I have some big and scary news to share. (Scary in part because I get too hung up on what other people might think of me WAY too often, but also because it’s going to force me to stretch outside my comfort zone in a big big way.)
Are you ready for this? Drum roll please.
I am now an ordained minister!! 😲 (Astonished face emoji, in case that didn’t come through as that on your screen.)
This is not a decision I stepped into lightly.
For those of you who do not yet know me well, I consider myself to be a spiritual seeker. If I had to pinpoint when this began for me, I’d say that it was the Easter after I turned 12. My mom gave me a book called Mister God This is Anna, by Fynn. I don’t think her intention was to turn me into a spiritual seeker, as she is what I call “very Catholic,” and has spent many hours of prayer over the years in an attempt to coax me back inside the umbrella of Catholicism.
But I fell in love with Anna and her musings at the age of 12, and quite honestly, I can say that her philosophy shaped mine at least as much if not more than any other books on philosophy and religion that I’ve ever read. (And I’ve read a LOT!) (For a synopsis of the book, see the insert below.)
The book, Mister God this is Anna, describes the adventures of Anna, a mischievous yet wise four-year-old whom Fynn finds as a runaway. Sixteen-year-old Fynn takes Anna home to his mother who takes her in, though Fynn becomes Anna’s main caretaker and closest friend. Fynn recounts his time spent with Anna, and gives a very personal account of her outpourings on life, mathematics, science and her mentor, Mister God. At five years Anna knew absolutely the purpose of being, knew the meaning of love and was a personal friend and helper of Mister God. At six Anna was a theologian, mathematician, philosopher, poet and gardener. If you asked her a question you would always get an answer – in due course. On some occasions the answer would be delayed for weeks or months; but eventually, in her own good time, the answer would come: direct, simple and much to the point. *
*Quote from Wikipedia
I was going to add that unfortunately the book is out of print, because I tried finding it to give it to a friend years ago. But … I just did research and found out that it was re-released in the year 2000, –guess it was over 20 years ago that I last looked– so it’s possible to order a copy. AND there are sequels! Which I just ordered.
I loved most … no, I can’t really say that because I loved everything. Let me try again … one belief that Anna and I share is that Mister God doesn’t care about religion. Mister God cares about relationship. And that’s what drew me to the Universal Life Church, specifically. It welcomes people of all cultures, creeds, and belief systems.
This Fall wasn’t the first time I considered ministry as a career. My spirituality has continued to deepen and spread into my work for the past several years. In fact, I considered applying for a ministry position at a local unity church when they were hiring a few years ago, but didn’t feel “qualified” because my beliefs don’t generally align with a traditional church.
However, this summer I read an article in Spirituality & Health magazine, called Is it Your Time to Add to the Wild Church Network? The author starts the article by saying, “I am one of those people, who, for most of 50 years, had said, “I don’t go to church; my church is the woods, the mountains, the rivers.” [Um. Yes. Me too!]
But then one day, he was out walking on his wild property and was called to create a church for people like him … “people who encounter God in the woods yet also long for human community with its ancient ritual and wisdom.”
I read further.
What Makes a Church a Wild Church?
- Meeting Outside.
- Nature as Co-Congregant
What Makes a Wild Church a Church?
- Meets in community.
- Has a grounding Liturgy. But not the kind that recruits members into a dogma, but rather to invite people into a deeper relationship with an untamed God, the land, and creatures that share their home, and into a deeper relationship with their own wild, untamed soul.
Hmmm. I said. I wonder if we have one of those here? But I checked, and we don’t. Inviting people into a deeper relationship with an untamed God, the land, the creatures, and their own wild untamed soul is what I do anyway on my pilgrimages, my forest bathing expeditions, and in my 1:1 coaching.
And even though I am terrified at the thought of being labeled “a minister,” I am beyond excited at the thought of bringing people outside to “church” with nature.
I decided to start small, with one church session / month beginning in February. Service locations may vary, but I want to start at the Mouth of the Elwha, which is a newly wild river.
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