Monday, March 25, 2013


As we move away from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and into the solemn and terrible events of Holy Week, you may wish to add to your personal devotional time.  If you haven't found just the right devotional booklet for yourself, here is a link to an on-line guide that may help. 
Of course, our church is also offering plenty of opportunity for corporate prayer as well.

On Thursday, March 28, 6:00 pm we will hold a Tenebrae Service in the sanctuary.  Tenebrae is the Latin word for "shadows." The service is usually celebrated on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. In the Protestant traditions, the service usually follows the readings of the gospels covering the Last Supper and the Passion of Christ. As the readings proceed, candles are extinguished, representing the flight of the disciples, the hatred of the enemies of Christ and the Crucifixion of Jesus. As the service draws to an end, the Church is dark, remembering Jesus in the tomb. Often, as the congregation leaves, a single candle is then lit, reminding us of the hope of Easter resurrection.

Good Friday, March 29, 10:00 am we join with other churches on the peninsula for a combined Good Friday service at Friendship Community Church, 7820 C. Saanich Rd., Saanichton.

Easter Sunday, March 31, 8:00 am  Sunrise service at Cy Hampson Park.  Easy parking.  The forecast is for good weather this year, so we may actually see the sun.  Come and join us for this inspiring service
And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. Mark 16:2

Easter Sunday, March 31, 9:00 am  Easter Breakfast in Molloy Hall at SPPC. 

Easter Sunday, March 31, 10:00 am, Easter Sunday Worship in the sanctuary of SPPC.   Prayer, preaching and music make this the most joyful service of the year.  Come and join us.

Monday, March 18, 2013


by Alice Valdal

  With the election of a new pontif, the Roman Catholic church has been headline news this week.  Does that matter to us in the reformed church?  I think it does. 

The Pope is the spiritual leader for over 1.2 billion people.  China, the world's most populous country, boasts 1.3 billion.   The second most populous country, India, has approximately 1.2 billion.* 

     The difference between the Pope's sphere of influence and that of the government of China, is that his people are spread through every corner of the world, even China and India.

    Pope Francis wields tremendous influence, and that influence will affect the lives of non-Roman Catholics too.  For those in the media this week, he has been the face of Christianity.  As a member of the Christian church, I am glad to see us in the news.  At least the secular world is being reminded that Christian faith matters, that it is alive and relevant today, not just some relic of a bygone age.

    I've seen some posts on facebook along the line of "big yawn" but I think those comments can fall into the "doth protest too much," category.  If the author truly didn't care, why remark at all?  I've also seen the naysayers quickly going on the attack, looking for shortcomings, real or imagined of the new pope.  Another sign that the Pope, and by extension the world wide church,  has significance, even for those who would deny Christ.

     For us at SPPC, the election of the Bishop of Rome might spur us to examine our own form of governance.  The Presbyterian Church in Canada, has a moderator, who presides over General Assembly, the highest court of our church, but decisions on matters of theology and polity that affect the whole denomination are made made by the Assembly, not by the Moderator.  At a congregational level, those decisions are made by the ruling elders (session).  While we look to our minister for guidance, he/she is a teaching elder, not the ultimate authority.   In all our decisions, we pray to do the will of God.

    Curious about other denominations, I did a google search for the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church.  The answer gave me a "duh" moment.  On website after website I read that Jesus Christ is the head of the church.  

    I'm sure the new Pope would be the first to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the head of the church.  In fact, today's newspaper reports Pope Francis declaring that the church must stick to its Gospel roots.  He warned that "we can walk all we want, we can build many things, but if we don't proclaim Jesus Christ, something is wrong.  We would become a compassionate NGO and not a Church." 

      Reformed Church or Catholic, I think we can all agree that Jesus Christ is the head of the church and applaud our Roman Catholic brethren as they seek to proclaim Christ to the world.

*numbers taken from Wikipedia and compiled from latest census data available.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Path

 by Alice Valdal

 While on my way to Bible Study I came across an odd sign.  "No Trespassing.  Use at your own risk."  I was puzzled, because, to me, No Trespassing, means keep out, do not enter, under no circumstances cross this line.  While use at your own risk, implies that I may use the path, in fact, it is almost an invitation to do so.
   I took the path. 
   As I walked along, not knowing where I was going, but confident that the path would lead me safely through the forest, I thought it an appropriate metaphor for Bible Study.  Sometimes, we don't know where we are going, but we have a path to follow, and we can trust the One who made the trail. 
    I discovered some new territory and came out in an unexpected place.  Rather like reading the Bible.  Even in familiar passages one can discovered new insights and come out in an unexpected place.  History is full of people whose lives were completely redirected by reading God's Word. 
  Consider Harley Swiggum, a member of the US navy who was assigned to the island of Saipan at the end of World War II.  By some measure, it was a cushy assignment.  His only job was to keep the bathrooms clean.  By other lights, it was a crushing bore.  The island had been secured and there was really nothing for him to do.  
    In desperation, he pulled about the New Testament he had been given by the American Bible Society. With time on his hands, he started to read the Gospels. He read them over and over. He even found a special place to read them, walking to the highest mountain above Camp Calhoun. As he read and reread the Scriptures Jesus became real to him and his faith grew. He started gathering the other men and they read the Bible together.
        When he went home, he set out on a whole new path.  He attended Luther College and eventually created the Bethel Bible Study series, a program that has changed millions of lives.
When an unknown path opened before him, Dr. Swiggum  took it, trusting the One who made it to lead him safely home.  
    The intriguing sign that lured me down an unknown path said, "use at your own risk."  Perhaps our Bibles should come with a warning, "read at your own risk."

Monday, March 4, 2013


by Edna Kirk

     When you think of missions what springs to mind? Often we think of missionaries leaving their homeland to go other countries. But recently I was made to stop and think more about this, and to revise my ideas, when I saw the page entitled :
 “Together, we are making mission and ministry happen” This was in the January copy of the Presbyterian Record and there was a chart showing that our churches across Canada worship in 20 languages! There are services in Arabic, Korean, Spanish, Hungarian, Mandarin just to name a few. But Efik,Ga,Twi,Urdu?
(If you don’t recognize the names of some of these languages then you would learn a lot more about our immigrants by looking them up) 
    There are also services using some of our First Nations languages – Cree and Ojibwe being two.
    We often hear in the news about people who come from other countries and commit crimes but how often do we  hear about those who come and make homes, work hard, become good citizens and are Presbyterians? 
    We talk of declining membership in English-speaking churches but many of our ethnic churches put us to shame with their increasing memberships and their enthusiastic services.
    God does work in wonderful ways
 “ to reach out to others and share the good news, in the name of Christ”