Monday, April 16, 2018

Vision 20/20

Sunday morning Roy gave a presentation on Vision 20/20.  This is an initiative from Session aimed at charting a course for the future for SPPC.  Roy called it "looking forward" with the hope that the finished product could also be called "forward looking."

All institutions, including the church, need to examine themselves from time to time to ensure they are relevant to the time and place they inhabit.  A strong church community that seeks to grow the Kingdom of God is always relevant but we can examine the tools we use to achieve that purpose and see if there are better ways.

One of the areas Session has considered,  and asks the congregation to consider as well, is transitions.  The demographic of our community at large and our church in particular is aging.  Eventually we are all going to face a transition from:

  • Good health --- not so good health
  • Life Partner ---- no partner
  • Mobility -------- poorer mobility
  • Independence --- more dependence
  • Confidence/Security -- less confident/secure
  • All these transitions are difficult
As our congregation looks for ways to minister to our own members and to those outside our membership, discussion and assistance with these transitions may be an opportunity for service.

The congregation also needs to consider the question of who and when.  Session cannot implement a new direction, no matter how positive, without the support and commitment of individual congregants.  Now is the time to share that great idea you've been pondering for the past little while.  Now is the time to volunteer your time and talent.  Even if your circumstances limit your physical abilities, Session craves your prayers.  They are always possible -- and powerful.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Book Review - The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

reviewed by Linda Cliff.

I did not find The Great Divorce an easy read.  I am a literal person and the story is written as a fantasy so it took me awhile to get into the spirit of the book.  The good news is that the book is short so rereading parts of it did not seem to be burdensome. 
Divorce is written in the first person voice—apparently the voice of Lewis himself. We don’t know how long he was in the Grey Town (hell), but he seems to have recently arrived. He observes that Grey Town is a dreary place and the inhabitants are dour, quarrelsome, and cynical. There is no tormenting fire, and in fact no punishment at all; it turns out that they live here because they choose to live here.
Lewis encounters a number of inhabitants on their way to catch a bus for a visit to another place (you might call it heaven), and Lewis joins them. From this point much of the story revolves around conversations Lewis observes between the inhabitants on the bus and him, each other, and the inhabitants of the place they visit. The conversations  are filled with human insight and well worth reading; you might even see yourself in some of the discussions.
Each visitor from the bus meets someone from their previous life and has a conversation with them. These people are seen as solid people while the vistors from the bus are called ghosts.  The solid people try to convince the visitors that they should stay in this new world, that there are glories to be opened to them.  It is through these conversation that Lewis reveals Gods word .  These conversations give the reader a view of what the afterlife could be like.  Since the book is a fantasy, the reader is asked to look at hell in a way they may not have considered prior to reading this book.
Divorce is thought provoking and will change your thinking. Some of the reviews I read of the book stated that readers changed their persepectives on hell.  The book was written in 1957 which is a much different time from today so this book challenged the traditional views of that time.  I would say that if you read this book you will also find your views challenged.  I will leave you with one quote from the book to reflect upon.
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Easter 2018

Easter Sunrise Service

There was a cold wind and a glimmer of sunlight.

The bird came, as usual.

Finally, the sun burst through, bright and warm, just as we said, "Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed, Hallelujah!"

Our annual picture.

Later, after worship, we celebrated a birthday. 

Monday, March 26, 2018


With Palm Sunday past, we begin the solemn walk to Golgotha, and Christ's crucifixion.

Three days later, days we celebrate the great festival of Easter, the most important date in the Christian calendar. The day the world changed forever with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  But as we approach that most holy of days, we prepare in body and soul.

We prepare by supporting our mission team to the Dominican Republic, praying that their work furthers God's plan for that part of the world. 

We prepare with the meal in the Upper Room on Maundy Thursday at 5:30 pm.  This is a quiet time of reading and breaking bread together as we recall Christ's last meal with His disciples.

On Good Friday we worship in the sanctuary with a choral presentation of Stainer's Crucifixion. We invite everyone to join us for this musical retelling of the first Good Friday.

On Easter Sunday, we begin the day early with a sunrise service at Cy Hampson Park.  8:00 am isn't exactly sunrise, but it's early enough for most of us.  We're always joined by a few birds as we sing of the Saviour's resurrection.

Even if you're not up for an 8:00 am, outdoor service, you're invited to come to breakfast at the church at 9:00 am.

Finally, at 10:00 am we celebrate with a joyful worship service in the sanctuary.  Special guests make the hallelujahs ring.

Come walk with us as we journey toward Easter.

Monday, March 19, 2018

News from the DR

We've had a wonderful set of photos from our team in the Dominican Republic.  I'm sharing them here.  Don't forget to keep them in your prayers.  The poster in the narthex is there if you need to take a reminder.
By the way, those 1200 pounds of supplies went through customs without a single bag being opened.  Great start to the trip.

The team will return in time for Easter.  What stories they'll have tell.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Therefore Go

On Sunday the congregation commissioned a team of three to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  This is the second such adventure for our church, the first being three years ago.  

The team expressed gratitude for the financial support they've received.  Fundraising for the past several months has included a silent auction, bottle drive and soup sales.  The soup sales were so popular they may continue as a service to the congregation.

The minimum amount for sending our representatives was quickly achieved and the excess funds used for gear.  In addition to their own luggage, each team member is taking an extra suitcase for a total of 1200 lbs in medical and school supplies for the House Upon the Rock mission.

Now that the physical and financial requirements are taken care of, we still have another task.  The team asks for our support in prayer as they carry out their mission.  The first hurdle will be getting all those goods through customs, so Diane made a request for a special prayer on Monday morning to help them deal with customs officers.

There is a poster in the narthex with prayer reminders.  We are asked to take one of the tags each week and hang it someplace prominent to remind us to pray each day for the team and their work.  

As Rev. Irwin reminded us, commission means co - mission.  Diane, Joan and Rebekah are in the Dominican Republic as a physical representation of SPPC.  The congregation at home is still part of the mission.  Please hold these members in your hearts and in your prayers, until we welcome them home just in time for Easter.  Matt 28: 18-20

Waiting at the airport, all set to go, Sunday night at 8:30 pm.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Book Review

Praying the Lord’s Prayer
Elmer Towns.

In this book the author takes a well known prayer and dissects into its parts.  After reading this book the author states “when you have finished praying the Lord’s Prayer, you have said everything to God you need to say, you know everything you need to know and you have become everything God requires you to become.”

Towns takes the reader through the Lords Prayer line by line.  He divides the prayer into seven petitions and then spends a chapter dissecting each petition by giving examples from both his own experience and the Scriptures. He also gives the reader information about keeping a prayer journal and then ends the chapter with a three step bible study. 

Towns likes lists.  For example when he is describing how to honour God’s name, the list includes the following: God has a name, God’s name is holy, God wants us to praise Him, the Lord’s Prayer can praise God and God will not force anyone to praise his name.  He then goes on to discuss each of these points helping the reader to understand their significance.  He does this with each of the petitions.

At times I found the lists tedious and it felt like he was reaching to find ways of illustrating the petitions.  I found that if I read a chapter each day and then reflected on the overall message of the chapter  I was able to forgive all the lists!

I am very glad I read this book.  It has changed the way I pray.  Each day I mindfully repeat the Lords Prayer (more than once) and meditate on the each petition as I work through the prayer.  I find each time there is a different part of the prayer that I focus on and I also find that this has made prayer more of a focus in my life.  This book is available in the library as other books that focus on the Lord’s Prayer and other parts of scripture.  I am attaching a website that will take you to a pdf of Towns book which you can read at anytime.   

Thanks to Linda Cliff for this week's blog.