If you go down in the woods today...

The church in the forest

Forest ChurchChurch leaders from across the diocese have been learning about one of the latest Fresh Expression of church – Forest Church.

Thirteen ventured into the woods – Skipton Castle Woods – at the end of October, for a workshop on Forest Church led by Bruce Stanley of Mid-Wales Forest Church  (pictured below, standing).  They learned both about spiritual aspects of Forest Church and about appreciating the geology and the flora or the environment. The day also included a ‘tea ceremony’ – the tea being foraged and made from  nettle, elder and clover.

Forest Church began in the late spring of 2012 with a small group in mid Wales. Since then thirteen groups have started in the UK and the idea is taking hold elsewhere.

Andy Ryland, Rural Officer, and one of the day’s organisers said,  "One thing in common with all Forest Church groups is that they are not a fellowship group doing an outside activity. They are attempting something more radical – to connect and participate with God’s creation.

"Most people’s transcendent moments happen not during religious services but in the great outdoors. Scripture suggests that ‘nature’ is not just a nice place to go on holiday, as Divine creation it describes God’s qualities and powers; nature tells us about God and God can speak through nature – and there is much we can learn and discover about our ourselves through direct connection with nature."

Arising out of the day, a Forest Church event – with orienteering – is being planned at Otley Chevin.  Anyone interested can contact local curate, Revd Paul Wheelhouse –paul.wheelhouse [at] gmail.com ( email her)e

Learning about Forest Church in Skipton


Pictures with thanks to Judith Allison

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