Global Ministries commissioned 24 new EarthKeepers in an online service on Tuesday, Dec. 8. The service, viewable on the Global Ministries Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GlobalMinistries, affirmed the EarthKeepers in their call to the ministry of creation care and blessed their work in their communities.
Global Ministries EarthKeepers is a training program to equip United Methodists in the United States for environmental stewardship. Participants discuss theology, United Methodist resources, community organizing and anti-racism, and then use what they learn to develop an environmental project for their churches and communities. The program serves as both a launchpad for people looking to turn an idea into action, and an incubator for people who want to deepen an existing ministry. Participants develop plans in conversation with their peers, troubleshooting ideas and sharing strategies. This year’s training took place online due to COVID-19.
This was the fourth year that EarthKeepers commissioning services have been held online. The online service allowed EarthKeepers to participate along with their family, friends and church community. Those leading the service included Bishop Larry Goodpaster, bishop-in-residence at Candler School of Theology; Roland Fernandes, general secretary of Global Ministries and UMCOR; and the Rev. Jenny Phillips, senior technical advisor for Environmental Sustainability and leader of the EarthKeepers program.
This year’s participants are from 14 different annual conferences in every U. S. Jurisdiction. Elizabeth Willliams, a layperson in the Pacific Northwest Conference, was one of those commissioned.
“In this year of pandemic, firestorms, heat and record-breaking hurricanes, it is crucial that the church examine its commitment to stewardship of the earth,” said Phillips., “With the commissioning of this cohort, there will be more than 200 Global Ministries EarthKeepers throughout the U. S. seeking to ensure the flourishing of God’s creation.”
Upon completion of the training, each EarthKeeper will launch an environmental project in their community. This year’s projects include electric vehicle charging, water justice, waste management, food security, gardens, curriculum development and more.
To read more about their projects and to get updates on 2021 trainings, join the Global Ministries Creation Care Network at http://creationcare.umcmission.org.