Who We Are
We come together as participants in the web of creation, remembering our sacred interconnection and interdependence with the land, the Divine, with each other and with the first peoples who lived within the watershed. We are a diverse community that lives primarily in and around the Metro DC area and within the Potomac River Watershed. As participants in the web of creation, we seek to be attentive to the Holy in our midst and invite one another to come home to the sacred ecological ground in which we live.
All are welcome and respected at the Wild Earth Spiritual Community gatherings. We are fellow seekers from many faith traditions, recognizing the deep Oneness with the Earth that is foundational to all religions and indigenous spiritualities. We strive to be intergenerational and accessible to all. We welcome children and can offer age-appropriate programming. Please
contact us when you'll be attending with children or when accessibility is a concern so that we can be as accommodating as possible.
We would love to hear from you with questions, comments and suggestions. Feel free to email Sarah Anders, our Spiritual Leader.
Our mission is to gather together as a community that honors, and is one with, the mutual indwelling of the Divine Mystery, the Earth and all its beings. We live into a deep, radically transforming relationship with each other, with the Earth community and with the One who enlivens us all.
Our community is grounded in the sacred landscape in which it is located. This groundedness guides us to live from a place of deeper compassion, care and gratitude for all living things. We understand the enormity of the environmental crisis and its impact on the marginalized, and as such challenge members to live lightly on the Earth and inspire others to do the same.
How We Began
In Sarah Anders’s role as a UCC pastor, and in Beth Norcross’s work at Wesley Theological Seminary and The Center for Spirituality in Nature, we were moved by the many people – often young adults – who told us that they were yearning for spiritual deepening and a direct experience of the Divine, but did not find it in a traditional religious setting. We heard, too, of the deep spiritual connection many have in nature as well as the anxiety and grief they were experiencing in response to the impacts of climate change and other worrisome environmental concerns.
We began talking to others around the country who were starting to form nature-based spiritual communities and eventually joined together in what would become the
Wild Church Network. We traded ideas and information, and were inspired and encouraged by each other.
In January, 2018, we held two listening sessions at our respective homes, with specific questions designed to elicit participants’ experience and desires around such a gathering. We were surprised when 50 people attended these sessions and expressed great enthusiasm for a regular gathering in nature. Subsequently, we sent out a survey to these individuals, and to others who had expressed interest, and asked an array of questions from optimal meeting time and places to specific spiritual yearnings for such a gathering.
We held our first gathering in April, 2018, and were so moved as we watched a trail of 60 people walk down the wooded path towards our circle in the woods. We drummed. We sang. We held silence. Afterward, the participants thanked us: “This is what I’ve been looking for.”
Since then, we have experimented with a number of different formats, spiritual practices, music and logistics. We have met in the pouring rain, in the muggy heat and everything in between. We average anywhere from 30 to 50 people, with many curious newcomers at each gathering.
How We Gather
Wild Earth Spiritual Community gathers twice monthly. For our formal monthly gathering, we generally meet on the first Sunday afternoon of the month from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm at different sacred landscapes within the Potomac River Watershed, around the Washington, D.C. area. To center us before each gathering, we offer spiritual nature walks and drumming circles, after which we begin a quiet time of nature-based sharing through contemplative individual and group spiritual practices, silence, music and wanderings. People stay afterwards for a time of fellowship and food.
We approach our gatherings from an inter-spiritual perspective. We honor the common thread of Oneness with Earth’s Divine Mystery found in most ancient religions and spiritual practices.
For our mid-month gathering, we plan nature outings, shared meals, environmental actions, discussions, small fellowships or other adventures. These events give us the opportunity to get to know each other more deeply and discuss our hopes, dreams and actions for ourselves and the planet. We also host special gatherings around seasonal and ecological events, such as solstices, equinoxes, eclipses, etc.
We come together regardless of the weather unless it is unsafe to do so. We ask people to dress for the weather and invite them to bring their own folding chair or blanket, walking stick and water. We model environmental sustainability in all our gatherings.
Sarah Anders serves as our Spiritual Leader. Although ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ, Sarah shares the wisdom of the Earth and a variety of ancient spiritual traditions. Beth Norcross, Executive Director of The Center for Spirituality in Nature assists in leadership and planning. Community members meet regularly to help plan our gatherings and activities and help lead most parts of the gathering. We have also formed an informal Advisory Committee of about a dozen regular community members to provide additional advice and counsel to leadership.