A sure sign of Spring is increased activity and we’re living into that here at Church in the Wild! Check out our events page for all that’s going on and join our mailing list so you don’t miss updates on future events. In addition to what you’ll find on the events page, we’re planning volunteer work days with VINES and Sky Lake in April & May as well as our FIRST WORSHIP SERVICES at the end of May/beginning of June!
Equally as exciting, you’ll notice an update to our home page. We have officially joined the Reconciling Ministries Network of the United Methodist Church. This means we welcome ALL God’s creatures into full participation in the life of our community. Church in the Wild was formed and defined as a community affirming the sacred value of all of Creation. We embrace diversity and are dedicated to inclusion. We welcome people of every age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, faith history, physical or mental ability, and economic condition into full participation in the life and leadership of our community. This includes you!
We went “public” almost a month ago and the response has been incredible! People are yearning for a spirituality focused on caring for and connecting with Creation, and there’s a clear need for a community of support as we work for justice. Now that the world knows we exist, it’s time to start building this community. Within this email you’ll find different ways you can get involved. Connect with us and choose a path that suits your interests. Join us on the adventure as we create Church in the Wild.
Get your Church in the Wild swag delivered right to your door! Support our first fundraiser and get yourself some sweet, eco-friendly tees that show off your love of Creation! These super soft, organic cotton shirts from econscious look and feel great. And you’ll feel good knowing they were made ethically and printed locally at Upstate Merch! Click here to order!
Our hope and plan is to begin weekly Sunday evening worship at Sky Lake in the spring of 2021. To make that happen we need financial support. If you long for a spiritual community focused on connecting with and caring for Creation, you can help create that community with a financial contribution.
And then all that has divided us will merge And then compassion will be wedded to power And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind And then both men and women will be gentle And then both women and men will be strong And then no person will be subject to another’s will And then all will be rich and free and varied And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old And then all will nourish the young And then all will cherish life’s creatures And then all will live in harmony with each other and the Earth And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.
The other night as I lay in bed doom scrolling, I thumbed past an article called, Do You Have ‘Zoom Fatigue’ or Is It Existentially Crushing to Pretend Life Is Normal as the World Burns? I didn’t need to read it, I knew the answer was both. The cognitive dissonance of going about our lives as everything seems to be unraveling in slowmo before our eyes is… well, it’s everything. All the feels, as they say. All the heaviness, all the dread, all the unknown, and just tiny little scraps of hope.
But there are scraps aren’t there? There are still moments of peace and places of beauty and the trees are still showing up to Autumn with all their magnificent color. There are still things for which to give thanks.
As we face a world none of us could have imagined, I take comfort in the trees. The trees have been here long before us and will be long after. They’ve seen it all. They’ve survived, year after year, cycling through the seasons, each year, blooming, leafing, changing, and fading. With a long cold, pandemic winter of civil unrest on the horizon, we get some good advice from Creation to help us prepare. The trees are letting go of what no longer feeds them. The animals are storing up some reserves. The birds aren’t sticking around where they can’t thrive. The world is readying for a long nap. And when the snow stacks up around them, the trees will be working the magic of sap in their dreams. When the first trickles of water begin to run again in the spring, we can trust the sweetness of syrup will come. And the birds will return. And the trees will bud.
The leaves are changing and so is the world. Let’s match our rhythms with the Earth’s and trust that on the other side new life awaits.
In May of 2019, I attended an event called UMC-Next which hoped to bring progressive and moderate United Methodists together to dream about the future of the Methodist Church. Our denomination has been in a deadlock for decades over the issue of LGBTQ+ inclusion. After an intense 3 days of conversations I found myself driving down the I-81 corridor after midnight having a discussion with Yahweh. You see, the future seemed difficult, even with the best possible outcomes. We’d spent the week dreaming about what we’d like our church to be like but I had a hard time feeling excited about continuing to “do” church, even in the best case scenarios. I felt frustrated. And then I felt God suggest,
You know, you could build a new church.
Uh, no thanks, God. I am not a church planter, I have no desire to go through all that. Probably couldn’t even do it anyway.
I mean, what would that even look like? It’d be cool but, no it’s too hard.
Needless to say, the thought wouldn’t leave me alone. But every idea I came up with just felt forced and disingenuous. After about a month of mental punting of idea after idea, I heard myself say the words, “I just want to be a pastor at Sky Lake.” Sky Lake has long been MY place (along with many others who feel the same way). I describe it as my soul’s home and in fact I had lived there longer than anywhere else during my college years on summer staff. It is my Holy Land, filled with landmarks and artifacts of a faith-filled legacy. As soon as I heard those words leave my mouth I also heard:
There it is.
Suddenly, it was as if every color of food coloring got squeezed into the water of my brain all at once. Ideas and visions began swirling and transforming right before my mind’s eye. I could hardly believe it. I was stunned and terrified because this was a good idea, it just might work, and I had no idea what I was doing.
For those who’ve experienced pregnancy, it felt very similar to those early days. I was carrying the potential for a new life inside of me and no one else knew. The excitement and terror is enough to make you queasy. A couple weeks later, the director of New Faith Communities of the Upper NY Conference sent me an email about something totally unrelated, but when I saw Dave’s name pop up in my inbox, my heart skipped a beat. I knew it was time to tell someone about my vision of Church in the Wild.
From there, I felt like I just grabbed on and went for the ride. Each new person I told got excited and interested and gave me more people to talk to. Eventually we had a team of people from various backgrounds excited to continue discerning and visioning this thing to life. And then, what was scheduled to be our last meeting before taking a break (because I was due to birth a human life in April) also became our last meeting before “The Great Pause” as Matt Williams calls it.
As stressful and challenging as birthing a baby during a pandemic was, I couldn’t imagine what birthing a new church would be like. But I figured, I was already in uncharted territory personally, now the rest of the world was just catching up. When the team reconnected a few months later, none of the passion, vision, or clear sense of the Spirit’s guidance had been lost.
So here we are. In the liminal space of birthing. And not just for Church in the Wild, but for all of us. There is a brave new world on the other side of this space. And there is a new kind of church coming to life at the same time. With more unknowns than knowns ahead of us, it might seem like a bad time to try to start something new. But I’ve learned our Creator rarely waits for the right time, rather They make the time right. And what is more audaciously hopeful than planting a new church amid a global pandemic?
We are a people of hope. We believe Church in the Wild can be a part of the world’s healing. We don’t know what the future holds but we know this is the church we’ve needed our whole lives, so we’re sure as hell gonna need it now.
I hope you’ll join us as we follow the Spirit, care for Creation, and connect with our Creator.