Nick Mayhew Smith introduces the New Creation Project:
The New Creation Project has been set up in May 2020 to look at creative ways in which church and church communities can engage productively with the natural world. Funded by the Susanna Wesley Foundation and the Southlands Methodist Trust, it draws direct inspiration from the early, pioneering phase of the Methodist Church itself, when John Wesley took to the parks, fields and churchyards to inject new life and energy into the Christian message.
The programme is led by Dr Nick Mayhew-Smith, a researcher in Celtic spirituality and long-term associate of the SWF. Its first project is to compile a practical handbook of outdoor liturgies and rituals drawn from the rich heritage of Christian traditions, everything from early medieval blessings of water courses and crops through to complete outdoor services improvised by Methodist preachers. It will include a focus on engaging children and schools, nurturing a sense of the sacred that spills out into the wider landscape. Although planned long before the coronavirus pandemic closed our buildings, this impulse towards outdoor worship has gained new relevance and urgency, a creative expression of faith that is also firmly rooted in tradition. The mission statement of the New Creation Project captures the spirit and purpose of this fresh look at the natural world:
To help communities and the environment flourish by inspiring creative and productive relationships between people and place.
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