Falmouth’s Wild Church
There is something new happening in churches across the diocese called Wild Church. It’s a way of doing church differently, to attract all ages of churched and unchurched people. It is a way of connecting with God in an outdoor setting. It works for families, individuals and couples.
At New Street Church, Falmouth, the team have been doing Wild Church for four months, using Falmouth’s old cemetery as their base. It is a beautiful and peaceful outdoor space, with gated access to the road, and with good tarmacked paths, making the space accessible to all.
So what does a Wild Church session look like? Jane Wheeler, Schools and Families Lead at New Street, says: “We start by gathering together at 4pm on blankets and tarpaulins under a large pine tree in the cemetery. There are biscuits and snacks to help children settle. We begin with a simple prayer, followed by a short Bible reading on the theme. So far, the themes have been: God’s Wonderful Creation; Peace & Butterflies; Loving Our Community; and Changing Seasons.”
After this introduction, people explore the churchyard with a small list of activities; some for children, some for youth, and some for adults. These are always optional. There is scope to simply sit and immerse themselves in nature, if that’s what is needed. Or people can take paper, clipboard and pencils to draw or write in a quiet spot.
Here are some of the choices from the September Wild Church.
• Pick blackberries and say a prayer to thank God for your food
• Make a bug hotel for tiny creatures
• Cut an apple in half, find the apple pips and plant them
• What season are you in right now? Are you just starting out on your Christian journey, or are you now in a season of fruitfulness? Talk to God about this season for you.
• Read the fruits of the Spirit list and ask God which one is particularly relevant for you right now.
• Sit still and thank God for your food and all the good things in your life.
• It is a new season and that means change. Are you dealing with changes right now? Ask God for wisdom as you journey on with Him in this new season.
• Use half an apple for printing. You could make a card to give to somebody and send them your love and tell them you are thinking about them.
Jane says: “Wild Church ends by us all coming together again to show and tell what we have made or found or thought about. The host of Wild Church then uses what has been brought by people and weaves back in the Bible theme. We finish with a prayer. Those who want to can stay for a picnic together.”
Wild Church in Falmouth has families, couples and singles come to find space, peace and freedom to explore a beautiful setting. One mum said: “When did I last find time to look at butterflies with my eight year old son? It was wonderful!”
Wild Church gives people permission to stop and look, to wonder, to think and to reflect. It allows children to be active, curious and creative, and it allows adults to be still, to find peace and to pray. We all need a bit of that in our lives.