When I heard that Maya Angelou passed away on May 28, I recalled the many times her words of wisdom have inspired me.   So I retrieved my copy of her inaugural poem “On the Pulse of Morning,” to read to my family that night.   What surprised me were words I didn’t remember and the centrality of the tree image throughout.  Here is an excerpt:

There is a true yearning to respond to the singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew, the African, the Native American, the Souix,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek, the Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheik,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher, the privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear the speaking of the Tree.

They hear the first and last of every Tree speak to humankind today.
Come to me, here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside the River.

There is an old spiritual often sung at peace and civil rights demonstrations: Just like a Tree that’s planted by the waters, we shall not be moved (drawn from Psalm 1:3). Maya Angelou was a great tree, and a great soul. She was like a tree planted by a river…in all that they do, they prosper, Psalm 1:3. She prospered in all that she did, and she taught us about strength, resilience, and healing for the world. 

And as we said good-bye to Maya and celebrated her gifts of wisdom and hope, we awoke on Monday June 2nd to news of hope. The Environmental Protection Agency announced new restrictions on power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The restrictions would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from existing power plants by up to 30 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2030. In an unprecedented shift away from coal toward clean energy sources, there is hope for healing. The announcement of the proposed restrictions from within a children’s hospital where suffering from asthma and other environmental health issues are very real, was meant to remind us of the very real need for healing for our children and future generations.

Tree planting offers us another path to heal God’s Creation. With over 30 congregations already committed to tree-planting and a growing waiting list for 2015, there is much to be hopeful about! So please let us know if your congregation is interested – even outside of Maryland! Contact Kolya Braun-Greiner, at [email protected].

And, lastly, with our partner, Interfaith Power and Light, we ask you to prayerfully consider your stance on the Cove Point liquid natural gas export facility. We feel the proposed Cove Point facility has far-reaching impacts that have not been properly assessed, introduces grave risks to the residential neighborhoods near the proposed site, and threatens our vast system of streams and rivers across the region with anticipated development of pipelines to transport liquid natural gas to the facility. Click here to tell FERC “No” to Cove Point.

Yes, there is much work to do, but be inspired by the strength of people like Maya Angelou. Be energized with hope for healing from restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. In this sacred movement for clean water, do not be shaken…Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters, we shall not move. 

In hope,

10,000 Trees Program Coordinator


Want Clean Water?

Baltimore County – Contact [email protected] for more information on the Blue Water Congregations program, which offers congregations the financial, technical, and spiritual guidance needed to implement projects on your grounds.

Anne Arundel CountyRiverWise Congregations offers congregations technical and financial assistance, plus trains a Master Watershed Steward at a significantly reduced price.  Have you wanted to become a trained Steward? Now’s your chance – and you can help your congregation at the same time! Contact [email protected] for more information.

In your County – Visit our Stormwater page to see if your locality offers support to build green infrastructure on your congregation’s property. If you know of a locality that should be added to this page, please email us.

Throughout the Chesapeake watershed – even outside of Maryland - to learn more about stormwater management for your property, contact [email protected] and we will find a watershed group or technical advisor near you to come speak to you and help you get started.

Want to jump start your green ministry?

Get your congregation “in gear” this summer so you can hit the ground running this fall. Invite us to lead a Visioning Session with your green ministry and let’s see what we can build together! Don’t miss an opportunity to embark on a journey with support from IPC, other partners, and other congregations. Read here about the Covenantal Partners Program, or email [email protected].

Want Inspiration?

IPC now has a Speaker’s Bureau! If your congregation would like a speaker, please contact [email protected]. Speakers are free and can cover a variety of topics and locations. Thank you to our fabulous volunteers who are donating their time to inspire others.

Want to Volunteer?

Join us as a volunteer so that together our impact will be greater. Please email [email protected] if you would like to help with the following:

Advocacy Work – Stop Cove Point, Pesticides Database, and other issues

Database support
Staff the IPC booth at events in your community
Communications (website, database, Facebook page, Twitter)
Visit congregations in your area to invite them to engage in stewardship
Volunteer Coordination
Board committees - Communications, Fundraising, Programs
Financial Donations

What is your skill? If you have a talent you can share with us, let us know so we can find a place for you!

Kolya Braun-Greiner