In between lockdowns, when it was possible to meet outside in groups of up to six, our Sunday Explorers sessions were held outdoors We enjoyed the open air and thinking about the wonders of the world that we live in. Some of the sessions were based on material from Forest Church, which is a movement of people who take their worship outside – finding a deep connection with God through time spent in nature.

This week I attended a Zoom meeting exploring Forest Church, hosted by volunteers from the charity Green Christian. People shared their experience of being part of Forest Church groups, and the activities and practices that meant so much to them.

Neil Clark, who led a lot of the session, read this very powerful poem which he had written for a recent Forest Church meeting.

I hope you have seen it.
The glow of the light slowly returning, lingering two or three minutes longer every day.

I hope you have heard it.
The delight of the pre-dawn territory calls of the blackbirds.

I hope you have sensed it.
The deep and powerful stirring of nature below the ground, slowly, so slowly getting ready to appear.

I hope you have touched it.
The transient clouds of frosts evaporating from the trees in the warmth of the morning sun.

I hope you have smelt it.
The memories from your childhood of what scents spring will bring.

I hope you know it.
The knowledge that although winter is still with us, spring is waiting patiently, and slowly, almost
imperceptibly, is getting ready to take to the stage.

I hope you have hope.
That no matter how dark it might seem, the light will return, indeed the light is returning even as you read this, and the light will warm and feed you just as it feeds nature.

(By Neil Clark – used with permission)

This spoke so much of the hope that we need at the moment.