Date of Award


Document Type

Project Portfolio

Degree Name

Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives (DLd)



First Advisor

Trisha Welstad, DLd

Second Advisor

Kristin Hamilton, DLd

Third Advisor

Jason Swan Clark, DMin, PhD


The Covid-19 Pandemic has created an opportunity in local churches of the Pacific Northwest to develop new ways of connecting to God and improving health through movement in nature. The Pandemic damaged physical, mental, and social wellness for individuals and communities, as well as highlighted areas of dysfunction existent before the Pandemic. Research shows that when human beings engage with nature, they experience improved physical, psychological, cognitive, and spiritual health. Through activities such as running, walking, or simply sitting still in a natural environment, participants have the opportunity to deepen their relationship with God and strengthen their identity and understanding of their connectedness in the world. This project is designed for local congregations in the Pacific Northwest. Congregations in the Northwest are poised to offer a meaningful opportunity for growth and health, given a variety of defining characteristics. These characteristics include the congregations’ unique proximity to nature and the spiritual context of the region. They also include current and emerging scientific research regarding the benefits of the human-nature relationship. In addition, they include the local churches’ need to design relevant spiritual routines for attendees and neighbors and the post-pandemic condition. This doctoral project is an outdoor, experiential model designed to provide people with opportunities to connect with nature, while integrating Scripture, scientific knowledge, and movement. A scriptural focus uses the sermon series of the local church. Activities are designed for both groups and individuals. Through the incorporation of scientific research findings regarding the benefits of nature on human health, this project challenges participants to deepen their knowledge of and relationship with God, improve health, and strengthen their identity by exploring the natural connections embedded in the design of all creation and intended for lifestyles of wellbeing.