Monday, August 10, 2020

Camp Imadene 2020

The link to this week's youtube service is

Camp Imadene as we know it will not happen this summer of 2020. No cabins full of eager campers. No cabin leaders wondering if they'll ever get some sleep. No kitchen staff trying to keep everyone fed and happy.

However, there are still opportunities to enjoy a day camp experience.  Check out these websites for information.

 There will be a lot of staff as campers will be separated into 10 member pods, each with their own leader, and minimal contact with the other pods. In preparation for day-campers Diane, Benjamin and Peter spent a couple of days making physical preparations at the site to accommodate COVID-19 protocols.

There was a hornet's nest that had to be destroyed. 

Time spent in the kitchen produced a little whimsy and a menu board. . .

. . .and some awesome treats. 

Rice Krispie squares?

Camp in 2020 won't look the same -- I saw a cartoon the other day where an older person on her birthday said she wasn't counting 2020 because she hadn't used it--but there will camp. There will be good times, there will be new friends, there will be God-talk. It's all part of our "new normal."

We are grateful to those who have figured out a way to make it happen and still keep everyone safe -- and kind and calm.


This arrived in our in-box at church. If you can, remember all the agencies who are struggling right now. 

As we reopen our doors to welcome our family members back to Our Place at 919 Pandora, we find ourselves in need of toiletries – ( hotel size shampoo, soap, skin lotions, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouth wash, dental floss, deodorant, safety razors, shaving cream, band aids, sun screen )  Thank you for your continuing generosity to the Our Place Family.  Items can be dropped off at 919 Pandora Ave 7 days per week at Reception.


Monday, August 3, 2020

Cheerful Things

The link for our on-line service this week is:

As the pandemic wears on, tempers are wearing thin and patience is wearing out. We can all cite instances of mask rage in the grocery store, rudeness on the street, and scoff-laws at the beach. It makes for a heavy-hearted summer.

So, as an antidote, I bring you a few cheerful things.
The perfect symmetry and brilliant colour of the rose pictured above should lift your spirits. Who can gaze on such beauty and remain glum?
Or a sleeping cat. Isn't she the picture of innocence? No matter how naughty she has been, my heart melts when I see her, so relaxed, so trusting, so sure she "has a right to be here."
For celebration this week, we have a 50th wedding anniversary. Rosemary and Reynold are celebrating that milestone. Another bit of cheerful news is that they have been able to move back to Rest Haven Lodge in Sidney. 


The bad news is our mission team was unable to travel to the Domincan Republic in March. The good news is, that money is not quarantined.
Here are pictures of the house that was funded by the money that would have been spent on airfare. This is the dwelling our team had expected to work on, providing a home for a mother leaving an abusive relationship. Our people had to stay home, but the work went ahead and  a woman in need has a house to call home.


And speaking of the DR, the Valdal garden has been generous with zucchini this year, so this bundle was donated to SPPC.  It will make soup, cakes, quiche, jam--
 whatever the cooks decide-- for the next fund-raising soup sale.
These sales serve two purposes. They provide tasty, nourishing food for members of the congregation and generate income for our special missions. The House Upon the Rock Ministry in the Dominican Republic is a major beneficiary of these funds.

If you are missing live music, Larry's group, Raven Baroque is offering a free outdoor concert on Aug. 3. -- Covid Rules apply. See poster 
Another performance will take place on Larry's front lawn on Aug.5, 6:00 pm. Call 250 652-5015 for more details.
If you have cheerful things, or not so cheerful things, to share on this blog, please let me know. The best way to keep the blues at bay is to connect, even if it's from a distance.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Saints Above and Saints Below

The link for our video service this week is:

We've had a number of losses in our congregation over the past two weeks. These were long lives and well lived, but still their passing leaves a hole in our fellowship. I'll miss one in particular.

Bill made his living on the sea, but church and the fine arts put life in his living. He was a long-time member of the choir, coming faithfully to rehearsal on Thursdays and church on Sundays. Even as he had to give up other activities, choir remained a joy to him.

He was also a willing and cheerful member of the chorus when we did Christmas musicals. Donating his voice and his considerable artistic talents to the show.
the ox and the ass were Bill's work
He would draw our posters and paint sets. He often contributed a piece to the Presbyterian Record art contest at Christmas. 

One year, his painting became the cover of the magazine.
Presbyterian Record, Dec. 2011
His art work enlivened the pages of our newsletter, "The Shepherd's Way," and he was a generous contributor to sales and auctions with the proceeds of his drawings going to various causes in the church.
He could be counted on for Bible Study and for concerts and the church picnic on the beach. 

Even in January of this year when we had our 2020 party, Bill was there, cheerful as always.

In ordinary times, we'd gather together as a congregation of friends and family and share our Bill stories. We'd laugh a little and shed a few tears. We'd hold each other close in the embrace of Christian love. We'd eat Blanche's shortbread cookies and drink a cup of tea. We would commend our friend to God's keeping and sing one of his favourite hymns.

But these are not ordinary times and we cannot perform the usual comforting rituals. The need to stay apart makes our grief even harder to bear.  This is a heartache born not only by our congregation but by thousands of families across the country. Death in the time of COVID is particularly cruel. 

May we take comfort knowing that Bill and others from our fellowship are now among "that great cloud of witnesses." They have run the race before them and are now at peace.

For All The Saints  Sung by the RSCM Millennium Youth Choir

Monday, July 20, 2020

More news

The link for this week's worship service is:

While the COVID 19 restrictions have been difficult for everyone, those in communal living situations have had extra challenges. For example, a prime reason to move into these types of facilities is for more community engagement. Kay took up residence in The Peninsula for just that reason. She was tired of eating alone. Three days after moving in, the dining room was shut down and she spent three months eating along in her room!
Life is better now as restrictions ease. The facility has made adjustments so that residents can dine together, two to a table, six feet apart. Since Kay is assigned to a certain table with a certain tablemate, it's a good thing they are friends. In fact, her tablemate is a neighbour from her previous residence so that has worked well. There are still no visitors allowed into the building, but there is a patio where outdoor visits can take place. Kay is also able to walk over to the rose garden beside the library and enjoy a chat with friends and admire the lovely surroundings. Medical appointments outside the building are now allowed too, so Kay can go to her physio appointments.

Despite the restrictions, Kay is very happy with her move. She says getting groceries and managing by herself during the province-wide shutdown would have been much more difficult than staying in her room while someone else looked after all that daily living stuff. 
She is enjoying the church services over youtube--and keeps up with the congregation via this blog. She's happy to chat on the phone, or would be glad to walk around the rose garden with "safe" visitors.


All the rainy weather has kept the tomatoes from ripening, but the weeds have loved it--especially the weeds in the Garden of Remembrance.
Linda has decided to take a hand. She has dedicated the time that would have been used for our Bible study, to clearing out the chickweed and rediscovering the flowers. One corner at a time, she's making a difference. The result is lovely. Thanks, Linda. 

The weeds are gone
ornamental grasses rescued and transplanted


My electric bike (E-Bike)  
                                                        by Brian Altenkirk

I have always had a passion for cycling.
Growing up in South Africa, I was able to ride to school summer and winter all year long. Even when I went to Medical school in Pretoria I rode to classes every day.
I have cycle toured with light weight camping equipment in Canada, Mexico, Chile and Japan.
Wherever I have been, I have met hospitable people when I needed some form of help.
More recently due to ageing and health my feet have been sending me a message that some help in cycling would be a good idea. I have always enjoyed the challenge of getting up every hill I could find without getting off the bike as well as simply being out early in the morning.
Now the E-Bike helps and the challenge has shifted more into how far I can go on a single charge of the battery.
I am never happier that when I am on the saddle and pedalling the open road or trail.
As the saying goes, ``Keep pedalling or the bike will fall over``.

Ed. Note: At the time Meta sent this picture, Brian was off to the Brentwood-Mill Bay ferry en route to Duncan. 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Keeping in Touch

The link for this week's youtube service is:

Today's blog is snippets of news from our church family.

Up until now SPPC is the only Presbyterian Church on the lower Island that is open for in-person meetings. So, it was only natural that Presbytery met there last week. Our wide open space was so appealing to the minister from the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Victoria, that he asked for help in setting up his own church. As Darlene and Joan had done research with public health and work safe for our opening, they agreed to go and help. Nice they can put their knowledge to work for others.

On Sunday, Gladys looked years younger. What's her secret? She has solved the "home alone" dilemma and adopted a cat!

I was very fortunate to be the chosen "match" for my 10 year old fluffy black girl.  Her given name is Jasmine, I wanted to call her Rosey, but Rosy suits her personality, so it's Rosy Jasmine (first and last names).  She's my shadow!     Meow, Gladys
Darlene has left the city behind and is now enjoying life in a country cottage. There is a fenced backyard for the dog, and room for a garden. The landlord has chickens that lay blue-shelled eggs and a rooster who crows. (The cottage walls are thick enough his boasting doesn't wake Darlene in the morning.)
In the field next door are 13 horses. 

All is a pastoral idyll.   Until . . .

Darlene decided to cut her own lawn. She purchased a small, battery operated mower and set to work with high hopes. The mower ran for ten feet then stopped. After it had rested, she restarted it and cut another ten feet. It stopped. Six hours later she had mowed the lawn, but not bagged the clippings and was headed back to Home Depot to change the mower for a gas-powered model.
A Toro at half-price seemed the perfect solution. Back out to the farm in Joan's car. (Darlene's is too small for a mower in the back.) Wrestled the mower out of the car, checked the oil, filled the gas tank, cleaned the spark plug then yanked on the cord, and yanked and yanked and yanked. Back to Home Depot, with Joan laughing the whole way. 
On to Canadian Tire to buy a Honda. More struggles to get it out of the car in the pouring rain. Ended up on the landlord's porch. Eventually pushed mower to own yard, added gas, oil, checked the spark plug and yanked on the cord. No start. Yank. No start. Finally asked the landlord for assistance. He yanked the cord and the machine started. It did a fine job of cutting the grass. 
Apparently our Darlene is exceptionally short and can't get enough spin on the crankshaft when she pulls the cord to actually start the motor. So now, she stands on the step, pulls the cord with extra leverage, then races around to catch the mower before it takes off without her. 
She reports that the handle, at its lowest setting catches her just under the chin. For some reason, she didn't send me a picture of that. 
Stay tuned for when she buys a trimmer.

When not cutting grass or weed-eating at the church, Tore has been messing around with his boat. Had it out of the water this week to replace the zinc blocks and do a little touch-up painting.


Until we can exchange our news over a cup of coffee on Sunday morning, we'll have to do it this way. If you have something to share, please send it to the office, 
marked "for the blog," and I'll be happy to share it in this space.

Meanwhile, follow Dr. Henry's advice, be calm, be kind, be safe, or listen to the apostle Peter "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."    1 Peter 5:7

Monday, July 6, 2020

Steering Wheel

Here is the link for this week's on-line worship service:
Note: For our in-house worship, as an added precaution, we are leaving the doors open to provide more air circulation. You might like to bring a sweater.

One more casualty to COVID-19 was our annual church picnic. At left is a photo from 2016, when no one imagined what would overtake the world in 2020.
As humans we tend to be proud of our ability to plan and imagine and prepare so that misfortune does not befall us.  Huh! Ever hear the old joke about how to make God laugh? Answer: Tell Him your plans.

I found these notes for a children's story as told by Dr. Kirk years ago. They serve as an excellent reminder of Who is in the driver's seat of our lives.

Steering Wheel or Spare Wheel
How many wheels has a car got? 4,5,6?
You are right if you said six.
Four to carry the car-- and you need to keep them in good order inspected regularly, proper pressure, good alignment, plenty of tread.
One spare tire in case of getting a puncture and it needs to have good pressure too.
One steering wheel --which is the most important one, if not properly handled it can cause an accident.

            Very like life.

Our main wheels are work, business, school, home. Life goes on wheels like this and it needs faithfulness to keep them running.

Our spare wheel is amusements, games, holidays--[church picnics.] We need these too otherwise we can get overworked and, like tires, tempers can wear thin. [Check out statistics on mental health issues, domestic violence, family breakdown while we are mostly denied access to our "spare wheels."]

The steering wheel guides the whole business of life. If it is in the wrong hands the car can be badly driven and can take the wrong road. There is only one safe driver with strong hands and a wise head who knows the road of life and that is God.

Some people think of God only as a spare tire - useful in emergencies - baptisms, marriages, deaths, sickness, trouble. They call on Him then but ignore Him at other times.
Life is like a journey. We don’t know what lies ahead so we all need God’s hand on the steering wheel. 
It is that final sentence that prompted me to include this story in today's blog. For all our sophistication, for all our technology, for all our education, we do not know what lies ahead. I hope our future contains church picnics and concerts and friendship coffee and a choir on Sunday morning. But that is only my hope. I do not "know" what the ending of this day will bring, never mind the coming years. 

But one thing we do know, ...the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you,

5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.1 Peter 1-5

Monday, June 29, 2020

Graduation with a Difference

The video link for Sunday's service is: 

Congratulations to Benjamin on his graduation from Stelly's Secondary School.

We've celebrated other graduations at SPPC, usually with a cake after service on Sunday morning. 
Not this time. COVID 19 has truly changed every aspect of our lives. 
Benjamin had to settle for a card from session, delivered in a unique way. 😀

Thankfully, parents, teachers and students have been inspired to make this year's grad ceremonies memorable--even if unusual. 
Ben got to ride in an antique Bentley as part of a graduation drive-by on Friday afternoon. There was a limited gathering of friends to watch a video of classmates receiving their certificates, at a physical distance, and a fancy dinner--held in a tennis court. 

Maybe all those students whose graduation exercises included a walk across the stage at UVic, a formal dinner and an after-grad party are envious of the unique ways the class of 2020 has found to celebrate.
Here he is, all grown up and ready for university. Hard to believe he was once a cute, blond chorister in the Living Flame Choir. If you search back far enough on this blog you can find pictures, but I won't embarrass him by posting them here.
The congregation of SPPC wishes you good luck, Benjamin and sends you into the next phase of life with all our love and prayers and the certainty that God has plans for you. 
"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

We hoped to be worshipping in our building last Sunday, but plans changed at the last minute, so yesterday was our first in-person service since March 15. No coffee hour, no handshakes, no hugs, no choir, no gathering in the narthex, but we were able to sit in the pews and hear Rev. Irwin live. There was no hymn-singing, but there was music from Larry and Tore and Janet.
two views of a "distamced" congregation

Even with all the changes, it felt good to be there.

Follow-up on the gowns for the Dominican Republic. 
Not only have the gowns arrived, they are being put to good use!