Re-connecting people with an untamed God in our wild homes.
There is a movement happening. From isolation to connection. From detachment to immersion. From dualism to integration. Spiritual leaders from a wide range of denominations are beginning to question the wisdom and consequences of regarding "church" as a building where you gather away from the rest of the world for a couple hours on Sundays.
We are a growing network of pastors and spiritual leaders, who have made bold moves to launch new expressions of church outside to re-acquaint, re-cover, and re-member our congregations as loving participants of a larger community. In this age of mass extinctions, we feel burdened by the love of Christ to invite people into direct relationship with some of the most vulnerable victims of our destructive culture: our land, our waters, the creatures with whom we share our homes.
And, there, people remember that they belong to a larger beloved community. Along the way, we have remembered that our Christian tradition of spiritual transformation has always been rooted in the actual local wilderness.
Join the Wild Church Network if you lead or want to lead your congregation out of buildings and into deeper relationship with God through nature in your community,
North American Wild Churches
NEW LIFE LUTHERAN CHURCH
Dripping Springs, Texas
REV. CARMEN RETZLAFF, Lutheran pastor. We decided we needed to be in mission with the land, not just on it. We worship under three beautiful ancient live oaks on a hill. A livestock water trough is now our altar. Almost every day there are volunteers out tending the land, cutting invasive cedar, mowing the worship area, trimming the labyrinth, building walking trails that follow the scriptural stations of the cross, and battening down tent walls.
Burning bush forest church
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
REV. WENDY JANZEN, Mennonite pastor. We invite people to connect more deeply with God our Creator, nature, and each other. We see God's character revealed in wild places as we pay attention to our natural surroundings and worship together with all creation. Our monthly gatherings include centering prayer, thematic readings, and extended time for individuals to connect with nature and remember that we are walking on holy ground.
CHURCH OF THE WILD
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
VALERIE SERRELS, MA, lay leader. An emerging expression of community among the human and non-human inhabitants of the Shenandoah River and North River watersheds, a church without walls on the edges of wilderness and civilization. Our teachers are the Black Oak and the Eastern Cottonwood, the Cardinals and Finches, the ancient lichen and the black stone, and one another. Recognizing the sacred in all creation, we listen to the call of the Great Conversation as a pathway to transformation.
cHURCH OF THE WILD
REV SARAH ANDERS, UCC pastor. Sponsored by the Center for Spirituality in Nature, gathers monthly to honor the mutual indwelling of the Divine with the Earth and all of its beings, remembering our sacred interconnection and interdependence through multi-traditional spiritual practices, music, and solo or group wanderings. We seek to invite one another to come home to the sacred ecological ground in which we live.
WILD CHURCH west Virginia
Wheeling, West Virginia
EDDIE SLOANE, lay leader. Wild Church West Virginia is an experiment in re-wilding our faith through the celebration of monthly liturgies outside of church walls in “wild” spaces. We are an initiative of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia's West Virginia Chapter; however, we aspire to be an “inter-spiritual” community and cultivate the belief that God’s many names are holy. We nurture a deeper encounter with self and one another across religious traditions. Sins of racism, sexism, and classism can be connected to our exploitation of the earth. Breaking down the walls that separate us can restore spiritual, social, and ecological wholeness.
Powell River BC, traditional Coast Salish Territory
RON BEREZAN, Urban Farmer. Sycamore Commons is a community permaculture project that has transformed the grounds of our local Anglican Church (St. David’s and St. Paul’s) into biodiversity, beauty, food production, and social gathering spaces where all are welcome.. Within this context, we gather for outdoor ecumenical services on special days of the year (ie Solstice and Equinox) with a strong focus on Creation care, justice making and reconciliation.
MARY DEJONG, founder. The mission of Waymarkers is to expand and deepen our relationship with the Sacred found within the natural world, agreeing with cultural historian and ecotheologian Thomas Berry that "the world is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.” With Celtic spirituality and sacred ecology providing the framework, Waymarkers offers guidance and support for those who are ready to respond to the call to wander into the Sacred Wild through retreats, pilgrimage journeys, one-on-one sessions, and teachings.
C. KAREN COVEY MOORE, Spiritual Director and retired Methodist elder. You are invited to spend time drawing close to the Holy One in a quiet wooded setting in Brandywine State Park the 4th Saturday of each month. We start with some meditative music; have a reading from Scripture and perhaps a quote from others who have found being in Nature a Holy experience. Then there will be a time of quiet for you to Be Still and Know God. We will gather back together for Holy Communion..
Sinsinawa Mound Center
ERIC ANGLADA. lay leader and Catholic Worker farmer. Our ministry lays at the intersection of environmental stewardship, cultural renewal, and a contemplative ecology. Situated in the unique geological “driftless” bioregion of southwest Wisconsin close to the Mississippi River, we offer eco-spirituality retreats, seasonal ritual and celebration, agricultural workshops, and nature experiences with youth that we call “No Child Left Inside.” You can find a list of our outreach events here.
echoes wild CHURCH
VICTORIA LOORZ, MDiv, Pastor. Echoes is an experiemental church with a leadership of four pastors from four denominations, including one ordained by the Wild. :) Every month, we venture into the Cedar woods or to the shore of Salmon rivers and engage in conversation with the Holy in the stunning natural world of the Pacific Northwest. Learning to listen and remember that inter-dependent relationship with the larger-than-human beloved community is a return to connection, the true meaning of religion: “re-ligios” (ligament/connection). Intentional, loving reconnection with All that Is as a spiritual practice.
St. Petersberg, Florida
JORAN SLANE OPPELT, Pastor and Coach. A network of inter-spiritual communities interested in a religion of the future — embracing both science and spirit, history and mythology, contemplation and practice. Diverse, intergenerational bridge-builders, committed to serving our communities, deepening spiritual practice and exploring the space between. Warning: may cause thoughts of awe, wonder, curiosity, reverence, creativity, equality, religious pluralism, multiculturalism & overall metanoia.
Chattanooga, Tennessee, on traditional Cherokee land, LookoutCreek Watershed
REV. DEBRA DICKERSON, an Elder in Full Connection in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. Bamboo Encounter is an outdoor worship service for those interested in getting into creation for worship. The service meets on the 4th Saturday of each month at Reflection Riding (400 Garden Road, Chattanooga, TN 37419) at 11:30 a.m. inside the Bamboo Forest Patch. The approximate 45 minute service is contemplative in nature, with time for reading (Scripture, poetry) silence, reflection, prayer, and Holy Communion.
CHurch of the woods
Canterbury, New Hampshire
REV. STEPHEN BLACKMER, Episcopal priest. Church of the Woods is a place where the earth itself, rather than a building, is the bearer of sacredness; a place where people gather for contemplative practice in communion with each other and nature; a place where the church exists to serve a mission rather than the other way around; a place where people gather to learn, explore, and act to transform themselves and renew the earth.
Church of Lost Walls
REV. MATT SYRDAL, Presbyterian pastor. We are not normal church happening outside, our dream is to participate in and partner with creation through learning, worship, meditation and prayer. We seek to cultivate nature connection and personal wholeness to inspire and guide one another into a culturally creative vision of life within our expanding circles of community, culture, the wild earth, and the great mystery we call God.
Church of the Wild
JULIE TUMMAMAIT-STENSLIE, Chumash Elder. Church of the Wild is a gathering for those who are allured by the call into the Great Conversation between all things as a pathway to personal wholeness and societal transformation. We meet outside, on the edges of Ojai’s wilderness, because nature reflects not only glimpses of God, but mirrors an inner reality as well. This call to the edges is a call to wildness, to our True Selves, that lies beyond our domesticated, neat, safe, and secure lives.
Salal + cedar
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
REV LAUREL DYKSTRA, Anglican priest. Rooted in place, tradition and history, Salal + Cedar strives to be accessible to all bodies. We meet regularly for worship outdoors, education, and action. We are part of a growing movement across Turtle Island of communities of Christians re-connecting to the creation-values and land covenants at the core of our tradition; we practice contemplative ecology and spiritually-rooted action.
GREEN LIFE CHURCH
HELEN NELSON, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Pastor. Green Life Church is a newly forming progressive, inclusive, holistic community living out the gospel of Jesus Christ through health and wellness, peace and justice, and environmental sustainability. Green Life Church offers creative, multi-sensory, multi-cultural, experiential, Christian and inter-spiritual worship services. To maintain a low carbon footprint, worship and other activities are offered outdoors as weather permits and in existing indoor venues such as coffeehouses and health and wellness markets.
THREE RIVERs FOREST CHURCH
Richmond Hill, Ontario
JAMES RAVENSCROFT, United Church of Canada Minister. Three Rivers Forest Church is named after three main rivers which flow through the Greater Toronto Area and into Lake Ontario. A group of Christian and other seekers exploring the intersection of nature and spiriT, we honour the local environment as a source of holy connection and mark the rhythm of the seasons in prayer and ritual. Hosted by Richmond Hill United Church and Rising Sun New Age Store.
cathedral of the trees
REV. MARILYN ZEHR & REV. SVINDA HEINRICHS. In the Cathedral of the Trees, we attune ourselves to the Sacred through the earth and her creatures. The more than human world is part of the gathered congregation. Join us to listen deeply, explore creatively, and live gratefully. Come and be transformed by intentional connection to the ancient and sacred rhythms of the creation of which we are a part. Together we will read and study the book of Nature. The ancients say that to know nature is to know something of God.
Pittstown, New Jersey
VAS AVRAMADIS, Chaplain. Through the creation to the Creator. Rewild Church seeks to fully realize the communion of all creation and fulfill our God-given task of being the Nature’s Priest. We are a microcosm of creation and contain all of the cosmos within. The earth and all its creatures find their voice and sing their praises to God, through the children of God; this is the spirit of worship, sacrifice, and servant-hood that we seek to reawaken at Rewild Church.
The Land Umc
STEPHANIE PRICE, United Methodist Pastor. The Land is a community that exists to ask the question, "What does discipleship look like in the 21st century?" On Saturday mornings we gather in an open field cluttered with prairie dog holes, prickly cactus, and unpredictable weather patterns. Gathered under tents, settled into lawn chairs, we remember the invitation to live in a world without walls and find our structure in the vision living between us.
Wild church BC
Kamloops, British Columbia
LEANN BLACKERT, MDiv, UCC minister. A seedling offered to the community by Mount Paul United Church. 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. We invite you to join us as we gather to enliven our wild souls!
CHURCH OF THE WILD, TWO RIVERS
LEAH RAMPY, Convener/Guide. We are an emerging community, meeting in the midst of and sharing with the abundant life around us. Our intent is to deepen our connection to the Sacred by being fully available in each moment. We learn from the earth and trees, water and sky, and the living web of being that is Creation. At the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, we are drenched in beauty, quiet and connection. All are welcome!