October 22, 2019

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Making All Things New: Wild Church


Isaiah 43:18-19 

Do not remember the former things,
    or consider the things of old.

I am about to do a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.


In early June, I went to Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, for a gathering of people leading outdoor churches around the U.S. and Canada. There were about 30 of us, from Texas, New Hampshire, Washington State, West Virginia, Ontario (three churches represented!), Michigan, Alabama, British Colombia, and more! We were from various Christian traditions: Episcopalians, Lutherans (well just me), non-denominational, Catholic, Reformed, Presbyterian, Methodist, and more. We were lay leaders, ordained priests and pastors, and professors. We were from cold climates, hot climates, deserts, forests, prairies and more. It was wonderful to be with so many people doing this new and ancient thing of worshiping outdoors as certainly all of our ancestors did, and as Jesus and his followers did during his earthly ministry. 


It was wonderful to talk with others about the challenges of weather and logistics, and about funding new and unusual ventures in the church. It was even more wonderful to talk about the joys of meeting God in God’s own cathedral, outside in creation, and to participate in worship and hear the liturgies, songs, and prayers of others. 


It was our first meeting in person of the Wild Church Network, which has been meeting via video calls for three years. When