Monday, June 25, 2012

Church picnic 2012

  One of the staples of the church year is the annual church picnic.  Some are held in a woodland, some in a farmer's field and some in the parking lot.  Ours was held at Island View Beach.  Despite predictions of rain, we had blue skies and sunshine, if a little windy.

   There were four legged visitors:

    Lots of games and races:

    Some worked to keep warm:

   Others enjoyed the food:

   Someone lost a tooth.
    And one little one slept peacefully through it all.

      Sunday School is out.  Happy Summer, everyone.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nepal Night

with notes and slides from Linda Cliff

   Friday evening was Nepal night at SPPC.  Regular readers of this blog know that Linda Cliff spent several weeks in that country last Fall, helping to train hospice nurses.  On Friday, she shared her stories and her pictures with the congregation.
  Of course, we started with food, and wonderful food it was.  
    Then Linda talked about her experiences in a country that is an odd mixture of third world and first world.

Nepal has a population of 29 million people
Average age 20.  Most people  live on less than $2.00 US.
Life expectancy is 62 years.

 Quite by accident Linda and her companions met the "Living Goddess,"  a young girl who is treated as sacred and who seemed quite frightened of these odd Westerners.  

 Then she left a hidden and sacred place to take her chances in the "modern" traffic of Nepal. Buses, cars, cows, goats, dogs and pedestrians all traverse the same narrow path.  Linda believes it was prayer that kept them from some horrific accident on the roads.
This is a picture of a woman being admitted to the hospice in Baratpur where Linda worked.  Her husband will stay with her to care for her during her treatment.  The hospice will supply medical services but the family must look after daily care.  The next picture shows the mat under the bed where the family member will sleep.  The family provides food and does laundry for the patient.  Interestingly, in a country where only 0.5% of the population is Christian, the church is recognized as special.  If there is no one else to care for a patient, the hospice calls the Christian church and they will provide for the necessities of life, even for those considered "untouchable" by others.
  When not working at the hospice Linda explored the country.  Here is a group of school children, note the uniforms.  Education is given a very high priority among the Nepalese.
    She also attended church services and enjoyed the children of the Sunday school.  Sunday school happens after the service is over and is attended by hordes of children, from outside the congregation as well as those within.
   At the other end of the age spectrum is this woman, tired out from long hours of thrashing rice, she has lain down in the straw for a rest. 
    Her time in Nepal fulfilled a life-long dream for Linda, a dream of serving in the mission field.  It also taxed her health and her 
tolerance for dirt!

 Thank you, Linda, for your service and for sharing your experiences with us. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Happenin' Place

 SPPC  has been a busy place this past few weeks.   It started with a kitchen clean up.  It seems to me the workers had far too much fun! 
Then we had a concert by Hector's Friends, a men's ensemble who sing mostly unaccompanied music, led by our own Michael Denton.
As is the custom at SPPC, the concert was followed by a reception featuring lots of homemade goodies.
Then, on Saturday months of preparation and planning culminated in a giant garage sale.   Members of the congregation brought mountains of stuff to sell then bought mountains of stuff to take back home.

And what's a garage sale without
face painting and a bake sale?

Thanks to all to brought and all who bought, to all who sorted and priced and to all who cleaned up afterward.  Your efforts have enriched the church coffers by over $1000.00.
If you missed these parties, there is still hope.  On Friday, June 15, we are having a pot luck supper followed by a presentation from Linda Cliff, featuring slides of her recent trip to Nepal.  Then, on Sunday, June 24, pack your hamper for the church picnic, to be held at Island View Beach, following worship.
Such are the joys of living in a church community.

Ed. Note:  For larger view, click on pictures.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Living Water

by E. Saanich Musings

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 

John 4: 13-14

In Canada we completely take water for granted. My children swim in it, bathe in it, let it run in the garden while they play in it. We leave the hose running
while we wash the car. We pay no heed to the faucet that drips occasionally.
   When we're thirsty we drink
tumblers of it; when we have aches we either heat it and put it in a hot water bottle and apply it to our injury or freeze it, apply it and then throw it away when we're done.

Well my new tomatoes don't take it for granted! They do not have the ability to fetch it for themselves and without it they suffer severe consequences. I forgot to water them in the busy-ness of last week and when I finally paused to look at them, they looked very sad indeed!
     Filled with wishful thinking I gently watered them and went to bed. Much to my joy, when I came down in the morning, they had perked right up!! Now I just need to get them planted out and settled in a place rich in nourishment and regularly watered.

I can't help but look at those resilient plants and think of
ourselves. We as people go merrily along growing families, developing ourselves, reaching out but so often we forget that we need water. Not just any water, but the Water of Life that only Jesus can give us. We exhaust our resources and neglect to replenish them. Sometimes it is not until we are lank and worn out that we are aware of someone bringing us water. A gentle word of encouragement, the balm of a friend's voice or the reminder that God cares for each of us; draws us back to the source of The Water of Life that replenishes more than just our weary body. It renews our spirit and strengthens us so that once more we can grow and give and live for Christ.     
     Routine is the soil of nourishment. Our regular involvement in our Christian community brings us to a place where we find feeding, where we do not wilt or lack but where we can grow and thrive; bearing the fruits of His garden.
      And God's watering hole? Well that would be His very Word. Scripture itself is our ultimate source of water. Read it regularly, read it with a friend, study it in a group, learn its message from the
preacher on Sunday. Find ways to bump into it in your life and you
will be amazed at how often God reaches out and speaks to YOU!

Ed. note:  Diane Cunningham spends a lot of time on E. Saanich Rd. driving children to dance class, soccer practice, music lessons, Sunday School. . .   She spends some of her road time musing on God's ways.