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.
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
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.