Monday, August 29, 2011

Golf Tournament

Thanks to Gladys Calder for organizing the ?th annual golf tournament at SPPC.  We met at The Ridge golf course on a beautiful sunny, summer Saturday.  Some admired the huge trout in the pond, others muttered about water hazards.

   If you are wondering how a golf tournament can be part of a church program, let me assure you that it gave us plenty of opportunity to practice the Christian disciplines like "thou shalt not bear false witness", "thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain", "thou shalt not covet" particularly your opponent's good luck.

We divided into teams, men against the women.  The men led off so that the women could admire their style -- or not. 
After nine holes the individual scores were added, then averaged to determine a team score.  At one point it appeared that the women were the winners but a sharp-eyed member of the men's team spotted an error in our arithmetic.  Thus it was that the men had a better score, by one stroke, but when their handicap was figured in, the match was declared a draw.  Cookies and cold drinks completed the tournament.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting to Know You


   A congregation is made up of individuals so today I thought I'd introduce you to Janet Smith, one of our newly elected elders.  Janet's is a well-known face around SPPC, she's been a member since 1999, sings in the choir, performs in the Christmas play, was on the Board of Managers for 7 years and is a faithful participant in Bible Study and the Prayer Group.  She is married to Peter, has six children and, before her retirement, fostered 59 children.  I interviewed her over coffee last week.

Q.  How do you see SPPC in our community?
A.  I see it as open and available to outside groups like Elections Canada, Probus and the Dean Park Resident's Association.  I wish it were more visible.  I'm often asked "where is your church?"  I also think we as a congregation could be more visible in the life of our community.

Q.  What made you choose SPPC as your church home?
A.  I like the traditional service, the music, the organ, the hymns.  Do you think I'm a traditionalist? <g>

Q. Desicribe a highlight in your church life.
A.  I think the day I became an indepentent member of the Congregational Church in England was a highlight.  It marked a major life passage.  I had made my own choice, not just come along because my mother did.  I remember the lady beside me was 90.  The communion hymn we sang, "Here O My Lord, I see Thee Face to Face," has remained special for me to this day.  I took my first communion that Sunday. 

Q.  What do you see as the role of the world-wide church in today's world?
A.  I believe that the church needs to be a witness in the community.  We, as Christians, need to be visible and to remember that we are called to speak out on moral questions.  As Christ said, we may be like a tiny measure of yeast, yet that yeast can leaven the whole loaf. (Lk 13:21)

Q.  Tell us something odd or funny that has happened to you in church.
A.   I was telling a object lesson  to children using water, a saucer and a dime, (I can't remember what it was about now) but all went well and at the end I said "you see, I didn't wet myself at all." "Good," came a voice from an adult in the group at which everyone burst out laughing. 
On another occasion I was singing a solo, "Let us break bread together on our knees" and I sang, "When I fall on my face with my knees to the rising sun" I realized it as soon as I sang it but no one blinked an eyelid so I guess no one was listening any way and so I just carried on to the end!

Thanks Janet, for sharing your time and your thoughts.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Church Library

    SPPC is a small church, with a small church library, but within that library are some amazing resources.  Do you know that we have 30 adult dvd's, videos and cassettes, including one for country and western music lovers titled, 50 Country Gospel Songs

    If you want a different translation of the Bible, our library offers the Good News, King James, The Message and a children's edition of the New Revised Version.  The library offers 30 study guides to help you delve into those Bibles.
      There are 34 Titles listed under Christian Education, but I'm a bit nervous of the one labelled A Handbook of Skits and Stunts. 
       Under Christian Life, there are 109 titles listed, including several from the Women of Faith series.  C.S. Lewis is well represented with ten books, including The Screwtape Letters and The Problem of Pain.  I hope Who Put the Skunk in the Trunk, by Phil Callaway is not one of the stunts included in the handbook listed above.  For all you golfers, there's a biography of Payne Stewart.
       There are 46 Commentaries listed, including You Too May be a Presbyterian.  How's that for a conversation opener?
        The Adult Fiction section lists 50 titles including the whole of Jan Karon's delightful Mitford Series, as well as old stand-by's like Lloyd C. Douglas and Janette Oke.  Under Junior fiction we have 44 titles as well as 44 videos.  The ever popular Veggie Tales among them.
      The library is at the back of the Molloy Hall.  Books are shelved by section, then alphabetically by author.  Checkout and return is self-serve, just look for the blue folder. 
     So, next time you're hanging out at the church, check out the library.  You'll be amazed, enlightened, amused and informed.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Have No Friends

by Peter Waldin

  He was in his early eighties.  An electrical engineer who had gone to the top of his profession.  Connected with the extraction of coal in Alberta.  Sent to various great oilfields of the world to check out their electrical systems.  A teen aged boy, a refugee from Germany, and now a millionaire.  Professionally at the top of his class, yet had to confess, "I have no friends."  I think that these are the saddest words I have ever heard uttered.
     The other day I had the pleasure of giving a friend a copy of hte book I've recently written.  In the flyleaf, as I recall, I wrote the simple words, "To Simon, a gentleman and a friend."  Our friendship is not longstanding and Simon has not made possible any great gain materially.  He's simply given himself.  He understands that I'm suffering great sorrow.  His invitation, "Let's go for coffee!"  And evident quiet sympathy speaks eloquently of his friendship.
    There are others, many others, in that circle of friendship.  My life is encircled by that golden chain of love.  That word I don't hesitate to use; it's the golden path to friendship.
    Friendship comes close to the heart of Christianity.  No finer thing was ever said of Abraham than that he was "the friend of God."  Jesus, before his death, comforted his disciples with the words, "I have called you friends."  Judas had no more bitter memory than the words of Christ, at the time that he betrayed his Lord, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Yay for Us

     SPPC has received a very nice thank you letter from PWS&D (Presbyterian World Service and Development, the mission arm of the national church.)  Apparently our givings to PWS&D in the January to June period were considered worthy of comment. 
   Among other things, the letter mentioned the value of micro loans that allowed women in Guatemala to invest in their own land, improve their agricultural methods and thus increase their food production, which not only allows them to feed their own families, but to sell their excess and provide more income, and employment (and income) for others.  The ripple effect of a small donation is truly amazing.
    PWS&D has partners all over the world who ensure that our contributions are used wisely and efficiently to promote health, education, agriculture, income-generating businesses, skills training, clean water and emergency relief.  For those who attended the Laura Kavanagh presentation earlier this year, you will remember that one of the purposes of her trip was to inspect projects that had received PWS&D funding and to receive an accounting of how those funds were used.  With so many charities begging for funds on television, by the mail, door-to-door and via telephone solicitors, it is reassuring to know that 94% of the money given to PWS&D goes directly to those in need. 
    As the U.N. declares a state of famine in East Africa, it is worth noting that any money made to  PWS&D will generate matching funds from the federal government.
    So yay for us at SPPC and yay to PWS&D for their amazing work in the world.

For more information on PWS&D, etc. simply follow the links in this post.