Global Ministries EarthKeepers

Global Ministries seeks U.S.-based United Methodists to lead grassroots environmental projects that are action-oriented, antiracist, 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, antiracism, community organizing and project planning. All participants plan a project during the training.

The next EarthKeepers training events will be held Oct. 5-8, 2023.

Attend the training closest you to minimize travel emissions, while still engaging with other with people attending trainings being held in other locations. This strategy is designed to support Global Ministries commitment to just and equitable net-zero emissions.

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.


The next EarthKeepers training events will be held Oct. 5-8, 2023, in the following cities: Birmingham, AL; Denver, CO; Hartford, CT. Attend the training closest you to minimize travel emissions, while still engaging with other with people attending trainings being held in other locations. This strategy is designed to support Global Ministries commitment to just and equitable net-zero emissions.

Details and Logistics:

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to choose the training closest to them.
  • Participants are responsible for their travel arrangements and expenses. They are encouraged to travel by car, bus, or train (versus plane) to minimize travel emissions.
  • Global Ministries will book and pay for food and single-occupancy hotel lodging during the training. Participants who live near their training site may stay at home.
  • Youth ages 13-18 may participate with an adult parent or guardian.
  • The training will begin October 5 at 5 p.m., local time, and conclude October 8 at 1 p.m., local time. Participants must commit to participating in all components of the training.
  • Up to 8 hours of pre-training homework will be available Sept. 15 and must be completed prior to the training.

Training locations:

Church of the Reconciler, Birmingham, Alabama, North Alabama Conference

Lead Trainer: Rev. Jonathan Brake, program manager, Environmental Sustainability
Local Coordinator: Rev. Adam Burns, co-pastor, Church of the Reconciler
Field Trip: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Lead Trainer: Rev. Jenny Phillips, senior technical advisor, Environmental Sustainability
Local Coordinator: Rev. Janet Mulroy, Mission Engagement and Resource strategist, Mountain Sky Conference
Field Trip: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Lead Trainer: Rev. Crystal Paul-Watson, pastor, UMC of Hartford
Local Coordinator: TBD
Field Trip: TBD


Plan Your 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 us 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.
  • 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
  • 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

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 you learned.

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

For more information on Environmental Sustainability at Global Ministries, visit Environmental Sustainability.

Have questions? Contact us.