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A church goes wild

by Michael Ford last modified 03 Feb, 2022 10:53 AM

Last year, we spoke to The Revd Matt Smith, Curate at St Nicholas Church in Corfe Mullen about Wild Church, a new gathering that they had just launched. It has been a great success, and we've caught up with him to hear more, and why people keep coming back.

Matt explained what they did in their most recent Wild Church, to give us a snapshot of what it's like to be there: 

"This week we were looking at birds because over the weekend it was The Great Big Garden Bird Watch. So, we had the Bible verse from Matthew 6:26 'Do not worry...' we talked about how God provides for us and provides for the birds. We prayed afterwards, and thanked God for his provision, and we then had a quiet moment around the fire and listened to the birds. It's funny how much you can hear when you take that time to be quiet. Not much at first, but after a few moments, you can hear loads." 

An exercise like this can mirror our own times with God, and being surrounded by nature is a great way to remind ourselves that God is in everything. 

Another compelling factor about Wild Church is that it is for all ages; beanbag catapults, mud kitchens, marshmallows on the fire... and, despite the cold, Wild Church even gathered at Christmas: 

"Leading up to Christmas we did 4 morning sessions for two hours each day. We had Christmas crafts based on different themes from the nativity, and everyday we cooked something on the fire. We weren't sure how many would come because it was quite cold, and wet, yet on the Thursday before Christmas Eve, 50 people showed up." 

Wild Church is a unique space that has seen people coming back, because they know their children will engage in it, or because they feel safer at this time meeting outdoors, or because it seemed like a good way to get back into taking their children to something after a gruelling pandemic has altered so many plans. It is also a space for adults to meet solely with other adults; the men's ministry having used the space to connect. 

For Matt though, the biggest joys have been faith shared between generations, and dwelling in God's creation: 

"Something I've really loved is seeing grandparents with their grandchildren, who haven't been able to get their children to come to church for one reason or another. Seeing the joy on their faces. They're able to spend that hour and a half doing something faith based that teaches their grandchildren about God, it's been a gift to them. 

"I've always been quite in awe of creation and the woodland in particular. It's a gift that a lot of people ignore nowadays. So for me it's a joy to be able to draw people's attention to what God has provided - I feel like I am passing on a hope that there is something more." 

Wild Church certainly connects us to our God-given surroundings and reminds us of the hope that we have – what could you do at home to connect with creation? 


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