement the many habits that help to protect the environment.
“The world is green and beautiful, and Allah (God) has appointed you his stewards over it.” (Hadith)
As the Qur’an reminds us, Allah made the Earth well-ordered and we are to take care of it. Our current lifestyle has a huge impact on the Earth. From electricity that may come from generators that use fracked gas, to fuel for our cars that may come from the Canadian tar sands, we are having a huge impact on the environment. Ramadan is the time to contemplate how we can reduce our use of natural resources that are non-renewable and so destructive of the environment. Our contemplation also reflects on how the items we use expend resources. For example it takes 6 or 7 times the amount of water in a bottle of water to make that plastic bottle which will be used once and discarded. Is this really taking care of the Earth as Allah intended?
“Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.” (Qur’an 2:60)
Interestingly, the word that is translated as corruption also means pollution. So if one looks at how many times corruption is used in the Qur’an and changes it to pollution, one will again realize just how much the Qur’an is concerned about the natural environment. Our improper behavior has consequences and we will suffer for our bad choices. Therefore we must always strive to live our lives wisely and ask for forgiveness for the mistakes that we do make.
Maryland Legislative Update
Good news and bad news. The Pollinator Protection Act passed, and Gov. Hogan did not veto it! With this bill, Maryland will restrict consumers from using neonicotinoids, a pollinator-threatening pesticide. The labeling requirement of the bill did not pass. Be sure to tell your local nursery that you prefer neonic-free plants and ask questions to make sure you're not inadvertently purchasing a plant contaminated with this pesticide.
Now for the bad news. Gov. Hogan vetoed the Clean Energy Jobs Act. This was a shock and disappointment. His reason for veto was to alleviate the burden of additional taxes. But, some of us would rather pay more now than pass the buck to the next generation. To tell Gov. Hogan that you are disappointed that we're passing the buck, click HERE.
Anacostia Boat Tours
One of our nation's most degraded rivers is right here in our back yard: the Anacostia River. But it's making a comeback! Join us for a boat ride and learn about threats to this local resource, and hope for the future. Funded by the DC Department of Environment, the Anacostia Riverkeeper is offering free boat tours for up to 12 people. This is ideal for Bible Study groups, green ministries, youth groups, and more. Tours can be 1- or 2-hours long and leave from Bladensburg Waterfront Park or Diamond Teague Park. This is free, paid for by the DC Bag Fee (how smart!) More information can be found HERE. To schedule a tour, contact Jodi Rose at [email protected].
A group from the Sisters of Mercy have their boat tour scheduled for July 13th! C'mon and get your group out on the water too!
Progressive Blessing and Driving Tour
Come join us in Anne Arundel County for a Progressive Blessing and Driving Tour. Visit 3 completed sites where rain gardens and other stormwater reduction projects have been installed. Meet the congregants who brought these projects to life and learn how to replicate this at your congregation.
Sunday June 12th 2-5pm
- 2 pm - Empowering Believers Church - 7566 East Howard Road, Glen Burnie
- 3 pm - St. John's Lutheran Church - 300 West Maple Road, Linthicum Heights
- 4 pm - Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church - 8424 Piney Orchard Parkway, Odenton
Refreshments will be served at the last stop.RSVP HERE so that we can notify you if we have to cancel due to inclement weather.
FREE! Congregational Creation Care Training
Hurry! Don’t miss this great opportunity. These workshops filled the last time they were offered.
This faith-based course, created and instructed by Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, will focus on equipping faith leaders with the spiritual knowledge, communication skills, and organizing capacity to lead their communities of faith to be engaged in care for Creation and watershed stewardship.
We suggest you attend both sessions, but you are welcome to register for just one. Register for each session separately at the links below.
Session 1: Inspire and Lead your Faith Community, June 14, 6-9 p.m.
Explore the foundational teachings of your own and of other faith traditions about care for Creation and watershed stewardship. Learn how to develop your own faith message to inspire and motivate others to become actively engaged in caring for sacred waters as faithful stewards. The role of faith community in the environmental movement will be presented with models of how congregations have put their faith into action. Participants will hear success stories and lessons learned from congregations already engaged in Creation Care. Thanks to our friends at the Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore for hosting these workshops. (photo at left is their raingarden)
Click HERE to register for Session 1
Session 2: Tools for Faith Based Organizing and Mobilizing Creation Care Ministry, June 21, 2016 6-9 p.m.
Learn about how different faiths address these questions: Why do you feel called to care for Creation? What specific sources inspire you from your faith tradition or sacred texts? Methods and models for doing outreach within your own faith tradition and within an interfaith context will be explored. Specific tools and strategies will be offered for helping the congregation move toward developing an earthcare ministry, green team, or environmental stewardship program. Participants will be guided to develop their own communications such as a press release, bulletin announcement, or a blessing or prayer for a watershed project.
Click HERE to register for Session 2
This workshop is brought to you free of charge through Blue Water Congregations which is a program of Blue Water Baltimore, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
For Baltimore City and County Congregations there is still time to get a free Water Audit and enroll in Blue Water Congregations. Learn more HERE.
Read about the grants awarded to St. John Lutheran Church and Christian Temple Church through their Blue Water Congregation participation HERE.
Questions? Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 410-609-6852
Creation Needs More Trees in Maryland
At IPC we call trees "Creation's Cure All" because they: restore habitat for wildlife, filter pollution, prevent runoff, improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce our carbon footprint. Engaging your congregation in tree planting like these members at Silver Spring Presbyterian Church (photo at left) is a win-win for your community in stewardship of God's Creation! Trees for Sacred Places offers FREE: professional planting plan, native trees, deer protection, all necessary tools to plant AND environmental and spiritual workshops (tailored to the congregation or religious school's needs) about the importance of planting trees.
We're seeking faith owned properties throughout Maryland (and specifically in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties), including congregational grounds, retreat centers, summer camps, retirement housing, religious schools, etc. with space for trees. Looking to convert large lawns back into natural habitats. You can learn more about the program on our webpage HERE.
Free Cisterns for Congregations in Prince George's County
Want to slow down the rainwater rushing off your congregation's roof? Want to reduce your Prince George's County Stormwater Fee? We can help! Grant funding secured by the Anacostia Riverkeeper is available to install cisterns at faith-owned properties.
These cisterns will store and release rainfall for non-potable water uses and stormwater disposal. The project is no cost to the church and can alleviate flooding problems as well as reduce your property’s contribution of polluted runoff.
If your congregation has a roof at least 500 square feet in size and the space to install a large cistern, please consider this wonderful opportunity for a free project on your grounds. Already St. Luke Lutheran Church, St. Camillus Catholic Church, and Silver Spring United Methodist Church have received installed cisterns. What better way to draw your members into a deeper conversation about our responsibility to minimize negative impacts on shared water resources. To learn more or express your interest, please contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or410-609-6852.
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.
Shop AmazonSmile and Support IPC
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you'll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the ADDED bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. It's easy to begin. Simply click HERE and select Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, Inc. as your charitable organization of choice. That's it!! Next time you shop online, make sure you start at AmazonSmile and IPC will receive .5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases.
Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
- June 7 - Presentation to the Ministers' Association of Druid Heights Community Association
- June 12 - Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust day of prayer. Click HERE to sign up. Join Dayspring Church and Green Muslims in this interfaith prayer for our planet at 6:30-7:30pm, Dayspring Retreat Center, Germantown, MD 20876
- June 12 - Progressive Blessing and Driving Tour of Riverwise Congregations. 2-5 pm at various sites in Anne Arundel County. More details HERE. To RSVP, please click HERE.
- June 14 - Congregational Creation Care Training. Session 1: Inspire and Lead your Faith Community. 6-9 p.m. Click HERE to register.
- June 14 - The Watershed Stewards Academy of Howard County is looking for energetic people with a passion for reaching the community to become Master Watershed Stewards. 16-week certification class begins in September. Information session 7 pm at the Glenwood Library Meeting Room. Click HERE for their flyer.
- June 15 - Rain Garden Maintenance Event: Keep Your Garden Gorgeous 12-2 pm at the East Columbia 50+ Center. Click HERE for more information.
- June 16-19 - Three day, Faith-Based Organizing for Climate Justice conference at Pendle Hill Retreat Center, Wallingford, PA. Click HERE to register or for more information or call 610-566-4507, x. 137.
- June 17 - Movie night "Catching the Sun" at Cedar Lane UU Church, Bethesda. 6:30 pm. Please bring a covered dish to share. Discussion on community solar projects to follow. For information about the movie click HERE.
- June 21 - Congregational Creation Care Training. Session 2: Tools for Faith Based Organizing and Mobilizing Creation Care Ministry. 6-9 p.m. Click HERE to register.
- June 29 - The Watershed Stewards Academy of Howard County is looking for energetic people with a passion for reaching the community to become Master Watershed Stewards. 16-week certification class begins in September. Information session 7 pm at the Miller Library Avalon Room. Click HERE for their flyer.
- July 13 - Sisters of Mercy boat tour on the Anacostia River. Schedule your boat tour by calling us at 410-609-6852.
- July 19 - The Watershed Stewards Academy is looking for energetic people with a passion for reaching the community to become Master Watershed Stewards. 16-week certification class begins in September. Information session 7 pm (tentative) at the East Columbia Library Meeting Room. Click HERE for their flyer.
- IPC is doing a database cleanup this summer. Do you have a few hours you could donate to us each week? Contact Andrea Proctor at [email protected] to volunteer.
- Are you able to staff an information table at events for us? Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or call 410-609-6852 if you're willing to help with this from time to time.
- IPC could use a canvas case and small external speakers for a new projector we just purchased. Do you have something you can pass along? Contact Kolya Braun-Greiner at[email protected] or call us at 410-609-6852 if you do!
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