Monday, September 28, 2020

Getting Back to Normal

 The link for this week's worship service is

Thanks to Janet Smith for this week's blog.

Getting Back to Normal

(what ever that is!)

After six months away from classes due to COVID-19, Abigail opted to return to school in September. She had missed her friends so much and her teachers.

Grandma had mixed feelings, she now had to get back into a routine, getting up at 7:15 am and being out of the house by 8:25 am each morning! Making breakfast and packing a lunch each day and picking Abigail up at 2:48 pm.

Nevertheless, Grandma was very happy not to having to teach everyday. What an effort that was! Mind you, we completed far more work at home from April to June than Abigail did from October (yes, October as we had a teacher strike in September) to March.

It was a struggle everyday to get Abigail to settle down to work and stay focused on her assignments and during this time she even gained weight as she wasn’t getting out in the playground everyday and so had time to eat lunch! Most school days, the lunch comes home as she is too busy socializing and playing.

Now in grade 3, with her new teacher, she is very happy. Her classroom is opposite her classroom from last year and so she tells us, her grade 2 teacher is her new neighbour!

When we pick her up, we ask how her day was, ‘fine’, is the usual reply. Then what did you do at school today? I don’t remember, comes her next reply. Well what did you learn today? Nothing! So how is she doing?


We are not really sure but she is happy and always ready to get off to school each day for which we are very thankful!

However, this afternoon we do have a TEAMS mtg. with her teacher and so hopefully, she will be able to enlighten us further as to Abigail’s progress and get to meet the teacher.

We are not permitted to enter the school building and so really don’t know what is going on with our children we just continue to pray for their safety and well-being throughout this school year.


Some other thoughts from our clerk of session: 

thought the other day, when the Spanish Flu ended, the 1920's took off! When the 2020's arrived, we celebrated at the church with our 2020 lunch in 1920's style and now look at what's happened?

I think that celebration was the highlight of this year so far!
Then I stopped to think of how thankful I am and how blest we are right here on the Saanich Peninsula. Very few cases of COVID near by, no fires, only smoke, no floods, no hurricanes and no real  disasters, we could be a lot worse off than we are. It's easy for us to say, God is so good, when we live where we do.

 Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
sometimes where Eden's flowers bloom
by waters calm, o'er troubled sea,
still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

Monday, September 21, 2020

No Cake in 2020


The link for this week's worship service is

On looking back through blog posts in previous Septembers I noted that we tend to eat at this time of year. We've had hot dogs on Sundays, hamburgers in the parking lot on Saturdays and birthday cake anytime. 

The vile virus prevents us from such fellowship events but we can still wish happy birthday to Barb M., Emily L.,  Lois S., Betty M. and Betty G. who are all celebrating this month. If I've missed anyone, it was by accident. Please add your name in the comments below.

Previously we had lovely birthday cakes, but this year we'll have to make do with just the picture. You could also make (buy)your own cake and enjoy a slice at home in honour of our birthday girls.


Recently this appeal came in to our church from Our Place

Each day here at Our Place we find our shower and hygiene area is busy from the time it opens to the moment it closes.  Currently we are running short of disposable razors underwear for men and women (including bra’s), men and women’s sweat pants or leggings, face cloths, combs, hairbrushes, shampoo and conditioner (travel sized bottles are ideal), cotton swabs, toothbrushes and toothpaste, dental floss, shaving cream and travel size packs of facial tissues. All styles, all sizes of shoes for women and men are always needed.  Your generous donations of these items are so very welcome and appreciated by folks who spend the majority of each day outside. Donations of these items may be dropped off at 919 Pandora daily from 6:30am-8:30pm.


 The request reminds us that even though our church is unable to act as a collection centre for many other charities, because of Covid restrictions, the need is still very much alive in our community.
Our Place has given their address and drop-off times in the above notice.

Saanich Peninsula Lions Food bank is located at  9586 Fifth St. Sidney, B.C. and is open for donations from 8:00 am - 2:00 pm.  

The Mustard Seed is located at 625 Queens Ave. Victoria and is open Mon-Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The Compassionate Warehouse is currently closed for donations.

Our church life is so disrupted it may be hard to remember our purpose, but Jesus' command has not changed. "Feed my sheep."

Monday, September 14, 2020

Long Bottle Drive

The link for this week's on-line worship service is here:

A bottle drive is one of the mainstays of our fundraising for mission efforts at SPPC. Usually we pick a day (Saturday) and set up a sorting station in the parking lot, then send out cars and trucks through the neighbourhood to pick up donations from friends and family. As well, people can come by the church and drop off their empties.
Well, COVID, changed all that. Instead we're having a l o n g bottle drive. A plastic can in front of the church is a repository for drop-offs. Joan keeps it emptied out, taking the donations to her own backyard for sorting. 
What do the neighbours think!

Apparently, COVID has increased our consumption of all kinds of drinks. 

Before sorting

After sorting

Ready for Pickup

It's a lot of work, but so far over $500.00 has been added to the mission fund. Joan says she'll keep collecting, sorting and delivering to the recycle depot for as long as people keep leaving bottles. So, keep drinking folks and take your empties to Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church.

Thanks, Joan for all your work and also to Darlene for driving the delivery vehicle.

Also happening this week: 

The DieMahler String Concert
Friday, September 18 at 6:00 p.m.
In the Sanctuary at
Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church
9296 E. Saanich Rd.
Admission By Donation
Maximum 50 persons)

Monday, September 7, 2020

Miracle of Two Seeds

The link to this week's on-line service is

I confess that earlier this summer I sneaked onto my neighbour's porch and left a large zucchini at her door. 

This year, I have an abundant crop of that long, green squash. 

Some time ago, Rev. Irwin preached on the parable of the sower. You remember, it is in the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Mark, and the Gospel of Luke

In the Matthew account, the story ends with " Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. "
I admit to a ho-hum moment. Isn't that the nature of seed? It's planted, it grows, we reap a harvest. But the sermon went on to explain that in modern agriculture our yields are much higher than they were in Jesus' time. We expect a 300 fold or more harvest from a seed of wheat. In Jesus' time a farmer might expect a 10 fold increase, or less. My ho-hum moment turned into "wow!"

When I look at yet another monster zucchini lurking under a leaf, my initial reaction may be one of dismay, but then I recall that sermon and my groan turns to praise. This year I have two plants, that is two seeds. 

I have harvested about 60 zucchini, some salad size, some the green monsters.
My freezer is full. I've given away boxes and boxes of them. We've eaten them raw, fried, boiled, roasted, broiled, baked in a cake, with hamburger, and au gratin. 
I've chopped, shredded and sliced. I've made soup, loaves, marmalade, and quiche. I've gotten rather tired of zucchini.

But then I remember that sermon and I marvel at the pounds and pounds of harvest produced by my two seeds. My zucchini is a miracle.

To get back to the parable, wouldn't it be wonderful if I could sew two seeds of the Gospel and receive a yield as generous as my zucchini?
Have I sewn those two seeds? Have you? Could we plant more?

Praise God from whom all blessings flow -- even giant zucchinis.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Worker Bees

The link for this week's on-line worship service is:           

For much of the summer we've enjoyed beautiful bouquets from Norma's garden on Sunday mornings. Thank you Norma for sharing the fruits of your labour with SPPC.
For anyone who would like to donate flowers, the sign-up sheet is in the Narthex. Or you could call the office, 250 656-2241

Our church building is now 30 years old, and showing some wear, particularly on the south side. Our stretch of good weather has given the property committee a chance to do some repairs. 

Who measured this?

Where did you go?

Ecclesiastes 4:9
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour: (NIV)


Linda continues to bring order to the flower beds. There was an internment in the Garden of Remembrance on Saturday and the landscaping looked beautiful and peaceful. Thank you, Linda for your gift of a green thumb -- and your determination to beat back the horsetail!

Along with Tore, she is now making progress on the front beds. The thicket created by a self-seeded Hawthorne tree and a holly bush is gone. The heather has been rediscovered and the ornamental grasses given some breathing room, and the sidewalk edge cleared of creeping buttercup.


Tore and his multi-tool have cut back wild rose, blackberry and ivy to freshen up the large plantings along the north and east perimeters. He's been stung a few times for his efforts, too.

No fig crop this year but the tree is lush

the more he prunes the more it grows!

Nice work, everyone. With most activities at the church suspended, it is easy to forget that the maintenance needs continue apace. 

Proverbs 16:3
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (ESV)

Monday, August 24, 2020

The Mountain Ash

 According to the memorial book at SPPC, a tree was planted in 1998 in memory of Sam Shaw and Clara Kinnon. Twenty years later, we could find no sign of the tree so a new one was set in, a lovely mountain ash, on the Willingdon side of the property. It is now showing off some brilliant red berries.
The tree is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Clara Kinnon (Noel's mother) and her brother Mr. Sam Shaw. 
     Sam never married and Clara was widowed early in life. The custom in Ireland is for the eldest daughter to take care of any unmarried brother so Sam became a part of Noel's life at a very early age. 
     Uncle Sam was a short man, maybe five feet tall, but he was an excellent badminton player. In Ireland professional badminton players were graded, with #1 being the top category. Sam was not a professional but he was graded at #2. As a result he could only play for the church club eight times a year. His exalted status prevented him from taking part in more competitions. One of his advantages was his ability to play equally well with either hand. An opponent expecting a right-handed return was be taken completely off guard when the shot was played from the left hand.
     Years later, when Noel sponsored his mother to immigrate to Canada, she said she wouldn't come unless Sam came too. After a hunt for all the appropriate papers, brother and sister came together to their new home. 
     When Noel was minister in Medicine Hat, Sam lived nearby. He was retired by that time and loved to garden so he undertook to maintain the church flower beds at their blooming best during the growing season. He had a green thumb. They used to say around the congregation that if Sam put a piece of green paper in the ground, it would grow. 
     Sam didn't drive and travelled to the church by bus nearly every day. He kept an old pair of shoes and gardening gloves and tools at the church so he wouldn't appear untidy on the city bus.
     I'm so glad the newly planted mountain ash is doing well. Something green and growing seems an appropriate remembrance for a dedicated gardener and his older sister. 
     Thank you, Rev. Noel, for sharing this bit of family history with us.


     Now that our building is open, under strict COVID guidelines, we are able to bless the community by making a space available for non-church events. One such event is a concert by Larry's musical group, Raven Baroque, this Friday. The program is laid out below. Admission by donation. 

Raven Baroque at Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church
7:00 p.m. Friday, August 28, 2020
Admission by Donation

  1. G P Telemann, Viola Concerto in G, Jessica Pickersgill, soloist
  2. Vincenzo Galilei, Ricercare #10, #7 - 2 very short Renaissance musical experiments of a set of 12 by the father of scientist Galileo Galilei
  3. Antonio Vivaldi Violin Concerto in G, Op. 4, #3 (RV 301), Kate Rhodes soloist
  4. GF Handel, Deutsche Aria HWV205 Suesse Stille, Sanfte Quelle, Kate Rhodes, voice
  5. J S Bach, Violin Concerto in a, BW1041, Hollas Longton, soloist
  6. Arcangelo Corelli, Concerto Grosso, Op.6, #8, Fatto per la notte di natale 


Violin                                                Cello                                                      
Hollas Longton                               Larry Skaggs 
Kate Rhodes                                    
Don Kissinger                                 Bass
                                                      Mary Rannie 
Jessica Pickersgill                           Voice
Don Kissinger                                   Kate Rhodes

Support in 2020 by BC Arts Council and Heritage Canada

Monday, August 17, 2020

"Different" Things

The link to this week's worship service is here:


Harold and Hazel had a celebratory week. Hazel had a birthday and together they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. I'm really sorry we can't have a cake and sing happy birthday, but I hope Harold and Hazel had a lovely week.

There are two concerts planned for SPPC. 
  • Raven Baroque on Aug. 28 at 7:00 pm. 
  • Die Mahler Group on Sept. 4 at 6:00 pm.
All Covid protocols apply, including a maximum of 50 people inside.
  • Die Mahler will also host a concert on Larry's lawn on Aug. 21 and 28.

Travelling in “Covid times” 
by Roy and Dorothy

In February, which seems such a long time ago now, we were in Southern California in our RV, enjoying the scenery and the warmer climate in the Coachella valley. The news about the “corona virus” from WHO was a little worrying but seemed, at that time, a long way from California. Gradually, concerns accelerated and it soon became clear that, despite denials from politicians in several countries, this was bad news, bad news that would not go away. In March, international borders were slammed shut, and insurance companies urged policy holders to head home as they would no longer be covered for Covid-19 illness. So ended our trip, and we headed home.
Our border crossing was the fastest ever; we were the only vehicle in line. However, we were unable to change our well established practice of choosing the slowest line, surely a first!

Usually, in the summer we are privileged to enjoy having our daughter, Julie, and family spend time with us. Our summer plans for 2020 were drastically changed and we greatly missed all the activity involved with five grand-kids. How quiet life seemed in comparison to previous summers!

In June, we decided that it was time to take an RV trip to Jasper and Banff, which we had visited some forty year ago, when our kids were little. In our previous visit to the Rockies from Ontario, the drive was quite an adventure, but that is another story.

In Banff, we could only get a reservation in the national park for one night. The park was not as busy as we had expected and covid precautions were evident. In the town, mask wearing was, at best, 50-50. Restaurants were partially open, some hotels were still closed but there was a fair amount of activity.  As usual, the scenery was magnificent.

We were in awe at the beauty of God’s creation…how wonderful, how marvellous…was our only description, as words are so inadequate.

Our next part of the journey was along the Ice-fields Parkway to Banff, again so inspiring. In Jasper, it seemed that mask wearing was only for older folks, and not many at that. One day, in Jasper we heard police sirens and saw RCMP cars racing along the highway to some accident, we presumed. That evening, we were sad to hear of a serious accident where a vehicle taking tourists to the ice fields had overturned, leading to loss of life and serious injury.  In all the splendour of creation, the human journey of life and death still unfolds.

On returning towards Banff, the campsites were full, so we were assigned to a fairly vacant campground which was unserviced, (no electric or water hook-ups). Interestingly, our next door camper was a lady from Victoria. Next morning, while chatting, we were advised that we shared the campground with others, a mother bear and her cubs. Apparently, earlier in the summer, the bears had visited a camper in the tent one evening, and had demolished the tent in their search for food. Fortunately, the campers, while safe, could only grin and bear their loss! (oops). For that reason only hard sided RVs, but no tents were allowed in this campsite.

On our return journey home, we stopped in Revelstoke where there is a terrific railway museum. This was an excellent museum which told the story of how the railway was built.
It was fascinating, from the stories of financiers, to Scottish and American engineers, and to the various work crews. The last spike where the east coast line met with the west coast line, which was completed a month ahead of time, was driven in Craigellachie, west of Revelstoke. This was an interesting stop in our visit.

When we returned home and reviewed the many photographs of the splendour of mountains, rivers and lakes, the early chapters of Genesis rang loudly in our minds…in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…

Roy and Dorothy

Thanks, Roy and Dorothy, for sharing your adventure.

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.