• Reflection by Kolya: "Seeing with Watershed Eyes"
  • IPC Receives Award
  • Covenantal Partners Program - Baltimore
  • Prince George's Congregations
  • We'd Really Like to Know...
  • Call to Advocacy
  • Blue Water Congregations - Baltimore
  • RiverWise Congregations - Ann Arundel Co.
  • Trees for Sacred Places
  • Call for Volunteers
  • Bulletin Board

Seeing with Watershed Eyes

There's an old hymn that goes "Open my eyes, that I may see, glimpses of truth thou hast for me..., illumine me, Spirit Divine."   My eyes have been opened wider to the deep truth of living in watershed since I started this work with IPC a year ago. With this new sight, as I drove home from our summer family vacation at Chincoteague Island, I noticed a sign that says "You are in the Patuxent Watershed." On my carpool to my daughter's school, I now see "Little Falls Watershed Alliance." And in my own neighborhood, the "Friends of Sligo Creek" (in the Anacostia subwatershed) posts monthly news about preserving the creek with clean-ups, native plants, and removal of invasives along with poetry. My eyes are now seeing signs of watershed truth.

With these "watershed eyes" we can view the sacredness of water from our Creator’s perspective.  Chesapeake Bay environmental educator and artist, Tom Wisner expressed this so beautifully:

This land, these waters are graced by a grand divine presence that is evident in the way we resonate with the simplicity in our native landscape...

A watershed eyes perspective has a wide-angle view rooted in the both the other-than-human and the human community affected by our relationship to our watershed. These social justice impacts are implied by a book entitled The Web Life by preeminent ecologist John H. Storer, written in 1956. He prophetically indicated the social as well as environmental challenges to water conservation: "The best use of...water of the watershed that controls it has become a matter of life and death to [some] communities. The use and pollution, the cleansing and re-use of the water, in an effort to extend its usefulness, become matters of vital moment, demanding close cooperation between people dependent on it...."   This indeed is a "vital moment"- a watershed moment! - in which God is calling for "cooperation between people" who live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. With watershed eyes awakened to the fact we are all vitally dependent upon it, physically and spiritually, we are inspired to take action. Heightened awareness with "watershed eyes'' goes beyond mere sign reading to reading the signs of the times.

Continue reading to learn about some ways people with watershed eyes are cooperating to care for God's Creation! Or join us at the Environmental Justice Symposium (see our Bulletin Board) to help open your watershed eyes.

Kolya Braun-Greiner, MDiv
Project Coordinator, Trees for Sacred Places

Interfaith Leadership Award- Join us Celebrating!

IPC is proud to announce that we will be recognized by the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council for our contributions to the interfaith Creation Care movement! Please join us at CMEC’s Annual Award Breakfast on November 24th – click here for details and to purchase tickets – as we accept the Agus-Shehan Interfaith Leadership Award. Others receiving this award include Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Interfaith Power and Light. Come celebrate with all 3 organizations! And thank you to CMEC for this honor!

Covenantal Partners Program (Baltimore) 

Last month, IPC met with St. Matthews Catholic Church in Baltimore to facilitate a spiritually-rooted visioning session where they began to articulate how they feel God is calling them to respond to environmental crises of our time. Over the next 8-10 months, IPC will journey with them and support them as they work to achieve their goals. This is the Covenantal Partners Program and is being offered to congregations in the Baltimore region. Does your green ministry need direction? Does your congregation need to listen to God calling them forth to action? Email Bonnie Sorak [email protected] or call 443-799-0349 to get more information about the Covenantal Partners Program, or to schedule your Visioning Session.

Princes Georges County Stormwater Program Launched

photo by Michael Yourishin, PG Co. MDIPC Executive Director, Jodi Rose, spoke at a spirited celebration on Oct. 22 for the launch of a new stormwater program for houses of worship in Prince Georges County. Congregations in Prince Georges County can now participate in an Alternative Compliance Program to pay the stormwater fee and in so doing reduce or eliminate their fees.  The launch at Forestville New Redeemer Baptist church pastored by Rev. Nathaniel Thomas, showcased plans for installing a raingarden, pervious parking lot, tree planting, and rain barrels, with all costs covered by the fees collected by the county from other sources.  Stormwater management installations of this type can reduce congregation's fee by 50%, offering educational and worship /sermons on watershed stewardship reduces fee by an additional 25%, and forming a "green team" by another 25%.  By so doing they act as a model of watershed stewardship for neighbors and neighboring congregations.

We'd Really Like to Know...   Please Take 2 Minutes to Answer our 2015 Gathering Survey

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake wants to serve you well. Please tell us what you think about our providing gatherings for people of faith interested in working on improving watershed health.

Call to Advocacy

Update on Cove Point – Serious Safety Concerns
Dominion Resources admitted the safety risks and hazards to local residents near its proposed Cove Point expansion for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility: Dominion submitted a Cove Point evacuation plan, listing emergencies “with the potential for offsite impact” and “that could require an evacuation of the surrounding areas.”  A former Calvert Co. fire fighter expressed his concerns for local residents of Lusby in a video which describes the safety risks, including an uncontrolled leak, fire involving natural gas product, and rupture of a gas pipeline.  Click here to watch the video.  Residents are asking people to contact Gov. O'Malley (410-974-3901) urging him to call for a Qualitative Risk Assessment. 

Trash-Free Maryland 
Support local Styrofoam ban bills, and bag bills that are (or soon will be) coming up for a vote in BaltimoreMontgomery County, and Prince George’s County. Click on the hyperlinks for specific information in your region. Great news: Montgomery County, MD Transportation and Environment Committee just passed the Styrofoam Ban bill on October 30th. It now will be taken up by the full County Council in January!

Ban on Cosmetic Lawn Pesticides
We applaud the Safe Grow Montgomery coalition for their efforts to have the Montgomery County Council enact a ban on cosmetic lawn pesticides. Lend your support to their efforts! Click here to sign the petition, if you live in Montgomery County, MD, or send the petition to your friends who do.

EPA's Clean Power Plan 
The EPA has extended its public comment period to December 1, on proposed rules to limit power plant carbon pollution. If you would like to tell the EPA to limit pollution from power plants, Interfaith Power and Light has set up a page to help you do that here.

RiverWise Congregations -- LAUNCHED!

Watershed Stewards BlessingOn Oct. 12 twenty-eight people from 17 RiverWise Congregations received a commissioning and blessing from IPC staff as they embarked on their training as Master Watershed Stewards at the Watershed Stewards Academy.  An example of the kind of watershed restoration projects that churches will engage in through this program  is exemplified at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, where Rev. Johnny Calhoun, one of the stewards-in-training, serves as pastor.  He had this to say at their recent installation of a rain garden on their church grounds: "We all have three things in common. All of us have our feet on the same ground, there is one planet, one earth, all of us share it. All us are 70 percent water, without water we cannot live." - See entire story here.  We regret that the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is not mentioned in this article, but they are the overall program managers for RiverWise Congregations and should be recognized for their visioning!

See the entire list of congregations and learn more about RiverWise Congregations here

Blue Water Congregations (Baltimore)

Five Baltimore congregations have completed their Community Visioning to prioritize projects to mitigate polluted stormwater runoff from their congregational grounds. Limited spots are available for the next group starting at the beginning of 2015. Think your congregation would benefit from technical and organizational support to implement projects on your grounds? Installation of these projects protects our watershed and helps you reduce your stormwater utility fees! Become a Blue Water Congregation today by contacting Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or call 443-799-0349. Read more about the program and which congregations are already involved here!

Trees for Sacred Places (NEW Name)

Temple Isaiah, in the Patuxent watershed, planted nearly 90 trees on a beautiful autumn day Oct. 26.  Congregants young and old dug, planted and attended a workshop on the spiritual and environmental significance of trees.  By planting trees this congregation is contributing to restoration of the watershed, retaining stormwater runoff, practicing a mitzvah (good deed done out of religious commitment), and contributing to Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.

Email Kolya Braun-Greiner to get more information or to get your congregation on the waiting list for a 2015 tree planting and education program.



Volunteers Needed!

Please visit our Volunteer Signup page if you can donate time or money to IPC's work! We're looking for volunteers in a variety of areas, including Spanish translators, Advocates for upcoming legislative issues, IT/website support, social media support, Outreach/Education, and board committees.

Bulletin Board

Don’t forget to check the Bulletin Board for upcoming events such as rallies, Eco-Teachings Webinars, and the Environmental Justice Symposium coming up in December. And, if you have something to add to the Bulletin Board, please email us!