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  • Rev. Kim Atherton-Dow

Wild reciprocity

Hello folks, how are you all? I hope that you are staying well and being safe in the midst of the rather strange and sometimes scary world in which we find ourselves at the moment.

For me, the last few weeks have allowed me to spend more time with my partner at home, albeit that she is still working hard trying to keep a small, one person business going from a cramped room in our house. I am sure that she is not the only one to have found themselves in that position! Thanks to everyone who is supporting her. You are amazing.

Many, small, local businesses, will be severely struggling at the moment so when possible we have been supporting such businesses local to our home and I hope that all such enterprises survive to thrive again. We are all getting a chance to know how wonderful our community businesses are and realising what we maybe took for granted before. My wife’s business depends very much on having a postal service which is working and our local post office has been doing a sterling job. So thanks to you, ‘Envelope and Bacon’, of Barnton, Edinburgh; an outstanding local post office and shop. This has made it possible for Jean’s work of supplying essential herbal medicines to continue and has been our one necessary outside journey, apart from a once weekly supermarket shop. And today, the lovely woman who is working at the PO has thanked Jean, because Jean’s business has allowed them to continue through this hard time too.

I guess, what I wanted to highlight here is never to underestimate the way that our actions are interbeneficial. We are connected. We help each other. And sharing ourselves and our actions and thoughts in this time of upheaval is important and has repercussions we might never know in keeping someone, as well as ourselves, afloat – mentally, physically and financially.

This also goes for the environment and the animals and plants that surround us…

On my mind has been the plight of many of the small to medium size animal charities who do such good work around the world. From charities such as Animals Asia working to end the bear bile and dog/cat meat trade in China and Vietnam, to tiny charities with enormous responsibilities like our friend Linda, working solo and unaided in any way, trying to rescue street dogs of Greece. This is a particularly hard time for them and I sincerely hope that they are finding support and will continue to be able to provide safe havens for animals across the world. If you support such small charities then please continue to do so if you are able. They need you now more than ever.

Our ecosystem also needs us. And I am hoping that, as we have seen pollution diminishing over the period of lockdown, that somehow we find mechanisms to help that continue when things are back operating at a more ‘normal’ level.

On 22nd April it is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and this year the topic is climate change. (If you want to know more, see the link below.) And on the home front here, I am very much looking forward to launching Wisewood Wild Church. I have long been wanting to start an Interfaith Wild Church in Scotland and have decided to go ahead and launch digitally on Zoom, on Earth Day 2020.

What is Wild Church?

Wild Church initiatives are maybe not so well known in the UK as they are in the US, where they have been extremely popular. There are some wild churches in the UK though, and now Wisewood Wild Church will join them.

A wild church simply moves the opportunity to engage with whatever faith we practise into the world of nature. And it also allows us to acknowledge that nature is the best way to approach the ineffable and wonderful around us, however we choose to frame or name it. Wild Church is simply about being in the wild, in the moment, and sharing in ways of faith, or none, in order to share our deep links with the natural world. It allows us to honour ALL life and acknowledges that we as humans, are absolutely, inextricably linked with all forms of life in this world. It is a way of sharing our experiences and engaging in respectful, loving, reciprocal relationship with our ecosystem. So, a wild church meeting may involve anything from litter picking on the beach, storytelling by the fire, experiencing the healing of walking through a forest, creating wild mandalas, walking sacred sites, learning about the plants and animals that we share the planet with and also sharing our different perspectives on life. A chance to rest, breathe and… share some spiritual thoughts, if you want to do so. It is a free and open space. A space to remember our responsibilities as custodians of the earth we live on. An interfaith and none space for those who wish to experience the counsel and healing of nature and give something back.

So I am very excited to be able to launch Wisewood Wild Church, even if that launch has to be initially on Zoom! But I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of launching on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. As I said, this year’s theme for Earth Day is climate change and many of the events that were already scheduled before the Covid 19 lockdown have moved to digital spaces. If you want to hear and see more about Earth Day then you can easily find

If you would like to join me for the launch of Wisewood Wild Church, please contact me by email (you will find my email in the contact section of this website) and let me know and I will be able to send you details on how to join in. Or, you can find Wisewood Wild Church at our Facebook page and ask to join the Wisewood Wild Church Group, which is where the links to the Zoom meetings will be shown. I would love to see you there.

Following on from the first meeting I hope to hold monthly Zooms as well as, once lockdown is over, monthly meetings that are held in the beautiful natural spaces of Scotland. Until, then, and until my next blog, I hope you will join me on my Facebook pages and say hello.

Stay safe, be well, and never forget how important all our many reciprocal interweavings in life are, to all of us and our planet.

Brightest blessings,


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