The last year has been difficult at best, with the relentless need to manage the stresses imposed by the pandemic upon ourselves, our families, friends and parishes. For many people, being unable to worship together indoors with their faith community has heightened the challenge of coping with loneliness, loss and grief.
With the coming of spring and the promise of better weather just around the corner, we have the opportunity to consider the creation of outdoor sacred spaces where small, physically distanced groups can gather for liturgies, and individuals can find solace in a prayerful, contemplative natural environment. By gathering in a natural setting to worship, we not only learn about who God is from creation, but we also join with all of creation in praising God.
To assist in finding and creating the appropriate location on your church property or residence backyard for outdoor worship, The Bishop’s Committee on Creation Care has published “Worship in the Shelter of Creation,” a helpful guide that is available in both digital format and a printable brochure on the diocese’s website.
In it you will find helpful information on six important considerations for choosing the space. And once you have selected a location, there are suggestions to help you decide how to shape your space to establish its focus, how to include the elements of creation in your space, and how to engage your senses.
While many services such as Compline, Ante-Eucharist, and Morning, Evening and Mid-day Prayer are easily adaptable for outside use, you will also find liturgies specifically oriented towards connecting with creation such as Garden Blessings, a creation-focused Eucharist, and a service of lament for coming to terms with ecological grief.
The guide, along with the liturgies, can be found on the diocese’s website under Creation Care, www.toronto.anglican.ca/creationcare.
Resting, not texting, in God’s spirit