Forest Church

Forest Church has developed in recent years in response to two factors: firstly the increasing disconnection from nature within our society, and secondly the spiritual connection that many feel while outdoors.  The concept is new in its current form, though drawing on a strong strand within Christian thought and practice that can be traced back through the centuries.   The biblical basis is clear too, with Jesus often referring to nature in his teaching and parables, and many references in the Old Testament, notably in the psalms which frequently celebrate God in nature. 

Forest Churches vary in the details but all have in common that connection with nature is key.  This is not about doing outside what could have been done inside, rather doing church in ways which can only be done when surrounded by nature.  Connection with the breadth of God’s creation is a necessary part of a Forest Church’s spirituality.  Many Forest Churches meet on a pattern that reflects the cycle of the seasons, with the turning of the year celebrated at the solstices and equinoxes. 

The nearest Forest Churches to our area are currently in Cheltenham and Oxford, although with new groups springing up each month that is changing rapidly.  Anyone interested in exploring Forest Church (either an existing group or starting something new locally) can initially contact:

Revd. Arthur Champion, Diocesan Environmental Adviser, The Department of Mission and Ministry, Diocese of Gloucester, 4 College Green, Gloucester, GL1 2LR,

phone: 01242 870402 email: achampion@glosdioc.org.uk

 

 

 

 

Further reading:

Bruce Stanley, Forest Church, Mystic Christ Press 2013

http://www.mysticchrist.co.uk/blog/post/forest_church_a_field_guide_to_nature_connection_for_groups_and_individuals

Forest Church groups  http://www.mysticchrist.co.uk/forest_church/groups

See also links in the nature connection article

 

 

Cate Williams

February 2015