Church of the Woods

Sunday services are at 9 am and 3 pm – come join us!

Our work at KairIMG_1286os Earth is rooted at Church of the Woods – a new kind of “church” on 106 acres of wild woods and wetlands in Canterbury, NH. In calling our woods a church, we are deliberately trying to crack open what it means to be “church.” We welcome people of all faiths and traditions and actively seek to provide a place for spiritual practice, for people who aren’t comfortable in a “regular” church, those who may be seeking alternatives, or those who long for a place and community for communing with both God and nature.

Church of the Woods is a place where the earth itself, rather than a building, is the bearer of sacredness; a place where people gather for contemplative practice in communion with each other and nature; a place where the church exists to serve a mission rather than the other way around; a place where people come together to learn, explore, and take action to transform themselves and renew the earth.

We envision that, over time, other “churches of the woods / fields / ocean / lake / river / desert” will develop in response and in community with us. Some of these may be somewhat permanent, some may be entirely transient, others may be simply wherever a person or group is.

For directions, or to visit Church of the Woods, click HERE.

For more about our liturgy and services, click HERE. View our CALENDAR for a complete list of events and services.

We’re working to make Church of the Woods fully accessible along ADA guidelines and we are happy to adapt services to meet accessibility needs. If you would like to attend an event or service and have specific needs, please be email us at info@kairosearth.org, and we will gladly make any needed adjustments.

Please email Rev. Steve Blackmer at sdblackmer@kairosearth.org with any questions.


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A few words about Church of the Woods from Rev. Steve Blackmer:

“I was one of those people who didn’t go to church, telling friends that my church was in the woods, on the river, atop a mountain. For decades, that sufficed. A few years ago, though, I was pulled out of the woods and into “church,” and then to divinity school, following the strange calling to become a priest. Somehow, I now needed “church” – and the combination of mystery, community, ritual, sacred texts, teachings, practices, and music that we call religion – to complement and fill out my innate experience of the divine as found in nature. At seminary, when I finally read the Bible for the first time, I was thrilled to find that I was not alone. In fact, from the very beginning of the four Gospel accounts of Jesus, the writers are very clear that Jesus prayed the same way I do, that Jesus “went up the mountain by himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23). Or he went to a lonely place, or to the wilderness, or by the lake, or into the garden. Over and over again, the Gospel writers tell us that this is where Jesus prayed, where his direct experience of and communion with God happened. I was stunned. How has the church missed this? Jesus is never portrayed as going into the temple to pray – for him, that is a place for teaching and protest. Of course, he is steeped in deep knowledge of the Jewish scriptures and tradition, but his deep communion with God happened in nature. Hallelujah! In keeping with this way – and especially in a time when so much of Nature is threatened with destruction by human activity – it seems only natural that my new church should be a Church of the Woods. My Church of the Woods is a single, specific place, located on 106 acres of woods and wetlands in rural Canterbury, NH. This local incarnation is both Episcopal and ecumenical, both Christian and multi-faith, and devoted to both God and Earth. It is be any place in the natural world where people experience and prayerfully enter into relationship with the Divine Spirit.”


Photos from the Inauguration of Church of the Woods:

The Pilgrimage for Earth (June 26-29, 2014) kicked-off at Church of the Woods. Pilgrims gathered for singing, tree planting, strawberry picking, and a Eucharistic meal.
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IMG_1293  The Canterbury Singers welcomed Pilgrims with some beautiful singing.

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IMG_1335  Pilgrims processed in silence to the Church of the Woods site.  

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IMG_1357  Rev. Dr. Tom Troeger delivered an inspiring homily on adam – “Wind, Breath, Mud Creatures.”

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IMG_1382  Pilgrims planted pine saplings, restored a stream, and picked wild strawberries.

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IMG_1404  Bishop Tom Ely of Vermont presided over the meal following a welcome from Rev. Steve Blackmer of Church of the Woods.

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