Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End Wrap Up

 December was a busy month at SPPC.  As we prepared to celebrate the birth of Jesus our Sunday worship took on a tone of expectation.  Lighting the first candle of Advent, the candle of hope, set a small flame in the sanctuary that grew Sunday by Sunday.
    On the second Sunday we lit the candle of peace, and held our "Christmas Celebration" concert in the evening.  The beautiful carols reminded us all of the peace Christ promised.

    Joy is the theme of the third Advent candle.  That day we presented our white gift offerings.  Those little parcels wrapped in white brightened Christmas for eighteen families on our list, with more left over for the Sidney Lions Food Bank.  Service was followed by a bake sale, in aid of the mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  We are getting very close to our financial goal for that endeavour.  Another reason for joy.

     The fourth Sunday, we lit the candle of love and enjoyed the Sunday School's presentation of the Bethlehem Story.   The smiles around the sanctuary shone with love.
 On Christmas Eve, we lit the Christ candle, the culmination of all our expectation.  The light from that candle circled the sanctuary. We have 120 candles, but the worshippers outnumbered the candles!  Still, the light was shared with all as the choir and congregation sang "Silent Night," one of the best loved carols of all time.
     Christmas morning we gathered once again, a much smaller crowd and most were a little sleepy, but we heard again the news of Christ's birth in Bethlehem, greeted friends and visitors and went home to Christmas dinner with the gifts of hope, peace, joy and love in our hearts.

    The Sunday after Christmas is considered a "low" Sunday in the year, but the choir turned out and sang an anthem, Rev. Irwin delivered a thoughtful sermon, the organist prepared a beautiful Bach number for the postlude.  The children's story recalled the anticipation of Christmas morning and it was food bank Sunday, reminding us all that gifts are not just for one day in December but all year long, just as the gift of Christ is forever.  
     Perhaps Dec,. 28 is a low Sunday in terms of attendance, but not in terms of meaningful worship.
     Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Pageant, 2014

For many, the annual Christmas Pageant is a highlight of the season.  We watch as last year's sheep, grows into this year's shepherd, and last year's shepherd becomes this year's Joseph.  Whatever the changes in costumes and roles, the innocence and joy of the children's presentation is constant.  Here are some photos of this year's production.  Enjoy!

Lots of excitement backstage.

Mary and Joseph take their places at the manger.

Entrance of the angels.

                                                                  and the shepherds.

The angel's proclamation.

                                                       tiny angels need a helping hand.

The kings arrive.

                                                     It has been a long journey.

Narrators to tell the story

                                            to attentive shepherds.

     The Kodak moment, when all is in place, the story is told and the wonder of Bethlehem enters our hearts.

   Thank you Diane and Norma and Joan and Cheryl and all who made the morning special.

Monday, December 15, 2014

End of Life Decisions

  Late in November, the Pastoral Care Committee hosted a talk by Linda Cliff.  As many of you know, Linda has many years of experience as a nurse with Victoria Hospice.  Her topic was "Doctor Assisted Suicide," a timely, and difficult subject.   Here are her notes from that conversation.

  The discussion about Physician Assisted Death and Euthanasia is big news these days.  Presently there is a private members bill being presented in parliament and the province of Quebec continues with its discussions about PAD.  As Boomers age, I predict this will become a topic that will be debated in our homes as well as the courts.  The following definitions may help you to understand the terms that will be used in this discussion.

Deliberate actions taken by a physician with the intent to terminate the life of a patient.  The procedure is to administer a lethal drug and the successful outcome is immediate death. 

A doctor intentionally helping a person to commit suicide by providing drugs for self administration, at the person’s voluntary and competent request.

The use of a specific sedative medications to relieve intolerable suffering from refractory symptoms by a reduction in patient consciousness using appropriate drugs carefully titrated.

A symptom which cannot be adequately controlled despite aggressive therapy.

An unintended but sometimes expected side effect of some drugs used in symptom control.  It may be temporary or transient but could be persistent.

Many fear that legislation in Canada would be the beginning of a “slippery slope” and the possibility of abuse of the laws would be an issue.  These statistics from Belgium support such fears:
  • 32% of assisted deaths are done without request.
  • 47% of assisted deaths go unreported.
  • in many cases it is nurses who administer the medications, not physicians.

Each of us will develop our own opinion of which side of the argument we wish to support.  We must ensure that our opinions are based on information rather than emotion. 
Advance Care Planning is a way for you to become involved in your own health.  You may find the following web sites helpful.

Taken from a talk by Linda Cliff

November 25, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Celebration

  My goodness, what a busy day we had for the second Sunday of Advent.  During the morning service we celebrated three joyous and solemn sacraments.

     Felicity received her baptism.  Then Felicity, Rebekah, Maximilian and Kevin confirmed the vows of their baptism and became members of the congregation by profession of faith.  Mary, an elder in her former congregation, joined SPPC by letter of transfer.  After that emotional and meaningful event, we shared in
the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper with our newest members.

In the evening, we celebrated in a different way, with a carol sing-along, stories
and pictures and musical performances.  
The Living Flame Choir sang the beautiful,  "Softly Falls the Snow," based on an old German carol, accompanied by Elizabeth on piano and Larry on cello.
 A very special performance for us all.
    Special guest, Steve Sturgess, shared his latest song, "Christmas Present."

     Our own Janet, Tore and Alice offered their musical gifts while Roy read a children's story accompanied by slides.  

 Afterward, we had coffee and goodies and conversation and fellowship in the hall. 
 A wonderful day to raise our Christmas spirits and to remind us that the infant Jesus, is our Lord and Saviour and that "where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in."

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cue the Music

One thing leads to another in sometimes surprising ways.  In the case of SPPC, the Variety Show featured, among others, Tristan Thompson.  He brought his friends along and they all had a good time.  So, when Tristan was looking for a venue to film his latest music video, he opted for SPPC.  Yup! Our Presbyterian place of worship is on the hit parade, although you might have to look closely to recognize it.
Glitz, lights, a jukebox, and stage smoke transformed our space into a stage set reminiscent of Frank Sinatra.  Note the old-style microphone!
There was a producer, lighting technicians, extras and a make-up artist, not to mention the star himself.

    Quite a transformation from Sunday morning to Sunday night.

   Moving from hi-tech to no-tech, music from SPPC was on offer in downtown Sidney on Saturday afternoon.  
The coldest day of the season!
Sidney businesses, looking for ways to enhance the downtown experience invited Faithlink to sing carols on Beacon Ave. Saturdays and Sundays from now until Christmas.  Several churches are involved in the Faithlink initiative, but it seems SPPC choir will be a mainstay of the caroling.
The dogs were a great attraction
 Participation is not restricted to choir members though, anyone who cares to join us is welcome.  Speak to Jean, or show up in front of Alexander's coffee shop just before 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
A fan took our picture.