Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Contact: Rev. Jenny Phillips, Creation Care Program Manager (404) 460-7439

Global Ministries to Commission New United Methodist EarthKeepers for Environmental Stewardship

45 new EarthKeepers will launch creation care projects.

ATLANTA, GA—Global Ministries plans to commission 45 new EarthKeepers in an online service November 12, 2018, 8 p.m. EST at This service will affirm the EarthKeepers in their call to the ministry of creation care and bless the work in their communities.


Holding the commissioning as an online service creates the opportunity for all three classes of 2018 EarthKeepers to be commissioned together while minimizing the carbon footprint of the service. It also allows the EarthKeepers to participate in the service with their family, friends and churches. Bishop Larry Goodpaster of the Southeastern Jurisdiction; Thomas Kemper, Global Ministries general secretary; the Rev. Jenny Phillips, UMCOR Creation Care program manager; and the Rev. Dr. Jerome Sahabandhu, Global Ministries mission theologian, will lead the service.

“People worldwide are suffering the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation,” notes Kemper. “EarthKeepers equips United Methodists to address the root causes of that suffering.”

EarthKeepers is a Global Ministries training program designed to equip United Methodists in the United States for environmental stewardship. Participants spend three and a half days immersed in learning and discussions on theology, United Methodist resources, community organizing and anti-racism. Participants then use their skills to develop an environmental project to engage their churches and communities. The EarthKeepers program serves as both a launchpad for those looking to turn an idea into action and an incubator for those who want to deepen an existing creation care ministry. Participants develop plans in conversation with their peers, through troubleshooting strategies and by sharing wisdom.

“This training empowers United Methodists to harness Biblical, theological and denominational resources to develop bold initiatives to address the grave environmental challenges of today,” said Phillips. “Participants build relationships and skills that strengthen their leadership as stewards of creation.”

The 2018 participants range in age from 13 to 80 and are from annual conferences around the United States. Trainings have been held in Atlanta, Georgia and Detroit, Michigan, and a third training took place in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 1–4, 2018.

Upon completion of the training, EarthKeepers are expected to launch an environmental project in their communities. This year’s projects include community gardens, advocacy campaigns, green building projects, educational initiatives and more. To receive information on future trainings, please email Rev. Jenny Phillips at

The 2018 EarthKeepers and the conferences where they reside are as follows:

California-Pacific Conference
Susan Rothrock Deo
North Carolina Conference
Para Drake
Ben Lasley
Leigh Williams 

Dakotas Conference
Jo Flesner 

North Georgia Conference
Shirley Alcorn
Caleb Jeavons
Aylis Mceuen
Valerie Rawls
Rebecca Ricks
Deidra Wright 

Desert Southwest Conference
Jeanne Festa
Ann Jarrell 

Pacific Northwest
Michelle Dangol
Cindy Haverkamp
Marie Kuch-Stanovsky
Henry Morgan
Jenny Partch 

Florida Conference
Cara Fleischer
Elan Miavitz-Brown
Tiffania Willetts 

Tennessee Conference
Lloyd Doyle
Victoria Rebeck  

Holston Conference
Sara Orellana 

Upper New York Conference
Andrew Hartley 

Illinois Great Rivers Conference
Curt Keller 

Virginia Conference
Joshua Dalton
Morris Fleischer 

Michigan Conference
Tom Allen
Emily Burns
Philip Harrington
Stuart Jacobson
Rene Johnson
Christy Newhouse
David Newhouse
Asti White
Marilee Woodworth 

Western Pennsylvania Conference
Kristi Painter
Mountain Sky Conference
Kristen Bell
Steve Bell
Mary Beth Downing
Terry Haven
Stephanie Moffit
Tevita Ofahengaue
Jay Vestal 


A photo of each EarthKeeper is available online at