Wesley United Methodist Church, located in Fresno, California, is a reconciling congregation working to create a community welcome to all, particularly those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. When the church reached out to Nature Sacred in 2021, their 6-acre grounds were already home to a KABOOM! playground, community garden, basketball area, a multitude of large older trees, food pantry, and a collaborative arrangement with the City’s Parks, After School, Recreation and Community Services Department to provide after-school programs at the site. These are all key elements of integrating the church and the surrounding community, but the church wanted to make those connections even deeper and more personal. In addition, a tragic car accident that occurred in 2020 incited some of the church’s large trees to become a holding space for grief and healing, letting the community feel safe coming there to pay tribute to the life lost and connecting to the sacred in that space – a sense of support that the church wanted to continue in a Sacred Place.
The Sacred Place continues this sense of support and inclusivity, embedding cohesively into the existing programming and grounds.