Monday, October 21, 2019

Faith in Action

Normally this blog focuses on events happening at our church, but today I was reminded that church members have lives outside the congregation and engage in good works away from the church building.
One such couple is Brian and Meta Altenkirk. They were features in the Peninsula News Review this week because of their contribution to the craft sale at Water's Edge Village. 

We've had a chance to enjoy their work at various SPPC events. As shown in the photo above, Brian makes lovely wood things on the lathe and Meta creates greeting cards, but the products of their skill and imagination have a purpose beyond making pretty things.

The Altenkirk's have a daughter who suffers from MS. She was diagnosed at 21. She is now 52. Their daughter is fortunate that the disease so far has not been terribly aggressive. 
Since that diagnosis, Brian and Meta have turned to supporting the MS Society. Every penny they take in from the sale of their crafts goes to MS. Even if their daughter is not in dire need, others are. As Meta says there are many aids that people with MS need that are not covered by provincial health care plans. The MS Society tries to fill that gap.


So, well done, Altenkirk's. For 30 years, without fanfare or the prospect of gain,  you have contributed to the well-being of others. We're so glad to have you in our congregation where we may learn by your example.  Luke 10:34



Monday, October 14, 2019

With Gratitude

Rev. Arnie, our guest minister on Thanksgiving Sunday told a story about thanksgiving in New England, when the Pilgrims first arrived in North America. Their first winter was very hard with cold and storms and not enough to eat. Legend has it that some days each person received only five kernels of corn as their ration of food. The next year, after a good harvest. The Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving with five kernels of corn, to remind them of five things they were grateful for. It is the legend of the five kernels of corn.
The minister asked what we would name as our five gratitudes. So, for this blog, I thought I'd share my list.


  • The harvest. If you've read this blog much, you know I glory in the abundance of the garden and the orchard.        

 Give thanks to the God of Creation for all He has done.    


  • The people at SPPC who shared their harvest to decorate our thanksgiving table. Any produce not reclaimed will go to the Food Bank, so we have shared in many ways. 

Give thanks to the Holy Spirit who moves people's hearts to do good things.

  • The people at SPPC who take care of our property, keeping it tidy and inviting for all who come. This week, we had the lines in the parking lot repainted, so the lot is safer and more inviting. 

Give thanks to Jesus for teaching us to be servants.

  • A broken fig tree. It reminded me of the parable of the fig tree. Give thanks to God for His Word, our guide and our creed.
  • Faithful members of the congregation who shared their celebrations within our fellowship. Lois just celebrated her 90th birthday. She couldn't come to SPPC, so SPPC went to her.

 Give thanks to Jesus who turned water into wine so that friends and family might enjoy fellowship.



Five is a rather poor number when it comes to listing our gratitudes. Some time ago the Bible Study class studied Ann Voskamp's devotional "One Thousand Gifts." When I started writing them down, 1000 seemed like an unattainable number, but within the year, I'd reached the goal. Five barely scratches the surface.

Happy Thanksgiving. I challenge you to make a list of five gratitudes, then keep going, until you have a hundred, or five hundred or a thousand. God is so good to us, we'll never reach the end.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Earth is the Lord's


Warnings about climate change and the fate of the planet have been around for many years, but in the past few weeks the debate has reached a new height. 

In the face of so much fear, I looked around and saw a magnificent display of God's grace -- in the beauty and abundance of nature.
At church, the hydrangea have turned a deep red. So lovely, I cut some to use as a bouquet during worship.

At home my apple trees are laden with fruit. These are dwarf trees yet they could feed ten families. (I'll  take a box to the foodbank.)


The fall flowers of dahlia and zinnia blaze brightly in the autumn sun

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The maple tree makes my heart lift each time I look out the window.

Even the last roses of summer flaunt their beauty in the dying season.



My soul sings in response to God's creation. 

Yet the streets are full of fear.

Humanity has polluted  God's garden. 

We needn't look to the scientists and the activists for direction. We need only look to God's Word. Genesis 2:15 says that we are to care for creation. Lv. 25: 23-24 reminds us that the earth is the Lord's and we are but aliens and tenants.  Jer. 2:7 "I brought you into a fertile land  . . . you defiled my land." Prov. 12:10 The righteous care for the needs of their animals. 1 Cor. 4: 1-2  This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 

And in the beginning --
Genesis 1:21 "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good."





Thanks to Aarol for her heron photo.









Monday, September 30, 2019

Rev. Barbara Young in Memoiriam




Reverend Barbara was born in Windsor, Ontario on August 10, 1938. Growing up in a family with three sisters, Barbara’s childhood years were spent in Southern Ontario. She trained for the teaching profession in London, Ontario, and took a position as an elementary teacher in the public school  system. She married a young teacher, Doug Young, and after their first child, Heather, was born, Barbara became a stay at home Mum for a few years. Barbara then took a position in a local private school and she taught there for many years, and was much loved by students and colleagues alike.
In her early forties, Barbara felt the call to train for the ministry and entered Knox College, Toronto where she gained her M.Div. degree. After ordination, Barbara served as minister in Knox Presbyterian Church, Bayfield, Ontario and in St. Andrew’s PC Ailsa Craig, Ontario.
Meanwhile,  Barbara’s daughter, Heather had moved west to British Columbia and Barbara wished to be near Heather and her young family. The vacancy at Saanich Peninsula PC was an opportunity to be nearer to Heather, and Reverend Barbara answered the call to SPPC where she served from August 1998 to September 2005.
During her ministry at SPPC, Barbara and Doug faced a long and difficult struggle with her husband’s cancer which became terminal.
In September 2005, Barbara retired from ministry, a misnomer of significant proportion! Always active and enthusiastic, Barbara was heavily engaged by the churches of the Presbytery in pulpit supply. Her friendly manner, positive and hopeful sermons, delivered with a sense of humour, enabled her to engage with congregations as a welcomed visiting preacher. Her passion for preaching the gospel was evident. In the “Children’s Time,” her experience and skill as an elementary teacher was clear to all as she told the stories of Jesus.
In 2012, Barbara was married to Chuck McCaffree and she and her new husband enjoyed an active life travelling and spending time in the sunshine of warmer climes. On her return from Arizona each Spring, Barbara was immediately available for pulpit supply, much to the delight of her colleagues in ministry and the congregations she visited, including some community church congregations on the Gulf islands.
Again this summer, we had the pleasure of welcoming Barbara to the pulpit of SPPC, and there was a noticeable  gathering of old friends, both at the service and for the after service coffee hour, where many lingered to chat.
On August 25th, Barbara was scheduled to preach at one of her favourite churches, Trinity, Victoria, but had to cancel at the last minute, as she was experiencing some discomfort. At the urging of her husband, Barbara went to hospital. Later that day at Royal Jubilee Hospital, Barbara passed away. Her passing was a terrible shock to her family and to all the congregations she had served so well.
The service of Celebration of Life for Reverend Barbara was held at Saanich Peninsula PC, with Reverend Irwin Cunningham and the Moderator of Presbytery, Rev. Reid Chudley, officiating. Reid was in the  unique position to share that Rev. Barbara had officiated at his ordination, some fifteen years earlier. The congregations of many friends and colleagues in ministry joined to celebrate the life and service of Barbara Young. The service of celebration had the joyful and uplifting hymns that reflected the spirit of Barbara’s ministry.
Barbara's life of service to the churches of this Presbytery will no doubt, be remembered with gratitude. She will be remembered by all who knew her as a good and faithful servant, serving her Lord faithfully "all the day long."



submitted by Roy Napier.




Monday, September 23, 2019

Bible Study with a Twist

Bible Study begins this week, but it will be a little different from our usual sessions. With Rev. Irwin on leave, the students are in charge of the classroom. This is not an opportunity to throw spit-balls. Rather, it is an invitation to take part in the study as part-owner, sort of like a Bible study cooperative.


We'll use a video-based approach starting with "The Lives of the Apostles Paul and Peter." The film is hosted by Rick Steeves.
Rick Steeves! I never knew he did Bible based programs, is the usual reaction when I mention this. However, rest assured, he has -- and very well, too. Follow the link above to see a brief preview.
If you want to get a headstart, read chapters 13, 14 and 15 in the Book of Acts. 
Don't worry if you haven't had time to do the reading. Come anyway.

Many of us have been in Rev. Irwin's Bible study class for years. At the end of each session he inevitably reminds us that Biblical knowledge is not to be hoarded, it is meant to be shared.  
This is an opportunity to share in a very safe environment. 
Whether you're a theological scholar or someone exploring the Bible for the first time, please join us. You are very welcome. 
There will be coffee.
Wed. at 9:30 am at Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church, 9296 E. Saanich Rd. N. Saanich. For more information call the church office at 250 656-2241.






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Monday, September 16, 2019

Hot Dog Lunch

The weather reports kept us all guessing for days, but in the end, the clouds broke up for just long enough. We had our hot dog lunch outdoors and no one got wet.

Our chefs were particularly grateful for no rain, as they were stuck outside regardless.


It was a fun way to kick off the new term at church. Most of us are beyond school age, but the school calendar is so ingrained in our culture, Sept. feels like a time for beginnings. 

Thanks to all who helped, all who organized, all who came, and all who stuck around afterward to clean up. What a great congregation.









The young and the young at heart





Lots of food!


Just a reminder, Sunday School is now in session, choir practice has recommenced and on Sept. 25 Bible Study will start. We're more than just hot dogs!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Food Fests

On Sunday morning, our clerk of session announced that we eat too much but we enjoy it. I'll say we enjoy it. Here are a few examples of our gastronomic indulgence.

Betty had her 90th birthday, so we had cake.

We began the "out to lunch" program as an experiment in June. It has definitely been successful. Last week there were 16 people enjoying food and fellowship at the Waddling Dog. Our next event will be Oct. 3 at Good Fortune Restaurant in Sidney. Sign up in the narthex.
June at Smitty's



July at Spitfire


August at Beacon Landing

Sept. lunch at Waddling Dog

Don't forget, next Sunday, we're celebrating fall with a hot dog lunch after worship service. 


They say an army travels on its belly. I have a notion that Presbyterians do too.