These slides were presented at the Earthing Faith Gathering in May 2014.
The outline notes are included below but Emma has never been known for sticking to any notes and this time was no different.
Oakwood Forest Church met for the first time in November 2013. Sprouting from a visit to the New Forest Forest Church and conversations with friends from other churches in Earley. We are the sort of people who go for walks in the woods when we are trying to find some quiet time with God and so the idea of combining Church with nature was very appealing, especially in our very urban location. The great thing about starting a forest Church is that there are no costs and no buildings to worry about. One quick conversation with the ranger of our nature reserve and another with our church insurers was all we needed to meet for the first time with everyones blessing.
So what is Oakwood Forest Church?
Oakwood Forest Church is:
– A fresh expression of church
– Open to everyone
– Christ Centered
– Part of a national network of forest churches
It’s hard to explain how Forest Church looks if you’ve never been to one of the meetings but it is best summarised as walking, exploring and praying together in God’s natural cathedral. We are a group of people, gathering to meet God and journey together. Over the last six months we’ve had over 50 people come to one or more of the five meetings. We’ve also joined with a local church to run an Easter woodland walk which had over 150 people take part. We have over a dozen members who don’t go to any other Church and who find God in the natural connections of the world; for them this is an opportunity to explore faith and what Jesus is all about.
Starting a forest Church may not be for everyone; but holding forest Church type events could be a really great way of linking your congregation to the natural world and the environment we are called to protect. It is also a wonderful way of meeting with people who are seeking faith and who are looking for a way of engaging with faith outside of church buildings. The format of each Oakwood FC meeting will vary slightly; but we will start by meeting and praying together before walking and exploring for an hour in God’s presence.
The notes and slides from all the speakers at the gathering can be found at Earthing Faith