Have you ever asked yourself why watching the wildlife in our backyards or tending our gardens is so fulfilling? Have you ever thought about the draw of the natural world, and wondered why going out into Nature isn’t a part of traditional spiritual practice? Well, wonder no more.
Open yourselves up to the stunning beauty and awe of the natural world, and you will fall back in love with all that God has created. Reconnect with our watersheds, the oak trees, the caterpillars, the soil, and rediscover humanity’s original vocation of living in right relationship with God. UP Wild’s Nature Prayer Services will help you to foster these connections.
On the last Sunday of every month, UP Wild will host a Wild Nature Prayer Service in Marquette. These events takes place at 4:00 PM at the Presque Isle Park Bandshell and will last for about 45 minutes.
For those who have never attended one, a nature prayer service is a time to gather outside in community, seeking the sacred in the natural world. During the event, you may expect a welcome to our bioregion, a wilderness reflection on revolving topics, the opportunity to wander and ponder, a sharing circle, a shared instrument song, prayers and incense, and a closing poem. Afterwards, the attendees can expect community time to mingle while enjoying tea and snacks. Introverts are welcome.
UP Wild member Ken Kelley described it this way. “The Nature Prayer Service always involves a simple, easily accomplished exploration of nature. Surprise! – I always find God in places I had never thought to look. I never forget, ever forget these places.” An anonymous member echoed these thoughts. “As we were walking in our ‘alone time’, a drop of water fell on my forehead, and I felt like I had been anointed with holy water- it’s a good reminder that this is holy ground.”
Some who attend are looking for an alternative to traditional religious experiences. One unnamed member said, “The Nature Prayer Service offers a spiritual adventure without the constraints and ritual of the traditional church. It is like a Picnic with God!” Another found it liberating. “I have been raised in organized religion all my life and I have been breaking free of all the programing and things I have been taught to believe so coming to these prayer/church events are refreshing and freeing. I can be myself and enjoy God and others.”
U.P. Wild is non-profit organization which fosters deeper connections with God through outdoor prayer services, hikes, and exploration of our Great Lakes bioregion. We are a spiritual home for the seekers of beauty, wonder, and awe; where the ‘church-goers’ supplement their journey, and the ‘misfits’ finally feel connected.
Our intention is to provide space in which each person may express how they experience the Creator. We accept each other’s stories, backgrounds, and language without judgment, knowing we will all be different.
Within the congregation of paper birch trees and squawking geese, we walk Jesus’ way of love and transformation. We listen and resonate in our own ways, striving to hear and respond to the spiritual needs of those outside of traditional church contexts.
Founder Lanni Lantto adds, “Deep within the Christian tradition there hides a wealth of wisdom on how to cultivate this relationship. It is time to bring this authenticity to the wild settings of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.”