About Walk Church
With Walk Church, we move out of the security of a building and into the open, where we can experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in the wildness of nature. There we can allow ourselves to be surprised and challenged by potential insights inspired by new surroundings.
Walk Church includes many of the features of mainstream church, such as Bible reading, prayer and preaching, but all in the context of a walk that is 3-4miles long, with the opportunity of fellowship as well as periods of deliberate silence. Throughout the walk we are encouraged to pay attention to what we see and hear around us. During the walk we often share an informal “agape” of cake and tea.
What happens at Walk Church
A typical session looks like this:
- We usually start by gathering outside a church, with introductions, welcome, prayer and a Bible reading.
- We begin the walk. At various pre-arranged points, we will stop for readings, reflection.
- After the reflection we may walk on in silence.
- The silence will end as we stop again for prayers.
- Continue walking till we are back at the church, where there is a sending out prayer.
- Walks typically take about two hours.
Each walk creates a new community — we journey in faith, telling stories, sharing food, listening to the Bible and praying. We never really know how things will go, but remain open to being surprised by our awe of nature, allowing the landscape to speak into moment of our lives, and inform our conversation and prayers.
With Walk Church, each meeting becomes a pilgrimage and an adventure.
Why Walk Church?
The inspiration came our of the observation of the growing popularity of communal walking, with organised health walks and rambling groups. There are also people who are uninspired by the experience of sitting in a pew but still wanting to explore faith, with the opportunity to pray and talk with others in a less formal setting.
Most sessions of Walk Church have attracted a mix of committed churchgoers and people who are not part of any congregation.
Nature and faith
Walk Church is also about working out how faith can help us better value our natural world. Indoors, we have struggled to make the environment a theme that is exciting for our worship, but being outdoors lifts and excites our imagination and passion.
We may appreciate in our heads that there is an environmental crisis, but how can we respond if we don’t have passion and love for our world? We’ve really struggled to put the environment at the centre of our worship, and yet as a church we know it’s fundamentally important.
The writer and environmentalist Wendell Berry said: “We need to fall in love with the natural world again… We take care of the things which we love.”
Who we are
Walk Church is the passion of the Rev Alex Bienfait. An Anglican Priest since 1995, Alex has served mainly in parish-based ministry in rural and urban settings in Kent. He is deeply interested in re-imagining ministry for our times, and Walk Church is partly a response to this. He also has a life-long concern for the health of our planet and passion for incorporating an appreciation of nature within worship.
Alex took a three-month sabbatical in 2017 during which he explored alternative, nature-based forms of worship, in Sri Lanka, in other European countries, and at in the UK. The idea for Walk Church was a direct result of his prayerful thinking about his experiences. The first walk took place on…
We are developing a team to help develop the potential for Walk Church.
Find out more
Contact Alex Bienfait: firstname.lastname@example.org