Bonnie Sorak

  • published Alternative Compliance Program in Programs 2019-02-11 18:37:00 -0500

    Alternative Compliance Program - Prince George's County

    Bee_ShrineofSt.Anthony_(1).jpg

    All property owners in Prince George’s County pay a Clean Water Act fee, but houses of worship can reduce their fee by up to 100%. If you're not sure if you're paying a fee, or you don't know how to reduce it, we can help.

    Your congregation can reduce its Clean Water Act fee through:

    • Green Infrastructure Installation - (50% fee reduction)
    • Outreach and Education – (25% fee reduction)
    • Green Care and Good Housekeeping - (25% fee reduction)

    IPC is also providing free one-on-one support to help you achieve these reductions in your congregation’s fee. This support is paid for by a grant from the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, but is open to only 15 congregations.

    Questions? Contact Kolya Braun-Greiner at kolya@interfaithchesapeake.org or call 301-909-8943

     


  • signed Petition to Support Forest Conservation 2019-02-05 17:58:50 -0500

    Petition in Support of Forest Conservation Act Amendments

    This letter, and a list of all signatories, will be sent to all Members of House Environment and Transportation Committee, and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee during the 2019 Maryland Legislative Session. To learn more about this legislation, click here


     

    158 signatures

    Thou_Shall_Not1.jpg

    Amendments to Maryland's Forest Conservation Act

    • Task Force Bill (Bill numbers pending)
    • Fee-in-Lieu Adjustments (HB 272, SB 234)
    • No Net Loss Definition (HB 120, SB 203)

    As people of faith who respect the sanctity of the Earth and the whole web of life, we are asking you to support the suite of three bills designed to improve Maryland's Forest Conservation Act.

    Children once played easily in trees in their back yard, at a park down the street, or at Grandma’s house. But, today, forests are hard to find – when was the last time you spotted a child climbing a tree?

    We are literally stealing trees from the next generation. From 2009 to 2017, over 14,000 acres of forest have been lost due to development. That's equivalent to 11,000 football fields! Forests play a crucial role in stabilizing soil, improving air and water quality, offering important mammal habitats, and reducing ambient air temperatures with cooling shade. 

    The suite of three bills will:

    1. Create a task force made up of broad stakeholders to examine historical forestry data and make recommendations for how to protect our forests. 
    2. Fix the broken fee-in-lieu system that is currently failing to replace lost forests acre-for-acre.
    3. Redefine "No Net Loss" in the Act so that forested land is protected at the level it existed when the Act was first implemented in the 1990s, as originally intended.

    At this time when the world is warming and trees are God's natural way of retaining balance to an ecosystem, the last thing we should be doing is allowing unfettered destruction of forests.

    We shall not steal trees from the next generation. Please fight to protect our forests by supporting this bill.

    Add signature

  • signed Support the Ban on Foam Food Containers 2019-01-11 07:10:44 -0500

    Support for the Ban on Foam Food Containers

    This letter, and a list of all signatories, will be sent to all Members of House Environment and Transportation Committee, and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. To learn more about Ban on Foam legislation, click here


     

    235 signatures

    Ban on Polystyrene Foam Containers

    House Bill 109
    Senate Bill 285

    We people of faith respect the Earth and the web of life, and strive to be good shepherds of the Earth's resources. We are grateful for the ways the Maryland Assembly worked to protect our environment, but more needs to be done. Maryland is ready to ban foam. 

    Polystyrene food containers may be convenient and cheap for food services, but when they are discarded they become an eyesore in our neighborhoods, streams and streets. This non-biodegradable material persists indefinitely in the environment and accumulates over time.

    Foam never breaks down. Instead it but breaks up into increasingly small particles that absorb toxics due to their carbon-based makeup. Fish and wildlife consume the pieces mistaking it for food. This bio-accumulation of toxicity is a risk to the food chain.

    Foam waste is particularly oppressive to low-income, under-served communitiesFoam is more commonly used in takeout restaurants, which are disproportionately present in food deserts, increasing the frequency of exposure to harmful chemicals to individuals within food desert areas, and the likelihood of foam litter to impact the mental health of those residents when improperly discarded. Studies have also shown the presence of microplastics in fish, birds and other marine life, tap and bottled water, table salt, and beer. In 2018, the first study examining human stools found the presence of microplastics. This risk is even greater for low-income neighbors who rely on subsistence fishing to supplement their diet. 

    Polystyrene is a polymer plastic derived from petroleum. Its production uses non-renewable resources and contributes to atmospheric pollution. There are perfectly good packaging alternatives available now that are lightweight, biodegradable, safe for consumers and have good insulating properties to keep food and drinks warm or cold. 

    We understand that this ban would require that cafeterias in our places of worship no longer serve food in foam containers. We embrace this change and stand willing to do our part to help our congregations adapt to this legislation. 

    God calls us to continually renew ourselves and improve our behaviors to be more mindful of future generations. This is important legislation that will reduce trash, drive innovation to alternative materials, and cut down on fossil fuel consumption.

    Please support the Ban on Foam.

    Add signature

  • Jones Falls Interfaith Youth Service & Tree Planting

    Growing Future Green Leaders      

    On November 14th we held an Interfaith Youth Service and Tree planting. We started the day at The Shrine of the Sacred Heart for a service that began with song led by the church's Filipino Youth Choir. Father Bill Au, the parish priest, welcomed everyone with an opening prayer. Youth members recited readings and there were prayers and readings offered by Pastor Michele Ward, Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, Rabbi Daniel Burg, Beth Am Congregation and Associate Pastor John Parker from Mount Lebanon Baptist Church (MLBC). Following the service about 35 people loaded on a bus and headed to a site in Cherry Hill where others met us to plant 75+ trees. It was  truly a great day.

    But the story does not end there. Janell Belcher, a youth member from Mount Lebanon Baptist Church, participated in the service by reading Psalm 1:1-3 as well as leading a "Litany of Commitment for Creation Care" at the tree planting location. She had previously attended one of our "Inspirational Bus Tours" and on this day worked with her grandparents and other church members to plant trees at this event. Inspired by these experiences she has decided to focus her pursuit of a Girl Scout Gold Award on the upcoming rain garden and cistern installation that will be happening at MLBC as part of the One Water Partnership program. She says, "I have learned how important clean water, trees and other native plants are and want to share this with others in the neighborhood." Once the projects are complete next Spring she plans to do outreach to other churches and the surrounding neighborhood associations to share her newfound knowledge. This is how we grow our future green leaders!

     


  • published STATEWIDE VBS WAITING LIST in Vacation Bible School 2018-12-03 15:18:34 -0500

    STATEWIDE VBS WAITING LIST

    Thank you for your interest in our "God's Water Heroes" Vacation Bible School or Sunday School Curriculum. We are currently accepting applications for interested participants. This is open for congregations throughout Maryland. If you have questions please contact Bonnie Sorak at bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org or call 443-799-0349.


    VBS Program at St. Vincent de Paul Church, Baltimore.  "Wade in the Water" liturgical dance.

    Signing up indicates your interest and will hold a place for your congregation.

    WHEN
    May 18, 2019 at 10am
    WHERE
    Gwynn Oak United Methodist Church
    5024 GwynnOak Ave
    Baltimore, MD 21207
    United States
    Google map and directions
    53 rsvps rsvp

  • published Doug Tallamy at Brown Memorial 2018-08-01 22:02:26 -0400

    Doug Tallamy at Brown Memorial

    Tuesday September 25th, 7 PM

    Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church has arranged a very special evening with Doug Tallamy, one of the country’s leading experts on using native plants to restore our local watersheds. The program is offered as part of their participation in Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake’s One Water Partnership.

    This free slideshow/lecture is entirely inspiring, and urgent. See how you can begin to transform your congregational grounds.

    Promotional Flyer - Click HERE

    Facebook RSVP Page - Click HERE 

    For more information, contact Mckay Jenkins, Brown Green Team Chair, mckay@udel.edu, or Bonnie Sorak at bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org.


  • wants to volunteer 2017-10-30 11:37:50 -0400

    Be an Advocacy Volunteer

    As people of faith, we have a moral responsibility to engage in our democracy, stay informed, and engage in the legislative cropped.JPGprocess. We must stand together and promote policies that protect God's Creation and all of the web of life. 

    By signing up here, we will keep you informed of the legislation we are tracking at the Maryland, DC, and county/city level. We will also alert you when we need you to take action such as call your representative or testify at a hearing. 

    Please provide your address so we can determine what action alerts are most relevant to you based on the legislative district in which you reside. 

    Thank you for being a leader in your community and bringing the faith voice to public advocacy issues!

    Become a volunteer

  • 2017-18 Chesapeake Bay Trust Mini Grant Assistance

    CBT_Plate_Logo-4c.jpg

    Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Engagement Mini Grant Webinars & Workshop

    IPC is once again partnering with the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) to help congregations learn about CBT's Community Engagement Mini-Grant program through a series of webinars and workshops.  We will be continuing in this effort again this year by assisting four-eight congregations/religious organizations to prepare applications. 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.

    Webinar 1 - November 27, 2017 7-8 PM. Click HERE to Register. COMPLETED

    Webinar 2 - January 21, 2018 2-3 PM. Click HERE to Register. COMPLETED

    In-person Workshop-February 25, 2018 2-3 PM, Glen Mar United Methodist Church, Howard County. COMPLETED

    Click HERE for an IPC promotional flyer that you can download and share electronically OR for a printable version Click HERE.

    This grant program generally reopens on July 1st of each year, which is the start of Maryland's State Fiscal Year (The CB Trust is a quasi-governmental entity, so it follows the state's fiscal calendar). Contact Bonnie Sorak at bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org or call 410-609-6852 for more information about the possibility of new webinars and workshops.

    Click Here to watch a previously recorded version of one of the webinars if you can't join us at any of the upcoming sessions. You will learn best practices to enhance your grant applications and make them stand out.

    Click here to learn more about Chesapeake Bay Trust and how to support them by purchasing a "Treasure the Chesapeake" license plate. 


  • signed up on Stay Connected 2016-06-03 16:21:28 -0400

    Connect with Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

    • Want to stay in the loop about upcoming grant opportunities and workshops?
    • Want to stay connected with other congregations in your region or your denomination? 
    • Want to connect with secular organizations in your region who can support your congregation's efforts?

    IPC can help you with all of this!

    Complete the form below to maintain an up-to-date profile in our database so that when opportunities for collaboration arise, we can get in touch with you. Help IPC help you!

    Sign up

  • published NEW Toolkit for Faithful Stewards in Newsletter 2015-09-09 17:25:45 -0400

    NEW Toolkit for Faithful Stewards

    Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

    Inside:

    • 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

    Faithful_Stewards_Toolkit_image.jpg

    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.

    Holy_Family_Catholic_Church.jpg

    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
    Stewardship-Service-Day_logo-.jpg

    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 bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org 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 bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org or 410-609-6852. This program is available throughout the state of Maryland. 


    The Long Path of Renewal

    WaterWorld.jpg

    “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 bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org 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.

     


  • published Menu For Action 2015-01-06 10:00:53 -0500

    Menu For Action

    Are you looking for resources to take action to care for Creation?Menu_Screen_Shot.png

    This is the one-stop shop for you! Check out this comprehensive spreadsheet with all kinds of information to get you started on everything from spiritual resources, to book lists, to food issues, to advocacy campaigns.

    A Menu for Action for specific regions includes a Resource List of sources for where and how to fulfill these types of actions:

    • Forming: Activities that inform and provide spiritual context, such as outdoor experiences, educational workshops, and discussions.
    • Caring: Visible/measurable actions such as stenciling storm drains, picking up trash, installing solar panels or rain gardens, or planting trees.
    • Going Forth: Actions that engage the broader community, such as hosting a rain barrel workshop for neighbors, purchasing community solar, or discussing environmental policies with your elected officials.

    Menu of Action now available for the following regions!

    If you are not in any of the areas listed above, here is the Generic Menu For Action for congregations anywhere.

    Click here to for a full Menu for Action with an even more extensive list of actions.

    This is a living document.

    As a community, we can help each other become better stewards of Creation. If you have other suggested resources for this library, please email us or add a comment below. Also, if you find a broken link on our list, please let us know so we can correct it. Updates are added within days.