Strange Graces


“I can tell you that you will know “the strange graces that come to our aid… that fly to meet us bearing comfort and strength, that come alongside us for no other cause than to lean themselves toward our ear and with their curious insistence whisper our name: Beloved.”

Summers are for lingering. Swapping stories around a bonfire. Sitting in the shade and chatting with your neighbour. Picnics at the beach. After a long rainy winter that pulls us inwards, we need this extra time and space to be together. 

At Southpoint, we have this tradition in the summer of setting aside normal Sunday rhythms and hearing each other’s stories. This year, we’re simplifying our gathering even more—to 45 minutes, leaving more time for lingering over iced coffee and goodies.

The theme for our summer is “Strange Graces”. These words come from a line in a poem by Jan Richardson called “Beloved is Where we Begin.” Richardson uses “strange graces” for those things that happen which remind us we are seen by God, beloved by God, companioned by God, even when the road we are walking on is hard.

This is the invitation I am extending to us as a community this summer: to grow in openness to strange graces. I invite you to think about the strange graces you have known in your lifetime, and keep your eyes open for the strange graces that are wending their way to you this summer. 

Deep peace and blessings,


Rev. Anne Baxter Smith, Church at Southpoint

Beloved Is Where We Begin

— Jan Richardson

If you would enter
into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.

Do not leave
without hearing
who you are:
named by the One
who has traveled this path
before you.

Do not go
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.

I cannot promise
this blessing will free you
from danger,
from fear,
from hunger
or thirst,
from the scorching
of sun
or the fall
of the night.

But I can tell you
that on this path
there will be help.

I can tell you
that on this way
there will be rest.

I can tell you
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort
and strength,
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
curious insistence
whisper our name:



from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons
More from Jan Richardson at her website, The Painted Prayerbook here.

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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