Monday, February 24, 2020

What Do You Have?

Last Sunday's sermon used the text, Mark 6:31-44, 8:1-9, the feeding of the multitude.
This is a familiar story of Jesus teaching to thousands beside the Sea of Galilee. After many hours the disciples became concerned that people were hungry and they hadn't enough to feed them all. Jesus answered "What do you have?"  The answer was five loaves and two fish.  From these meagre offerings, five thousand men were fed.
Sunday was also the date of our Annual Congregational Meeting. We hustled through the dry business of receiving and approving reports. The meeting could have been wound up in half an hour. But then we started the "thank yous" and the list went on and on.
We are a small congregation so it is easy to focus on what we lack, but using Jesus' question "what do you have," we discovered that we have many gifts. 
  • To begin, we have food and fellowship in abundance. The potluck lunch not only fed everyone present but resulted in baskets of leftovers. The Friendship Coffee on the second and fourth Thursday of the month is a highlight for many.
  • We are a church with a heart for mission. Year after year, the congregation gives more to missions than is called for in the budget.
  • We have people willing to stand for session, shouldering the day-to-day responsibilities of running the business of the congregation.
  • We have pastoral carers, people who make time in their lives to visit hurting members of the congregation. The Sunshine Lunch is another volunteer event that provides a meal for singles in our congregation, along with rides to the church and home again for those who need them.
  • We have a secretary who goes above and beyond without complaint.
  • We have a choir and music director who practice every Thursday in order to enhance worship Sunday after Sunday.
  • We have quiet volunteers who run the sound system, manage the blog, and respond to prayer requests.
  • The members of our property committee give many hours of work to keep the building and grounds in good repair.
  • We are grateful to have a minister who enables, encourages, teaches, preaches and counsels with insight and knowledge.

   What do we have? A Saviour who died for us. A Holy Spirit that moves among us. A Heavenly Father who created us. We have love for one another.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Auction for Missions

Saturday night I attended a silent auction --a fundraiser for our mission team to the  Dominican Republic.   
As well as items for auction, there was dessert and coffee. Lots and lots of desserts.  I think the sugar high was  designed to reduce bidder inhibitions. It certainly worked on me!
 I thought many bids were too low for the quality of the item up for auction, so I bumped up the bid.  I came home with four dozen roses -- and a few other items. Apparently, instead of boosting the prices, I discouraged other bidders. Good intentions gone awry.
Ah well, it's all in a good cause, as they say, and I've shared the roses with others.

The silent auction is a fun event, requiring enormous organization and a small army of workers. Sometimes it is the main event for funding the mission trip, other times it is an adjunct.  At SPPC we've been quietly fund-raising for many months.
Some congregants have Thrifty's Smile Cards that ensures a portion of their grocery bills is donated to buy school supplies and medical items for the mission team to take with them.
more workers

More directly, we have a team of cooks who makes soup, meat pies and other goodies for sale. The food comes in small portions, it's tasty and it's economical. Many in our congregation have a big appetite for these small meals. 
Loved this, refrained from bidding

We also hold a bottle drive from January to March, adding a little more to the coffers and saving people a trip to the recycle depot.

All of these efforts mean that our mission team, Benjamin, Darlene, Diane and Joan, is well positioned for their trip to the Dominican Republic a few weeks from now.  
ready for fall
spring planter that I resisted

 Matthew 25:40: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 9:35-36 “Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.”

Whether we're making soup or buying roses, we too can show compassion for the distressed and dispirited in our world.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Vision 2020 Prayer Team

One of the groups involved in SPPC's Vision 2020 is a Prayer Team. The purpose of this team has been both to pray and to look for ways to engage our community with prayer. 

This week we launch our first prayer campaign to seek the prayers of the people for our individual  spiritual growth, for our spiritual growth as a congregation, for growth into our community and for our denomination.

Helen Ewing was wearing her family motto in a beautiful brooch last Sunday. We asked her what it said and she told us "ora et labora" This translates to "pray and work." What a great thing to do! It is now our time to work and pray. 

We have made prayer bookmarks for people to take home as guidelines for praying for our faith and our church. Here is the comprehensive list of the prayers

The bookmarks are available in the narthex. 

As well as the launch of the prayer campaign, last Sunday saw the congregation treated to a free lunch.

Thanks to Barb and her cousins! (Does that sound like Gilbert and Sullivan chorus?" 
 It was a lovely gesture and much appreciated. This congregation does enjoy "breaking bread" together.

with notes from Diane Cunningham
photos from Janet Smith and Rebekah Cunningham

Monday, February 3, 2020

New Bible Study

Our regular Wednesday morning and evening Bible Study has resumed. Good to have Rev. Irwin teaching us again. 

How do we treat "spirit" in our lives? Ignore it? Put it in a pigeon hole? Be aware that it wraps around every aspect of our being? The study invites us to explore these and other questions.
Each session begins with a brief presentation from a video series called Nooma,with Rob Bell, In these short presentations Bell uses every day life events to illustrate scripture, or perhaps he uses scripture to illuminate every day life events. Is rain just precipitation or can it be seen as a metaphor for our life in Christ? 

The word Nooma comes from the Greek and is translated as "spirit."  The series challenges us to reflect on our faith and how we understand scripture. It invites us to take God out of the "church" and put Him at the centre of our lives.

We plan to watch two short videos per week for the 12 weeks of the course. Don't worry if you miss a week, or if you've missed the first one. Each session can stand alone--or with the others. The sessions are available on youtube if you want to see what it's all about.

All are welcome, whether you attend SPPC or not. The morning study begins at 9:30 am and the evening one at 7:00 pm. We're a friendly bunch. Discussions are animated, thoughtful, fun and respectful. Coffee is always ready.
 Call 250 656-2241 for more information.