Monday, February 24, 2014

Family News

  One of the great joys of belonging to SPPC is that you get an extended family in the congregation.  Like all families, we celebrate the big moments and the small moments in our communal lives. Here's a sampling.

   On Sunday, Feb. 16, we celebrated a couple of birthdays, Felicity and Jerusha.

    ed. note:  I think people would attend SPPC for the preaching and the singing and the fellowship, but if that isn't enough, you'd think they'd come for the cake!

  One of our younger members, Max, rowed an exceptional race in foul weather.  A 6.5 km warm-up and then a 6.5 km race!   They won by .5 seconds.  Talk about a push to the finish line.  Congratulations, Max.  To help him celebrate, Rebekah made a beautiful cake.

   On Wednesday, at the height of Olympic fever with Canada's hockey team, women's figure skating and men's semi-final curling, all on the ice and on television, we had a full turn out for Bible Study. Talk about an upset!   At SPPC we'd rather study the Book of Revelation than watch Canada play a crucial hockey game.  

    On Sunday, Feb. 23, we had a snow day!   But the choir turned out in full.
We also had a guest preacher in the pulpit.
Rev. Laura Hargrove from Port Alberni exchanged pulpits with Rev. Irwin for the day.  We suggested she brought the snow with her.  

  And there you have it, some of the family news for the past seven days.  Congratulations to all the celebrants.  Blessings on all the workers.  Three cheers to all who make our congregation a place of welcome and learning and sharing.  Come join the family.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Olympic Faith

 The world is half way through the Winter Olympic Games, our quadrennial affair with sports madness . Who knew there were so many ways to slide down a snowy hill? Slope-style skiing? Death wish, more like. And who ever dreamed up luge doubles? That piece of tinfoil isn't big enough for one person let alone two!  But here we are, glued to our televisions, or smart phones or computers, holding our breath at critical moments then cheering wildly when our team scores.  
      We  become instant experts on the run-back double, or a quad toe, or a 1080.  (I had to do the math to figure that one out.  In figure skating it's called a triple.)  
     Go into any coffee shop or grocery store and you'll hear conversations about what's happening in Sochi.  Who's where in the medal standings?  Who'll make the gold medal game in hockey?  We're obsessed with 100ths of a second nine time zones away.
    And good for us!  The Olympics give us a great lesson in empathy. We give our hearts to the athletes that represent our country.    We ache when they fall, we're ecstatic when they win.  We're all on the same team, or as a very clever advertiser puts it, "we all play for Canada."
     Since sport is such a powerful motivator, it's hardly surprising
the apostle Paul used it so frequently as a metaphor for Christian living.  In 1 Corinthians 9:24  we are urged to run the race so we may obtain the prize.  Hebrews 12:1 exhorts us to run the race that is set before us. 1 Corinthians 9:25 speaks of training for the games.  2 Timothy 2:5 we compete as an athlete to win the crown. Philippians 3:12-14 the faithful "press on toward the goal."

    We've already seen fine examples of the Olympic spirit, when one speed skater gave up his place to a team mate, or when an opposing coach supplied a fresh ski to a struggling competitor.  Such generosity of spirit embodies the Christian ideal as well.
    If the motto of the Olympics is "faster -- higher -- stronger," perhaps the Christian motto could be "braver -- purer-- kinder." Like the athlete trains his mind and body for his sport, the Christian trains his heart and mind and spirit for service to God and others.

    Go, Canada, Go!   Go, Christian, Go!

Monday, February 10, 2014

SPPC Library News

  Librarian:  Linda Cliff

Over the past year the library has undergone some changes and there are more to come.  The first change was a large influx of books.  These books were donated by Lloyd Warkentin and have been placed on the shelves.   To make room for these new titles many out of date books, videos and CD’s were removed from circulation and sold in our annual Garage Sale.   
When you visit the library you will find that the books have been divided into the following categories:
 Bible Study and Commentary
 Reference
 Christian Living with sub sections on Women, Grief and Recovery, Prayer, Devotionals
 Christian Education
 Biography 
 Fiction 
 Children and youth
 Audio/ video
If you are interested in borrowing a book, please sign it out in the book provided, remembering to include your phone number. The usual borrowing period is one month.    Once you have read the book, consider writing a short report on what you have read and why you would recommend the book to other members of the congregation.  The hope is to make the library an integral part of our church life and these reports may be used to showcase books in either the library or the Blog.  
Look for new signs created for the library by Felicity Smith and for featured titles that will pique your interest in checking out our library.  As with all endeavours within the congregation your help would be appreciated:  read a book, write a report, and volunteer to help out.  

Monday, February 3, 2014


   Went to my favourite eatery the other day and discovered it nearly empty.  The menu hadn't changed, the chef hadn't changed and the wait staff hadn't changed.  Usually we have to stand in line for a table at this place.  "Where is everyone?" I asked.  "Gone to the sun," came the answer.
     Even though our weather is balmy compared to the rest of Canada, and despite the water board's grumbling about low levels in the reservoir, we must admit that Victoria can get a bit dreary in the wintertime.  Grey skies, a week of all encompassing fog, rain in torrents or rain in drizzle, it's still rain.  A perfect formula for the winter blahs.
 So, it's a good time to change things up a bit.  We did that last Sunday in church with a guest trumpeter to add a bright tone to the music.  We like our organ, but there's nothing like a bit of brass to make it shine.  Thanks to John for sharing his talent with us.
      Greeters at the door and ushers taking up collection weren't the usual suspects either.  Members of the Sunday school handed out bulletins, welcomed visitors and took up the collection.  Nice to see them starting young.  I went to a funeral this week of a man who had served as head usher in his church for sixty-five years.   He was the face of welcome in that congregation, knew everyone by name, knew who needed a large print bulletin, who needed a hearing assist, and who needed help to stand.  Maybe one of our youthful ushers from last Sunday will follow the example of my friend.

     We also heard from Max and Felicity on their trip to Vancouver to explore opportunities for mission.  They returned home fired with zeal and a long list of possibilities. Stay tuned to this blog for more on that.
   If you've got the winter blahs but a trip to a sunny clime is not in the cards, try going to church.  Whatever the weather, the Son shines here.