climate change Forest Church Fresh Expressions

Forest Church

Around 2018 as a group we read “Forest Church” a Field Guide to a Spiritual Connection with Nature . Some of the idea and principles within the book are part of regular Quartz activities – for example the #SensingSpirituality walks and have been for a long time. Some of you may remember the 2017 Summer Interweave – “Interweave Outdoors”

We have never really made a consistent effort to test out the idea of “Forest Church” though. One of the things this would involve would be to work through, experiment with (and think about) how to be an outdoor Church, rather than just to take our usual church activities outside.

What happens when the nights draw in and the weather turns bad? Do we need hymn books, and how would the recited formal liturgy of the Scottish Episcopal Church help or hinder in an environment where multiple pieces of paper will blow away in the wind? Can we read the creators message in creation in combination with scripture …

Here is a video of one example of forest church. There are many more, and each is adapted to the local environment and community who live within it.

Would you, or people you know, be interested in exploring this further? Follow the link to the Field Guide to find out more. When the season of summer holidays are over we will hopefully be able to gather together and make some plans

As a quick introduction, this description is taken from the Forest Church Facebook group:


“Forest Church” is the name taken by loosely gathered groups of like-minded people who are not formally connected to any denomination (although the core team of each group will normally have members of one of the recognised Christian denominations). They are people who wish to engage with the way in which God reveals God’s self in the natural world.

The meetings use poetic and open language to provide a safe and welcoming place for those of any faith or none who appreciate the spirituality of ‘The Green’.Each group has its own flavour and range of gatherings. Examples vary from meditative walks, workshops on naturalist subjects to more formalised rituals.

For some groups the latter tend to draw on the shape of Pagan rituals which have evolved to inhabit the outdoor space although the language often expresses the presence of Christ within the context of the Trinity, whilst also allowing for the fullness of gender expressed within God.

Story and the historical myths of the land are celebrated and valued alongside scripture, thus allowing each Forest Church to be centred in its own location.Many of those who attend do so because worshipping within the stone walls of a church provides them with little or no connection with God.

Forest Church recognises this and therefore meets outside to celebrate the possibilities of our understanding of panentheistic (God-in-all-things and All-things-in-God) engagement and relationship.We recognise that many of those who have left the church departed because of poor treatment by Christians or because of a severe lack of space for spiritual exploration, not because of the person of Jesus.

One aspect of Forest Church is therefore to provide a space for re-engagement with the person of Christ amongst other spiritual seekers, trusting God that a relationship mediated through the Holy Spirit, by whatever name the Spirit is known to the individual, may be holy and transformative.

Our part in Missio Dei (‘The Mission of God’) is relationship and respect: friendship with no ulterior motive, and an openness and willingness to journey together as valued friends who learn from each other and honour the different paths we may tread. We count ourselves as spiritual explorers in the Christian tradition making creative use of liturgy that expresses this belief.

From the Facebook group for anyone interested in Forest Church. A place to share news, ideas and exercises. For more information and to list your group visit:

0 replies on “Forest Church”

I’d certainly value the opportunity of exploring Forest Church as a way of creatively worshipping God. And also learning how to respect and understand the natural world he has made. Thanks for the info and suggestions.

Yes, please ! I recognise myself being described in the article. My worship of God arises often in the beauty of the world.
There are many other people with a deep reverence for the natural world who have no acknowledged connection to God. Yet their love and gratitude for this world seems near to what I know as worship.

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