Eastern PA participants joined other EarthKeepers trainees in caring for Serenity House’s community garden, a ministry of Arch Street UMC. From left are: Chris Foster, Marsena Mungin, Rebecca Parsons, Marion Grayson, the Rev. Tom Lank and Gretchen Boger. Lank, a Deacon in the Greater New Jersey Conference, lives and works in the Philadelphia area. Not shown: Dale Shalito of Arch Street UMC.
 John Coleman photo.

New Eastern PA EarthKeepers to be commissioned online Nov. 19

Sixty-seven United Methodists from 23 conferences—including seven in the Eastern PA Conference—will be commissioned as EarthKeepers in an online service conducted at the UMC’s Global Ministries agency in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 8 PM. The service, viewable at  www.umcmission.org/live, will affirm the newly trained environmental stewards in their call to the “ministry of creation care” and will bless their work in their various communities.

The Eastern PA Conference EarthKeepers learned about creation care along with 15 other trainees in Philadelphia, August 8-11, at Arch Street UMC. The training featured a morning of hands-on work in the community garden at Serenity House, the church’s residential community outreach center in North Philadelphia.

The Rev. Jenny Phillips, Global Ministries’ Creation Care Program Manager, led trainings this year in Philadelphia; Austin, Texas; and Chicago, Ill. She will help conduct the online commissioning service. along with Bishop Larry Goodpaster of the Southeast Jurisdiction and Roland Fernandes, Executive Director of UMCOR (UM Committee on Relief) and Global Ministries Chief Operating Officer.

EarthKeepers is a three-year old UMCOR training program to equip U.S. United Methodists in environmental stewardship. Participants spend three days immersed in discussions on theology, United Methodist resources, community organizing and anti-racism, and then use what they learn to develop environmental projects for their churches and communities.

“Creation is in crisis. EarthKeepers recognize the many ways in which the Bible calls people to participate in the health and flourishing of Creation,” said Phillips. “EarthKeepers are empowered to turn big ideas into powerful action by developing projects that address urgent environmental concerns in their communities.”

EarthKeepers are expected use their training to launch environmental projects in their communities and can apply for UMCOR grants to support their work. This year’s projects include community gardens, green building programs, waste-management initiatives, and more. To receive information on 2020 trainings, please email Alicia Stromberg, Sustainable Development Program Assistant, at astromberg@umcor.org.

Read EarthKeepers trained in environmental stewardship tolearn about the August training in Philadelphia.