Walking at Church of the Woods


It’s the trails at Church of the Woods that provide access to the sacred space. This church has no door, no nave, no pews, no roof — just the woods. The land itself — the trees, the soil, the wetlands, and all the creatures that live here — forms the sacred space and shapes our prayer. We have a little barn, and a small meetinghouse under construction this fall, but we take pains to tell people that these structures, however useful and beautiful, are not the church. The church is the land itself, including all who walk here. 

When we began, in 2014, the forest was recovering from harsh logging. Piles of dead trees were jumbled everywhere. The little stream was choked with boulders, buried under a roadway. The entire 106 acres was traced with skid roads and slash. But in a relatively short time, Nature — with a little assistance from people — is restoring this land, turning a place of destruction into a place of healing

Foot by foot, we have been creating a system of trails to enable people to take part in this healing — healing of the land, of ourselves, of the world — simply by walking. The trails twist and turn around the contours of the land, passing a wooded wetland at one moment, through a dense hemlock stand at another, along a rocky ridge at a third. Green-blazed trails stay closer to the barn and parking area while the red and yellow trails (and blue, still under construction) wander farther afield. The network was designed by John Morton, a former Olympian who has designed more than 100 trails around the world. You are invited to read the Blessing of the Trails — our introductory celebration of this special place.

The church is open at all times for people who come in peace. Trail maps and a checklist for birds (and other creatures) that you may encounter are available at the bulletin boards. We’d be glad if you left us a note about what you encounter, think, see, hear, smell, feel. 

Come, walk the wild labyrinth. 

Church of the Woods, 92 Foster Road, Canterbury, NH 03224

Information about our weekly service can be found here.

For more information, contact Rev. Steve Blackmer at sdblackmer@kairosearth.org.