Practising Kinship—”All-In” Style

Cherry Blossoms.
Credit: New York Times

I love the rhythms of worship that we’ve developed over the years, particularly our All IN / All OUT Sundays, which provide a chance to be together, no matter what age. For me, the beauty of our All IN / All OUT is not so much what we do, but that whatever we do, we do it together.

I am particularly reminded of the joy of togetherness this weekend, having gathered with family and friends in Toronto for a celebration of life for my niece Lisa. Lisa was adopted from the Ukraine at the age of 3 and entered our lives with a burst of energy. I’ll never forget meeting her for the first time. She and her mom stayed for a few days in our house in Bristol, England on their way home to Toronto. She couldn’t speak a word of English, but when we gave her chocolate cake to celebrate, her eyes sparkled as she devoured it. We took her to the park to visit the cherry trees. She stood underneath the tree in her little orange raincoat and looked up hesitantly. When we shook the branches gently, a shower of sunlit blossoms cascaded down upon her.  She laughed with glee, and there we were, bonded together by the universal language of delight.

Lisa had a big footprint. She loved people with enthusiasm—loudly, boisterously, and with great delight. Perhaps, because of her own early life experiences, she was fiercely inclusive. It was Lisa who organized the extended family zoom meetings during Covid. It was Lisa who insisted on babysitting for her second cousins so the parents could have a night out. It was Lisa who knew the names of all the neighbourhood children and dogs. It was Lisa who helped kids choose their nativity costumes and led the choir of angels in the procession each Christmas. Lisa loved the way her church stood with and for LGBTQ people. Her greatest joy was in drawing people together and making them feel loved. For Lisa, radical inclusion was the mark of the kingdom.

She had many obstacles to overcome, including learning disabilities and mental health issues. These challenges seemed to create a well of compassion within her for those who were suffering or on the margins. She said to me shortly before dying how she wanted to love like Jesus loved. As we gathered to reflect on her short but brilliant life, we realized that indeed, she had become our teacher in walking this way of love. 

Sadly, Lisa died of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS), aged 25. The day before her unexpected death, she had been talking with her Aunt Lynda about what life might be like after death, and she expressed an excitement about being with her Grandma Stewart. She died the next day. It was her grandma’s birthday.

As a practice of kinship, and in the spirit of Lisa, I invite each of you, young and old, to come and enjoy the gift being together, of being KIN, this Sunday.

I’ll bring coffee, tea, juice for the kiddos, and Timbits. You bring whatever light finger food you’d like to share—baby oranges, muffins, mini yoghurt pots— think continental breakfast! After a short All IN service, we’ll take time to linger and chat with each other. 

Deep peace and blessings.

—Anne

Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor of the Church at Southpoint

Worship Calendar

If you’re planning to join us for an in-person service, please read our Covid policy. It’s kept up to date, here.

In-Person 10:00 am on Sundays at 15639 24 Avenue, Surrey!

Sun. May 22 All In Service
Speaker: Anne Baxter Smith
Kinship IV

Sun. May 29  All Out Service
Fifth Sunday Fun—Stay tuned!

New to Southpoint?

At Southpoint, it all begins with God’s love. Just as a plant grows, it receives sunshine, so we grow as we receive God’s love. At Southpoint, we are growing in our capacity to love God, ourselves, one another, and creation.

We seek to be a community of grace that is intentional yet organic, spacious yet authentic, grace-filled yet accountable. * We are fully welcoming. *

We encourage relationships rather than run programs, yet we recognize the importance of intentionality and structure as we nurture life together.

As a community, we seek to put our love in action. We value helping out on Sunday mornings, sharing food, and showing up in hard times. We keep our church life simple so folk have time to build relationships with family, friends, and neighbours. We encourage folk to serve in tangible ways within the wider community. We rent space rather than own a building, allowing us to do more with less, supporting missions at home and abroad.

Curious to know more? If you’re reading this on Facebook, please visit our website (southpoint.ca) to learn more about us! If you’d like to really peek inside, sign up for our weekly Southpoint News, a MailChimp distributed email—you can unsubscribe anytime and will not be added to our contacts list. To reach out by email please write to office@southpoint.ca.

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