Global Ministries to commission new United Methodist EarthKeepers for environmental stewardship

November 18, 2019

North Alabama’s Rev. Adam Burns is one of the 67 new EarthKeepers to be commissioned by the General Board of Global Ministries in an online service on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, at 7 p.m. CST at

The service will affirm the EarthKeepers in their call to the ministry of creation care and will bless their work in their communities. 

Commissioning online creates the opportunity for all three classes of EarthKeepers trained in 2019 to be commissioned together while minimizing the carbon footprint of the service.  The group includes people from 24 annual conferences across the United States. The service also allows EarthKeepers to participate with family, friends and church community alongside them. Bishop Larry Goodpaster of the Southeastern Jurisdiction, Global Ministries COO and UMCOR Executive Director Roland Fernandes and Creation Care Program Manager Rev. Jenny Phillips will lead the service. 

EarthKeepers is a training program to equip United Methodists in the United States for environmental stewardship. Participants spend three and a half days immersed in discussions on theology, United Methodist resources, community organizing, and anti-racism, and then use what they learn to develop an environmental project for their churches and communities. It serves as both a launchpad for people looking to turn an idea into action, and an incubator for people who want to deepen an existing ministry. Participants develop plans in conversation with their peers, troubleshooting ideas and sharing strategies. 

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

Upon completion of the training, EarthKeepers are expected to launch an environmental project 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. 

This year’s participants range in age from 13 to 83 and are from annual conferences in every United States Jurisdiction. Trainings were held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; and Chicago, Illinois.

Rev. Adam Burns, a deacon in full connection, is the senior pastor of the Church of Reconciler in downtown Birmingham (South Central District).

To receive information on Global Ministries 2020 EarthKeepers trainings, please email Alicia Stromberg, Sustainable Development Program Assistant, at

Rev. Adam Burns
Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.