Monday, May 30, 2011

Whale of a Party

To quote from Jonah Man Jazz,  "we let our hair down a-plenty" on Friday night at the congregational potluck. 

First we had food.  (Don't we always?)

Then we had entertainment. Including keyboardists and singers.

We had a recitation 

and some silliness.

We had family harmony.

And we had  Jonah Man Jazz, featuring the Living Flame Choir in action, with the senior choir as back up and impromtu stage hands.

To view a video of the production, follow this link.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Laura Kavanaugh

On May 11 the Mission and Outreach hosted a presentation by Rev. Laura Kavanagh on her recent trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan as part of her work with PWS&D. 
 We began with lunch.

Prepared and served by our friendly kitchen crew.

During lunch Laura recruited a number of women to model the scarfs and Salwar kameez (traditional dress for both men and women in Pakistan) that she had brought with her.

  Here Laura uses her very amateur models to show how a pashmina can be arranged, to demonstrate the cool comfort of the tunic and pants and to demonstrate a head covering. 
She also had a display of colourful fabrics, used as bedsheets in the villages she visited, but useful as tablecloths in Western cultures.

   Once we were all at ease in our Eastern clothes, Laura showed a series of slides documenting her journey through villages where PWS&D is active with local self-help groups, in partnership with CIDA and Canadian Foodgrains Bank, among others. 
    Laura was part of a delegation,  hosted by Church World Service – Pakistan/Afghanistan, who provided local hosts, interpreters and security.   Her group visited Sindh province and Swat in Pakistan, as well as Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan. The trip also included meetings with officials at the Canadian embassy in Kabul as well as at the High Commission in Islamabad.
    The visit provided an opportunity  to monitor existing programs, network with local partners, and account for how money had been spent.  Because PWS&D receives funds from CIDA, this monitoring of the work is vital, both to maintain funding and to learn what programs are most effective.
   The delegation was able to see firsthand the improvements in agricultural production, and community health, and to plan further projects.  PWS&D has been instrumental in training community health volunteers in very poor villages and the improvement in maternal and infant health has been significant.  In one of the villages where these health volunteers have been working, the last infant death occurred eight years ago.  Previously there would have been three or four infant deaths every year.
  Although living conditions in this part of the world are primitive by the standards of our society, Rev. Kavanagh is cheered by the improvements she has seen and the plans for future projects. One proposal is for a girls’ education project in Afghanistan, where the plight of girls is well-documented.  Although remote villages are very conservative in their approach to women and girls, the response to the girls' education project has been overwhelmingly positive. 
   Since this trip was also her vacation, Laura took advantage of the sight-seeing opportunities and the chance to meet many people.  She shopped in the markets, travelled over meagre to non-existant roads and noted the contrast between between the squalor of some homes and villages, versus places of great beauty, like the Lotus Temple.  
    She also showed us pictures of happy, healthy children, women providing for their families with the help of micro-loans from PWS&D and girls learning to read.  Despite the difficulties and hardships, it is clear that PWS&D, along with its partners, is making a positive difference in this part of the world.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Men Want Most

    Have you looked up to the moon, on a clear night, and marvelled at the realization that humans have landed on its surface, and returned safely?
     I've been impressed, when visiting our favourite auto dealer's showrooms by the palatial aspect of it all.  Super engineering, total opulence!  Unquestionably the 'way to go.'
     Multitudes are led to believe in the invincibility of man.  that material satisfaction is everything!
     On August 18th the British Broadcasting Corporation gave to the viewing world the T.V. coverage of the royal wedding.  It was done impeccably.  More importantly than the pomp and ceremony, which in itself was awesome, was the statement made throughout; there is a factor in human affairs above the materialistic.
     We need to recover that dimension of faith, hope and spiritual values of the Kingdom of God.  Only the spiritual is eternal.  Only in God does anything have meaning.  Only when we are attuned to God, can we find inner harmony.

Peter Walden is a faithful member of SPPC, an author, artist,  teacher and ardent supporter of the choir.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Potluck with Jonah

  Mark your calendars for Friday, May 27 at 6:00 pm.  We're having a potluck supper.

  These kinds of gatherings have a very long history in the church.  Even Paul admonishes the church in Corinth that all members should share their meal together, not one eating early and another becoming drunk and another left hungry.  It seems that congregation could learn a lesson from SPPC.  Our potlucks are a feast for all with plates overflowing and plenty of left overs. 

Down through the ages, congregations have gathered together as friends to share food and fellowship.  The word potluck itself was first recorded in 1585.  Over time these meals evolved from a sharing of simple food to hearty country fare or to elegant dishes served in sumptuous surroundings.  They migrated from indoors to backyards, to barn raisings, to riverbanks, to penthouses.  A google search of "church potluck" turned up 1,830,000 replies, not to mention the hundreds of cookbooks promoting the "best potluck recipes" ever.
   During the nineteenth century a new wrinkle was added to potlucks, as well as bringing food, guests were required to provide entertainment.  And that's what we're doing at SPPC on May 27.  Following the meal, the Living Flame choir, with help from the senior choir, will present Jonah Man Jazz, by Michael Hurd.  But the entertainment isn't limited to the choirs.  Guests are invited to polish up their party piece and add their names to the program. 
  Fun, food, fellowship and praise to the Lord, plus it's all free.  What more could you ask?

For more details or to volunteer contact the church office at 250 656-2241

Monday, May 2, 2011

We Worship

Why is it that some Sundays, the worship service lifts you from your everyday concerns, strengthens you for the coming week and fills you with hope?  Other times, nothing seems to click.  For help with this question I asked Edna Kirk, prayer leader, study leader and minister's wife, for some assistance.  Here's what she said.

 It is a very true saying that you get out of a thing what you put into it. This also applies to church going and worship. How many of us pray about the service and our approach to it? How many of us pray for our minister that he/she will know God’s guidance as they lead us in worship?
       In one Bible Study I attended we were asked to prepare a worship service – choose a theme, the hymns, write prayers and a sermon AND then conduct the service. Those who participated realized how much thought, effort and prayer went into each Sunday service and they appreciated their minister’s work more.
      Praying about the service beforehand helps to get us more involved and more aware of what God is saying to us through the words of the hymns, anthems, prayers and the sermon. Next time you go to a church service look for the theme running through it and what God may want you to learn from it that will help you in your daily living.