Refresh: Grounding and Gathering

Communion during Wild Church, 23 Jul 2023

Remember: There will be NO service in the Sunnyside building this Sunday! 
We’re gathering in small groups to Refresh ourselves with good company and good food.
Our next service is August 6.

This past Sunday we gathered for church in the wilds of Golden Ears Provincial Park. We were gathering on unceded territory, home since time immemorial to the Katzie and Douglas-Lillooet First Nations. We were in the Alouette River watershed, which has fed and sustained them for centuries.

A small watershed that begins in the Coastal Mountains of Golden Ears Provincial Park, the upper watershed flows into a reservoir, which we call Alouette Lake. The water flows out of the lake, enters Pitt River, then joins the Fraser River, and finally enters the sea. 

Before 1925, all seven species of salmon were found in abundance here—Coho, Chum, Chinook, Pink Sockeye, Steelhead, and Cutthroat trout. In 1908, amidst talk of installing a power dam on the river, J. J. Wilson Hammon, officer of the federal Fisheries Department, warned that a dam would dry up the lower river. The steelhead and sockeye would not be able to ascend the lakes to spawn, and the result would be disastrous.

In 1935, the dam was built anyway, without any provisions to allow fish to bypass it. While meagre measures have been taken to somewhat restore the migration patterns of some species, building a fishway, also known as a fish ladder, over the Alouette Dam would grant all species of salmon access to the Alouette Reservoir, opening up substantial new habitat upstream, and permitting all species of salmon to thrive.

Despite years of petitions and studies and partnerships, this fishway has not been built. In 2022, the Katzie First Nation sued B.C. Hydro and the provincial government to force them to address the harm caused by the dam, including the decimation of salmon stocks. The cost of a fishway isn’t excessive. I find myself wondering, why hasn’t this been built? 

To learn more about the Alouette River and the need for a fish ladder, begin your reading here: Alouette Watershed. You can find lots of newspaper articles and scientific studies out there as well. 

This watershed and the fish who call it home, like everything else in the natural world, are part of God’s beloved community. Everything in the natural world is a part of this beloved community.

“Each and every creature is a unique word of God, with its own message, its own metaphor, its own energetic style, its own way of showing forth goodness, beauty, and participation in the Great Mystery. Each creature has its own glow and its own unique glory.” —Richard Rohr

Feeling yourself gathered up within nature, and grounding yourself within nature is refreshing! It’s why church attendance slows down in the summer: we are out there, enjoying ourselves!

While we are in nature, we can learn the stories of the places we visit. We can slow down and  learn the names of plants and animals that we see. For example, Craig and I visited a marine science centre and came away with a whole new appreciation for how a starfish feeds. As we come to really see and know these creatures, we will come to appreciate them afresh. We care for what we love and appreciate. We can be renewed and refreshed by spending time in nature, for sure! AND, we can also be part of a movement to renew and refresh this natural world that we know and love. 

Summer Refresh Tip: If you go to iNaturalist, you can explore the species that live in your neighbourhood. Their Seek app allows you to take photos to identify plants and animals! Start taking walks in the pockets of wild spaces around where you live. See how many species you can introduce yourself to, learning their names and observing how they show up in the world.

The sun is warm, drawing us outside. Can you feel it?  We are emerging from spiritual cocoons, old containers that no longer fit us. We are moving from being inside, cut off, and isolated, to being outside, immersed, and connected. From using the resources of this land, to protecting the resources of this land. From worshiping not just in the forest, but with the forest.

Deep peace and blessing,

Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor, Church at Southpoint

(1) Forest Sunday
(2) Land Sunday
(3) Wilderness Sunday

Worship Calendar

Location & Zoom. We meet on Sundays at 15639 24 Avenue, Surrey. Zoom is offered if you cannot attend in person. If you have trouble with the zoom link, use: meeting ID: 831 1690 9977 with password: 753319

Sermons Are Podcasted
Catch up on Southpoint sermons by finding the podcast “Meditations from the Church at Southpoint” on Spotify, Apple and Google. They’re also available on our website:

Sun Oct 1  Joy Banks
Refreshing Our Imagination
Introducing our Core Images.
Isaiah 55

Sun Oct 8   Jake Tucker
Thanksgiving Sunday
The God of Small Things
Luke 13: 18-21

Sun Oct 15  Anne Baxter Smith
John 4:1-42 (**v 13-14)

Sun Oct 22 ALL OUT
No service in the Sunnyside building

For our next All-OUT Sunday, we’ll be splitting up into three ‘teams’ to enjoy a mixture of work and play near the ocean. Folks on the green team will get to join an invasive species removal event hosted by Green Teams Lower Mainland at Ruth Johnson Park. Just a short walk down from the park, folks on the blue team will participate in a beach clean-up walk. Finally, anyone who’d prefer coffee and conversation at the cafe can join the brown team — you are encouraged to bring brownies with you! 🙂 

Sun Oct 29 Fifth Sunday Brunches
No service in the Sunnyside building

Sun Nov 5   Anne Baxter Smith
Matthew 14:13-21

Sun Nov 12  Anne Baxter Smith
John 21: 1-14

Sun Nov 19 Anne Baxter Smith
Mark 4: 26-29, Ps 26:5,6

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?

These six slides express what motivates our ministry (best viewed on a monitor). Here’s the bio of our Pastor, Rev. Anne Baxter Smith.

If you’d like to really peek inside, sign up for our weekly Southpoint News (scroll to brown footer at bottom of page). The Southpoint News is a MailChimp distributed email—you can unsubscribe anytime and will not be added to our contacts list. Email us at Website:

Progress Pride Flag by Daniel Quasar (link)

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