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Deal Island Peninsula, Somerset County

Project Workshop 1 – June 23, 2018

Church members from the Deal Island Peninsula area participated in the first workshop of the Engaging Faith Communities for Coastal Resilience(EFCCR) Project. This workshop convened church leaders, government staff, and university researchers who live and/or work in Dorchester, Wicomico, and Somerset Counties to learn about the goals of the project and participate in collaborative learning activities to explore the role of government, churches, and researchers in adaptation planning on the Eastern Shore. At this workshop, participants worked in county-level groups to review flood maps of targeted areas in each county, identify key environmental challenges, and select sites on which to focus county-level collaborative activities over the course ofthe project. Deal Island Peninsula participants discussed a number of locations previously identified through collaborative projects where erosion and roadway flooding remain a challenge. 


Aerial of the a section of the Deal Island Peninsula, including the communities of Deal Island (left) and Chance (right) withe the Tangier Sound in the background. 

Community Conversations on Faith, Religion, and Climate Change – October 1 & November 7, 2018

In order to engage churches meaningfully in adaptation discussions, project leaders recognized the need to improve understandings and considerations of faith-based perspectives on the topic of climate change, which can be a source of tension for some communities of faith and a barrier to collaborative work with churches. Project leaders organized a community conversation in two churches on the Deal Island Peninsula to explore the topic of faith, religion, and climate change. Congregation members from Faith Independent Church met on October 1st, and the three churches of the Deal Island United Methodist Charge met on November 7th. At both meetings the discussion focused on faith-based perspectives on climate change and climate science, as well as the role of churches in climate change planning activities. At these community conversations, project leaders also shared findings on faith-based perspectives previously collected from interviews with church members participating in the project. Attendees shared their thoughts on how well these insights match their own experiences and perspectives, providing additional insights on opportunities and challenges for working with scientists and decision-makers to address ongoing and future climate change concerns.   


Faith-Based Perspectives on Climate Change WebEx Conference Call – December 4, 2018

Project leaders qualitatively analyzed the input gathered through the community conversations for themes that captured faith-based perspectives on climate change. These themes were then shared through a WebEx conference call with decision-makers, researchers, and NGO groups interested in working more closely with churches to assist rural communities in addressing and planning for climate change impacts. Participants on this call were given the opportunity to share their thoughts and reflections, ask questions, and identify additional challenges and opportunities for collaborative climate change planning with faith-based communities. 


Deal Island Peninsula Workshop: Collaborative Opportunities for Coastal Resilience – January 10, 2019

Deal Island Peninsula area participants, staff from Somerset County and Maryland DNR, and members of the EFCCR project team convened to hear findings on the role of faith and science in climate change planning, as well as faith-based and government perspectives on climate change that shape how these groups engage in planning discussions. Participants were asked to reflect on these insights in considering where there are opportunities and challenges for more collaborative work between churches, researchers, and County and State government offices. These discussions were led by reflections from local pastors David Webster, Barry Groh, and Charles Jacobsen; Gary Pusey, Director of Somerset County’s Department of Planning and Zoning; and Jenn Raulin, Manager of Maryland’s National Estuarine Research Reserve at Monie Bay. 

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