Full disclosure: I am married to Cheryl Marcum, a candidate for Earthkeeper, scheduled for commissioning on August 6.
Maybe you’ve heard of Earthkeepers. They are United Methodists who discerned a call from God to a vocation of caring for God’s creation. They help us understand how caring for God’s creation is a core part of our identity as disciples of Jesus Christ.
The first Earthkeeper in the Missouri Conference will be from the Southwest District, Stockton United Methodist Church. Cheryl Marcum will be commissioned an Earthkeeper at the commissioning ceremony at Trinity United Methodist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, upon completion of the August 1-6 Earthkeepers Training Conference at Mount Sequoyah Retreat & Conference Center in Fayetteville.
Earthkeepers is the inspiration of Rev. Pat Watkins, a recently retired missionary for God’s Creation with the General Board of Global Ministries. His successor, Rev. Jenny Phillips, will lead this new, globally-focused ministry, based at the new Global Ministries’ Center for Mission Innovation in Atlanta.
Earthkeepers can be laity or clergy. Each Earthkeeper is required to participate in four days of intense training in creation care theology, best practices in climate conversations, UMC resources for advocacy and action, and then commit to 10 hours per month of providing leadership for a community project or advocacy campaign. An Earthkeeper selects her or his own focus area, for example: creating a community garden, advocating for climate action or renewable energy policies, working for environmental justice by cleaning up toxic waste sites, or creating a green team within a church, district, or conference. These actions connect the local church directly to community concerns.
Do you have someone in your congregation who is called to to become an Earthkeeper, to serve as a caretaker of God’s good creation?
“Many people have thought of God’s creation in terms of advocacy but not as a valid mission of the church. God’s creation is as appropriate a mission field as Nigeria or the Philippines or wherever else. In order to be in mission to God’s people, we have to be in ministry to God’s creation.” – Rev. Pat Watkins
Read more at:
Innovative Program Aims to Commission 500 Earthkeepers, The Missouri Methodist, August 2017, page 9. http://www.moumethodist.org/files/tables/content/8734864/fields/files/3338dfdfe6054cf5a1600fd56200db9d/august+fk.pdf
New Earthkeepers Program Aims to Commission 500 for Creation Care Work http://www.umcmission.org/learn-about-us/news-and-stories/2016/april/0422newearthkeepers
Caretakers of God’s Creation is a grassroots community of United Methodists. https://www.umccreationcare.org/