March 2018, Issue 1


  • Reflection: "The Earth Lies Polluted" & We Can Do Something About it
  • Donate_Button.jpgLenten Creation Care Calendar 
  • One Water Partnership Takes to the Road
  • Legislative Actions for This Week
  • Deadline: Chesapeake Conservation Corps Internship Program - April 13
  • Sacred Grounds Workshops This Spring.
  • SIGN UP: Vacation Bible School Trainings in Prince George's & Baltimore City
  • Funding Available in Gaithersburg and Harford County
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs

"The Earth Lies Polluted" & We Can Do Something About it

A few weeks ago I took my usual walk along the Sligo Creek Trail near my home in Takoma Park and as I approached a bend in the creek, I was appalled to see a huge pile of trash (picture left), mostly comprised of pieces of polystyrene food containers strewn along the bank of the creek. I immediately recalled that "Ban the Foam" is one of IPC's legislative priorities and here was an example right in my own subwatershed of why we need to remove this material from our food stream, our water streams, and in so doing, our bloodstreams. The prophet Isaiah's words call us to repent of our actions that result in polluting the land and its inhabitants:

The earth lies polluted  under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, 
broken the everlasting covenant. ~Isaiah 24:5

Indeed the land and waters lie polluted by polystyrene that never breaks down, 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 and human health. Banning the use of polystyrene in Maryland is an opportunity for us to keep the covenant we have with God and with Creation. IPC's Foam Ban Advocacy page informs what the legislation would implement along with resources (phone script for calling your legislator, talking points, and sample letter) for actions you can take to support the Foam Ban. Many congregations have already made the commitment to refrain from using any foam products in their events.

At one such congregation, Maryland Presbyterian Church (Towson), member Bill Breakey (also a former IPC  Board member) said that "it was our Environmental Stewardship Action Group who led the effort. The congregation was supportive and we use either reusable dishes or recyclable paper. It was a little harder getting those people who rent space from us to follow our lead, but in due course they did."  Bill added that installing a dishwasher really made a difference! Nearly 15 years ago at St. Mark's Lutheran Church (Baltimore), Brad Schegel started the trend to stop using foam products by bringing in a bunch of washable coffee cups to replace the foam ones, a practice which others followed. Later they started using hard plastic plates, cups, and utensils for large meals and they often use china plates and metal utensils for smaller meals. See a list of other congregations which have stopped using any polystyrene, and let us know if your congregation has taken such action: click HERE to add your congregation's name on the list. If your congregation hasn't yet made this commitment, we hope these stories inspire you to "go forth and do likewise!"

Let's express our love for God's Creation by keeping  the "everlasting covenant" and put a halt to "foam" pollution so that we will leave behind a healthier environment for wildlife and future generations. See Legislative Actions below.

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 Takes to the Road

One Water Partnership Green Team Leaders and congregation members are invited to join us on our upcoming "Inspirational Bus Tours". Click HERE for flyer with details.

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 at443-799-0349 for the details. 

Legislative Actions for This Week

This week we are focusing on the Ban on Expanded Polystyrene (click HERE for background information if you are unfamiliar with this bill). 

Call Leaders of the House and Senate The House hearing for the foam ban bill took place last Tuesday Feb. 19th and the Senate hearing took place Feb. 27th. We need everyone to call their House and Senate leaders to express your support of this bill. Click HERE for a Phone Script to help you in your call. 

  • Call YOUR Senate representative. Look up your representative's name/number at
  • Call YOUR House representative
  • Click to Tweet! If you're on twitter, click this link to tweet your support of this bill and reach your network

Has Your Congregation Stopped Using Styrofoam?

Deadline: Chesapeake Conservation Corps Internship Program - April 13th

Great opportunity for young adults looking to embark on a “green” careers. IPC is working with the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) to identify young adults (ages 18-25) to apply to their Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program, a paid internship beginning August 2018. Click HERE to go to our website to learn more how IPC can help. Or contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349 for more details.

Image_for_Sacred_Grounds_Flyer.jpgSacred Grounds Workshops this Spring 

Sign up for a Sacred Grounds Workshop this spring. Come learn the simple steps that your congregation can take to help your local environment and improve the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Three participants will receive a $250 GIFT CARD to start their garden!

For more information CLICK HERE. Or contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349 for more details.

Download the flyer HERE

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].

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • March 9 7PM Movie "An Inconvenient Sequel" with discussion afterwards. Annapolis Friends Meeting House, 351 Dubois Rd, Annapolis. Click HERE for more information and to RSVP. Free
  • March 15 Hear Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley discuss environmental and climate issues facing the city of Annapolis. More info HERE
  • March 18 7-8PM Blessing of Trees Planted by the Dayspring Earth Ministry, with Spring Equinox celebration. RSVP HERE
  • 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
  • March 24 10AM-12PM free Sacred Grounds Workshop, Beloved Community Church, 17500 Indian Head Hwy, Ste 203, Accokeek RSVP HERE
  • March 24 3PM Towson Solar Info Session. Learn basics of installing and utilizing residential solar power, financial considerations, and how the solar co-op process works. Towson Presbyterian Church, 400 W Chesapeake Ave. RSVP HERE
  • April 7 9AM Woodlands Workday - non-native species removal work day at Catonsville Presbyterian Church
  • April 8 2-5PM One Water Partnership Inspirational Bus Tour Click HEREfor more info
  • April 12 10AM-12:30PM. Vacation Bible School Training for Baltimore congregations Click HERE for more information.
  • April 14 3-5PM Columbia Families in Nature's Community Forest Project Site Preparation Day to create habitat, benefit our watershed, and be a positive climate action. Event is free but registration is requested. Click HERE for more info
  • April 14 30th Annual Potomac Cleanup. Volunteer or lead a cleanup. Click HERE for more info
  • April 21 Vacation Bible School Training for Prince George's County congregations Click HERE for more information
  • April 21 Lobbying Day on Capitol Hill - Faith leaders are welcome to represent Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake in lobbying your US Senators and Congressional Representatives. Contact Jodi at [email protected] if interested
  • April 29 2-5PM One Water Partnership Inspirational Bus Tour Click HERE for more info
  • April 29 3-5PM Columbia Families in Nature's Community Forest Project Tree Planting Day to create habitat, benefit our watershed, and be a positive climate action. Event is free but registration is requested. Click HERE for more info

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 complete our Volunteer Signup Form.

Thank you!