Radical Joy Revealed
January 11, 2017

Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places. We hope you'll enjoy these doorways into places that are both familiar and surprising, and we welcome your suggestions, stories, and photos. Click here to subscribe. 

Rev. Stephen Blackmer in his Church of the Woods. Photo by Max Whittaker 

Rev. Stephen Blackmer was intently focused on felling a stand of beech saplings blocking his church's meditation trail when suddenly he paused. He turned off his chainsaw.
Shit, he thought, I have utterly sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
For Blackmer it was a rare moment of inconsiderateness of the natural world. He is minister of Church of the Woods in Canterbury, New Hampshire, "a place where the earth itself, rather than a building, is the bearer of sacredness".
Blackmer was a committed agnostic and environmental activist he heard a voice a few years ago that told him he was to be a priest. Resistant at first, he began reading Christian scripture and became enthralled with the many references to wilderness places as important, even conscious aspects of the biblical story.
Eventually Blackmer followed the urging of that mysterious Voice and has founded a church that, though affiliated with the Episcopal church, follows a path of reverence for creation. He and his congregation do meditative walks in the woods, make altars on stumps, and share their communion bread and wine with the trees. And, in common with Radical Joy for Hard Times, he believes that activism alone is not enough. We need to feel our grief for what we're losing on Earth and we need to reconnect with the beauty that remains.

Read more about Rev. Stephen Blackmer and the Church of the Woods in the current issue of Harper's. 
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Radical Joy for Hard Times is a global community of people dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Reconnecting with these places, sharing our stories of loss, and making acts of beauty there, we transform the land, reconnect people and the places that nourish them, and empower ourselves to make a difference in the way we live on Earth. 
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Each week Radical Joy Revealed comes to you free of charge with inspiring stories and suggestions for living with endangered places in creative, life-affirming ways. It takes thought, imagination, and a sense of timing to uncover and write the stories, choose just the right images to accompany them, and prepare them for distribution, and we could use your financial help. Please show your support of Radical Joy Revealed by making a tax-deductible donation to our non-profit organization.

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