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. 

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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.

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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.    

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cHURCH OF THE WILD

Washington, DC

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. 

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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.     

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sycamore commons

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. 

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WAYMARKERS

Seattle, Washington

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 through guest lecturing and teaching. 

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new church: yet to be named

Wilmington, Delaware

C. KAREN COVEY MOORE, Spiritual Director and retired Methodist elder.  I hope to start a contemplative worship service in the woods near me once a month. We would begin with some flute music - probably Native American Flute to begin with and then have time to just be in Nature and notice how Holy the environment is and end with Holy Communion.

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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.

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Church of Lost Walls

Denver, Colorado

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.

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Church of the Wild

Ojai, California

VICTORIA LOORZ, MDiv, Independent pastor.  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.  

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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.

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GREEN LIFE CHURCH

Independence, Missouri

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. 

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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.  

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cathedral of the trees

Maynooth, Ontario

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.

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TherE are many new churches starting up across north america, including:

Wisconsin            Maine

California            New York

New Mexico        Michigan

Oregon                Indiana

Washington          Maryland

Tennessee             Arizona

Texas                    Iowa

Ohio                     Georgia