Monday, October 26, 2020

How are We Doing?

The link for this week's on-line worship service is:

 As the pandemic lingers into the fall and winter, the question, "how are we doing?" leads the newscast most days. Health officials want to know if they have enough protective equipment for their workers and beds for their patients. Administrators want to know if the outbreaks in schools are contained and whether students are learning their course work. Psychologists assess the public and individual mood. "How are we doing?" has become more than a polite greeting. 

At SPPC the answer to "how are we doing?" is somewhat hopeful. 

--We have held in-person worship services since the end of June, including two communion services. 

--There have been no cases of covid reported among the congregation. Now that winter is here, we've closed the doors so the sanctuary is warm but we must be extra vigilant about Covid protocols.

--Worship committee has met and is considering ways to celebrate Christmas while keeping our distance and remembering that singing is a "dangerous activity."

-- Our "youtube" services are reaching a wider community than our in-person services ever did.

-- Our building is being used

  •  for several concerts by the Die Mahler Group and Raven Baroque. Thank you to those musicians for the gift of music.
  • for family dinners
  • for a small book club group
  • for the North Saanich Residents Association
  • for an all candidates meeting
  • for voting on Oct. 24
  • for a Tai Chi group that meets regularly in the parking lot

Of course, there are not so hopeful answers to the question as well. We have lost much loved members of the congregation but have been unable to hold large funerals. We all grieve these losses and regret deeply that we cannot offer the comfort of fellowship to families.

We have lost community. No Friendship Coffee, no Fellowship Coffee, no Bible Study, no out-to-lunch bunch, no hugs.  Individual phone calls, informal coffee dates, after church chat in the parking lot help to fill the gap, but cannot replace the lost programs.

We're all feeling a bit tired, a bit grumpy and a bit frightened about what comes next. 

And yet we know that:

While in prison, the Apostle Paul wrote:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 


When Israel had turned away from God and faced the threat of the Assyrian Empire, Isaiah wrote: 

. . .Thus says the Lord,  "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. "Isaiah 43: 1-3


Yesterday was Reformation Sunday. We should remember that during the Middle Ages, when the Plague killed one third of Europe's population,  Martin Luther wrote: 

 “I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbour needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”


In the face of this pandemic, the moderator of our church wrote:

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning” (Psalm 130:5–6).

Thank you for the peace and comfort that comes from knowing that we are not alone. God, grant us patience as we wait; grant us courage as we serve you and care for one another; grant us hope as we trust in you for the future.  -- The Rev. Amanda Currie, Moderator of the 2019 General Assembly, Presbyterian Church in Canada


      How are we doing? I don't know, but I do know we are not alone. We live in God's world and He knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future."Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, October 19, 2020

University of East Saanich

The link for this week's worship service on youtube is

Thanks to Diane for this week's post.


Return to class 2020 is, as expected, most unusual!

We are now calling our home University of East Saanich! As I walk around there are students tucked away in all areas working diligently on their studies. It's not unusual to have Rebekah sitting on her bed, her window wide open, with a blanket on her legs listening to a lecture, a cat curled up by her side. Maximilian is often tucked into his desk corner with 2 screens going so that his course materials are on one screen and his assignment on another. Benjamin shares his time between the kitchen table, the couch and the church. He is pretty much working all the time. I believe that online learning is much harder than going to an in-person lecture. What they are not missing is the commute. What they are missing a lot is meeting fellow students and friends on campus and making the connections that are so important to establishing study groups and life-long friendships. 

Peter is our last student in high school. They have been issued masks and he reports that most of the students wear them all day. His year has been divided into 4 'quarters' instead of 2 semesters. He will do 2 courses each quarter which will last for 10 weeks. At the moment he has Block 1 every morning and Block 2 every second afternoon. After doing this for 5 weeks, he will switch to Block 1 every second morning and Block 2 every afternoon. Just when we think we are used to that, he will have completed those 2 courses and will move on to the next two!

I'm not sure I will really be able to keep track of it all! Fortunately, he is very good at tracking where and when he is doing things. One of the fun little extra projects we had at the beginning of the school year was making a "mask" for his French horn. We are very happy that he has some extra-curricular activities underway. He's doing a bit of baseball and soccer again. He loves the training. I am truly grateful for the efforts that have been made by the schools and the athletic organizations to keep the children safe but allow them to return to some sort of "normal".
The students

I am also trying to squeeze in another Camosun Course so it is not unusual to have 3 of us working on our laptops studying at the kitchen table. Even Irwin is often with us doing late night editing of the YouTube worship service content. All together doing our own thing!
on-line learning --it's tough

Monday, October 12, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

 The link to this week's youtube worship service is

a scaled down display, with zucchini


 Happy Thanksgiving!

 Many of us are finding it hard to get into a 
thanksgiving frame of mind in 2020. The newspaper this morning reminded me of the string of disasters that had overtaken our world this year, even before COVID--fires in Australia, the shooting down of a passenger plane, and the loss of beloved stars of stage and screen and sport. Now COVID has held us in its grip for seven long months and the end is not yet in sight. Thanksgiving?

Still, the harvest has been bountiful (especially my zucchini), we live in a peaceful part of the world, we have in-person services (under 50 in attendance) we can still serve at home and abroad and we have faith.

60 servings of zucchini soup, plus a dozen loaves

The proceeds from the soup sales go to support our special missions.

So, we give thanks.


Grace Dodds, formerly of our SPPC congregation has feted on CHEK TV last week on the occasion of her 100th birthday!

We give thanks.


On Friday there will be a concert at SPPC.

The DieMahler String Concert
Friday, October 16 at 7:00 p.m.
In the Sanctuary at
Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church

Admission By Donation
(Maximum 50 persons)

At a time when the world needs the healing of music, we give thanks that at SPPC we can host a concert. 


Our God is faithful. He will not let us go. 

 Psalm 118:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Remembering Bill

 The link for this week's worship service is :


                                                       Remembering Bill Richer


On Saturday September 26th, 2020, Blanche, their children Alan, Derek, Pamela, granddaughter Danae, and Pamela’s partner Frank along with friends of Bill, said good-bye as Bill’s ashes were laid to rest in the Garden of Remembrance. Despite the inclement weather and the restrictions of Covid, family and friends of Bill from the choir were able to sing with Derek, in their hearts, or into their masks, “Abide with Me”.

 Over the years, many members of the congregation came to know Bill as a friend, a fine artist, a regular and loyal choir member, illustrator extraordinaire of the “Shepherd’s Way”, which he illustrated for Blanche, and was published several times a year for many years. The heartwarming stories and the illustrations gave us all reason to smile and reflect on our many blessings. Many will not realize that Blanche and Bill produced, copied, and distributed the Shepherd’s Way, all as a labour of love, and a gift to members of the congregation.

 Bill was always a gentleman. He attended all the activities of the congregation and was loyal in his support. His paintings and sketches, often provided as gifts for fund-raising, were enjoyed by all and demonstrated his artistic talents.

 Bill was born in Guernsey in The Channel Islands, and, as a child, was evacuated to a safer haven when the German army landed on his island home. Stories of his life had to be teased out of Bill, often at the Thursday Coffee Hour, where he always sat with the gentlemen, solving the world’s problems. Bill’s good humour was enjoyed by all. Bill was a quiet man and his story of life on the sea was only referred to in brief… how we would have loved to hear more of his rich experiences.

Each one of us will have a special memory of Bill, and I felt privileged to know this quiet gentleman and his family.  Bill will be greatly missed by all who knew him.


Rest in peace, good and faithful friend of SPPC.


by Roy Napier