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The Church

The Church at Spring Forest is a new monastic, mission community in the United Methodist tradition. We are dedicated to loving and caring for the earth, animals, and our neighbors, especially those who are displaced by forced migration, and those who have been harmed by religion. We welcome and collaborate with people from other religions and no religion. Our community rule of life is: prayer, work, table, and neighbor. This set of spiritual practices guides our vision and our day-to-day life together. Our community is both gathered and virtual.


Spring Forest collaborates with many other churches and non-profits in order to carry out our mission.

Our Abbess

Rev. Dr. Elaine A. Heath is Abbess of Spring Forest. Her vocational journey includes having served as Dean of the Divinity School at Duke University, and the McCreless Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology.  Much of her research, writing, and teaching in the academy and the church at large, has focused on the new monastic, missional church movement. She is a pioneer in new forms of theological education. In that capacity, Heath served as founding President of  Neighborhood Seminary. The author of numerous books,  she is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and served in traditional pastoral ministry prior to her academic ministry.  

You can find out more about her at:

Contact Elaine at

Our Ministries Include...

The Garden at Spring Forest

A regenerative farm that generates financial support for the ministries of the community through our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The farm also produces thousands of pounds of vegetables for area food banks each year. We have a robust team of volunteers who help with planting, tending, harvesting, and distributing our wholesome, natural produce. 

Contact: The Garden/Farm Team at (919) 283-6764 or email

Forest Feast

A potluck dinner around the campfire or by the outdoor kitchen at the farmhouse (or indoors during inclement weather), followed by a simple worship experience led by different members of the community.


Forest Feast meets on the third Saturday each month. Families begin to gather at 4:00 for kids to play, go for walks, and see the farm and forest. We eat a potluck meal at 5 PM, and worship begins at 6. Forest Feast happens on the farm at 1907 New Sharon Church Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278.


First Saturday

A multigenerational monthly social gathering with a pot luck dinner is held on the first Saturday of each month. In cooler weather, we often have a campfire.  Come and enjoy the forest trail, the goats, the sunset, board games, and fun. 

Families begin to gather at 4:00 for kids to play, go for walks, and see the farm and forest. We eat a potluck meal at 5 PM. First Saturday happens on the farm at 1907 New Sharon Church Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278.



Hope 4 Humanity                

An educational ministry that through webinars, immersion experiences, and reading groups guides participants into a deeper awareness of justice issues and advocacy for people who suffer from forced migration, and for indigenous people.


Contact: Lisa Bachman,               

Grow It!

A nutrition and wellness program for young families, Wednesdays 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Parents and preschoolers come to the farm for a multicultural experience of forest walks, learning about farm life, kiddie yoga, and a nutrition class and snack prepared by professional chefs with produce grown on the farm. GROW IT! is held on the farm at 1907 New Sharon Church Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278. 

Check our Facebook Page weekly for information about GROW IT! should there need to be any postponement or cancellation due to inclement weather, etc.


Global Friends

Welcoming and companioning refugees in their resettlement is a central ministry of The Church at Spring Forest. In addition to sponsoring families through World Relief and Church World Service, we offer a robust ESL program in collaboration with several other area churches. Our classes are held Fridays from 10 AM - Noon, at Pleasant Green UMC.  We also host hospitality events at the farm to welcome immigrant families and for social gatherings. Our Friendship Gardens are under development and will provide spaces on the farm for immigrant families to grow their own, familiar veggies from their homeland. 



Spiritual Formation

Our spiritual formation team offers a range of retreat options for individuals and small groups and curated small groups for spiritual formation. 


Morning and Evening Prayer

Morning and evening prayer are held M-F, 8 am, and 8 pm, via Zoom. For more information or to request the link for prayer:



Our oblate program offers a community for people who wish to practice the Spring Forest rule of life together. Our rule of life is Prayer, Work, Table, Neighbor. Oblates meet in small groups, monthly, for mutual support in living a life of hospitality and nurturing community in their own homes, neighborhoods and workplaces. An annual pilgrimage to Spring Forest for a retreat is part of the Oblate program. 


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