Sunday, February 26, 2012


Let not your heart be troubled
Ye believe in God
Believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions
If it were not so I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you
And if I go to prepare a place for you
I will come again and receive you unto myself.

It has been a sad week at SPPC with memorial services for two of our members.  We shall miss seeing them at Sunday worship.  We'll miss them at the coffee hour.  We'll miss their helping hands and willing hearts in any number of tasks.  One was an elder.  We'll miss his knowledge and service on the Session.

Our community will miss them, visiting at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, volunteering for the Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization, serving in their recreational clubs, sharing encouragement and Christian love.

No one will miss them more than the families they leave behind.  Those who will witness day after day, the empty chair at the table, the missing note in the music of family life, the silence where once there was laughter.

At times like these the love and care of the congregation shines through the gloom like a beacon, pointing toward the Light of the World.  A card in the mail box, flowers at the door, an invitation to coffee, shared tears, music, ritual, food.  All these small acts bring comfort and show forth the love of God. 

It has been a sad week at SPPC but we give praise and thanks to God for the gift of Jesus.  Thank God that grief and sorrow is not the end of life, but the beginning of eternal life.  We commend our brother and sister to God's care in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection when all believers will meet again in Christ.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Annual Congregational Meeting

 Sunday we held our Annual Congregational Meeting.  Here our clerk of session, Jean Strong, who also "volunteered" as secretary for the meeting and our minister, Rev. Irwin Cunningham prepare for the business part of the day. 
   But first, we ate.

Acts 2:41-42, in speaking of the first
converts to the church says they
devoted themselves to the apostles'
teaching and fellowship, to the
breaking of bread and the prayers.

At SPPC, we do the breaking bread part very well. 
Apart from an excuse to eat together, the annual meeting gives the congregation an opportunity to review the year that was and to set goals for the year to come.  One often thinks of the budget as the major item in a meeting of this sort but there were reports from over twenty individuals and groups within the church, showing that we are much more than the maintenance of a building and the payment of accounts. 
    We have music (two reports) learning (two reports) mission and outreach (we supported at least 12 different charities, close to home and farther away,) but what came through over and over again in the pages of the annual report, was that we are a community who love one another.  That commitment to love shines through all the work of the congregation whether it be under Pastoral Care, or Fellowship, or our budget allocation to PWS&D.   As one congregant so eloquently put it, "We come to church one day a week to hear the minister talk and the choir sing.  The other six days we are the heart and hands of God."  Amen

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday School Bake Sale

The congregation at SPPC has responded generously to the many appeals for emergency aid throughout the year, so, in a sense, every month is mission month, but it is our tradition to designate February for a special focus on the needs of others.  To that end, the Sunday School held a bake sale on Sunday, Feb. 12, with proceeds to go to the Christian Blind Mission. 

     As the poster in the above picture shows, the hope is to supply The Miracle of Sight!   For $33.00 we can purchase cataract surgery for a father like Isaack.  Removal of his cataracts means he can work again, keep his small farm and maintain his family.  A miracle indeed.

     For $50.00 we can supply a family with two pigs.  The pigs eat vegetable scraps, provide natural fertilizer for the family garden and produce large litters of piglets every year.  In short they provide food and an income that a family, and eventually a whole village,  can depend on.

    $6.00 provides a school toolkit for a blind child, including braille paper, a stylus and slate.  $34.00 purchases a pair of eyeglasses for a child and $15.00 gets a toy for a child with special needs.  Toys like a vibraphone to help children distinguish sounds and colours.

   It appears the children at SPPC will get their wish.  The items listed above come to $138.00.  On Sunday morning the sale had raised $350.25 in cash with more donations to come in cheques and through the envelopes.  What's more, an anonymous donor in the congregation has offered to match money raised through the bake sale.  There will be enough money to meet the wish list with more left over for things like casts and splints($37.00) for children with clubfeet, or to purchase a rooster and two hens ($50.00) for a needy family.  Such precious gifts for the price of a cookie.

    Thanks to the congregation for your generosity and enjoy the cookies.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Thank you and Good-bye

For the past several weeks, our organist/choir director, Michael Denton, has been away. During this time, we've been fortunate to have Brian Richardson filling in on the bench.

    Although Brian has retired from full time work as a church musician, he hasn't retired his skill or his love of church music. During the past few weeks he has taught the choir some new hymns and introduced us to Taize music.  We sang three examples during the offeratory yesterday.  Brian's enthusiasm and knowledge shone through all our practices. We heard stories about Henry Purcell, Samuel Wesley, and Thomas More to name a few. The only complaint we ever heard him make was that choir practice was too short. He had so much more he wanted to share.
     Mr. Richardson also played for the Living Flame Choir, pictured here doing their imitation of a rainbow, and we thank him for his generosity there as well.
    As we say good-bye to Brian, we thank him for spending time with us and wish him well in his next endeavours. Apparently his "retirement" is a very active one since he's on the list for half a dozen churches all looking for a substitute this winter. Those who are lucky enough to secure his services are in for a treat.

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