And at once the spirit drove [Jesus] into the desert
and he remained there for forty days…
he was with the wild animals. (Mark: 1:12-13)
Wild Church West Virginia is an experiment in “rewilding our faith” through the celebration of monthly liturgies outside of church walls in “wild” spaces. It is an initiative of CCA’s West Virginia Chapter in cooperation with the Wild Church Network.
Wild Church West Virginia is an experiment in “re-wilding our faith.” We believe that many people of faith and good will seek a connection with God and one another that is not limited by institutional walls. Loving encounter grounds and nurtures tradition. By stepping outside and going to the margins we can more readily encounter the mystery of God.
Wild Church West Virginia gives glory to God by being present to and witnessing the good of all of creation. Resilient and beautiful landscapes fill us with awe and wonder while damaged places remind us of human sinfulness and cry out for justice. Wild places are untouched forests, mountain top removal sites, and urban street corners. We go to these places.
The Appalachian pastoral At Home in the Web of Life (1995) says it best: “the mountains and forests…with their trees and plants and animals” constitute “one of God’s awesome cathedrals… misty mountain haze is holy incense, tall tree trunks are temple pillars, sun-splashed leaves are stained glass, and song birds are angelic choirs.”
Wild Church West Virginia also seeks a deeper encounter with self and one another across religious traditions. Sins of racism, sexism, and classism can be connected to our exploitation of the earth. Restoring wholeness to our own spirit and our communities begins with restoring our connection to creation.
Wild Church West Virginia aspires to be an “interspiritual” community. We cultivate the belief that God’s many names are holy. While our roots are in the Catholic Christian tradition, we nurture wildly inclusive, communally guided liturgical experiences that drink from many wells, and we invite those from all religious traditions to the table.
Wild Church West Virginia’s monthly liturgies are currently on hiatus. To stay abreast of news regarding our liturgies and other events, follow Wild Church West Virginia on Facebook or contact Michael Iafrate, Interim Coordinator of Wild Church West Virginia, at michael.iafrate [at] gmail.com. For more information on other Wild Church Network communities, see the Wild Church Network website.
For more information, see our Facebook page here.
Read about Wild Church West Virginia in these reflections:
Gopala, Jesus, and the Friendly Beasts:
Interspiritual Friendships and the Care of Animals
by Michael Iafrate, Creature Kind (December 22, 2017)
Dwelling in the Wild Places, Welcoming the Light:
Advent Meditations on Multispecies and Interspiritual Encounter
by Ed Sloane, Creature Kind (December 25, 2017)