Outdoor service refreshes

A group of people standing in a forest.
The Rev. Maria Nightingale (centre) with St. Peter’s parishioners in the forest.
 on June 1, 2018

Like a special blessing after a long winter, sunshine and a canopy of cloudless blue sky hung over the group engaged in St. Peter, Erindale’s first Christian Meditation in Nature service.

The service to mark Earth Day on April 22 was created and led by the Rev. Maria Nightingale, the church’s associate priest and chaplain to seniors, and Youth Minister Lydia Cordie. It was based on the idea of “forest bathing,” suggested by Cathy Robertson, the parish’s environment officer.

A group spanning seven decades in age strolled from the church to Erindale Park, acknowledging the traditional territory of the Huron/Wendat, Seneca and Mississaugas of the Credit River. As red-winged blackbirds trilled, Ms. Cordie began with prayer, then we walked to a spot in the woodland overlooking the Credit River.

Ms. Nightingale led the meditation, guiding us to an awareness of sound, feel, touch, smell and sight. Afterwards, everyone in the circle spoke of what they had noticed – the rushing sound of the river, traffic and passers-by on the path, the feel of sunlight and the breeze on skin, the smell of decaying leaves, the look of bright sunlight, green moss, red sumac panicles, silvery branches, light dancing on the river and a feeling of calm.

We listened to Psalm 148, which speaks of all of creation praising God, and concluded with prayer as we left the park refreshed.

Submitted by Lillian Newbery


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