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The Trees in the Forest

A collection of stories about the emerging Wild Churches and their leaders.


Like any natural ecosystem, the Network is composed of diverse expressions of community, open and allowing for the fresh wind of change to billow through the domestication of our shared Christian faith. Some churches are affiliated with a denomination and may be more liturgical and ordered, others are independent and may be more contemplative or focused on climate activism. Most include a time of solo wandering in nature and sharing their experiences as a group. Some are led by vocational pastors, others by people with no church experience who have felt called to start a Wild Church.  

This is a movement that cannot be defined by creeds and rules and institutions.  It is best described through stories.  We will add new stories every month.  If you become a member, you can also download the resources created by these innovative, dedicated, beautiful leaders.   







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  • July 30, 2021 6:14 PM | Mark McReynolds (Administrator)

    Rev. Sarah Anders, Co-Founder and Spiritual Leader. Gathering twice a month in sacred, natural woodlands around the Metro DC area, we seek to live into deeper, transformative relationship with Earth, Great Mystery and each other. We are a diverse, inclusive and inter-spiritual community. Our gatherings include ancient and contemporary spiritual practices with music (including chants), drumming, silent wandering and movement. Our practices enhance and grow our commitment to Earth and Her Beings, informing the work we each do individually and also collectively in the outer world.

    Contact Sarah     

    Wild Earth Spiritual Community Facebook page

    Wild Earth Spiritual Community website


    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH ASSOCIATED WITH A DENOMINATION?  We are inter-spiritual, resourcing from multiple traditions.  Sarah is ordained in the United Church of Christ.

    WHAT LED YOU TO START A WILD CHURCH?  Conversation around our Wild Church (then called “Church of the Wild, DC/MD/VA”)  was born when two former seminarians, Sarah Anders and Beth Norcross, paid attention to the yearning we both felt for more direct connection with the Divine, with nature and with each other as we face extraordinary planetary uncertainty. We noticed that many others felt similarly. Ultimately, 50 people gathered in our homes to explore the possibility of a radical, new, nature-based spiritual community. 

    WHERE DO YOU USUALLY GATHER?   We usually gather in different public places every gathering. We meet on several rocky and wooded overlooks of the Potomac River where paw paws fall from the trees in early fall and sycamores line the riverbank. We see blue herons, ghost pipes, red-shouldered hawks, deer and eastern ratsnake.  We also meet at a retreat center on land that has been soaked in silence for almost 60 years. There we  gather in meadows and woodlands, next to ponds and streams amongst sweetgrass, sage, oak, black walnut, red fox and the eastern box turtle.

    WHAT IS YOUR CLIMATE LIKE?   Our four seasons are marked with blossoms galore in spring, distinctly humid summers, brilliant fall colors and a varying amount of snow in winter. We meet in any weather as long as it is safe. We have a tarp for heavier rain and will sometimes utilize it in the heat.  We’re fortunate to have a fire mid-winter but even with that, we incorporate additional movement into our gathering and shorten our time together if it is unusually cold. 

    WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE displaced by settlers in your bio-region?  The First Families of the land are known as the Piscataway, “the people who live near the river with the bend in it,” now known as the Potomac River. The Piscataway were manipulated for decades before being forced off of their land by Maryland colonists in the late 1600s. All their claims to land were nullified in the 18th century.  At the beginning of every gathering, we offer gratitude for their responsible custody of the land.  We also honor ancestors of neighboring land, the Anacostans, who lived around the Anacostia river.


    HOW DO YOU INCLUDE THE LAND, CREATURES, ELEMENTS OF YOUR PLACE IN YOUR PRACTICES OR SERVICE?  We begin with a standing greeting to the Universe, moving from the planets and galaxies to the skies and mountains, the trees and winged ones, the shrubs and four-legged ones, the wiggly ones above and below the ground, and the soil itself. We’ll often invite participants to speak out loud a specific gratitude, “Thank you red-tailed hawk!” A spiritual reflection on the theme of the month is offered, and also a “Note from Nature” that reflects upon what is happening in the natural world around us. Our guided meditation before our silent, solo walks serves to open our senses and quiet our minds. It often includes a prompt or suggestion for the walk. We share reflections on our walks when we return to the circle, sometimes with five words, and sometimes with more.

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH INVOLVED IN CLIMATE ADVOCACY WORK AND/OR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION? How do you embody that? Our fervent hope is that opening to and honoring the natural world at our gatherings encourages, enhances and supports our individual climate advocacy work. With many of us already engaged in a variety of climate advocacy and ecological restoration organizations, our availability as a group is limited.  We do, however, often engage in conversation about our actions and come together as a group for direct action at least once a year.

    The root causes of the environmental catastrophe are complex and many, including economic and political factors. The causes that we seek to address directly include a disconnection from relationship with the Earth and the Divine presence therein, a lack of gratitude for the Earth’s blessings, and an unwillingness to acknowledge the impacts of our lifestyles. Our work is to build a spiritual community of deep belonging within our sacred eco-system - one that challenges us to reject dominant cultural norms by living simply and sustainably.  

    FROM THE "CHRIST TRADITION" IS ONE WAY WE HAVE DESCRIBED THE COMMONALITIES OF WILD CHURCHES IN THE NETWORK. HOW DOES (OR DOESN'T) THIS DESCRIBE YOUR COMMUNITY?  We are people who come from different traditions or no tradition at all. Some of us have left our tradition in search of an experiential, expansive, and nature based understanding of Great Mystery. One person may come from a particular sense of “the Christ tradition” while another may not. The Spiritual Leader, Sarah Anders, is in an interfaith marriage and has raised her children in an interfaith community.

     

    HOW OFTEN DO YOU GATHER? Currently we gather twice a month.

    Sarah'S LITURGIES AND Resources

    Wild Church members can download and adapt any of Sarah's resources. Please attribute resources to the author and the Wild Earth Spiritual Community.

    Church of the Wild Poem

    We Are One Song and Lyrics

    BECOME A MEMBER 


  • July 07, 2021 6:34 PM | Mark McReynolds (Administrator)

    Heather Wolfe, Creation Care Liaison. We are a vibrant multi-generational community in worship of God and discipleship in the way of Jesus Christ. We are fortunate to live amidst the beauty of the Green Mountain State; we cherish the land that our Creator has given us, and we hope to preserve this for future generations. Underlying this commitment is a willingness to keep asking the question: “How can we live simply that others may simply live?” This, to us, is implicit in faithfully loving our neighbors, and, ultimately, our Creator.

    Our worship service is friendly, casual and family-oriented. The monthly Wild Church gatherings are hour long services, at the heart of which is a 20 minute solo wandering and wondering time (during which young children have a special kids time) followed by coming back together to share reflections with each other. We welcome others to join us in worshiping in creation, with creation, as creation.

    Contact Heather     


    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH ASSOCIATED WITH A DENOMINATION? Yes - Mennonite, however Taftsville Chapel has been described as an “eclectic” community of faith. Many of us do not come from Anabaptist backgrounds; others of us are founding members of our church who came to the Upper Valley from Pennsylvania over 50 years ago, doing 1-W alternative service as conscientious objectors to the military draft and serving at the nearby Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

    WHAT LED YOU TO START A WILD CHURCH?  The pandemic has provided us the gift of thinking outside the box that is our church building. While Zoom gatherings have hosted our regular weekly worship, we craved coming together as community in-person and so at Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship, we decided to ‘go wild’ and start supplemental Wild Church services once or twice a month on Sunday afternoons. We first learned about the Wild Church Network (WCN), which was co-founded by a Mennonite pastor, Wendy Janzen of Ontario, from a link in a Mennonite Creation Care Network (MCCN) newsletter. This model of doing church resonated with us in our commitment to creation care as a congregation while also fulfilling the desire we had of resuming in-person worship safely. Jesus did much of his teaching and preaching outside. He is our encouragement to be radical, to get back to our outside roots. We come to Wild Church to re-connect spiritually with God, with each other, and with the land as beloved community.

    WHERE DO YOU USUALLY GATHER?   In a meadow on a 20-acre private Vermont homestead with permaculture gardens, orchards, vineyard, free-ranging chickens, trout pond, and forest trails.

    WHAT IS YOUR CLIMATE LIKE?  We have yet to meet in winter months as our state closed in-person gatherings the end of November 2020. We met Jun-Nov and resumed May 2021. We hope to meet monthly all year, in all seasons and all weather (except thunderstorms).

    WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE displaced by settlers in your bio-region? The Western Abenaki, specifically the Sokoki band, stewarded the land where we now meet. The English settlement of New England and frequent wars forced many Abenaki to retreat to Quebec in the mid-1600s. During our services we refer to others besides ourselves who identify this land as home .


    HOW DO YOU INCLUDE THE LAND, CREATURES, ELEMENTS OF YOUR PLACE IN YOUR PRACTICES OR SERVICE?  These elements of land, creatures, place are interwoven in all parts of our service- often as prompts for reflection during wandering, an object lesson for the children's time, or incorporated into an offering time where we give back to the land and creation.

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH INVOLVED IN CLIMATE ADVOCACY WORK AND/OR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION? How do you embody that?  We are active in both arenas of climate advocacy and ecological restoration. Some things we have done recently include: We installed solar panels and donate surplus clean energy to local non-profits. We engaged with a Lenten Fast for the Earth in 2021 and hosted supporting sustainability skills workshops such as plant-free diet, food waste reduction, homemade green cleaners, garden tool maintenance. We participated in a Friday film series around ecological restoration, watching and discussing films such as The Pollinators and Kiss the Ground. We planted permaculture gardens of native species and edibles using no-dig, organic methods that mimic forest gardening. We are active with Interfaith Power and Light, Mennonite Creation Care Network, and the Season of Creation Care .

    FROM THE "CHRIST TRADITION" IS ONE WAY WE HAVE DESCRIBED THE COMMONALITIES OF WILD CHURCHES IN THE NETWORK. HOW DOES (OR DOESN'T) THIS DESCRIBE YOUR COMMUNITY?  We join together as a vibrant multi-generational community in worship of God and discipleship in the way of Jesus Christ.

    HOW OFTEN DO YOU GATHER? Currently we gather monthly .


    Heather'S LITURGIES AND Resources

    Wild Church members can download and adapt any of Heather's resources. Please attribute borrowed resources to Heather.

    Media: Mosaic Article: Church Gone Wild by Heather Wolfe


    BECOME A MEMBER 


  • July 01, 2021 4:06 PM | Mark McReynolds (Administrator)


    Eric Anglada, Lay Leader & Catholic Worker FarmerWe gather at Mound Center, a retreat site, on Ho-Chunk/Meskwaki land, amid woods, oak savanna and prairie restoration, organic vegetable gardens, a labyrinth and a cemetery. We gather at the intersections of environmental stewardship, contemplative ritual, and a spiritual ecology. We are in Sinsinawa, WI - US.


    Contact Eric

    Natura Divina Website


    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH ASSOCIATED WITH A DENOMINATION? Roman Catholic - all are welcome.

    WHAT IS YOUR CLIMATE LIKE?  Our climate is that of the Upper Midwest in the U.S. We have protection from the elements under a pavilion, if need be. Our Winter Solstice celebration takes place mostly indoors. 

    WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE displaced by settlers in your bio-region? We are on Ho-Chunk, Meskwaki, Sauk, Potawatomi, Ioway homeland. We always begin with a land acknowledgment. 

    HOW DO YOU INCLUDE THE LAND, CREATURES, ELEMENTS OF YOUR PLACE IN YOUR PRACTICES OR SERVICE?  We offer 20-40 minutes of contemplative time in the woods or fields. Fire is essential. We offer gratitude for the signs of life connected to each season. 

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH INVOLVED IN CLIMATE ADVOCACY WORK AND/OR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION? How do you embody that?  We emphasize that all of our advocacy work stems from a sense of kinship with all of Creation. A couple of our members have engaged in high-risk civil disobedience around ecological issues. 

    HOW OFTEN DO YOU GATHER? We gather eight times a year around solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarters. 


    Eric'S LITURGIES AND Resources

    Wild Church members can download and adapt any of Eric's resources. Please attribute borrowed resources to Eric Anglada and the Natura Divina - Sinsinawa Mound Center.

    All Hallows Eve Service 

    Litany to Autumn - Life Within Life

    Contemplative Practice 

    Closing Prayer

    Other Suggested Resources:

    Christopher Hill, Holidays and Holy Nights. Steven Chase, Nature as Spiritual Practice. Joyce Rupp, Circle of Life. Ronald Hutton, Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain.


    BECOME A MEMBER 

  • June 23, 2021 2:25 PM | Valerie Serrels (Administrator)


    Rev. Candice Combs, Pastor. We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). We worship outdoors, year round. We care for the beautiful piece of the Texas Hill Country with which we have been entrusted, and we create space on the land for others to enjoy nature and sanctuary. We value and intentionally include children. We work together in our community, getting to know and serving our neighbors. We do Bible study and prayer groups out in the community, too.

    Contact Candice     

    New Life Dripping Springs Website

    New Life Dripping Springs Facebook page

    New Life Dripping Springs Instagram


    Oak Tree Sanctuary: Our Favorite Place to Worship

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH ASSOCIATED WITH A DENOMINATION? Yes – We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

    WHAT LED YOU TO START A WILD CHURCH?  We were led to the land to offer a church community to people who had not found one in a traditional setting - but who find God in nature. We believe you can find God in nature and be part of a faith community. We are part of reconnecting the Christian faith to love of the earth.

    WHERE DO YOU USUALLY GATHER?   New Life Lutheran Church is located at 1121 Buffalo Canyon Drive, Dripping Springs TX 78620. You'll find us on the north end of Dripping Springs - off of Ranch Road 12, across from Dripping Springs Elementary School. We are adjacent to Dripping Springs Ranch Park and the Event Center, and Harrison Hills subdivision. Click here for directions.

    We meet on 12 acres of Texas Hill Country land, which is our church. It is mostly populated by ashe juniper and live oak trees and many native prairie grasses. Animals who worship with us are white-tailed deer, jack rabbits, cardinals, monarch butterflies, bluebirds, wrens, purple martins, roly-polies, and many more. The land is partly juniper scrub land, partly prairie, partly oak savannah.


    WHAT IS YOUR CLIMATE LIKE?  We have mild winters, but it can still get into the 20s! In cold months, we put sides on an event-style tent and have restaurant-style heaters, and it is cozy. In summer Texas is hot - but up at the oaks, there is usually a breeze, and it is still cool when we worship at 9:00 AM. Spring and Fall are glorious.

    WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE displaced by settlers in your bio-region? This is the ancestral homeland of the Tonkawa people. The U.S. gave land titles to European-Americans from the eastern states. We often include a land acknowledgment in our services.

    HOW DO YOU INCLUDE THE LAND, CREATURES, ELEMENTS OF YOUR PLACE IN YOUR PRACTICES OR SERVICE?  We regularly say that we worship on and *with* the nature - with the land, with other creatures, and with the weather. This is included in our liturgy and prayers.


    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH INVOLVED IN CLIMATE ADVOCACY WORK AND/OR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION? How do you embody that?  We are committed to re-wilding this piece of former ranch land: we are learning the native plants and animals, taking out invasive species and reducing aggressive ones as we are able, and planting for biodiversity.

    FROM THE "CHRIST TRADITION" IS ONE WAY WE HAVE DESCRIBED THE COMMONALITIES OF WILD CHURCHES IN THE NETWORK. HOW DOES (OR DOESN'T) THIS DESCRIBE YOUR COMMUNITY?  We are an explicitly Christian and Lutheran Christian expression of wild church. We are part of reclaiming the ancient connection of Christianity with nature - from Jesus to the early church, to the mystics.

    HOW OFTEN DO YOU GATHER? Currently we gather weekly; we have had online services due to the pandemic.

    LITURGIES AND Resources

    Wild Church members can download and adapt any of these resources. Please attribute borrowed resources to the author/composer and New Life Dripping Springs.

    Autumn Equinox - Natura Divina

    Garden Blessing

    Jazz Worship for the Season of Creation

    St. Francis Liturgy

    RESOURCES: A few of our favorite reference resources: books, websites, videos, etc. 

    Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Augsburg Fortress Press, Minneapolis,

    2006 Earth Prayers: 365 Prayers, Poems and Invocations from Around the World, ed. Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, Harper Collins, New York, 1991

    Creative Ideas for Wild Church: Taking All-Age Worship and Learning Outdoors, Mary Jackson and Juno Hollyhock, Canterbury Press, Norwich, 2016

    The Healer’s Tree: A Bible-Based Resource on Ecology, Peace & Justice, Annie Heppenstall, Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow, 2011

    New Book of Festivals and Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints, Philip H. Pfatteicher, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2008

    Beyond the Steeple" video (ELCA)

    The Face of the Church is Changing" article, Living Lutheran

    Map of Worship Area, Garden, Trails, etc.

  • November 17, 2020 1:23 PM | Valerie Serrels (Administrator)


    Rev. Dr. Mark McReynolds, Mennonite Church EcoPastor. Our wild church is in the Mt Baldy area of the San Gabriel Mountains and is part of SoCal A Rocha. It is in San Antonio Canyon, in the creek bed, that we meet each other, our Creator and a place full of life and lessons. Typically, we begin with a Welcome and move on to Singing and Reading from the Christian tradition. After that we disperse for individual silent Wandering and Wondering in which we ponder what the Book of Nature (God’s creation) can teach us about God, ourselves, others and our surroundings. We then Share observations and reflections, Pray, take Communion and end with a Blessing.

    Contact Mark     

    SoCal A Rocha Facebook page

    SoCal A Rocha website

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH ASSOCIATED WITH A DENOMINATION? No – we are associated with the Christian non-profit conservation organization called A Rocha.

    WHAT LED YOU TO START A WILD CHURCH?  I thoroughly enjoyed the spiritual discipline I experienced in seminary and the natural history from my bachelor’s and PhD. So, I now combine knowledge of God’s creation, aka the Book of Nature (general revelation), with the Book of Scripture (specific revelation). I was also trained as an Opening the Book of Nature facilitator a few years back. 

    WHERE DO YOU USUALLY GATHER?   We usually gather in San Antonio Creek in the Mt Baldy area within the Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel Mountains. 

    WHAT IS YOUR CLIMATE LIKE?  Our climate is Mediterranean – so we have rainfall only in the late Fall and Winter, followed by a quite dry period. We are also in a semi-desert area – so we most often have sunny weather even in the Winter. Summers can be hot, but streamside trees and the cool flowing water keep us comfortable.

    WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE displaced by settlers in your bio-region? The Kizh, also known as Tongva, people lived in San Antonio Canyon and the valley below it. Mission San Gabriel’s Spanish missionaries and disease were likely the cause of the their population’s crash and loss of the use of the land. The San Gabriel Mountains were unclaimed federal land in the 1900’s eventually becoming Angeles National Forest with several Wilderness areas and a new National Monument. 


    HOW DO YOU INCLUDE THE LAND, CREATURES, ELEMENTS OF YOUR PLACE IN YOUR PRACTICES OR SERVICE?  The Psalms say all creation praises God, so if we take the time to look we expect God’s creation – the swirling water, green canopy, bird calls, cool breeze, tumbled boulders – to help us better understand the place we are at, the people with us, ourselves and our God who has made “all things”. 

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH INVOLVED IN CLIMATE ADVOCACY WORK AND/OR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION? How do you embody that?  We pick up trash as we walk from our worship site – the area before our site is well used (or abused) by the general public. Through SoCal A Rocha there are opportunities to be involved in microplastic pollution studies at the beach, keep track of birds behind a dam, monitor Bluebird boxes and more. Mark has spoken at a local climate change conference, and publicly written about forest fires and climate change. Our national organization, A Rocha USA, has Climate Stewards and Love Your Place programs for individuals too.

    FROM THE "CHRIST TRADITION" IS ONE WAY WE HAVE DESCRIBED THE COMMONALITIES OF WILD CHURCHES IN THE NETWORK. HOW DOES (OR DOESN'T) THIS DESCRIBE YOUR COMMUNITY?  We see Church in Creation as a pan-denominational Christian worship service. It’s led and influenced by a Mennonite pastor who, over the years, with his family, has attended Anglican, Christian Church, Evangelical Lutheran, Mennonite, Mennonite Brethren, Presbyterian, United Methodist and non-denominational churches. His calling is to bring Church and creation together – Church in Creation is one way to do that. We work with anyone, secular or spiritual, who cares for what we see as God’s creation. Spiritual nature lovers are welcome to attend Church in Creation: no one is pressured to participate and all are free to simply observe.

    HOW OFTEN DO YOU GATHER? Currently we gather monthly – usually on a Sunday afternoon to avoid conflicts with more traditional church services.

    MARK'S LITURGIES AND Resources

    Wild Church members can download and adapt any of Mark's resources. Please attribute borrowed resources to Dr. Mark McReynolds.

    Church in Creation Order of Service

    Wildfire Sunday


    BECOME A MEMBER 

  • November 17, 2020 12:36 PM | Valerie Serrels (Administrator)


    Rev. David Stout, Rector.  St. Jamesʻ Parish on Hawaiʻi Island (affectionally known as the "Big Island"), an Episcopal church, spans from the warm, sandy beaches of the South Kohala Coast to the upcountry, Paniolo ranching town of Waimea, across the Hamakua Coast to lush, tropical Paʻauilo. Join us for our “Service on the Sand” on the beach at Kawaihae Harbor in front of the Kawaihae Canoe Club (next to the boat ramp). Bring a beach chair or towel and umbrella for rain or sun. The Beach Mass (Eucharist) is offered each weekend on Saturdays at 5 PM and Sunday mornings at 8 AM. Due to Covid-19, social distancing and masks are required. Keiki will need to remain with their parents.

    NOTE: In the event of inclement weather and there is a question of whether or not the services will be cancelled, a message will be placed on the parish answering machine (808-885-4923) and on the front page of our parish website by 4 PM on Saturday or 7 AM on Sunday.


    Contact David     

    St James Hawai'i Facebook page

    Visit St. James Hawai'i website

    WHAT LED YOU TO START A WILD CHURCH?  It is a beautiful blessing to worship is Godʻs outdoor Cathedral!

    WHERE DO YOU USUALLY GATHER?   We meet under the Kiawe and Palm trees on the beach at the Kawaihae Canoe Club.

    WHAT IS YOUR CLIMATE LIKE?  Kawaihae is usually around 80 degrees. The rainfall in this area of the island is about 5" a year, so one can usually count on it being dry. However, there are times we will cancel because of inclement weather, especially if there is a tropical storm. Always check the parish website to confirm. If the service is cancelled, one of our clergy will be present with the reserve sacrament and a good word for anyone who shows up that did not hear the worship service is cancelled.

    WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE displaced by settlers in your bio-region?  Our service seeks to honor our Hawaiian host culture by including the sounding of the Pū (the blowing of the conch shell), Hawaiian chant, songs (nā mele) and liturgical responses in Hawaiian.


    HOW DO YOU INCLUDE THE LAND, CREATURES, ELEMENTS OF YOUR PLACE IN YOUR PRACTICES OR SERVICE? We sound the Pū (the blowing of the conch shell) to call us together. The Eucharistic Prayer is written specifically to honor our environment. We seek to honor the ʻaina (the land) by leaving it better than we found it.

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH INVOLVED IN CLIMATE ADVOCACY WORK AND/OR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION? How do you embody that?  We strive to honor that we are blessed to live here and welcome those who visit. We hold that the mana (Godʻs spirit) is at work in and through all things. We hold to a strong theology of stewardship of our ʻaina (land) and kai (ocean) is a deep part of our local, Hawaiian culture.


  • November 05, 2020 1:20 PM | Valerie Serrels (Administrator)


    Lanni Lantto, Lay Leader.  Wild Church of the Upper Peninsula is rising from an ecumenical choir of people reconnecting with our ancient black rocks, our expansive watersheds, our paper birch trees, our snowshoe hares and wild wilderness.  Gathering together we bear witness to the holiness around us & place ourselves as God's stewards within a living breathing eco-system of black rocks and Great Lakes.  We challenge the emptiness of our culture of consumption and experience the fullness of living in right relationship with the Earth and our Creator.  


    Contact Lanni       

    Find UP Wild Church on Facebook

    Find UP Wild Church on Instagram

    Visit UP Wild Church website

    WHAT LED YOU TO START A WILD CHURCH?  The world calls us into careers and God calls us into vocations. We are called to care for creation and for each other because it is all connected. "The leaves have not suddenly changed their colors at this moment, nor has the sky been transformed. All that beauty was already there. What changed? I did. This splendor was there, but I did not notice it. I became a beholder and I see what is there to be seen" (M. Himes). When I step out of myself (ego) and into creation, we begin to notice the love which supports all that exists. God is the Mystery which has created all things; for God is love and love is a relationship of which, we are called into daily. We have a supportive network of people in our area who called forth this new type of ministry and I just help curate it. There is nothing more important to me to be giving my time too especially at this pivotal time.

    WHERE DO YOU USUALLY GATHER?   We usually meet with Lake Superior, paper birch trees, snow hares in winter and chipmunks and Canadian geese in the summer, in public parks or hiking trails and sometimes where you can see the scars of the mines.

    WHAT IS YOUR CLIMATE LIKE?  Snow 75% of the year! We meet indoors in a small chapel for Evening Centering Prayer but during COVID, we meet online.

    WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE displaced by settlers in your bio-region?  We acknowledge in every service that this is the unceded ancestral land of the Anishinabe people.


    HOW DO YOU INCLUDE THE LAND, CREATURES, ELEMENTS OF YOUR PLACE IN YOUR PRACTICES OR SERVICE?  The often hidden congregation of land and creatures is always present either in physical space or within the prayers, themes the service. We pray together as a community but we also reflect on how our actions affect everything around us.

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH INVOLVED IN CLIMATE ADVOCACY WORK AND/OR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION? How do you embody that?  We are usually the only voice of faith at climate advocacy events as a part of our mission is to "put our faith at the forefront of societal and climate changes". We know that the Christian tradition is rich with wisdom on our responsibility to care about these issues. We also hope to be a place of respite for those who have left traditional congregations or faith traditions that never fully connected these dots, especially the youth.

    FROM THE "CHRIST TRADITION" IS ONE WAY WE HAVE DESCRIBED THE COMMONALITIES OF WILD CHURCHES IN THE NETWORK. HOW DOES (OR DOESN'T) THIS DESCRIBE YOUR COMMUNITY?  We are rooted in Christ and the teachings- we do not 'worship nature' we worship in nature a God who created ALL things. We are a cross-denominational entity that brings forth a lot of ancient Christian wisdom especially from the desert mother/fathers, the lives of the Saints, and modeling after Christ.

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH ASSOCIATED WITH A DENOMINATION?  Affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Episcopal church. Open to all. 


    LANNI'S LITURGIES AND Resources

    Wild Church members can download and adapt any of Lanni's beautiful and poignant resources. Please attribute borrowed resources to Lanni Lantto.

     Reflection: A Prayer for the Amazon

    Reflection: An Invitation From the Birds

    Nature Prayer Service: Ask the Animals

    Centering Prayer


    BECOME A MEMBER 


  • November 05, 2020 11:50 AM | Valerie Serrels (Administrator)


    Rev. JAMES RAVENSCROFT, United Church of Canada.  We're a group of people connecting with divine mystery outside in nature rather than in a building. We come together to learn, meditate, pray in relationship with the trees, along the river, at the shore, seeking the gift of spiritual connection outside. We pay homage to the Celtic year, celebrating the equinoxes, solstices and cross quarters. Sometimes we go on a meditation walk and other times we honour the spirit of a season through formal ritual.


    Contact James       

    Three Rivers Facebook Page

    WHAT LED YOU TO START A WILD CHURCH?  I have felt a connection to Spirit in nature for as long as I can remember. It wasn't a surprise then when I ended up spending much of my time at the Greenbelt Festival in the UK several years ago in "The Grove", participating in worship and teaching workshops led by various British "Forest Churches". I returned to Canada knowing I needed to start something similar. I knew that I was not alone in finding divine connection in nature. I also knew I was not alone in my desire to protect the environment, a critical need right now as climate change continues apace. For me, facilitating a Forest Church group combines both of these passions together, making space for those working to protect the Earth to also be spiritually nurtured through her mediation.

    WHERE DO YOU USUALLY GATHER?  Three Rivers Forest Church meets within Greater Toronto and so is quite urban. We are lucky to have access to lots of green space, public parks and conservation areas. Richmond Hill is in the Oak Ridges Moraine, a high point in the region from which flows several rivers that flow into the Great Lakes. It is hilly with areas of mixed forest. This is the northernmost tip of the Carolinian Forest and so home to many unique species. Unfortunately it is very much under threat becasue of urban sprawl. There are also several kettle lakes nearby. As an urban area much of the animal life we encounter is adapted to living near humans, namely squirrels, rabbits, sparrows, monarch butterflies, bumblebees, even the occasional opossum.

    WHAT IS YOUR CLIMATE LIKE?  The climate of Central Ontario is fairly temperate with four distinct seasons. The summers can be hot and the winters quite cold. Because of the Great Lakes it is also quite humid, making the summers muggy and the winters damp. Winter is our most "difficult" season with occasional snowstorms. We have never needed to cancel. No matter the month we spend at least part of our celebration outside, even if it just for 15 minutes.

    WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE displaced by settlers in your bio-region?  The history of this area is complicated. Not far from the centre of Richmond Hill was a Wendat village. It was abandoned as members of Haudenosaunee settled in the area. They in turn moved south as Anishnabeg expanded their territory. These moves were further impacted by the arrival of French explorers and then British settlers. Most recently the area is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas. The land that is now Toronto and the areas north was "purchased" but the legal obligations of the treaty not honoured. We regularly acknowledge this complicated and tragic history as we come together.


    HOW DO YOU INCLUDE THE LAND, CREATURES, ELEMENTS OF YOUR PLACE IN YOUR PRACTICES OR SERVICE?  We often begin our gathering with a prayer that acknowledges the elements. People are invited to centre themselves by paying attention to the wind, the sun, the air, the sounds around them, the solid footing of the Earth. Several times a year the main focus of the service is a meditation walk where participants take time being attentive to the teachings that the more-than-human have to offer us. In addition, we seek to make ecological connections through Judeo-Christian scripture, texts from other traditions, and teachings from the Celtic and Wiccan traditions.

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH INVOLVED IN CLIMATE ADVOCACY WORK AND/OR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION? How do you embody that?  As a group sponsored by the local United Church congregation, most of the Climate Advocacy Work of Three Rivers Forest Church is done in partnership with local churches and community based organizations. Participants in Three Rivers Forest Church are also members of these churches and groups. At this point we have focused on offering the spiritual grounding for the activism people are doing.

    FROM THE "CHRIST TRADITION" IS ONE WAY WE HAVE DESCRIBED THE COMMONALITIES OF WILD CHURCHES IN THE NETWORK. HOW DOES (OR DOESN'T) THIS DESCRIBE YOUR COMMUNITY?  We strive to approach the name "Christ" broadly, recognizing the spiritual reality as expressed powerfully in the life of Jesus but not exclusively. Christ for us is more broadly a recognition of the incarnational nature of our experience, where God, divine mystery is present in and through all things, humans included. We regularly make use of Judeo-Christian scriptures and themes but also draw on the teachings of other traditions. We consider ourselves to be interspiritual, especially honouring the Wiccan tradition alongside the Christian for many of our gatherings.

    HOW OFTEN DO YOU GATHER? We gather monthly

    HOW MANY USUALLY GATHER WITH YOU?  Between 6-12, mostly people who identify as Christian. We often have visitors as well.

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH ASSOCIATED WITH A DENOMINATION?  Yes, the United Church of Canada.


    JAMES' LITURGIES AND Resources

    Wild Church members can download and adapt any of James' beautiful and poignant resources. Please attribute borrowed resources to James Ravenscroft.

    Conscious Senses Meditation 

    All Hallows Tide: A Time to Say Good-Bye

    Candlemas Meditation Walk and Mandala Making

    Winter Solstice


    BECOME A MEMBER 

  • June 12, 2020 2:16 PM | Valerie Serrels (Administrator)


    Rev. Stephanie Price, United Methodist Church.  The Land is an outdoor faith community dedicated to connecting with and caring for creation. Our mission is to draw people together from all walks of life to cultivate spiritual community through faith, farming, and food. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive spiritual community that affirms all people as beloved children of God welcome to full participation at The Land!


    Contact Stephanie      

    The Land UMC Website

    The Land Facebook Page

    The Land Instagram Page

    WHERE DO YOU USUALLY GATHER?  We meet on our own prairie land under a canopy structure with walls that can pull down in the winter. With propane heaters, even in the winter, it can remain a comfortable place to gather.

    WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE displaced by settlers in your bio-region?  This is something I have really failed to focus on. I think it scares me, to be honest, and I am not sure what to do with the whole reality. This is not due to a lack of exposure since both my seminary education and my denomination have done a lot of education and reconciliation work with indigenous communities. I think I struggle to find an entry point that feels authentic for me.

    HOW OFTEN DO YOU GATHER?  We gather weekly.

    HOW MANY USUALLY GATHER WITH YOU?  Usually between 12 and 25. A majority are Christian.

    CLIMATE/ECOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES:   We offer spiritual ecology education, as well as classes to the community on xeriscaping, composting and gardening. Our activities include tree planting and other restoration actions, community gardens and other food-related actions, and community based sustainability actions. We are committed to conserving our prairie grasslands in the midst of development. Our sustainability calendar helps us to track our carbon footprints and water usage.

    DO MANY KIDS ATTEND? WHAT DOES THEIR PARTICIPATION LOOK LIKE? Yes, we have a Prairie School during our service and they also serve communion and run the show, so to speak.

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH ASSOCIATED WITH A DENOMINATION?  Yes, United Methodist Church

    HOW DO YOU INCLUDE THE LAND, CREATURES, ELEMENTS OF YOUR PLACE IN YOUR PRACTICES OR SERVICE? We have a practice of pausing for/with creation when worshipping. We pass a composting bucket for our offering.


    STEPHANIE'S LITURGIES AND Resources

    Wild Church members can download and adapt any of Stephanie's beautiful and poignant resources including:   

    Holy Saturday 


    BECOME A MEMBER

  • May 20, 2020 11:59 AM | Victoria Loorz (Administrator)


    Rev. LEANN BLACKERT, UCC Minister.  Wild Church is a sacred nature-based experience to awaken deep love for self, earth and all living beings for the survival and healing of the planet. We are a new expression of “church” being offered in British Columbia. The Christian story starts in a garden with humanity in conversation with the Holy One. Somewhere far down that luxurious path through the woods, structures began to be built and “church” became walled in. Wild Church is our attempt to return to the natural world to find connection with God, Source, Creator, whatever you name that which is bigger than we are. We will meet out in “the wild” to explore and experience the spiritual and the sacred.


    Contact LeAnn      

    Wild Church B.C. Website

    Wild Church B.C. Facebook Page

    Wild Church Okanagan Facebook Page

    Wild Church B.C. Instagram

    Wild Church Okanagan Instagram

    WHERE DO YOU USUALLY GATHER?  The interior of British Columbia is a dry, lake-filled, mountainous area. Kamloops is semi-desert with rolling hills covered in sagebrush, small cactus and Ponderosa pines. It's not uncommon to come across a bear or coyote while wandering the trails of our local parks. Crows, ravens and magpies dominate the conversation, though the meadowlarks and red-winged blackbirds get their time, too. The locations for our Okanagan gatherings are centered in and around Kelowna, which is located right on Okanagan Lake. Not as arid as Kamloops, this area offers many meeting places along the lake or nearby Mission Creek or up high on the ridge lines. Painted turtles, ospreys and eagles have skirted our groups checking us out. And geese! Everywhere there are geese!

    WHAT IS YOUR CLIMATE LIKE?  Our climate offers four seasons although spring can be a bit short. Temperatures can range from -35C to +35C (-31F to 95F). Sometimes warmer in the summer. We do meet outside year round, choosing locations to help regulate temps. In the winter we bundle up in our good parkas and snow boots and typically participants choose walking meditation over sitting on the land! In the winter we offer sheepskins and blankets to help keep everyone warm.

    WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE displaced by settlers in your bio-region?  We open every gathering with an acknowledgement that the lands on which we gather are the traditional unceded lands of the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc and Syilx peoples. This land was taken from the peoples around 1811. At that time the colonial government divided the larger nation into smaller bands with specific portions of lands distributed to each. In addition, the Syilx peoples became a trans-boundary nation separated at the 49th parallel and US/Canada border. The arrival of smallpox wiped out many of the indigenous peoples. Later children were taken from their families through manipulation and force and sent to residential schools with the intention of stripping them of their culture. The name of our community, Kamloops, comes from the indigenous word "tk-emlups" which means "where the rivers meet." The North and South Thompson Rivers meet in Kamloops and flow on to Kamloops Lake.


    HOW OFTEN DO YOU GATHER?  We gather twice a month plus a monthly pilgrimage where we go on longer hikes together.

    HOW MANY USUALLY GATHER WITH YOU?  Usually between 12 and 25, and many of them are spiritual but not religious.

    CLIMATE/ECOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES:  We participate in climate or spiritual ecology, tree planting and other restoration actions, and community based sustainability actions. We are working toward more climate advocacy work. Our initial goal is to create a new ministry in our communities with a goal of helping others learn to love and care for our local lands. We continue to introduce ideas and actions to foster more commitment to this work.

    IS YOUR WILD CHURCH ASSOCIATED WITH A DENOMINATION?  We are under the umbrella of the United Church of Canada as a supported church plant. 


    Leann'S LITURGIES AND Resources

    Wild Church members can download and adapt any of LeAnn's beautiful and poignant resources including:   

    International Women's Day/Celebration of the Divine Feminine

    BECOME A MEMBER 

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