Caretakers began life as a work area of the VA Conference Board of Church and Society many years ago. I (Pat Watkins) became the chair of that work area and began to expand the scope of the ministry beyond Church and Society because I felt as if this ministry needed to connect with all facets of the life of the church. There was immediate interest among several individuals and congregations throughout the conference and Caretakers grew to become a VA Conference Advance Special. Due to our growth and success, in 2009 we became a Church and Community Project of Global Ministries. We were recognized for doing some cool things in VA and were asked to help other annual conferences start creation care ministry teams. Upon considering the fact that we may, in fact, have something to offer the entire church, we made the decision in February 2012 to begin to think about taking Caretakers to a denominational level. And in January of 2014 we shifted our status from that of a Church and Community Project to a Global Mission of Global Ministries. There are several needs. God's people need to reconnect with God's creation because we were created out of the earth, out of the dust of the earth. Part of our spiritual identity is formed out of both a relationship with God and with God's creation. To lose our relationship with creation is to only partially know who we are as God's people. God's creation needs us; we have done a pretty good job of abusing and exploiting creation due to our apathy and greed. Creation needs people of faith to "see" just how good creation is, which is how God sees it. Biblically, theologically, the earth belongs to God, not us. We need and the earth needs a proper theological understanding of God's relationship with the earth and our role in that relationship. God needs us to model proper stewardship of what God made. We feel as if this faith dimension gives us a unique motivation and voice in the conversation about how to best care for the planet. Scientific and political voices are good but incomplete. Faith can bring to the table a great deal of power and a dimension that includes who we are as people made in God's image. In addition to our theological motivation, we are finding many instances of the connections between caring for God's people and caring for God s creation. In other words, in many part of the world, a suffering planet is resulting in the suffering of people, so to continue in our historic and traditional mission endeavors we will increasingly be forced to consider the complexities of what is happening to God s creation in relationship to what is happening with God s people, and to structure mission around these connections. Caretakers of God s Creation is enabling the church to bring mission to a more holistic level.
Goals & Objectives
1. To connect with the Council of Bishops as a result of its 2009 document God's Renewed Creation. 2. To expand Caretakers of God s Creation nationally by implementing creation care ministry teams in as many annual conferences as possible and enabling Caretakers to become the United Methodist creation care ministry. 3. To create a team of 6 individuals, one from each of 6 regions of the world, to form a Global Creation Care Ministry Team whose purpose is to define for the global church a creation care ministry. 4. To evaluate the ways in which Global Ministries does it s work, assessing both the positive impacts we are making on God s creation as well as understanding our negative impacts, and to develop a sustainability policy for the staff, missionaries, and programs of Global Ministries that will reflect a theologically sound stewardship of God s creation in all that we do.
1. Attend Council of Bishops gatherings and work within appropriate committees within the Council. 2. Organize the US Annual Conferences that currently have creation care ministry teams into a network out of which we will identify those annual conferences that do not currently have teams and resource them and assist them to get started. 3. Take our team of 6 to the United Nations Climate Change conferences in Lima in 2014 and Paris in 2015, with special focus on indigenous people's rights and land rights in Lima, and on an international treaty on climate change in Paris. Task the team with organizing annual conference creation care ministry teams in their regions of the world. 4. Create an Environmental Policy Statement and an Environmental Action Plan for Global Ministries that will become an official policy of the organization.