the emergence of wild churches
The Wild Church Network is an emerging community of eco-spiritual leaders, organized to nourish the spread and growth of Wild Churches.
It began as a phenomenon of isolated pastors and spiritual leaders, taking prophetic and courageous steps in their radical vision to leave buildings to connect with the natural world to restore sacred relationship. As we began to find one another and connect, "wild church" blossomed into an organic, spirit-led and collaborative movement. We are a network of "churches" affiliated with many denominations and others who are not affiliated at all. Some don't call themselves church at all, as the word itself can trigger wounds. Others find the word church to be nourishing as it becomes something very different outside of literal and theological walls.
In 2016, we began to meet monthly via Zoom, to encourage one another, sharing ideas, celebrating and commiserating, we began to recognize through our diverse stories that we shared some radical, foundational visions, values and practices. By the end of that year, when we launched the Wild Church Network website and directory, we sensed we were part of something larger than our small communities gathering on the outside edges of our local "villages."
By 2019, when a group of us gathered in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin for the first time, we could feel the energy of our participation in a radical shift, initiated by the Spirit or Earth herself, a reformation, desperately needed in our faith traditions and in our cultures.
While diverse in expression, style, and particulars of theology,
we share a united sense of calling, purpose and rootedness
in the earth as sacred and alive
The old paradigm of "nature as other" is shifting. Wild Churches don't just "meet outside," they gather to recognize and learn to participate in the kindred interconnection of all beings, elements, and places. It is a relationship, rooted in love, that the ancients described as Logos. A relationship that our gospel stories and teachers like Matthew Fox, Tielhard de Chardin, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and so many others describe as Christ.
Whenever a radical shift in nature or human systems occur, it happens through a process that organizational consultant, Margaret Wheatley, describes as Emergence. Emergence has a life-cycle, she says, that "begins with networks, shifts to intentional communities of practice and evolves into powerful systems capable of global influence." We are in a new phase of Emergence: sharing practices of our intentional wild church communities. This membership-based website, and our new Mighty Networks platform called The Ecosystem, have been created to support that sharing.
The Network now has 501(c)(3) non-profit status under the fiscal sponsorship of Mission.Earth, guided by an advisory board, held together by two part-time paid staff members and a team of volunteers who hold down other jobs, care for their families and communities and feel passionate about this emergence. The Wild Church Network seeks partnerships, donations and grant possibilities to support its growth to be of service to this earth and all her creatures in this time of Great Change.