On Sunday, June 12th Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, in partnership with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy, hosted a driving tour and blessing of three RiverWise Congregations in Anne Arundel County. The public was invited to visit these houses of worship for the opportunity to see new stormwater runoff reduction projects installed on site and to celebrate and join in the blessing of the work and the congregation stewards who managed the projects.The first blessing took place at the Empowering Believers Church of the Apostolic Faith, followed by St. John’s Lutheran Church, with the last blessing taking place at Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church. RiverWise Congregations has engaged 22 houses of worship, and has trained 28 Master Watershed Stewards with their locations ranging from Glen Burnie to Galesville. Over 8,000 congregants and residents of Anne Arundel County have been reached with a message that connects their faith with their local waters. Additionally, 71 Best Management Practices have been installed at houses of worship across the county. The results show that 228 pounds of nitrogen, 47 pounds of phosphorus, and 27 tons of sediment have been captured and treated from 27.5 acres of drainage area.Bishop Larry Lee Thomas, Pastor of Empowering Believers Church of the Apostolic Faith, spoke about his congregation’s experience with the project, “This project has alleviated a consistent flooding problem at our property, given our congregation new hope, and excited us about healing the Earth. We as African Americans are the new kids on the block, and this experience was a new level of transformation that has changed our mindset about the environment and our faith. Working with multiple groups – other congregations and organizations alike – the end result has been very positive!”

To learn more about the RiverWise Congregations program, visit www.interfaithchesapeake.org