The Story of the Sanctuary
Like all beautiful things, the Sanctuary began as a gift - a 40 acre parcel of land in rural Connecticut granted by the Shepard family to create a community land trust. Incorporated in 1995, The Sanctuary at Shepardfields is the non-profit organization which holds that land in trust, and is chartered to promote environmental education and inter-spiritual practice. Stewarding the land and hosting a diverse community of stakeholders, the Sanctuary offers sacred space and educational resources for personal transformation, community development and the restoration of the environment.
That gift continues to give, sustained by reciprocal gifts of financial, in-kind, emotional and spiritual support by the Sanctuary’s colorful community of folks dedicated to sustainable, conscious, compassionate and creative living.
Begun by a small spiritual community dedicated to radical inclusiveness, interfaith understanding, and learning to walk in harmony with the earth, the Sanctuary has become an important hub in the lower Connecticut River estuary for communities of people seeking opportunities to connect - to each other, to nature and to Spirit - in the outdoor church of Nature and without dogmas of traditional religious practices.
Working on a shoe-string budget funded directly through donations by guests and members of its extended tribe of stakeholders, the Sanctuary now offers a variety of innovative learning opportunities and community-building events, serving as a leading edge workshop for sustainable living, holistic health, and for celebrating and practicing the art of community.
Some of the things the Sanctuary currently offers:
• A 40 acre community land trust maintained as accessible open space for individual retreats and community events.
• Nearly 40 acres of prisine, pesticide-free habitat for polinators and thriving beaver population.
• Support for the local music, arts and dance culture through festivals such as the Local Music Tribal Summit.
• Environmental education through workshops and showcasing green technologies for affordable, low-tech, non-violent sustainable living, such as permaculture gardening, green building techniques, organic bee keeping foraging.
• A community-building hub for groups near and far.
• Partnerships with local schools to offer innovative hands-on educational experiences in green building, organic farming, wellness and mindfulness training.
• Innovative educational experiences: learning ecologies, workshops in sacred geometry, sound healing, kundalini yoga and trapeze.
• Mindfulness training offered as a free public service every Sunday.
• Intergenerational, radically-inclusive, community-building events, like the Local Music Tribal Summit.
• Sacred space: peaceful, beautiful, safe and supportive environment for retreat, healing and celebrating.
• Forging partnerships with Native American traditions, including workshops and seminars from members of the Lakota Sioux and Pequot Trives.
• Contributing to the lower CT River Valley’s identity as locus of progressive, evolving consciousness.
With additional funding, the Sanctuary will develop its educational resources and facilities, to serve a larger community of stakeholders, and to offer a more comprehensive platform of sustainability.