Global Ministries EarthKeepers

Global Ministries seeks U.S.-based United Methodists to lead grassroots environmental projects that are action-oriented, anti-racist, bold and entrepreneurial.

Global Ministries EarthKeepers is a training program that equips US-based United Methodists to launch and grow environmental projects in their communities. Topics include eco-theology, anti-racism, community organizing, and project planning. All participants plan a project during the training.

Summer 2022 Trainings | July 28 – August 11, 2022

Live Plenary Sessions


Session 1: Thurs, Jul 28, 8-9:30 pm ET
Session 2: Thurs, Aug 4, 8-9:30 pm ET
Session 3: Thurs, Aug 11, 10am-1 pm ET

Small Group Meetings


Group 1: Tue, Aug 2 and 9, 10-11:15 am ET
Group 2: Tue, Aug 2 and 9, 2-3:15 pm ET
Group 3: Wed, Aug 3 and 10, 1-2:15 pm ET
Group 4: Wed, Aug 3 and 10, 7-8:15 pm ET

(participants will request preferred meeting time from the options below)


The Rev. Jenny Phillips is the senior technical advisor for Environmental Sustainability at Global Ministries. She is an elder from the Pacific Northwest Conference. She has a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Washington. Phillips has written curriculum and resources for Chalice Press, Creation Justice Ministries, American Bible Society, GreenFaith and others, and leads workshops and trainings within and beyond The United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Crystal Paul-Watson is a commissioned Global Ministries EarthKeeper. Her EarthKeepers project, Harmony Creation Care Curriculum, includes intergenerational activities in gardening, biblical stewardship and multiculturalism. Paul-Watson is senior pastor of UMC of Hartford. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Cortland State University, a Master of Arts in Education Leadership from New Paltz University, and a Master of Divinity from Drew University.

As a Global Ministries EarthKeeper, you will:

  • Be equipped with United Methodist resources to lead creation care work within your community and congregation.
  • Learn strategies for community organizing, project planning, anti-racism, and climate justice.
  • Have the opportunity to apply for a small grant to support your project.
  • Receive project support and technical guidance through post-training consultation from Global Ministries staff and other EarthKeepers.
  • Join the Global Ministries Creation Care Network, an online community of practice to support United Methodists engaged in environmental ministries.
  • Engage with a broader network of United Methodists from across the United States who have similar affinities, projects and passions.
  • Connect with your annual conference to support local creation care ministries.

Projects

A core component of the training is to develop a plan for a project that you will implement in a community with which you have a relationship. It should address some aspects of creation care. Through the training, you’ll identify the problem or issue you wish to address and learn to articulate how your project responds to the problem.

You must know what you plan to work on when you apply. The training is designed for people who have an idea and want support in developing it. It can be a new project or a new phase of an existing project. It is okay for your project to change as you develop it during the training. If you apply without a specific project in mind, you will be invited to apply again in the future after you have settled on an idea. If you would like to discuss your idea with a training leader, contact Zaira Castillo at zcastillo@umcmission.org to schedule a time.

  • Example of an idea that is ready to be developed in this training: The churches in my district are struggling with their budgets. Many of them are not aware of the connections between energy consumption and climate change. I want to develop an energy efficiency education program that will help them reduce their energy expenses and teach them about climate stewardship.
  • Example of an idea that needs further refinement: Climate change is a crisis and my church isn’t doing anything about it. Also, straws are killing turtles. My project is to make my church do something about climate change and/or stop people from putting plastic in the oceans.

EarthKeeper projects tend to fall into the following categories:

  • Ecosystem health—encouraging the flourishing of local ecosystems
  • Efficiency—increasing efficiency of water and energy consumption
  • Environmental justice and anti-racism—addressing the disproportionate burden that climate change and environmental degradation place on people of color, women, children, and people living in poverty
  • Food security—increasing access to healthy, locally produced food
  • Innovation–responding to the needs of creation in new ways
  • Renewable energy—increasing renewable energy access
  • Waste reduction, waste management—ensuring sustainable waste management practices in homes, churches and communities
  • Water—increasing access to clean, safe water and improving wastewater management

Program Requirements

  • Membership or active participation in a United Methodist Church in the United States
  • Support from a conference-level leader
  • Age 13+
  • Interest in or experience with environmental issues
  • A specific project idea to be developed during the training
  • Commitment to participate in the entire training
  • Curiousity about environmental justice and anti-racism
  • Positive attitude about learning online
  • Minimum internet bandwidth of 600 kbps
  • Webcam, microphone, and speaker

Application

Each applicant must make a connection with one conference-level leader–bishop, director of connectional ministries, district superintendent, or creation care ministry chairperson. If you don’t know any of the people in these roles, ask your pastor to make an introduction or reach out to one of them via your conference website. Introduce yourself, explaining the training and why you want to go.

Ask if they will complete the connection form and suggest a call following the training to share what your learned

Both the Application and the Connection Form must be submitted before your application will be considered.


Worship resources for Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day, April 22, in your congregation with theological reflection on caring for creation.

Have questions? Contact the Rev. Jenny Phillips, senior technical advisor, Environmental Sustainability.