in a time of Eco-Crisis :
Restoring the Great Conversation
Spirituality and nature are not separate
5.5 hours (total)
Webinar is recorded.
“We are between stories. The old story is no longer effective. Yet we have not learned ‘the new story.’ We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation. By breaking that conversation we have shattered the universe.”
– Thomas Berry
Many of us are experiencing ecological and collective cultural grief right now. This grief is a call for help, not only for the planet but for our own souls. Spiritual directors and companions possess a key to responding to this crisis – using deep listening to help revive the sacred conversation between all beings on Earth. In truth, our calling can play a role in restoring a sense of beloved community that connects everyone and everything.
Eco-spiritual direction is a practice of including the more-than-human others of the natural world in the companioning relationship. By including the voices of the crows and katydids, inviting the songs of the stars and sunsets into the spiritual direction process, it is possible to help our directees remember – and “re-member” – that they belong to a great, interconnecting web of inter-being. Restoring the great conversation reconnects us not only to Earth as sacred but also holds keys to our own unfolding.
This 4-week experiential online webinar series, designed for spiritual directors and companions, offer practices and a lens to reframe our role — and help those in our realm of influence to embody their roles in the emerging new story.
Our presenter, Victoria Loorz, MDiv, is an eco-spiritual director, the co-founder of the ecumenical Wild Church Network and co-founder and director of Seminary of the Wild.
Victoria is also an author. Her new book, Church of the Wild: How Nature Invites Us into the Sacred, is recommended reading for the webinar series and can be ordered now, published by Broadleaf Press.
The price of the book is not included in the webinar cost.
Webinar participants do not have to purchase the book, though it would be a wonderful resource.
This webinar series is an invitation to:
The Transition from Nature as a “Collection of Objects” to a “Communion of Subjects” – This transition, coined by Thomas Berry nearly 50 years ago, is the necessary foundation for the work of Eco-Spiritual Direction. Victoria will share from her own experiences and the work of Seminary of the Wild to explore a deeper, more intimate way of relating to the beings of the natural world. Many people have experienced the numinous in creation. We will share stories and remember that we have always belonged to a greater community beyond our species. This is restoration through re-storying – allowing our experiences in relationship with more-than-human-others to take on sacred meaning, welcoming the “kin-dom” of God.
The Courtship of the Particular – Beyond “loving the world,” encounters with the sacred in nature invite us into relationship, a sacred bond. What does it mean to fall in love with a tree? What does it mean to hear the voice of the Sacred, of God, of the Holy speak to us from a bush that seems to be burning? Through wanderings in our local wildness, there may be one being or place that is alluring you into relationship. What might they be saying to you? We will explore how a relationship with the natural world is deepened through practices of wandering and listening, a “terra Divina” practice, and sharing our experiences with others.
In the Beginning Was the Conversation – Sacred conversation between all beings is an integrated lifestyle for most indigenous peoples and most earth-based religions. Wisdom, guidance, and a sense of identity are often found in conversations with more-than-human others. Session 3 will focus on a particular sacred story from the Christ tradition that began as relationality with the Sacred and Earth and was distorted through power, empire, patriarchy and control to mean the exact opposite. Participants will be invited to confront the distortion and consequences and grief of our disconnection with nature. We consider how re-membering ourselves back into a vivid relationship with nature is an act of re-sacralizing what has been torn apart.
The Call of the Wild – As more and more people are affected by the chaos of climate crisis, experience climate grief, and see that how we treat the natural world mirrors the way we treat other people, the call for spiritual practitioners who can midwife people back into relationship with the rest of the world is greater than ever. Session 4 focuses on how to bring the practices of a wild spirituality into the companioning relationship. What does that look like? How might the appearance of an owl during a wander while struggling with loss also invite a possible a breakthrough for someone we companion? We will explore the importance of spiritual companioning in the restoration of the Great Conversation.
Each session is recorded so you can watch at your convenience.
Victoria Loorz, MDiv, is a wild church pastor, an eco-spiritual director and co-founder of several transformation-focused organizations focused on the integration of nature and spirituality. She is the cofounder of the ecumenical Wild Church Network and co-founder and director of Seminary of the Wild, which is focused on a deep-dive yearlong Eco-Ministry Certificate program for all those who feel called by Earth and Spirit to “restore the great conversation.” Mother of two amazing young adults, Victoria now calls Bellingham, Washington her home, a beautiful land along the Salish Sea on territory tended and loved for generations by the Coast Salish peoples, in particular the Nooksack and Lummi nations.