Well, we did it. The year that felt like it just might never end is over. We weathered the storm and here we are, in a new year. Go on, take that big sigh of relief.

2020, the year that everything was seemingly unprecedented, is behind us. In the wake of an ongoing pandemic, a tumultuous election, and a global movement for racial justice, we can only hope that 2021 is a year filled with more unity, justice, and health. While going from 2020 to 2021 may not be a solution to all of our problems, it does mark the turning of a page, the end of a chapter, and a new beginning. A new year is an opportunity for healing and a fresh start. 

As I reflect back on this past year, I can’t help but appreciate the silver linings of 2020. While this past year challenged us like never before, it shined a light on our amazing ability to adapt and be resilient in the face of adversity. When the world shuttered down we quickly adapted to connecting virtually, social distancing, and mask wearing. We managed to celebrate holidays and worship in unconventional ways to keep our loved ones safe. The resilience and adaptability that the world has shown during this incredibly difficult year gives me hope for the future of our planet. At a time when change is needed more than ever to curb carbon emissions and restore ecosystems, it is reassuring to know that big change is possible. 

More importantly, my time at Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake has given me hope. As a young person, I can’t help but worry about climate change and ecological degradation. Older generations have failed to protect creation and my generation will be left to clean up the mess. However, having the opportunity to serve with IPC and see all of the incredible work that our Partner Congregations have done and continue to do in the midst of a pandemic has been truly eye opening. Despite the circumstances, efforts to care for creation and restore the watershed are still in full effect, and they are being spearheaded by older generations. It is hard to put into words how grateful and hopeful this makes me.

Looking forward to this new year, it is my hope that more congregations follow in the footsteps of these trailblazers. What better way for us to emerge from a messy year than to commit the next one to cleaning up our act? Signing the Partner Congregation Pledge is the perfect way to start off a new year. I can think of no better new year’s resolution than pledging to restore, honor, and protect the Chesapeake Bay.

We can’t control what may come our way in 2021. I have every reason to believe that things will get better, but I can’t predict the future. With this gift of a new year, we don’t have to wait for things to get better. We have the opportunity to do what we can to ensure a better year and a better future. New years are for new beginnings, and each one of us has the ability to choose a beginning that will bring positive change for many New Years to come.  

 

Talya Kravitz 

Partner Congregation Coordinator / Americorps Member through Volunteer Maryland