Monday, March 28, 2016

SPPC Easter 2016

"Sunrise?" at Cy Hampson Park

Our orchestra

It didn't rain!

Guest Musicians at 10:00 am service

Afternoon Rainbow over Cy Hampson Park

Happy Easter
Christ is Risen

Monday, March 21, 2016

Good Friday -- Seven Last Words

 Once again, SPPC is blessed to have as guests, the DieMahler String Quartet performing Haydn's The Seven Last Words of Christ, at our Good Friday service.
A devout man, Haydn undertook this commission from a deeply religious conviction, anxious to illuminate the text "without fatiguing the listener." He succeeded admirably.  The work was immensely popular during his lifetime and has continued to find a place in the musical repertoire up to the present time.  Haydn, himself, considered the set of meditations to be among his greatest works, superior to either of his later oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons
   Each movement is a musical reflection on the seven last words Christ spoke from the cross.

 I. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)
II.  Today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43)
III. Mother, behold thy son (John 19:26)
IV. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34)
V.  I thirst (John 19:28)
VI. It is finished (John 19:30)
VII. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46)

This service encourages the worshipper to a personal meditation  on the profound events of Good Friday.  

All are welcome.  Worship begins at 10:00 am.

Other Easter Events:
Maundy Thursday -- 6:00 pm Meal in the Upper Room
Good Friday           -- 10:00 am Seven Last Words of Christ
Easter Sunday        -- 8:00 am  Sunrise service, Cy Hampson Park
                                 -- 9:00 am Breakfast in Molloy Hall
                                 -- 10:00 am  Worship in the Sanctuary

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mission Study Update

January meeting with Rev. Bill Lawser
Recently there was an open meeting for anyone interested in the renewal process begun by the Malahat South Mission Study Team.  At the meeting Rev. Irwin shared the results of Rev. Lawser's analysis of our church.  Turns out our parking lot and our building are major assets for a healthy congregation, although our lack of dedicated classroom space is a drawback.
    Because Rev. Lawser is a numbers man, there were lots of charts and graphs to illustrate his assessment of our situation.  
This one shows the use of our building.  The big blue area refers to congregational use and the red refers to community use.  This is not a bad mix, but leaves room for more rentals without interfering with the congregation's use of its own space. 

I found this chart more telling.

That six percent for decision making refers to things like committee meetings and administration.  It's a reasonable number for a congregation of our size.  Direct spiritual development includes worship and Bible Study, relational development encompasses potlucks, Friendship coffee, and similar social events.  Mission, in this case, refers to "hands on" work by members of the congregation.  Because the numbers were taken from 2015 and included the mission trip to the Dominican Republic, the percentage is higher than it would have been in a normal year.

   The question was asked if SPPC "passed" the healthy church test. The answer was that we need to work on our pie.  According to Rev. Lawser, we should aim for an equal division between mission, relationships and spiritual development. Our congregation is very generous in its financial support when disaster strikes anywhere in the world.  We are faithful in supporting the Sidney Food Bank, Our Place, the Blue Bus, the Compassionate Warehouse and our foster child, not to mention the thousands of knitted cotton squares sent to places like Africa to aid the hospitals and clinics there.  We are not lacking in compassion and awareness.  Where we lack is the "hands on" aspect of mission. 

   After reviewing Rev. Lawser's analysis we were invited to do some "blue sky" thinking about SPPC and it's mission in Sidney/N. Saanich and the rest of the peninsula.  We were guided by the following questions:

  • What is the crossroads our congregation is faced with at this time?
  • What is the story about the congregation you hear yourself telling most often or that gives you identiy as a congregation?
  • How does this story shape the future?
  • How does this story restrict the future?
  • What do we want to create together?
The discussion included notes on what we do now.  Is it effective?  What creative ways can we reach people? e.g. mid-week worship.  Our parking lot is an asset.  Can we use it to promote our mission? e.g. host outdoor events.  Can we make SPPC a community gathering place?  We must realize that social culture has shifted and most people are not looking for "church" as we know it.  Worship is not top of mind to the people running marathons on Sunday morning, but helping those in need is.  Can SPPC provide a focus for that general good will?
   While we look for other ways to engage with the community around us, we remember that our "great commision" remains, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching. 

The "what" of our mission hasn't changed.  The "how" must.

As we stand in this crossroads we have the great comfort of Jesus' words,  "lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." 

Monday, March 7, 2016


The Annual Congregational Meeting was on Sunday.  In preparation we all received a copy of the annual report for 2015. The document is thirty pages long.  Four pages are for the budget and three for financial reports, making seven pages concerned with money, or 23% of our annual report.  Less than one quarter.  
Another seven pages is taken up with administrative stuff -- minutes of last year's meeting, session and committee membership. 

The rest of the report, more than half, deals with the life of the congregation.  Baptisms, deaths, music, Christian education, fellowship, mission, outreach, worship, pastoral care and many other items that show our care for one another, our care for our church and our care for the world.  There are reports on how we celebrated, how we grieved and how we worshipped. 

Churches are often accused of caring more about budgets than people.  The breakdown or our annual report shows just the opposite.  We devote much more space to people than to money. Analysis of the budget shows that we're invested in spending our money on worship (people), missions (people), and education (people).  We have to pay the hydro, maintain the building, cut the grass and pay salaries, necessary expenses in order that we may get on with our real work -- helping people.

Some people skip the annual meeting and barely glance at the annual report because they don't like the dry, administrative stuff.  If you have a close look at our annual report you'll find it's not that dry at all.  It reminds us of the 90th birthday celebrations, a trip to the IMAX, Christmas eve candlelight and hot apple cider.  There's a picture of "Humphrey, the Lonely Cello."  There's an account of a mission trip to the Dominican Republic and the evidence of God at work in that place.  All in all 2015 was an exciting year at SPPC.  Read all about, in the annual report.