In celebration of Earth Day, the Outreach Department at Stanley Congregational Church, United Church of Christ will be holding an environmental justice forum on Sunday, April 18, 2010 in Parish Hall starting at 11:15AM. The speaker will be Ana Baptista, the Director of Environmental and Planning Projects, for the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) in Newark, N.J. The public is invited to attend. Advance reservations are not required. The church is located at 94 Fairmount Avenue in Chatham.

The Ironbound neighborhood is located in Newark's East Ward. It has historically been an industrial and residential community bound on all four sides by the airport, the highways, the rail lines and the Passaic River and an area where factories operate next to homes. Many former industries abandoned the city long ago, leaving a legacy of brownfields and superfund sites. More recently, Newark has attracted some of the most polluting industries such as state's largest garbage incinerator and trucking associated with the nation's third largest seaport. It is one of New Jersey's most polluted areas.

The area is home to a vibrant and diverse population of over 50,000 people, the majority of which are Spanish and Portuguese- speaking. The US EPA considers Newark one of the worst cities in the Northeast for environmental stress. The disproportionate levels of pollution are also compounded by the socio-economic and public health conditions which make residents particularly vulnerable to environmental burdens (lack of healthcare, high rates of asthma, lack of green-space, etc.)

The ICC is committed to improving these environmental conditions through advocacy, grassroots community organizing, and hands on campaigns with residents. Ms. Baptista will present a history of the area including an eco-industrial history of the pollution which exists today. She will share some of the successes the agency has had and will share information about the opportunities for those interested in joining the efforts to improve the quality of air, water and green space in the Ironbound Community.

The public is invited to attend any Sunday Worship Service or church program. The worship service begins at 10:00AM each Sunday. Stanley Congregational Church is an "open and affirming" church. The congregation offers a warm welcome to persons of every race, marital circumstance, sexual orientation, and theological tradition. The Sanctuary is handicap accessible. Church School classes are available during the school year for children three years old through ninth grade. Childcare is available for infants and toddlers. Young people in tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade are encouraged to serve as ushers in worship, assistants in the classroom, and assistants in childcare. Children attend worship with their families and then leave for classes after the extending the peace of Christ in the service. A coffee hour follows the worship service. For more information go to www.stanleychurch.org or call the office at (973) 635 - 7723.