Worship in the woods

Author: Ms Charlie Houlder-Moat

Published on: 20 May 2021

Worshipping outdoors isn’t something new.

It might be labelled as a Fresh Expression, but it has its roots in the long tradition of Christian spirituality. Forest Church is the contemporary movement founded in 2012 and offshoots from this have been created.

Amazed that I could combine my skills in outdoor education and forest bathing with spirituality I created ‘Worship in the Woods’ with the chaplaincy team, in my day job as military chaplaincy families worker. Last year, in my final year of Reader training I was encouraged to look where my ministry might take me and Wild Church Norfolk sprouted. Ironically it was the lockdown that was the launch pad!

I have been online for nearly a year and have been trialling various things – guided meditations, reflections and natural craft to encourage people to get outdoors in their own time, in addition to bringing the outdoors in for those locked down and shielding.

Worship in the Woods has a mixture of activities, from reflecting on scriptural themes linked to creation, to going on mini-beast hunts, to wild walks followed by time to share our encounters. It’s usual to end with a fire pit, hot drinks and food!

If you are inspired to offer something in your space I want to encourage you to start where you are with what you have. There isn’t a prescribed model – all you need is a few people and some nature. There are churches offering outdoor worship that follow their messy church structure, others offer a more contemplative atmosphere and another themed around wild play. Go Wild!

I am part of the Mission Enablers team and we have created the Wild Church Hub (East Anglia) to gather local practitioners to share their gifts and passion concerning Christian spirituality, church and mission in the natural world. If you would appreciate some help to explore how you could set up a Wild Church or have any questions then please do get in touch with me – I would love to hear from you – on 07581 408847 or at jvyqpuhepuabesbyx@tznvy.pbz or Wild Church Hub East Anglia (Facebook page).


The author...

No Image Found

Ms Charlie Houlder-Moat

Licensed Lay Minister - Charlie is now licensed to The Revd Tim Yau, Mission Enabler

This article is from...

Articles in this issue...

£15,000 raised in a day

Founded in 1993, this village organisation has truly gone from strength to strength.

More

Friends in a time of need

‘Do we carry out urgent repairs to the building or do we pay our parish share in full?’

More

Powerful friends

When the local community learnt that St Peter’s Church, Forncett, was threatened with closure, the response was immediate; their beautiful 1000-year-old Anglo Saxon church with its iconic round tower must be saved for future generations!

More

An amazing array of support

The rector and churchwardens are the Trustees of Reepham Church Charities which includes a plot of land, currently leased to Reepham Town Council for allotments, but also funds accumulated from rents which are to be used specifically for ‘the relief of the poor of Reepham’.

More

Supporting education in Brooke

Like my predecessors I am a trustee of several small village-based charities.

More

Heating cost support

The Sporle Relief in Need Charity (charity number 213063) owns Sporle’s Town Farm: a farm which nowadays is sadly separated from the village by the A47, with no bridge or easy means of crossing.

More

Curiosity into wonder

The Saxons founded Fishley in the 10th century, followed by the Normans who built the current church of St. Mary’s.

More

Honour where honour is due

The 2011 Census identified 177,918 young carers in England and Wales.

More

Please hold the line caller

Just opposite the church in Blickling, on the side of the road, is a lovely old red phone box which, a couple of years ago, was looking a bit unloved and forlorn.

More

Angels to the rescue

It is a great shame that so many events and club meetings in Knapton have had to be cancelled for such a long period because of COVID, but the Knapton Angels have done a fantastic job of supporting our parishioners through these dark times, meeting over 400 requests for support and help.

More

Keep up to date

Subscribe to our eNews for a snapshot of news, events and resources, usually emailed once a fortnight

Signup to newsletter