Outdoor Church

20 sessions to take church outside the building for children and families

Sally Welch

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Helping churches to reconnect and value their environment.

A creative worship and activity resource for churches to use outside the church building, Outdoor Church functions in any green space and is suitable for churches in urban, suburban and rural contexts.

  • Four sessions for each season
  • Four stand-alone service outlines, one for each season
  • Material based on Bible stories and parables
  • All-age activities and seasonal prayers
  • Indoor alternatives for rainy days

Download beginning and ending responses and view photos from the book

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Author info

Sally Welch is a parish priest in the Diocese of Oxford who has spent many years working with families and young children. Her interest in church outdoors springs from a concern for the declining quality of relationship between people and their natural environment.


Country Way magazine - September 2016

In Outdoor Church, Sally Welch has given us a creative and user-friendly book which is an excellent new addition to her collection of worship resources.

This book offers a thoughtful approach and contains lots of practical help to enable churches to make use of the outdoor environment for Christian activities and worship. It is aimed at work with families and children, but the service outlines and activities could easily be adapted for other ages and groups.

There is a helpful introductory section, with a persuasive theological and environmental rationale for taking church outdoors. The section on 'Getting Started' includes advice on choosing and arranging a suitable site for a particular group or activity. There are also chapters on the important themes of safety and equipment.

The heart of the book is a year's programme of themes and activities arranged around four key markers in the Christian year - Rogation (spring), Pentecost (summer), Michaelmas (autumn) and Candlemas (winter). Each season contains outlines for four sessions and a celebration event based on stories from the Gospels, many of them parables.

Each event has the same basic outline, which will help to make them accessible both for regular or occasional visitors to the sessions: a time of sharing the Bible passage is followed by a reflection and then a related activity. After this, there is collecting (often natural objects); creating (with the items that have been collected); feasting (making something edible to share and enjoy) and celebrating (a game, craft or group activity).

The book includes short liturgies for the beginning and end of each session, which can be photocopied for use with a group. There is a further section at the back of the book with suggestions for an extended range of prayer activities.

This is a welcome and practical book. I bought copies for our Forest Church team as soon as it was published, and I have no doubt that Sally Welch's wisdom and suggestions will inspire us when we plan for next year.

Revd Caroline Hewlett

Methodist Recorder - 1 April 2016

Outdoor Church by Sally Welch (Barnabas for Children, GBP8.99), subtitled '20 sessions to take church outside the building for children and families', is appropriate for use in urban, suburban and rural contexts. The book is organised in two parts, the first containing information and advice on the preparation and delivery of outdoor projects, and the second offering seasonal activities and crafts based on the parables of Jesus. And if the heavens should open, there are even indoor alternatives for rainy days.

Every church that is serious about developing its work with children and families should include this book in its resources.

John Singleton

Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857464163
  • Published: 19 February 2016
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
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