Refresh: Forest Church

This past Sunday we had ‘Forest Church’. I arrived at Redwood Park at 7:00 am to stake our spot at one of the long table shelters. A father had nabbed the shelter across from me and was setting up for a birthday party. We smiled knowingly at each other, kin in our common task of squatting. The time passed quickly. There were tables to wash, passing dogs to pet, buckets of water to fill up for the relay races, bread to cut up for communion. I loved hearing the birds and watching the morning light filter through the leaves, all so much less stressful than making final edits to my talk, my usual Sunday morning fare.

At 9:45, four ginger heads made their way towards me, heavy laden with chairs, relay race supplies, and two kinds of coffee cake. The Hubbards had arrived, minus Andrew. I remember Jen pregnant with Nate—now, all three boys are taller than me, and such great kids. It brought me such delight to see their faces.

They kicked a soccer ball around as people began to arrive. My heart kept feeling that delight as I saw new faces showing up. Soon, the table was filled with blueberries, watermelon, coffee cake, chips and dip, donuts and egg casserole, warm hash browns, green grapes. We quickly outgrew the large circle of chairs, so John and Wendy made a new row, calling themselves “the back row Baptists”. Blankets and chairs began to spill out randomly into the sunshine.

After we prayed and filled our plates, I watched folk break into smaller clusters. I felt comforted to see newer people included in conversations with old timers. Summer took the little kids into the forest to see the fairy garden, armed with a walkie-talkie in case she needed back-up. Lucy set up her volleyball net. Katie and Dan brought out some big black drums for a game. Four teams of adults  and kids transported water and eggs and threw balls in relay races. People seemed relaxed and enjoying themselves. I felt a warm gratitude in my heart and said a little “thank you” to God for our unfolding—all we’ve been through as a community, and here we are: still full of love, still full of warmth and light.

People began to slowly pack up and leave. I said my goodbyes, thanking people for coming. It was after most folk had left that I realized I had forgotten communion! The grape juice, cups, cut up bread, all abandoned at the far end of the table. I felt forgetful and a little foolish. I had announced it before we prayed for the food, so people were expecting it. I had intended it to be a little sacramental moment folded into our picnicking. I went to the few people near me, “I’m so sorry, I forgot communion!”

And that’s when it hit me: we were the communion, the sacramental moment, tucked into the folds of space and time.

Deep peace and blessing,

Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor, The Church at Southpoint 

Worship Calendar

Location & Zoom. We meet on Sundays at 15639 24 Avenue, Surrey. Zoom is offered if you cannot attend in person. Zoom link. Meeting ID: 831 1690 9977 password: 753319

Listen to Sermons
Follow “Meditations from the Church at Southpoint” on SpotifyApple and Google

Catch up on Anne’s recent blogs under “News” on our website,

Sun May 12   Mother’s Day
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

Sun May 19 Pentecost
Acts 2:1-21

Sun May 26 
No service at the Sunnyside building
Brunches Together!

Sun Jun 2
Rev Rusty Edwards (CABF)
2 Cor 4:5-12

Sun Jun 9
2 Cor 4:13-5:1

Sun Jun 16
2 Cor 5:6-11, 14-17

Sun Jun 23
Baptisms, at A Rocha’s Brooksdale Environmental Centre No service at the Sunnyside building

Sun Jun 30 
Fifth Sunday Brunches Together No service at the Sunnyside building

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.

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Progress Pride Flag by Daniel Quasar (link)

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