First South Georgia UM commissioned as an EarthKeeper
By Kara Witherow, Editor
During a virtual service held Tuesday, Dec. 9, Global Ministries commissioned 24 new EarthKeepers from 14 annual conferences and all five jurisdictions. The service affirmed the EarthKeepers in their call to the ministry of creation care and blessed their work in their communities.
Pat Homer, a member of Pittman Park United Methodist Church in Statesboro, is the first South Georgia Conference member to complete the training and be commissioned.
Growing up on a farm, Homer’s grandmother instilled in her a love of nature. She’s carried that with her, and now retired, is uniting her love of creation and faith as an EarthKeeper.
“Nature is not separate from Christianity or our faith. It’s all intertwined,” Homer said. “The EarthKeepers program is bringing together a lot of the things I had thought about on my own, but I’m not a theologian or a minister, so I always second guessed myself. This really brought it all together for me and helped a lot.”
EarthKeepers is a training program that equips US-based United Methodists to launch and grow environmental projects in their communities. Participants spent three-and-a-half days learning and discussing theology, United Methodist resources, community organizing, and anti-racism, and will use what they learned to develop an environmental project for their churches and communities. It served as both a launchpad for people looking to turn an idea into action and as an incubator for those who want to deepen an existing ministry. Participants developed plans in conversation with their peers, troubleshooting ideas and sharing strategies.
“This class has opened my eyes to God’s love for Creation as evidenced in scripture,” Homer said. “There are many verses in the Bible that reference Creation, and many of us have grabbed onto ‘subdue and have dominion over’ (Gen. 1:28) without paying enough attention to the others, but this class put it all into perspective for me. I am thrilled to be able to minister to others by bringing the things I've learned back to Pittman Park UMC and the South Georgia Conference.”
Now commissioned as an EarthKeeper, Homer is developing a Creation Care class for the Pittman Park UMC congregation and the Statesboro community, to begin in April. She also hopes to gather a group of like-minded people together in a community Green Team, to look at potential projects and to bring awareness to the need to care for the environment.
“I am thankful for Pat’s passion for creation care and her willingness to share her knowledge and passion with others,” said Allison Lindsey, Director of Connectional Ministries and Global Ministries board member. “I look forward to exploring ways we can share her experience with churches across South Georgia. Having this training opportunity go virtual makes it accessible and affordable for more people.”
Homer hopes that, through her work, others learn and are inspired to care for God’s creation.
“What I hope people learn from this is that God loves creation, and because God loves creation, we should love it, too.”
For information on the EarthKeepers program, click here. Contact Allison Lindsey, Director of Connectional Ministries, at email@example.com, for training or application assistance.