The Rev. Pat Watkins is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. He is guiding a new, globally-focused United Methodist Ministry with God’s Renewed Creation, based at Global Ministries and also closely related to the Council of Bishops.
Pat’s work has its roots its roots in the Virginia Annual Conference. It is being given a global context in which to work with agencies, annual conferences, bishops, congregations, and ecumenical partners in relation to environmental issues. It builds on a theology that recognizes that care for creation is a fundamental aspect of Christian mission.
The Ministry with God’s Renewed Creation, which has its roots in the Virginia Annual Conference, is being given a global context in which to work with agencies, annual conferences, bishops, congregations, and ecumenical partners in relation to environmental issues. It builds on a theology that recognizes that care for creation is a fundamental aspect of Christian mission.
Pat is a clergy member of the Virginia Conference. He and his wife, the Rev. Denise Honeycutt, were missionaries in Nigeria from 1995 to 1998 and he was a Church and Community Worker missionary in Virginia from 2009 through 2013. He was earlier affiliated with interfaith organizations in Virginia.
A lifelong United Methodist, Pat says that the church has been the catalyst through which his faith journey and call to mission service have taken place. He was strongly influenced as a young person by participation in the United Methodist Youth Fellowship and a church-related Boy Scouts program. While serving as a missionary in Nigeria, he became deeply interested in the relation between faith and God’s creation. While faith has traditionally looked at relationship with God and relationships with other people, he began to see a relationship between faith and the created order. He says: “I am convinced that my faith can and must embrace a ministry that calls for the care and healing of God’s creation.”
He reports that the 2009 document “God’s Renewed Creation” from the United Methodist Council of Bishops informed his call to mission. He had earlier taken courses in environmental science at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Pat received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, in 1979, and a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School in 1986.
Speaking of his mission focus, Pat tells this story from his service in Nigeria: “Nigeria has a rainy and a dry season each year. Our trips to the city to buy supplies had to occur during the dry season because it was physically impossible to get in and out of our village during the rainy season. We were forced to live more connected to the cycles of the earth than ever before. Not only did I learn that I could tolerate such an existence, I began to feel as if there was something really wonderful about it, something even sacred. As a result, I began to ask myself a very basic question: “Is there a connection between my faith as a Christian and this feeling of a relationship to the earth?’” His answer is “yes.”
: Virginia Annual Conference
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