Build Day at the Garden Church | Sunday, May 3rd

Popup2This is the day that the foundation of the Garden will be put in place as we turn this empty lot into a place that is ready to plant and grow in all kinds of ways.  Our collaborators from Green Girl Farms will be leading us in this exciting work. We’re calling for strong hands and bodies to come and work together to raise this garden!

Work: Noon-4:00 pm

Here are the tasks we would like to achieve:
– Stuff burlap tubes for raised beds
– Lay out beds
– Fill beds with soil

We recommend long-sleeve shirts & bandanas for covering nose and mouth for stuffing burlap tubes.  Straw can be scratchy, and has lots of debris that can make you sneeze.  Appropriate clothes & sunscreen for sunny weather are recommended.  Bring work or garden gloves if you have them.  Also, closed-toe shoes are required.
Thank you for joining us for this critical part of the garden raising!

 Worship: 4:00 pm

After we have worked hard, we’ll settle into our chairs and blankets for our very first worship service in our new space, and explore what the words “I am the vine, you are the branches” might mean for us as the Garden Church, raise our voices in prayer and song and share together in the Sacred Meal.

Bring your camping chair or blanket.

Eat: 5:00 pm

Worship will lead into our community meal, where we will enjoy hearty food and good company together after our day of work. You’re welcome to bring a side dish or drink to share.

Come for a part or the whole time, your presence is welcome wherever you’re drawn.

The Garden Church
419 W. 6th St.
San Pedro, CA 90733


6 Months on 6th Street!

Announcing The Garden Church Pop-up Garden and Gathering Space


Dear Friends,

It’s an exciting week in the land of The Garden Church! We signed a six-month lease for a lot right in the heart of old-town San Pedro. We are thrilled to be moving into phase three of our church planting strategy, having a space to plant our edible urban sanctuary, and fling open our gates to welcome people to feed and be fed!

We will be opening the gates on May 1st and together we will put in a pop-up garden and gathering space for a six month growing season. Starting May 3rd we will be meeting weekly for our Sunday Gathering (3 pm Work, 4 pm Worship, 5 pm Eat) and we look forward to being a community gathering space and communal garden throughout the week in many forms.

We’re delighted to be working with our fantastic collaborators at Green Girl Farms, who bring their gardening expertise and inspiration and dedication to bringing organic edibles and education to our community.

It is a moment to pause and express gratitude to all of you for the ways that you have held and contributed to this vision so far. We would not be here without you, and we look forward to sharing together as this church grows into a living sanctuary where God’s love is made visible as people feed and are fed in body, mind, and spirit.

Looking forward to being together in the garden,
Rev. Anna

TGC vision

Mark Your Calendars 

Sunday, April 26th Garden Church Gathering
3:00-5:30 pm We’ll work together to prepare to “pop-up” in our new home the first week of May.
Friday, May 1st  Opening the Gates
Placing of the Table and blessing the space. Time and details to be announced.

Other Work Times:
We will be bringing in straw and stock tanks on Friday, May 1st and Saturday, May 2nd. If anyone has a truck and would like to participate, let us know! Also, straw bales are heavy, and we could use all the people power we can get! Contact us at to participate.

Sunday, May 3rd Build Day
Stuffing straw into burlap tubes, creating garden beds, moving dirt, creating a prayer corner, we’re going to pop this garden church up!
Work: Noon-4:00 pm
Worship: 4:00 pm
Eat: 5:00 pm

Sunday, May 10th Garden Church Gathering—Special Mother’s Day Service
Work: 3:00 pm
Worship: 4:00 pm
Eat 5:00 pm

Sunday, May 17th Planting Day 
Time to plant the seeds, seedlings, and plants into the dirt.
Work: 2:00 pm
Worship: 4:00 pm
Eat: 5:00 pm

Garden Church Gathering
Every Sunday afternoon for the rest of the season
Work 3:00 pm
Worship 4:00 pm
Eat 5:00 pm

Theology Group is on hiatus for the month of April as we focus on preparing to grow our new home. We’ll reconvene in May in the garden. 

If you have an idea for an activity, group, or event, please email us at:

Garden Church Gathering 4/12/2015

This Gathering we’re meeting at Crafted in San Pedro, where we’ll be working in one of Green Girl Farms gardens. Our work time will include transplanting seedlings into larger containers, as well as the Crafted garden, and starting seeds for our future garden! Everyone should have proper sun protection, and garden gloves if they have them. We’ll then transition to a nearby park to worship together and share in a community meal. Please bring a dish or drinks to share. For more details visit our website or email Rev. Anna Woofenden at

We look forward to you joining us as we re-imagine church together!

4-12-15 Gathering

Location: Crafted in San Pedro
112 E. 22nd St.
San Pedro, CA 90731
See Google Map

Confronted by Resurrection

Easter 2015
The Garden Church
Rev. Anna Woofenden

So here’s the thing about resurrection. It comes when we least expect it. And in fact, when we don’t expect it. It confronts us–right smack-dab in the middle of our confusion and grief and despair. Like Mary, weeping outside of the tomb, I picture her, head down, in utter despair. And Jesus reaches out and asks, “Why are you weeping?” She looks up, and she doesn’t even recognize him. She doesn’t see the resurrection in front of her. Until he says her name, “Mary” and she is shocked, jumps up and exclaims, “Rabboni, teacher!” Confronted by the resurrection.

Walking through these stories, it’s hard for us to remember that the followers of Jesus didn’t know about the Easter part. Today on Holy Saturday, we’re walking through the whole story of Holy Week, but we also hold this space for what this Saturday day is–a place of waiting, and wondering, not knowing how the story will end, longing for resurrection.

This week one of my hometowns and church communities where I hold many dear suffered a quick succession of tragic and shocking losses. They entered into the darkness and pain of these narratives a few days early as they are wrestling up close and personal with darkness. As I spent time this week being present, via phone and text, I witnessed questions of how humanity can be in such pain, and how is it that we continue to inflict it on each other, where is God in all of this? As I sat with these questions and felt the deep pain and darkness, I kept coming back to these stories, to the scriptures of Holy Week. The stories of how the Loving God of the Universe, incarnated and walked among us in the vulnerability of human flesh, encountering pain and darkness and suffering. And somehow, these stories are able to hold it all.

This song we’ve been singing today kept living with me. “Within our darkest night, You kindle the fire, that never dies, that never dies, within our darkest night, you kindle the fire, that never dies.” Because darkest nights are part of life. And they’re part of this narrative of Holy Week. In fact, they’re right there in the story. Dark, sad, violent, hard stuff. Stuff that I don’t really even like to read out loud in church, stuff that makes me cringe as the words are spoken, because who wants to have to face it? And yet in holding it as part of the story, we find that God is facing it with us. Emmanuel, God with us, holding us, suffering with us, and loving us through it all.

Because pain and suffering and death is not the whole story, and that is not the final message. Because with God, there’s always resurrection, there is always hope. With God there is that flame that never dies, that divine impulse of new life is God’s signature act. Now I want to be really clear, believing in resurrection doesn’t mean that we skip over the hard stuff. It doesn’t mean that we pretend it’s all going to be fine. What God shows us in the ability to be present, by walking through it, fully embodying it, and then transforming it and giving new life.   And it’s that “God with us,” the God who kindles that flame within humanity, within creation, constantly with us, constantly calling us towards love as God makes all things new. And this newness is often not some clean-cut bookend on the other side of the story; life doesn’t operate Palm Sunday, then Easter. Life is more like the whole week together, the powerful acts of love when bending down to wash another’s feet, the triumphal shouts with palms held high, the dark depths of the violence of the crucifixion, the shock and joy of the resurrection, the holy waiting of this day. All mixed up together.

The hope of resurrection is that we know and are being held by a God who is with us in it. In the pain and the suffering, in the blah days and the wondering, in the times where we know and the times when we don’t, and this God, God with us—is always, always, always working towards resurrection, transformation, hope, reconciliation and love. 

This is the God that willingly walked the paths that encountered suffering, every kind of human temptation, and experienced the depth of violence and pain and hurt in the world. And then said, “this is NOT the end of the story.” And, when his followers least expected it, they found an empty tomb and the Christ shining brilliantly and calling them forward in the way of resurrection.

And Christ is still calling us forward, God continues to be the God that is making all things new, brings healing in despair, calls us to rise together and address the suffering in the world, holds us in all things. And continues to show us, to confront us with the beauty and light of resurrection. And likely, it will come and confront us when we least expect it. In the brilliance of a glowing bed of flowers on a dark dark day, in a reconciliation that we never thought would come, in the pieces and places in ourselves and our world where we name and claim the beauty, the hope, the love coming into being in the world.

The word is very near us, it is in our hearts and in our beings, let’s continue our reflection together…how have you, or are you, being confronted by resurrection?

Easter Vigil with the Garden Church and the Holy Ground Community

Saturday, April 4th from 4:00 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Holy Ground logoGarden-Church-Logo-with-Text_03

Two start-up churches come together to celebrate Easter in the beauty of creation. Join us as we walk through the stories of Jesus’ last days on earth, exploring themes of life, death, and resurrection in our lives and the world. We’ll end our celebration together with a shared meal, including a salad made from the greens our community has been growing throughout the season of Lent.

Bring a blanket or chair, a contribution to the potluck, your family and friends and a heart ready to worship together. All are welcome!

Location: Angels Gate Park–lower section, below Korean Friendship Bell
834 W. Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro 90731 See Google Map

Garden Church Gathering 3/22/2015 3:00 pm

This weekend we have a Gathering at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. We’ll meet in the park below the Korean Friendship bell where we’ve met in the past.

At the Garden Church we gather together in community to work together, worship together, and eat together. Come join for whatever part calls to you–all are welcome and all are valued for what we each have to bring.

3:00 p.m. Work Together

For our work together time Lara, from Green Girl Farms, will be leading us in planting seeds that will be nurtured into starts with the plan that they will be ready to plant in a pop-up garden come May.


4:00 p.m. Worship Together

Our text from John this week includes the following garden reference: “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24 We will explore together in worship what it means to be like that grain of wheat, what parts in us need to die, in order for new life to grow. Our worship will be blessed by the musical leading of Nora Woofenden, who will bring her voice, instruments, and musical talents to our community.

5:00 p.m. Eat Together

Christine will be making homemade calzones for the community meal. Please bring fruit, veggies, chips, a dessert or a drink to contribute to our shared meal.

We will be joined this weekend by Dr. Carole Spencer, professor at Earlham School of Religion and current student Travis Etling. They are studying the Garden Church as a start-up ministry for a Lily Foundation grant. They are coming out to see the Garden Church in action and hear the stories of what it is like to be part of a startup church. We’ll spend our “Eat Together” time in collective conversation and reflection on the process of starting a new worshiping community and I’ll share with the whole group where we are looking to move next as we move into our public launch.

Location: Angels Gate Park–lower section, below Korean Friendship Bell
834 W. Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro 90731 See Google Map

Rev. Anna in the Philly area, preaching and sharing stories about The Garden Church

20 2The Garden Church exists due to a large network of people across the country who have been praying for and supporting the vision to re-imagine church. Rev. Anna is heading east to speak, preach, and share stories and conversations about the work of the Garden Church.

Friday, January 16th at noon: Rev. Anna will be speaking at Bryn Athyn College, her alma mater, and sharing a bit about her faith journey and how it has led to the founding of The Garden Church.

Saturday, January 17th at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 18th at 10:30 a.m.: We’re delighted that Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Huntingdon Valley PA (outside of Philadelphia) will be hosting two worship services around the theme “Feed and Be Fed” and Rev. Anna will be preaching and sharing stories and liturgy with the community.

All are welcome to join for worship and a shared meal and service project, as well as a Q&A time for anyone interested in hearing more specifics about the Garden Church and ways to be involved and support this work.

Find more info and let us know you’re coming on the Facebook events:

We look forward to seeing you there!

From our hosts at Gloria Dei:

Garden Church” is a growing concept (pun intended!) in churches nationwide and Gloria Dei is blessed to get to hear about it firsthand!  On the weekend of January 17 and 18, we will welcome The Rev. Anna Woofenden, Pastor of the Garden Church in San Pedro, CA.  We heard about her good works through our field education student.  Garden Church uses a 3-part idea of church—work together, worship together, eat together.  It sounds like our Dinner Church or the familiar church potlucks after services, doesn’t it?  On this particular weekend we’ll worship together—5:00pm on Saturday evening or 10:30am on Sunday morning.  We’ll eat together—a potluck meal after each service.  And we’ll work together—after our potluck, we will package up the rest of the food for our Aid For Friends project and the Barbers will deliver these abundant meals to those in need.  Win-Win-Win!  The theme of the day is “Feed and Be Fed”—your pastors and staff hope that you will want to join in and do just that!

There is a specific menu for the potluck this time, as the food will be shared with Aid For Friends.  Please choose a recipe and bring it to share!  Recipes are available on the Gloria Dei website (