Monday, September 26, 2011

Ferry Friendship

by Janet Smith

On a beautiful summer morning in September, as the church was not available for Friendship Coffee, 14 individuals met at the  Swartz Bay Ferry terminal for a 3 hour, relaxing mini cruise of the Gulf Islands calling by Galiano and Mayne Islands.

We couldn't have asked for better weather.
For many this was a free day out as our senior friends don't pay on B.C. Ferries!
We were blessed not only by the weather but also by the people who shared the trip with us.

We were able to visit with one another and also make new acquaintances with Eileen and Harvey. Eileen being a friend and neighbour of Patricia MacLeod and Harvey being a friend and neighbour of  Yolanda Csordas.

We even dined on some wonderful chocolate cookies, Scottish shortbread,  juice and more, in fact we had so many goodies that there was lots left over to bring home.
As you can see by the photos a great time was enjoyed by us all,  thanks to everyone for taking part, making this a joyful experience for all who came.

If you missed this event, it's not to late to be included on the trip to Ikea in Coquitlam on 25th October.  Come and join us, we'd love to have you come along with us, just sign up at the church.

With thanks to Michael Denton for the lovely pictures                                                            Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Clerk of Session

September is a month of beginnings, so it seems only appropriate that our five new elders were inducted on a September Sunday. 
 As well as nearly doubling the size of the session, we also welcomed our new clerk of session, Jean Strong. 

Of course, I had to interview her. <g>
Q.  What is the role of clerk of Session
A.  The clerk records minutes of all meetings and maintains the
       official binder for presbytery.  Answers all correspondence . 
       Makes sure there is a written record of decisions and actions

       so that everyone knows what was said and done. Tracks and
       records changes to "The Book of Forms."  Every elder is 
       given a "Book of Forms" when they come onto the session
       but it is constantly being updated.
Q.  What are your goals for your term as clerk?
A.   I hope the session is active.  Presbyterians have a reputation
       for sitting in committee and talking about things but not doing.
       I hope that we can make decisions and then act on them.
       I also hope that the lines of communication will be open.  I
       urge congregants to take up any concerns with their elders, or
       with me or with the minister.  Nothing is too small or unimport-
       ant.  If something matters to you, it matters to session.

Q.  How long have you been at SPPC?
A.  About twenty years.  I've been on session for twelve and in the
      choir for about the same length of time.  I've served on the
      worship committee, the stewardship committee, the Garden of
       Remembrance committee and the Leading with Care program.

Q.  What prompted you to accept the role of Clerk of Session?
A.  I'd been thinking about it for some time, the role has been
      filled on an interim basis lately, but it was Irwin's sermon on
      saying yes to God that helped me make the decision. 

Q.  Anything else?
A.  I'm really looking forward to the job.  I'll study hard to be up
      to speed on church governance and to facilitating the work of
      Session, but I won't be at the church 24/7.  It is important for
      volunteers to nurture their own spirits and for that I need time
      for myself, too.  Then I can come to the work refreshed and

Jean has been married to Jim for 58 years.  They have two children and three grandchildren.  She loves to spend time in the garden, hosting dinner parties and decorating her home.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Help Wanted

     As the fall term begins and programs at SPPC get into full swing, I thought it might be a good time to share a lesson from the Sunday School that I saw earlier in the year.  This comes from the senior class but the message fits all ages.

The topic was "putting Jesus at the centre of our lives."  The teacher began with a discussion of the many things that compete for the number one spot in our lives --hobbies, possessions, skills, friends. But Jesus wants to be that number one spot.  He wants to get our focus off worldly priorities and onto him. Because if Christ lives in our hearts by faith, our lives will be strong in love. (Eph 3:17)

The lesson moved on to an activity.  The teacher read the following story and the students acted out the parts.

   Control Tower Tragedy
Once upon a time at a busy airport, four renegade air controllers did not want to listen to their control captain. The renegade air controllers plugged their ears. Then they carried the control captain to a corner and made him sit there. The renegade air controllers marched out to the four corners of the airfield. Each of them set up their own control area. They began yelling at four airplanes that were buzzing and flying around the airport. The pilots and copilots couldn’t figure out where to land, so they circled round and round the airport. The renegade air controllers began to wave their arms. This made the planes go round and round faster.  This made the pilots and copilots throw up on each other. The planes turned sharply. This made the pilots and copilots fall all over each other. The renegade air controllers shouted even louder. By now the planes were running out of fuel. One plane crashed and rolled across the runway. One plane crashed into the people in the terminal. The people in the terminal sreamed. One plane landed safely, but then the last plane landed on top of it. The end.

Questions: Who was in control of the airplanes?
               Why is one central control captain essential for air 
                traffic safety?       
               Who or what controls your life?
               How is Jesus like a central control captain?
               What do you think it takes to make Jesus the centre of
                your life?
                What difference does it make when we make Jesus the
                 centre of our lives?

The students were then each assigned one of the following Bible passages. Matthew 6:24, 6:33, Mark 12:30; Philippians 3:7-11, and asked to create a "help wanted" ad for God, based on their readings. Here is the result.

The lesson ended with one more assignment.  Students were given an index card and asked to write at the top, one thing they tended to make the centre of their lives rather than Christ. Then they wrote a prayer asking Jesus to be the centre of their lives. The cards were taken home and placed in a prominent place as a reminder to keep Jesus at the centre.

As we return from vacation and get back into the swing of things, do you feel moved to respond to God's "help wanted" ad?

Resource for the lesson was
High Energy Meeting for Young Teenagers
Copyright 1999 Group Publishing, Inc.

ISBN 0-7644-2083-6

Monday, September 5, 2011

Rejoice with them that do rejoice

by Michael Denton

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
The above verse from the Book of Romans, Chapter 12:15 (King James Version) came to my mind the other day. I was listening to a conversation between two people. One of the two was describing the loss of a loved one and her pain was obviously very troubling to her. She was telling the man she was speaking with about her relative's struggle with Pancreatic Cancer. Immediately, the man said something along the lines, "Oh my friend's mother had Pancreatic Cancer and she only lasted a few months after diagnosis. He really was upset and has never got over it......." Her painful experience had just been "blown out the window." She wanted to pour her heart out, but was immediately cut off. She wanted him to weep with her.  Instead, he robbed her of the emotion she was trying to share.

     In almost any conversation between two people, the person being spoken to will relate a similar story or situation being discussed. Have you ever noticed that?
I challenge you to listen carefully to two people having a discussion and see if you can pick up what I'm describing here. I'm sure it won't be long before you hear of what I speak.

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
What is this verse telling us? Well, in my humble opinion, it's telling us to listen to the other person in an empathetic manner. You see, when someone has something to say, be it joy or sorrow, we must let that person "own the emotion." All too often, we cut the person off by speaking of our own experience. What that does is basically say to the other person, "I'm not interested in what you're telling me; I want you now to listen to my story." That leaves the person owning the emotion politely listening to the experience being told by the other, but feeling somewhat hurt and disappointed that they've not been able to "pour their heart out."

Can you imagine God doing that to us? Imagine speaking to God in prayer and He cuts you off to recount a similar request or situation of someone else. Would you feel good about it? Would you feel heard?
     I can tell you, it takes a lot of practice not to "jump in" with your own story when someone is speaking to you about their joy, sorrow or experience. I know we mean well, and often think it will help the other person to know their situation isn't unique, or that they're not alone. But what we are doing, whether we realise it or not, is cutting the other person off and letting them know that their story or their situation isn't important enough to gain our full attention.

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
And so I challenge you again. The next time someone is telling you something that invokes a personal memory, please resist the temptation to "jump in" with your story. Let the person speaking to you "Own the Emotion." It will make them feel much better. They'll feel listened to and will appreciate your empathetic ear, or the support you're giving them. There's always another time when you can share your story.

Michael Denton is the organist/choir director of SPPC.  For more about Michael, click here