Ojai Church of the Wild, USA

Victoria Loorz, pastor of ‘Ojai Church of the Wild’ in southern California USA, describes it as an expression of church that participates in the evolving story of God told through sacred narratives, wilderness and our lives: church is not a building, or a set of beliefs, it is a conversation. Below, she tells us more about Church of the Wild.

‘Church of the Wild’ is a gathering for those who are allured by the call into the ‘Great Conversation‘ between all things, as a pathway to personal wholeness and social transformation.

We meet outside, on the edges of Ojai’s wilderness, because nature reflects not only glimpses of God, but mirrors an inner reality as well. This call to the edges is a call to wildness, to our True Selves, that lies beyond our domesticated, neat, safe, and secure lives.

Here is an example of the words we might use at a ‘Church of the Wild’ communion:

‘The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world’

John 6:51

Ojai Peacemeal 3The bread of our communion is not simply a symbol for the body of Jesus.  It is a symbol of the inter-connected life of the world, the Christ that binds all things together. All of it.

Sharing bread and wine is recognition of divine presence in all things: not just in the human body of Jesus, not just in the human body of certain people who profess faith, but the recognition of divine presence in all things.

In the waters that are the blood flow of life throughout our planet, nurturing the growth of the grapes and wheat in the fields; in the soil and the farmers and the pests we try to keep away from the growing plants; in the factory workers, in the bakers. In all things, the divine presence is given for the ongoing, growing, vibrant life of the world.

Today, we celebrate communion outdoors, in this little grove of oak and cottonwood trees.  Instead of bread for one another, we offer birdseed for the birds and squirrels who share our watershed with us.  Instead of wine, we share water from our limited supply in this drought, remembering that the waters connect us all on this planet to one another.  And our connection, together, completes the body of the living Christ.

In bloodOjai Peacemeal 2

Be thou blessed

In flesh

Be thou blessed

In all you choose

In all you holdOjai Peacemeal 5

In all you gather to you

Be thou blessed

In all that takes from in you

Be blessed;

In all that comes forth from you

Be blessedOjai Peacemeal 4

In all thy paths

Be thou forever blessed.

Jan Richardson


For more information about ‘Ojai Church of the Wild’ and making contact with them , visit the Church of the Wild website.

Details and photographs courtesy of Victoria Loorz.

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