Monday, October 27, 2014


        Every time I walk into SPPC these days, I'm surprised by bags of pop cans and a few cases of empty wine bottles.
 Of course, I know the empties are part of our fund-raising efforts for the mission to Dominican Republic, but what would a stranger think?  SPPC knows how to party?  SPPC needs better janitorial services?
   I've also chuckled this week at my middle-class friend scouring the ditches for empty bottles.  Again, I know what she's up to but would her other acquaintances think she'd fallen on desperate times?  Should someone buy her a bag of groceries?

       For the past several weeks I've listened as the men of the Victoria Choral Society practiced a piece of music, out of context.
     "The Piper," composed by Tobin Stokes of Victoria,commemorates a tragic story from World War I.   A young piper, Jimmy Richardson, of the Canadian Scottish Regiment, played his pipes in full view of the enemy when his battalion's advance was stalled by a dense, barbed wire entanglement at the Battle of Ancre Heights in France. Encouraged by his example, the Battalion forced its way through the wire and made it to the their objective. 
Piper James Cleland Richardson

       Richardson also acted as a stretcher bearer.  After saving a wounded comrade, he returned to the field to recover his pipes. It was the last anyone saw of him.  Jimmy Richardson  disappeared into the mists of battle.  He was awarded the Victoria Cross, posthumously for "conspicuous bravery."
     It was believed his bagpipes had been lost in the mud but in 2002 they were found in Scotland. A British Army chaplain had found them and brought them home where they remained on display in a school where he taught.  The pipes were then returned to the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's).

     When I heard the men's chorus practice their part of Stokes' composition, the music was pleasant enough, but it had no meaning.  Now, I've been to the concert, and realized their part is wonderful, beautiful and  critical to the entire composition.  The men's chorus, the bagpiper, the timpanist -- they all played their individual parts but only the composer knew the whole.  Each musician had to play his part and trust the one who wrote it.

    Last week our nation witnessed tragic and senseless deaths in Ottawa and Quebec.  The news from Syria and N. Iraq tells of terrible persecution of Christians and others.  Ebola ravishes populations in West Africa.  We cry out our anguish and our sorrow.  We ask why?
     We can only trust  the Great Composer.  He alone knows the whole, he alone can weave our disparate parts into something beautiful and worthy and holy.

1 Cor. 13-12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It is the dream of some of the young people in our church to go on a mission trip before they finish high school. The teens have selected to go to the Dominican Republic to help build housing and to meet and spend some time with the children in the community. We will also have a nurse travelling with us who will be practicing her gift of nursing in the mission hospital.

As an organizing committee for this event, we see "The Variety Show" as an opportunity for members of our community to support these young people. Equally important to us, we see it as a great opportunity for people to come into our building, enjoy some fresh local talent and have a great time.


Saturday, November 1, Dinner at 5pm, Show at 7pm

Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church
9296 East Saanich Road • North Saanich BC • V8L 1H8
(On the road to the Victoria International Airport, South-East of the traffic circle)

Dinner: Beef dip/pulled pork sandwiches with salads and an ice cream sundae bar.
Tickets: $25.00 for dinner and show. $15.00 for show only


    We have some exciting acts lined up for the Variety Show, including Tristan Thompson, a 16 year old Victoria boy who is already making a name for himself.  Even as a toddler, he admired Michael Jackson and ended up becoming a Michael Jackson impersonator, busking in downtown Victoria.  He drew such a crowd, the police had to move them along for blocking the street.  
   After a live performance at a family friend’s wedding and a few performances at various local charity events such as "The Autism Walk" and the "Lac-Megantic" fundraiser, Tristan was featured on the local “Go Island” TV show.
   Soon after, Tristan released a YouTube video for his Swedish House Mafia cover “Don’tYou Worry Child” and thousands of views started pouring in. Chatter Records released Tristan’s debut L.P. album “Here For You” in 2014. His first single “Tidal Wave” has taken radio by storm, with over 100 radio stations playing it in Canada, New Zealand and the Philippines. Tristan is currently on tour with TeenFest Canada in British Columbia.

The Craig Henderson Trio is a Victoria, BC, based band that has been playing together for the past 5 years at various locations, including the popular Sidney Summer Market. The band consists of 20 year-old Craig Henderson on the piano and vocals, along with his Tony father Gordon Henderson on guitar and Bill Kent on the bass.
Heavily inspired by the likes of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and many other vocalists of this genre. They are best described as a throwback to the popular music of the 1940′s and 50′s interpreted in their unique style, which is suitable for both listening and dancing.

Other entertainers on the bill include:
Tricky Magic,

Michael Denton, former organist at SPPC will be the emcee for the evening.  
     The Variety Show is something new for SPPC and organizers hope it's a sell-out.  After all, it's for a worthy cause and features great talent.  What's to stop us?

     For more information on the mission trip, fund-raising opportunities, or to buy tickets, contact Darlene, 250 516-0563, or Diane, 250 886-0989.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Case for Christ

  For the last two weeks, the Wednesday morning Bible Study group has done inductive studies of The Sheep and the Goats, Matt.25:31-46, and The Gift of Love, 1 Cor. 13.  Both are very familiar passages and it's easy to think they've nothing new to tell us, yet by applying the inductive method, we discovered surprising insights, especially the echoes of Revelation, which we studied last term.
Coming up we will follow a study based on the book by Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ.  This is an interactive study using video clips followed by small group discussion and large group discussion sessions.
 The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus | [Lee Strobel]
    Lee Strobel is an unlikely Biblical scholar, considering that he was an atheist who set out to disprove the "myth" of Jesus Christ.  Along the way, he became convinced that Jesus was no myth.  His book documents his own journey from disbelief to belief, from doubt to conviction.
    Strobel approached his subject like the newspaper man that he is, asking hard-nosed questions are insisting on verifiable answers.  He found them, both in Biblical references and from other ancient writings and artifacts.  If you've every been challenged to defend Jesus as a real person and the miracle of His resurrection as a real event, this course is for you.
    There are six sessions covering, "Looking for Evidence, "Eyewitness Evidence," "Corroborative Evidence," "Fingerprint Evidence," Evidence for the Resurrection," "Reaching your Verdict."  The study is open to all, and takes place at SPPC, Wednesdays at 9:30 am.
    Mr. Strobel's book, The Case for Christ, will be available for sale, but it is not necessary to the course.

Monday, October 6, 2014


by Alice Valdal

 For the past several weeks I've devoted all my energies to hosting a family reunion.  I prepared breakfasts and dinners ahead of time, loading my refrigerator and my freezer.   I filled the cookie jars.  I vacuumed in forgotten corners.  Made up beds that hadn't been used in a long time.  Laid in extra supplies. Planned outings.  Made reservations.  Arranged airport pick-ups and drop-offs.  There were lists on every flat surface, and then lists of the lists.  There were hours of lying awake at night, reviewing my plans.
    Once everyone had arrived, I fussed about the weather -- as though my fussing would change anything :-) -- confirmed arrangements, added another leaf to the table, laid out all my dishes and cutlery, even borrowed a few, all to ensure my family had four days of good times in each other's company.
     Now, everyone has gone home and I'm wandering about wondering what to do with myself.  I've lost my purpose.  I pick up a book and set it back on the shelf.  I stare at the garden and don't know whether to weed it or pull it out.  I look at my desk and turn away from the work awaiting me there.  For the moment, I have no focus, no direction. Although the visit was a mountain top experience, I live my life on the plains of day-to-day.
    Thankfully, I have touchstones for my days, a calendar with events and deadlines and projects written down, a path to lead me back to the routine of life, a compass to put me back on course. Choir practice beckons.  Bible study begins.  My gratitude journal lies open, reminding me to give thanks in all things.  Did you see the lovely pink clouds in Friday's sunrise?  

    At church, too, we can get so caught up in our projects, our passions, our busyness -- all good things -- that we are distracted from the purpose behind it all, the heart of our faith.  
   On Sunday, SPPC celebrated world-wide communion, our touchstone, a reminder of why we devote time, talent and treasure to the church, the bride of Christ.        
   Because Christ loved us first, because He gave His life for us, because our chief end is to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever," we spend time at His table, we share communion with each other and with the great company of saints who have gone before.         Grounded in faith, in the love of Christ and fellowship with each other, we are strengthened and renewed, ready once more to pick up the everyday tasks of Christian living.