Will You Join God’s Water Heroes in Prince Georges?
He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains; They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst, the birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. ~ Psalm 104:10-12
Over the past years many residents throughout Maryland have asked whether the road to the Chesapeake Bay restoration runs through the numerous houses of worship in our state. At last count, more than 5,000 locations were identified, and we know that they have already begun to lead the way.
As I contemplate the above reading from Psalm, I am reminded of how, in Prince George’s County, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many of the faith leaders and have been blown away by their passion to reach all the people that they touch every day with the message to care for our waters and be good stewards of the Earth. Most recently I have spent the past weekends with a group of dedicated pastors as they prepare and plan to offer Vacation Bible Schools within their congregations. This Vacation Bible School curriculum is focused on watershed stewardship and will be delivered to both children and adults during the summer. Through this effort, the leaders hope to increase watershed literacy, deepen knowledge of faith teachings on caring for water, and raise awareness about the local impacts of stormwater pollution among their congregants.
Other congregations are continuing to sign up for the Alternative Compliance Program (ACP), a Prince George’s County Department of Environment initiative that offers incentives to the faith community and other nonprofits to help reduce and treat stormwater runoff. Through the ACP, faith leaders choose to implement on-site and off-site systems, facilities, and services that slow stormwater runoff and limit the related pollution. IPC is offering a series of workshops and one-on-one coaching to help catalyze this process and help congregations to navigate the different available options. Some of the congregations are working with the County to install green stormwater practices on their property. Others are engaging in outreach and education and agreeing to annually conduct activities such as on-site trash pickup events, tree plantings, or education sessions on the Rain Check Rebate Program. Some congregations are exploring ways to engage in green care and good housekeeping such as conserving water use, reducing fertilizer and pesticide use, or responsibly managing common chemicals used and stored on their properties.
IPC is here to help. If your house of worship is based in Prince George’s County and you would like to learn more or join in these efforts, come to the next ACP Workshop on Tuesday, April 4th at St. Stephen’s Baptist Church in Temple Hills. You can sign up at the link HERE to participate.
Together we will form an army of God’s Water Heroes!