The Grove

The Grove

The Grove is Greenbelt’s outdoor worship space.

It’s a place for all ages to gather across the weekend for a variety of sessions – all designed to help us connect with God in nature and enter into all things Forest Church. As well as the planned events, the space is designed simply to just ‘be’ in, complete with Nick Walters’ amazing banqueting table installation and with the Chapel prayer venue close by, too. Set on the other side of the lake in a natural grove of ancient trees there is something for everyone in The Grove at Greenbelt.

Worship Programming at The Grove:

Friday

6.00 pm
Opening ritual for all ages
West Midlands Forest Church and friends

Welcome to the Grove, the outdoor venue for all things connecting spirituality and nature. Join with those from Forest Churches around Britain in starting our weekend journey of imagination with nature.

6.30 pm
Evening Prayer: Praying The North Wind
Paul Cudby, Ancient Arden Forest Church

Reflective evening prayer inspired by the four directions of the compass.

7.30 pm
Spiritual Ecology – Meditative Walk
With St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace

An invitation to experience the festival grounds through the simplicity of walking; connecting with place and body, opening to the present moment, allowing the flow and rhythm of life to awaken us to the life that is here.

Saturday

9.30 am
Uncommon Sense
David Cole, New Forest Church

Learn how to use more than the normal five senses to discover the natural world around us

10.30 am
Introduction to Spiritual Ecology
With St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace

A space to delve into the ideas, practices and lived experience of Spiritual Ecology as a field seeking to address the roots of our ecological crisis.

12 noon
Seeds of the Imagination – create and prayer walk a labyrinth
Gabrielle Lambrick, Oxford Forest Church

Themes of Lammas, harvest, seeds and the imagination will be woven into this session. Limited numbers. Or come and walk the labyrinth later in the weekend.

2pm
Creation sings praise – creating instruments from natural materials (for all ages) Rachel Summer’s, Wilcume Forest Church & Cath Palgrave, West Midlands Forest Church

Join our experienced Forest School practitioners and make your own instrument from natural items to join in a noisy act of worship.

3pm
The many names of nature’s blessing
Genny Tunbridge and Peter Alcock, West Midlands Forest Church

What is the significance of naming? Does it matter that many are being lost from our vocabulary? We’ll explore these questions and create a new Song of Creation (Benedicite) using the instruments made in the previous session.

4.30 pm
Nature, Mysticism and Imagination – the poetry of Thomas Traherne
Anne Hollinghurst, Bishop of Aston

Explore this less known mystic and poet and listen to readings of his poetry.

6.00pm
Glowstick creations and sticky worship (for all ages)
Eleanor King and Rachel Summers

Make glow in the dark creations for worship or create your own prayer stick as an aid to help you explore your own faith journey.

7.30 pm
Wild Spirit Drumming Circle
Wild Spirit and friends

As evening draws in, join in the drumming and acts of nature reflection.

8.30 pm
Night prayer – Praying With The East Wind
Paul Cudby, Ancient Arden Forest Church

Reflective night prayer inspired by the four directions of the compass. Bring a torch to guide you home.

Sunday

2.00 pm
Wild Wheels
Emma Major, Oakwood Forest Church, Berkshire

Being a visually impaired wheelchair user doesn’t stop Emma worshipping in the wild cathedral. Explore how disability can disconnect you from nature; and ways of making it accessible for all to take back to your communities and churches

3.00 pm
Spiritual Ecology – healing song (for all ages)
Led by singer-songwriter Joe Holtaway, with St Ethelburga’s

Drawing on and receiving from the natural world, we will co-create blessings based on the form of Celtic prayer which will then be sung for the healing of ourselves, each other and the Earth. No writing or singing experience needed.

4.30pm
Imagine dragons
Barbara Doye, St Albans Forest Church

The tales of our land speak of encounters between Saints and Dragons, some friendly, some not so.. Let us explore these tales and what they may teach us about living well with creation and the spiritual realm.

5.00pm
Imagine Beasts and Wild Things (all-age craft)
Cate Cocks, Cath Palgrave and Rachel Summers

Make your own dragons, beasts and wild things to take with you on the journey

7.00pm
Communion With All Creation (all age event)
West Midlands Forest Church

All of creation is united with God in Jesus. In the celebration of communion, the gifts of creation meet the gift of God. We celebrate that mingling of all things in bread and wine with each other and the non-human persons who share with us.

8.30 pm
Night prayer – Praying With The South Wind
Paul Cudby Ancient Arden Forest Church

Reflective night prayer inspired by the four directions of the compass. Bring a torch to guide you home.

Monday

9.30 am
Every Creature A Word Of God
David Cole, New Forest Forest Church

Learning to see the divine in the smallest of creatures

10.30 am
Wild Walk with Wild Beasts (for all ages)
Cath Palgrave and others

Come and explore the grounds off the beaten track where the wild things are on this guided reflective walk for all ages.

12 noon
Bashing out Beauty and Framing Yourself (all-age craft)
Rachel, Miriam and Isaac Summers and Naomi King

Using the beauty of weeds to reflect and to pray, and creating Hapa Zome flags with mallets and fabric, in a short act of worship. Or using natural materials, create a selfie frame to showcase yourself as part of God’s beautiful creation.

2pm
Therapeutic Gardening – ‘Growing together’
Matt King

Find out about therapeutic gardening to nurture wellbeing, improve mental health, offer a quiet place to think and relax, provide access to new skills in horticulture leading to job opportunities and build strong community links.

3.30 pm
The Gorsedd of the Bards of the Grove of Greenbelt (all ages welcome)

Come and offer your own songs and stories, poetry and music in this DIY celebration of the acoustic performing arts.

6.30pm
Evening prayer ¬– Praying With The West Wind
Paul Cudby, Ancient Arden Forest Church

Reflective evening prayer inspired by the four directions of the compass.

7 pm
Closing ritual (for all ages)
West Midlands Forest Church and friends

As this year’s human creatures prepare to leave the Grove to its usual inhabitants, we give thanks for the Acts of the Imagination and imagine how we may continue to be a blessing to and with all creation.