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EarthKeeper pastor saves turtles

Care for creation is a commitment spelled out in the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church. The Rev. Dottie Yunger is a pastor and marine biologist who lives her faith by educating others about the living miracles of God's creation.

The United Methodist program EarthKeepers has commissioned hundreds of United Methodists around the world for creation care.

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The Rev. Dottie Yunger: "I'm Dottie Yunger. I am a pastor in The United Methodist Church. I am the pastor at Solomons United Methodist Church. And I also consider myself to be a pastor at the Calvert Marine Museum, taking care of the critters that are behind the scenes."

Before she was a pastor, the Reverend Dottie Yunger was a marine biologist. She grew up on the Virginia coast and is a life-long United Methodist.

Dottie: "So, during the week I would be a marine biologist and on Sundays, I would be a Methodist. And then I realized I could be both all the time."

When she isn't pastoring people, Dottie works at the Calvert Marine Museum, just a short distance from the church. She has a particular love for these palm-sized spotted turtles.

Dottie: "The fact that no two spotteds are the same and they have these beautiful markings on their shells - they are like a miracle every day. Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as beautifully as the spots on this turtle's shell."

Being a minister and a marine biologist is certainly unusual but Dottie has found like-minded United Methodists through a ministry called "Earthkeepers."

Dottie: "The Earthkeeper program of Global Ministries is to me the best of what the UMC is. There are other people like me who have similar calls, who have similar kinds of ministries and we could get together. And, that connection – that kind of fellowship is huge. But it's, I mean, it's precedent setting! And to have our denomination recognize and affirm calls like that is huge!

I couldn't be more proud if I had laid these eggs and incubated them myself! There are few things in the world to me that are cuter than a baby turtle! Right? A baby turtle!

They are what connect me to God and help me remember God's call in my life and how I can uniquely live that call."


The Rev. Dottie Yunger is the Lead Pastor of Solomon United Methodist Church in Maryland.

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This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee.
Media contact is Joe Iovino.

This video was first posted on April 2, 2019.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

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