Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake


  • Reflection: "Truly Much Can Be Done!"
  • Pope Francis' Visit: Activities
  • Outdoor Experience for Young Adults
  • Tree Planting Opportunities
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
"Truly Much Can Be Done!"

During the celebration of Rosh Hashana Jews around the world read the biblical story about Hagar being cast out into the desert with her son Ishmael with too little water to survive. After a while Hagar sets the boy under a tree and sits by herself with tear filled eyes. When she opens her eyes there is a well of clean fresh water which saves them.

As we move into Yom Kippur and contemplate our misdeeds from the past year and strive to make amends, may we reflect on our treatment of “Our Common Home” (the title of Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment), understanding that to many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world awakening to a well of clean fresh water would be just as miraculous today as it was to Hagar back then. Pope Francis’ Encyclical states, “Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations.” (67). May we all be blessed with a “sweet new year” ahead and to work to do our best to restore our sacred waters in our local watersheds in whatever way we can.  As Pope Francis says, “Truly much can be done!” (180)

Bonnie Sorak



Activities Surrounding the Pope's Visit

Pope Francis is scheduled to speak to joint sessions of the US Congress onSeptember 24th. In prayerful and visible support of his efforts to speak out on behalf of all those who suffer from environmental degradation, all faiths are invited to join in any of the following activities being planned in conjunction with his address. 

Sept. 23 Prayer Vigil - The prayer vigil will start at 5 pm and will continue overnight in the hours leading up to the Pope Francis’ address. You are welcome to come for any part of it, and can arrive at any time. Meet at  John Marshall Place Park on C St NW in Washington DC, just east of the Canadian Embassy.   This is a relatively small park so you will not have trouble finding those who are participating in the prayer vigil. Karen Leu from Interfaith Power and Light plans to be there all night long so we suggest you look for her.
Sept. 24 Rally - A rally is being planned by several organizations, and will take place starting at 8 am on the morning of the Pope’s address, September 24th. Come out and look for our banner We hope you can join us!!  Find us and RVSP here.
Sept. 24 Closing Celebration - An evening of celebration, prayer and praise is being planned at Washington National Cathedral supporting Pope Francis's call for action. The event will take place on September 24th at 7:30 pm. More details are here.


Outdoor Experience for Young Adults:  Our Common Home: An Interfaith Experience of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’Bring the encyclical to life in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with an experiential, interfaith series for young adults to heighten awareness on local issues and cultivate new public advocates. Young adults (20s and 30s) of any faith are encouraged to join us this fall for an amazing 3-part series designed to strengthen our understanding ofPope Francis' encyclical teachings and how to relate his call to action in our everyday lives.  Participants will gain knowledge about our relationship with water, local threats to clean water, and how to actively respond to the profound ecological and moral challenges of our time.  Click here for more information and registration.

Praise and Lament Tour: Saturday, October 17, Jug Bay Wetland Sanctuary. Experience the beauty of creation and encounter the challenges it faces.

Environmental Justice:  Saturday, October 31, Eagle Harbor, MD. Enjoy the ecology, engage with the local community, and consider the interrelationship of environment, community, economy, and justice.

Responding in Faith: Saturday, November 14, St. Camillus Catholic Church, Silver Spring, MD.  Witness a faith community working to heal creation. Panel discussion faith leaders on authentic, faith-based advocacy.

Click here for more information and registration.

Tree Planting Opportunities

We are looking for volunteers in Queen Anne’s County to plant trees. We have the place and everything else you need but we need hands to plant. Your group gets to pick the date that works for you! We will be planting ~100 trees, so we will need 25-30 volunteers of any age. This could be a great boy scout opportunity for the fall!

We are also still enrolling faith communities for free tree plantings for 2016. Trees for Sacred Places provides everything your community needs for the tree planting, customized support, and an educational/spiritual workshop specific for your faith tradition. This program is available throughout the state of Maryland.  

For either of these opportunities, contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 410-609-6852View and download Flyer here.  

Tree Planting Days:  You are welcome to witness any of our fall tree plantings!   

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities


Please consider attending an the event on IPC’s behalf to staff a table for an hour or two to spread the message of faith and renewal. Please contact Bonnie Sorak at[email protected] if you want to volunteer. Even if you can’t help out consider attending to show your support. (**Denotes your help is needed.)

Sept. 12-Oct. 31 Saturdays at 9:30-11:00 am, Study series on Pope Francis' encyclical at St. Dominic Catholic Church (led by St. Dominic's parish priests), 630 E St., SW, Washington DC 2002. Participants should bring their own copy of the encyclical. All are welcome. 

Sept. 30-Oct. 28 Three-Part Series “The Cry of the Earth”, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 120 N. Front Street, Baltimore, 21202. More information here.

September 30, 7 PM – Stephen Scharper, University of Toronto, A Compassionate Science: Pope Francis, Climate Change and the Fate of Creation
October 14, 7 PM – Jack Haught, Georgetown University, Science, Theology, and “Laudato Si”
October 28 – Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, An Integrating Vision: Ecology, Economics, Equity

Sept. 27th 10 am Christ the King Episcopal Church, 1930 Brookdale Road, Baltimore 21244. Sermon on climate justice.

Sept. 26
 3-4:30 pm “The Time to Act is Now” with noted climate scientist Dr. Michael MacCracken, St. Raphael Catholic Church, 1513 Dunster Road, Rockville MD 20854 in the Parish Library.

**Oct. 3
 ** 11 am - 3 pm Blue & Green Festival at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church,  Eastport. More information HERE. Meet some of our RiverWise Congregation Watershed Stewards to learn what their congregations are doing about polluted stormwater.

Oct. 3-4  St. Matthews Catholic Church (5401 Loch Raven Blvd, Baltimore), as a result of their participation in the Covenantal Partners Program, is hosting “And God Saw that it was Good,” celebrating the Feast of St. Francis and Pope Francis’ Encyclical. Program includes a Creation Story slide show, a Treasure Hunt to find ecological projects on the church grounds, a Day Around the Bay game showing the sources of water pollution into the Bay, and Pledge Cards for participants to commit to stewardship. The program will be repeated three times: Sat. Oct. 3 at 5 pm, Sun. Oct. 4 at 8:45 am (prior to mass), and Sun. Oct. 4 at 11 am.

Oct. 3 9 am - Noon Friends of Herring Run Parks is hosting 4 clean up sites along the Herring Run Watershed in Baltimore. Click HERE for more information.

Oct. 3 & 4  Holding the following congregations in prayer:  The community of Prince of Peace Baptist Church as they participate in their Visioning Session with the Covenantal Partners Program and Christian Temple Church as they participate in their Visioning Session with the Blue Water Congregations program.

Oct. 3 and Oct. 10 – Remaining Sessions of a 3-part Series “Laudato Si’” hosted by St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Derwood. More details here.

Oct. 4 12 pm - 4 pm Feast of St. Francis Family Fun Day and Blessing of Animals. St. Pius X Church, 6428 York Road, Baltimore, MD 21212. Visit Blue Water Baltimore's table display about this church’s project plans

Oct. 4 11:30 The Church of the Redeemer  5603 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21210 will bless their newly planted rain garden which was funded by a grant through the Chesapeake Bay Trust and planned through our Blue Water Congregations Program

Oct. 11 1pm-4pm Maryland Climate Coalition’s (MDCC) Energy, Health & Climate Expo 2015:Baltimore County.  with Delegate Dana Stein, Ben and Esther Rosenbloom Jewish Community Center, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave, Owings Mills, MD 21117. More information about this event here and for more upcoming events see full list here.   

IPC Needs Volunteers 


IPC Could Use Your Skills to:

  • Help with our Database
  • Table at events
  • Become a member of our Speaker’s Bureau
  • Help with Administrative Tasks
  • Assist with Website updates
  • We’ll tailor something to suit your expertise!

If you have some time and would like to help us to spread our message more effectively please contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected]