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Support the Global Ministries EarthKeepers program!

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.

In-person trainings are postponed due to COVID-19. Information on online training opportunities will be available in Summer 2020.

The Global Ministries EarthKeepers program equips United Methodists in the United States to put their creation care values into action in their churches and communities through local projects.

The program begins with a 3.5-day training. Every participant develops a plan to implement or grow a project in their community during the training. In addition, they study:


  • Eco-Theology

  • Community Organizing

  • Anti-Racism

  • Project Planning

  • Strategies for Social Change

  • United Methodist Resources

Following the training, EarthKeepers launch and grow their projects with support from Global Ministries and other EarthKeepers. They are also encouraged to support and provide leadership for conference creation care ministries.


Program Requirements

  • Applicants must have some interest in or experience with environmental issues.
  • Applicants must propose a specific project idea that they will develop during the training and commit to working on it for at least 10 hours per month for at least six months. This may be a new or existing project.
  • Applicants must connect with a conference-level leader and request their support.
  • Youth ages 13-18 may apply to attend with a parent or guardian who is also applying.
  • Applicants must commit to attending the entire training, starting Thursday at 4 p.m. and ending Sunday at 1 p.m.
  • Participants must complete five hours of assigned homework in the month prior to training.
  • Participants must be willing to engage in learning and reflection on environmental justice and anti-racism.
  • Participants will use the Global Ministries Creation Care Network to engage with creation care leaders and share project information and updates.

Cost and Logistics

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  • Global Ministries will pay the cost of training and materials, food and lodging during the training. Participants are invited to donate to offset these expenses. Donate here.
  • Participants pay for their own travel expenses to and from the training and for hotel incidental and parking expenses (if applicable) during the training. Local participants may commute to the training during the day and sleep at home at night.
  • Training hours each day are:
    • Thursday, 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
    • Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. (includes breaks and independent work time)
    • Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Participants will receive details on location, accommodations, transportation instructions, schedule and additional items upon acceptance.
  • All meals and snacks will be vegetarian.
  • At this time, the Global Ministries EarthKeepers program is only open to United Methodists who are based in the United States at the time of application and training. Global Ministries will not provide travel visa or travel financial support to participate.

Application Information

  • The application process includes an application form and a Conference Connection Questionnaire.
  • The Conference Connection Questionnaire must be completed by one of the following people:
    • The chairperson of your conference board of global ministries
    • The chairperson of your conference creation care ministry (if one exists)
    • Your district superintendent
    • Your conference director of connectional ministries
    • Your bishop
  • Note: The Conference Connection Questionnaire is required because a goal of the program is to increase capacity for creation care at the conference level and ensure conferences and EarthKeepers can support one another.
  • If you do not already know someone at the conference leadership level, here are some strategies for connecting:
    • Talk with your pastor about the training and ask them to introduce you to a conference leader.
    • Look up the leaders on your conference website. Email or call one of them. Introduce yourself, explain the training and why you are applying, and ask if they would be willing to complete the questionnaire.
    • Attend a district or conference event and meet a leader in person.


More Details

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As a Global Ministries EarthKeeper, you will:
  • Attend a 3.5-day training with a cohort of United Methodists committed to creation care ministries.
  • 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.

Need help? Contact the Rev. Jenny Phillips, senior technical advisor, Environmental Sustainability.


EarthKeepers propose a project idea when they apply and develop their project plan during the training.

Trained EarthKeepers have the opportunity to apply for small grant funding to support their projects. Participation in the training does not guarantee a grant.
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Most EarthKeeper projects are in 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
  • Spiritual growth, religious education and liturgy — developing unique resources at the intersection of faith and creation care
  • 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
EarthKeepers project seeks new life using discarded plastics in downtown Birmingham

Church of the Reconciler UMC in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, uses an EarthKeepers grant to test the viability of increasing community plastic recycling and employment opportunities with a small-scale recycle business within the church.

Emily Burns: Gardening for food equality

Serving at Sunnyside United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Emily Burns works to combat issues of food insecurity in her community as a Global Mission Fellow and EarthKeeper by supporting and developing a community garden and food pantry.

Earth Day and Easter: What Does Resurrection Mean for God’s Creation?

Projects supported by UMCOR are actively caring for the Earth and communities impacted by climate change.

Support Global Ministries EarthKeepers

Global Ministries recognizes the value that each EarthKeeper contributes to the creation care movement and invests robust funding to ensure the program is accessible to a diverse array of participants, representing the membership of The United Methodist Church in the U.S.

Please consider donating to help make this program possible! Your support will enable Global Ministries to support more United Methodists and their communities through the EarthKeepers program.