Holy Hikes

Author: | Date: 19 August, 2014 | Category: News | Comments: 0

Rev. Justin, a priest in The Episcopal Church in California wrote to tell us about Holy Hikes:-  www.HolyHikes.org

It has been said “people will protect what they love.”

The idea of this ministry is simple, yet profound. Each month, we celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the context of a nature hike. At every Holy Hikes outing, instead of having a sermon we allow 10-20 minutes of silence to allow God’s Spirit who is “above all, through all, and in all” to speak to us through the beauty of our surroundings.

San-Bruno-32aHoly Hikes™ is an eco-ministry that strives to help individuals be renewed in their love-relationship with the earth, the universal church, and with their Creator.

We believe the environmental crisis today is, at its core, a broken relationship. It is a shattered relationship between the human community and the earth. There is legislation being pushed to address environmental issues and advocacy groups working to bring change to our destructive and unsustainable ways. Those are important.

History has also proven that a broken relationship is ultimately mended, not by the force of law, but rather by the slow laborious work of rebuilding that relationship. Even in the environmental movement, the earth can be subjugated and treated as just an object that we care for, rather than as a subject with which we are in relationship.

Holy Hikes calls us to relate to all of creation in a communion-centered way. Change will come with legislation and cheaper green products, but we believe transformation will come as we reestablish our communion with all of life. The Rev. Thomas Berry writes, “There is no such thing as ‘human community’ without the earth and the soil and the air and the water and all the living forms. Without these, humans do not exist. In my view, the human community and the natural world will go into the future as a single sacred community or we will both perish in the desert.”

The idea of this ministry is simple, yet profound. Each month, we celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the context of a nature hike. At every Holy Hikes outing, instead of having a sermon we allow 10-20 minutes of silence to allow God’s Spirit who is “above all, through all, and in all” to speak to us through the beauty of our surroundings.

The readings also take on new meaning and deeper significance, since so often Jesus teaches using natural imagery—birds, lilies, seeds, fields, etc.

On one recent liturgical hike, walking along the bluffs of Lands End, San Francisco, and descending from a stone labyrinth to the beach where we would conclude the Eucharist, I found myself hiking alongside eight-year-old Gabrielle. She said with an inquiring tone, “I didn’t know we could do church outside…” I talked about God’s presence being everywhere and the vision behind Holy Hikes and she exclaimed, “I think God meant for us to do church outdoors!” As it is written, “From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise.” Indeed!

We would love to see official Holy Hikes chapters and affiliate eco-ministries planted and networked together around the world and are looking for individuals interests in being a part of this new way of being church. In planting local Holy Hikes chapters, we would be able to authorize you to use our trademarked Holy Hikes name to promote your group like “Holy Hikes- Paris” or “Holy Hikes- London,” would provide you with counseling on best practices, and would offer ongoing personal support. Alternatively, if you already have an eco-ministry up and running perhaps you would be interested in joining as an affiliate ministry to pray for, promote, and support one another.

Visit www.HolyHikes.org to learn more about Holy Hikes, starting a local chapter, or becoming an affiliate ministry.   See the resources

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(Editor: See also in UK: Forest Church and the new book with resources on this topic)

 


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