There are so many amazing people and organizations co-creating the New Story of integrated spirituality and nature and embodied wholeness. Organizations like Animas Valley Institute and Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries and Creation Spirituality Communities and Emergence Magazine and Center for Contemplation and Action and the work of David Whyte, Mirabai Starr and Toko-Pa Turner and Stillpoint spiritual direction training, and Ghost Ranch and Whidbey Institute to name a (very) few influential people and organizations.
Wild Church is a movement of people who are taking seriously the call from Spirit and from Earth to restore a dangerous fissure. Spirituality and nature are not separate.
To approach the wild world with reverence is an act of resistance against centuries of abused power, patriarchy, violence and empire-building that has led to a worldview of dangerous disconnection. Restoring kindred and kind relationship between ourselves and all races, genders, traditions and species is at the core of a new story of kinship and interconnection. Wild Church is a way to put it into practice.
Explore a couple organizations that Victoria co-created to support this movement:
Seminary of the Wild
"Imagine a seminary in the deepest sense of the word, a wild seedbed of spiritual and cultural evolution." This is how you will greet the Seminary of the Wild website. A unique, psycho-spiritual educational paradigm, Seminary of the Wild is rooted in direct experience. We seek not to talk about God in Nature but to invite people to step in and encounter the Sacred directly, as all mystics have throughout history.
Nature-based spiritual practices, such as contemplative wanders, sacred council, facilitated group work, ceremony, dreamwork, imaginal journeys, embodied movement, writing, and eco-theological reflection and discussion are designed to help us return to our original wholeness, our wildness, and our authentic service.
The yearlong "Eco-Ministry Certificate" program is offered twice a year for a deep dive into reWilding your relationship with the land, your psyche, your spirituality, and clarifying your undomesticated calling to serve a suffering and gloriously beautiful world. We also offer free monthly Wild Luminaries webinars with guests like Richard Rohr, Mirabai Starr, To-ko Pa Turner, John Philip Newell, Matthew Fox, Bill Plotkin, Joanna Macy, Ched Myers and Elaine Enns.
The Wild Church Network
“As Western Christianity undergoes its identity crisis—a reformation or a slow implosion, depending on your leaning—a small but determined number of people are urging the church to seek God in the literal wilderness.”
Fred Bahnson, Harper's Magazine, 2016
In 2016 a group of spiritual leaders in North American found one another and launched the Wild Church Network. They discovered that they were not alone in their decision to leave buildings and connect directly with the wild as a practice of church.
Now there are multiple small communities from nearly every mainstream denomination practicing a new way of restoring relationship with the Sacred in Nature in the Wild Church Network. There are no guidebooks or creeds or dogmas. The Network doesn't try and offer "how-to" trainings for new leaders. We offer "encouragement-to" find ways of gathering people together in nature that is unique to each leader, their particular human community, and the specific bioregion where they live.
Margaret Wheatley, speaking of the phenomenon of organic social change, asserts that pioneering efforts like this "developed by courageous communities become the accepted standard.” While the movement is still on the edges, the efforts of the pioneering wild church leaders will be deeply influential in helping to "reWild the church" and shift the paradigm of a disconnected culture toward a new story of interconnection and kindred relationality.
Seminary of the Wild co-founders: Brian Stafford, Bryan Smith, Victoria Loorz, Matt Syrdal at Ghost Ranch outside Santa Fe NM.