Monday, June 29, 2020

Graduation with a Difference

The video link for Sunday's service is: 

Congratulations to Benjamin on his graduation from Stelly's Secondary School.

We've celebrated other graduations at SPPC, usually with a cake after service on Sunday morning. 
Not this time. COVID 19 has truly changed every aspect of our lives. 
Benjamin had to settle for a card from session, delivered in a unique way. 😀

Thankfully, parents, teachers and students have been inspired to make this year's grad ceremonies memorable--even if unusual. 
Ben got to ride in an antique Bentley as part of a graduation drive-by on Friday afternoon. There was a limited gathering of friends to watch a video of classmates receiving their certificates, at a physical distance, and a fancy dinner--held in a tennis court. 

Maybe all those students whose graduation exercises included a walk across the stage at UVic, a formal dinner and an after-grad party are envious of the unique ways the class of 2020 has found to celebrate.
Here he is, all grown up and ready for university. Hard to believe he was once a cute, blond chorister in the Living Flame Choir. If you search back far enough on this blog you can find pictures, but I won't embarrass him by posting them here.
The congregation of SPPC wishes you good luck, Benjamin and sends you into the next phase of life with all our love and prayers and the certainty that God has plans for you. 
"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

We hoped to be worshipping in our building last Sunday, but plans changed at the last minute, so yesterday was our first in-person service since March 15. No coffee hour, no handshakes, no hugs, no choir, no gathering in the narthex, but we were able to sit in the pews and hear Rev. Irwin live. There was no hymn-singing, but there was music from Larry and Tore and Janet.
two views of a "distamced" congregation

Even with all the changes, it felt good to be there.

Follow-up on the gowns for the Dominican Republic. 
Not only have the gowns arrived, they are being put to good use!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Jesus Bids Us Shine!

The link for this week's worship service is:

Light is a major theme throughout the Bible. God created light "and it was good." Jesus is the "light of the world." The the nation of Israel was to be "a light to lighten the Gentiles." 
The last three months have felt like a time of darkness for church buildings -- no worship, no meetings, no fellowship. Like a Broadway theatre, we have gone dark. But we have not forgotten about light, literally.

The lighted "hope" sign on the front of the building was originally a symbol of Advent, but, while the nasty virus has descended like a dark cloud on our spirits, it has been reinstalled as a message to cheer our neighbours.

Other, physical lights of SPPC needed attention too. The spotlight on the cross on the north wall of the church has not been working for some time. 
 It was hard to to disassemble, but eventually it ended up in the handyman's basement. All the dirt was wiped off and the wires checked.
 A blackened lightbulb told its own tale. A new sodium bulb was obtained, and voila!--light in the darkness.

The lights in the upper reaches of the sanctuary and the hall have many burned out tubes. Since these lights are inaccessible from a ladder, a closed church building was the perfect time to rent a "genie lift" and restore them as well.

 Getting the screens out proved to be troublesome, but eventually all was completed and we have good light in the sanctuary once again.

Of course, the "boys" couldn't let a perfectly good opportunity for some fun go to waste.  
One of our newest elders with a halo
The preacher from a very high pulpit

It turns out, you'll need all those new lights to find your way around when the building reopens for worship.
In order to get physical distancing and keep parishioners as safe as possible, the interior of the sanctuary has been re-configured. Back wall, pews, pulpit, piano and cross have all been moved. 

From a physical perspective, "church," when we meet again in person, will be a different experience, but Jesus still bids us shine. 
Since the middle of March, our weekly video services, personal devotionals and even this blog, have encouraged us to keep the light of Jesus alive in our own hearts and to share it with our neighbours. Since we must shine from a safe distance, let us keep our lights extra bright.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for the beautiful flowers.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Gowns for the DR

   The link for this week's worship service is

    As we edge toward a cautious re-opening of the church building for worship, we are finding ways to use the space in service to God. 
      Diane took advantage of the big tables and empty rooms to cut out protective gowns for the clinic in the Dominican Republic. They cannot reopen the clinic -- desperately needed by the local population -- without gowns for the staff. 
       The cost of a single-use gown is nearly ten dollars, so with four people in the clinic, the cost runs up very quickly. By comparison, a car costs around $1000.00. So ten gowns equals one car. There had to be a better way.
        Enter Diane and her sewing machine.

12 gowns, 3 for each staff member

Meanwhile, session met in the hall where there was room for six foot distancing between members. 

There were some tired voices at the end of a long meeting from all that calling across the room, but work was accomplished.
When the meeting ended, elders modelled the gowns Diane had made for the medical clinic supported by SPPC through the House Upon the Rock ministry.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Red for Pentecost

Abigail glowing in red

The link for Sunday's worship service is 

Thank you to everyone who sent in a photo of themselves wearing red for Pentecost. In this time of keeping apart, it's great to have this "togetherness."

Some went for red socks too.

Note what's playing on the screen in the corner. 

Family affair.

Thanks, Janet for sharing your pictures and your family.

That shirt!

The shirts didn't make it to the DR but they're great for Pentecost.
Need to perfect that selfie technique, ladies. One's too high and one's too low! Guess that makes them just right.

My good neighbour

The pictures are fun, but why red for Pentecost?

According to a study from Western Oregon University on symbolism in Christianity, "Red Signifies action, fire, charity, spiritual awakening. It also glorifies the sun and the joy of life and love. In Christian symbolism, it denotes the Holy Spirit." 
Not Pentecost Sunday, but all that red denotes "joy of life" as friends celebrate Barb C.'s 103rd birthday in a socially distant manner.

In this very strange spring I feel as though I've missed the burgeoning of new life associated with the season. At a time when we expect to embrace the world we've been withdrawing, hunkering down, refusing hospitality to guests.
be kind, be calm, be safe over a red heart

Apparently I'm not the only one who feels life is topsy-turvey. The CBC has launched its Hello Spring Initiative so that Canadians can experience spring in nature from the safety of their own homes.

I'm grateful for the clips on CBC and I'm enjoying watching spring from my own backyard. Pentecost and red shirts remind us that the Holy Spirit is present in all seasons of life. It is not shut down by a virus, or persecution, or closed buildings. Those tongues of fire burn and leap through joy and hope, through hardship and adversity. Thanks be to God that we have our advocate, comforter, counsellor, helper and friend to see us through these troubled times.     

Monday, June 1, 2020

Isolation Soup Sale

The link for this week's video service is 
                                                                       When the country went into lockdown, the mission team from SPPC was on the brink of heading down to the Dominican Republic. They were taking supplies and money to build a new house for a woman who had left an abusive relationship. 
Then COVID-19 struck and the trip was cancelled.

The good news is that we could still send money and the house is currently under construction.
The bad news is, we sent the money so now must replenish our coffers for the time when the team is allowed to travel.
The good news is, the congregation loves homemade soup and cottage pie.

Last week Darlene, Diane and Rebekah used got busy in the kitchen. The used--

  • 18 pounds of ground beef
  • 30 pounds of potatoes
  • 2 pounds of butter
  • 12 pounds of carrots
to produce 
  • 69 cartons of carrot soup
  • 74 cottage pies
  • 56 cartons of chicken soup
Word went out and 26 orders were placed from the congregation.

Joan took a list, then provided curbside pickup.B
Barb offered delivery service to those who couldn't come to the church.
Rev. Irwin got to conduct some parking lot visits, 
and our special mission fund got some new funds.  

Everyone needs chocolate brownies. 
We're all learning to adapt to new ways, but, one way or another, the work and mission of the church carries on. 
Well done everyone!
A friendly supervisor
Ed. note:  Thanks to Diane for sharing her pictures and thinking of the blog!
   Speaking of pictures, I only have three of congregants wearing Pentecostal red. Please send in your photos for next week's post. or