Forest Church Groups

NB: This map is out of date. The best up to date info can be found by searching through this post on facebook’.

Dark green tree icons represent Forest Church groups. Light green tree icons represent groups with a similar ethos to Forest Church but called something else.

If there isn’t a group near you there may well be something going on that hasn’t ended up on this map for various reasons. If you have a group that isn’t listed here please send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) who will add you to the map when it is next updated.

Do you want to start a group?

A good, easy place to start is to meet, once a month, with like-minded friends and see what develops. You don’t need a forest or even trees, the word Forest in the name is simply a tag that it happens in nature such as a domestic garden or a beach. You don’t need to start with a big, elaborate open-to-the-public event. The Forest Church book, or any of the existing group facilitators are a good source of help.

And doing Forest Church doesn’t necessarily mean starting a new group from scratch. If you’re part of an existing group you can just do Forest Church like activities from time to time.

Are you ready to list your group here?

Forest Church is a loose collection of similarly minded groups that have chosen to connect for the reasons listed below – but each group has a different flavour and focus. So that potential participants, who may have heard about Forest Church from any number of sources, know roughly what they might be letting themselves in for we ask all the groups that want to be listed here to complete a few simple steps.

  1. Each group is operating under the vision statement here. Hopefully you’re more-or-less happy with that. It is primarily to help potential participants know where we’re coming from – it isn’t a dogmatic statement of faith.
  2. For a further definition of what a Forest Church group is, read through the introduction (found in this free to download PDF) to the Forest Church book.
  3. To make up your group’s page, send in some:
    A. descriptive introductory information about your group; intro paragraph, then further copy about your ideas and frequency of meeting.
    B. your group’s name.
    C. an image (not a logo but a nature photo of your area).
    D. an email address where you can be contacted by interested participants.
    E. and finally a precise location for your map icon to go.

    Have a look at some of the other ones linked to above to get an idea. We’re asking groups to use the name pattern Place Name Forest Church, that way we are all helping each other develop the idea; as ‘Forest Church’ as a concept spreads. For the Place Name element, you can be specific and descriptive or creative and/or arcane.

Why would you want to list your group here?

A concern we’ve heard from time to time is an assumption that Forest Church is a top down or centrally organised and controlled movement. Or like a franchise where a model for doing things a certain way is enforced. It is none of those things.

And if you’re part of an existing Church, doing Forest Church like events isn’t a replacement or challenge to your existing Church and name – you simply benefit from tagging appropriate events as Forest Church; it’s a verb as well as a noun, a bit like calling certain activities Messy Church isn’t renaming the whole thing.

To counter any suspicions, here are the positive reasons behind joining the network.

  1. One of the biggest challenges to most groups starting is publicity and marketing; getting people along. By linking here we all gain from the idea of Forest Church being shared.
  2. A related idea is that it gives your group credibility in the minds of potential participants who can see that your group is networked to others. We’re asking a lot of new participants who don’t want to think that they’re heading off into the countryside somewhere to meet a wild, unhinged eccentric.
  3. You don’t need to start from scratch, there is already credible information, a web presence etc that you can use to provide information to participants.
  4. And you don’t need to start from scratch with ideas for events – we’re slowly building ideas, exercises, interventions and rituals that we can all share.
  5. Some facilitators come from dispersed communities or are indipendent of any organisational structure and they value the accountability of connecting with the network.
  6. Likewise it can be comforting knowing that you are not on your own. There is a private facilitators group on Facebook that you can join to share questions, observations, prayer and support.
  7. Don’t like the ‘Forest’ / Don’t like the ‘Church’ part of the name? Don’t take the ‘Forest’ bit literally. See above. As to the ‘Church’ bit, it seems to be potential facilitators that have occasional problems with the word rather than participants.
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