Times listed are in Pacific Time.  Much like the staircases at Hogwarts, our programs like to change, so check back often for updates and more details. Or you know, like us on Facebook or follow the blog. We do have a mailing list and you can join it!

Current Programming

2. Psalm Study (Extreme Psalter!) 

Paused for now…returning soon.

Join Into the Wilderness for a weekly online psalm study. Meeting weekly on Wednesday and Thursdays from 7:00-7:30 am (Pacific).  (PLEASE NOTE: you can jump in at any time!)

Log in here:

How it works: We log in. We read a psalm together, meditate in silence for 5 minutes and then briefly share thoughts for the day. Pretty much done in 30 minutes

**Technical Details:  We’re using the Zoom platform, so you can pop over to and check that out beforehand. Of course, there will likely be technical difficulties, but that’s part of the fun of a spiritual practice. It helps to have headphones with mics. Rev. Leslie logs in 5 minutes early to help you get set up.

Looking for a way to jump start your meditation practice? Want to think about the psalms? The psalms trace the full range and emotion of a life of faith (or really, just being human)–  from lament to gratitude (sometimes in the same verse). Some of them seem completely annoying and outdated. We’ll read those too. Join us for teeth-gnashing , songs of praise, and more than one lament, and learn the beauty of these ancient poems and songs. 

Pop-up Programs: 

Daily Gratitude List:  Make a list of things/people/furry critters you are grateful for and share it to the Facebook ItW Gratitude group.

Lent:  Share about your Lenten journey — things that you learn, that inspire you, that challenge you. Feel free to rant. Or cuss. Or whatever. We are going to be trying to give up single use plastic again in 2021.

Easter:  During the Easter season,  Into the Wilderness welcomes you to a practice of renewal and rebirth. Each day, try a new thing and post about it here. Could be a new book or new meal, could be a new career or new relationship. Even could be trying to believe something new about yourself. Spirit is making things new again here in spring.

Extraordinary Time: Summer/Fall 2021. Ordinary time is a long period of the liturgical cycle, so we won’t do just one task over the next several months. We’ll have different challenges. But for this first month of Extraordinary Time, I invite you to do a daily post on where you are finding hope today. Could be something you see, or a practice that sustains you, or a friend who shows up for you (or who you show up for!) ALSO: If you’re not feeling so hopeful, that’s ok too — feel free to check in with struggles and laments and “the idea of hope sucks right now” commentary.

Past Programming


Epiphany is the manifestation of the holy/sacred in the world. Starting January 6, 2019 until Feb 13, each day we will post a photo or note describing a wonder in our day.

Psalm 23 Intensive

December 4-8, 2017. Into the Wilderness will hold a special online intensive meditation series focusing on Psalm 23 during the first week of advent (December 4 – 8, 2017). We know that Psalm 23 isn’t exactly an Advent psalm. We just like it a lot. So, join us on-line, each morning at 7 a.m. Pacific, by logging in here:

Daily Gratitude List:  Make a list of things/people/furry critters you are grateful for and share it to the Facebook ItW Gratitude group.

Also, to celebrate this year, we’re having an end of the month online gratitude gathering on Zoom. Come, say hi, share the day’s gratitude and celebrate. Register.

Advent Daily Text Prayer 

Basically, once you join you will receive a short daily prayer at a random time of the day (between 7am-7pm Pacific time). Let the surprise of it be part of the mystery. Let prayer enter in at unexpected moments and let it be an invitation to stop, to breathe, to experience the Holy in the moment. 

The daily advent prayer project is a collaboration of Into the Wilderness, the Congregation Church of San Mateo, and Plymouth Jazz and Justice UCC in Oakland. The project is created and hosted by Rev. Leslie Leasure at Into the Wilderness and daily prayers are written by Rev. Penny Nixon of the Congregational Church of San Mateo.

There are many ways to be intentional about bringing peace and spirit into Advent.  The busier we become, the more we need times to unplug and reflect on the things that really matter. So join us this year for advent!

If you’d like to support this project (it’s kinda time intensive) or the work of Into the Wilderness, please visit our support page. 

Extreme Psalter 

Poetry Meditation Group

Wednesday, 6:30 -7:15 pm Pacific. Starting April 6.  Each week we’ll feature a poem meditation that will work like our psalm meditations, only with contemporary poetry from a range of spiritual traditions. Log in here

Daily Flash Lent Prayer Daily, Feb 10 – March 27: Receive a randomly timed daily text with a short prayer or link to a short prayer on your cell phone. More info.

To participate, text the word JOIN to 510-256-3366.  (This number will be inactive during our off months.)

Live/In-person Ash Wednesday and Good Friday Contemplative Services

In partnership with our friends at Plymouth Jazz and Justice Church in Oakland, where Rev. Leslie Leasure, our curator, is a Minister in Covenant. Both services are at 7pm.

Online Check-in Group: Wednesdays Feb 17 -March 23  7:00-7:45 pm (PST)

Each week we’ll do a brief on-line check in with a reading, a short silent meditation, and sharing about our challenges and successes on our Lenten journeys. (or you know, rants about how damn much we miss chocolate etc) Log in here at 7pm.**

To celebrate the season of Epiphany (which runs from January 6-February 9) each day we will post a photo or note describing a wonder in our day on the Into the Wilderness Epiphany Facebook group.   More info here.

Daily Flash Advent Prayer: Receive a randomly timed daily text with a short prayer or link to a short prayer on your cell phone. More info.

Poetry Meditation: (ON HOLD) An online, short meditation on a poem every Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm. We read the poem together, meditate in silence for 5 minutes, and then share our thoughts about it. Wednesdays, 7:30 pm Online More info.

Daily Spiritual Practice Accountability Group: On Facebook, contact us for an invite.

Vacation Bible School for Grown-ups Summer 15

We figured we’d celebrate the grand tradition of Vacation Bible School, by offering one of our own, for grown-ups.

We won’t be making felt sheep or finger-painting Jesus (unless you want to!), but we will be meeting online twice weekly to do an in-depth focus on the Gospel of Luke.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO ATTEND EVERY SESSION  (though, it’s fun if you do!)

Each week we’ll read 3 books of the Gospel on our own. On Monday mornings, we’ll log in for an interactive online meeting that will include a short guided reflection on what we have read, and then  a discussion & check in. These sessions will run on Mondays from 7am-7:45am PDT, starting on June 22.

It’s a great way to start the week!

On Wednesday nights at 6:30pm PDT starting on June 17, we’ll have a mix of longer online presentations by faculty at Pacific School of Religion, guided online actives, and two possible in-person service projects here in the Bay Area.

We’ll wrap up with a live camp out retreat for folks who live in the area.

How does this work?

What Bible do I use?  We tend to use the NSRV version.

How do I log in? For the online stuff, you’ll need to download Zoom, which is the conference platform we now use. It’s helpful to have a headset mic and ear phones (like you use with your phone).

These are the meeting links:



It’s good if you can log in a few minutes before the meeting to test your webcam and speakers. We all have technical difficulties, so don’t be shy and try not to get frustrated…(it’s kind of a spiritual practice to deal with online issues….sigh)

Ooh! Is there extra credit?  Yes! These are optional — we recommend getting started by reading:

Reading the Bible Again for the First Time

Heart of Christianity

The Good Book

Sign up here:


There are three parts to Into the Wilderness’ Lent Programming – you can choose just one, or do all.

1. Opening ritual

Wednesday, February 18, 6:00– 6:50 p.m. Loper Chapel (First Church Berkeley, at the corner of Dana St and Durant Ave in Berkeley)

Come to the opening ritual to set your intentions for Lent. This short service will include an overview and a time to reflect on your Lenten practice. (It’s ok if you miss the opening ritual! You can still come.)

2. Online Weekly Service**:

Tuesday nights during Lent (2/24 till 3/31), 6:30-7:30 p.m.  Pacific

This service will combine elements of traditional worship with the open sharing of our own stories.  Each service will include  scripture, a brief reflection, silent meditation and time to share as a group. We will close with communion each week.

To participate, please have a candle ready for our opening ritual if you can. Also: bread and grape juice for shared online communion.

Register Here
Log in Here

3. Daily Spiritual Practice Covenant Group: Meeting online. Commit to a daily spiritual practice and check-in online with others for mutual support and community. This group will meet on a moderated private Facebook page. To sign up, contact

4. (Bonus!) Daily reflection: Written by folks in recovery and folks who are hella spiritual.

**Technical Details:  We’re using the AnyMeeting platform, so you can pop over to and check that out beforehand. This is a free service and it lets us welcome a large number of people. Of course, there will likely be technical difficulties, but that’s part of the fun of a spiritual practice. Only 6 webcams can be seen at one time, but we can all hear each other! It helps to have headphones with mics. Our curator logs in 10 minutes early to help you get set up.


Artist’s Way Support Gang:  The Artist’s Way has been a popular tool for recovering as an artist (hint: everyone is creative!).  While the book is set up as a 12-week program, we’ll be working on it all year, meeting at an online webinar once each month to check in about our morning pages, artist’s dates, and tasks, and meeting whenever on a private Facebook group to support each other. Last Saturday of the month, 9:30 am Online (meets for one hour).


Daily Flash Advent Prayer: Receive a randomly timed daily text with a short prayer or link to a short prayer on your cell phone.

12 Days of Christmas:  12 mystery spiritual challenges sent out via email and social media that you can do to get your brain out of the crazy holidaze.

November: Gratitude Month Activities

Daily Gratitude List:  Make a list of things/people/furry critters you are grateful for and share it to the Facebook ItW Gratitude group.

Gratitude  at Noon:  Thursdays, 12 noon, hosted by Rev. Penny Nixon. 

Gratitude is an Action Challenge: Twice each week participants receive tasks that are focused on expressing gratitude as an action.

Interfaith Gratitude Learning: Once each week join us for reflections on gratitude from multiple religions.

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