Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday School Pageant

On Sunday, the 19th we celebrated white gift Sunday and the presentation of the Sunday School pageant.  With the children we experienced joy and excitement and wonder and that holy night in Bethlehem.  Thank you to all who prepared and presented this unique worship.

Gentle Mary

There were Shepherds
A Host of Angels


Joseph the Carpenter 

Desert footwear

 Unto You is Born a Son

White Gifts 
  Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas from the Sunday School

As their contribution to the SPPC blog, two of the Sunday School classes offered these drawings and achrostics.  Thank you to Rebekah, Benjamin, Zachary, Brenden, Josh, Peter and Nathan -- and their teachers!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Moments from "Once Upon a Christmas"

The cobbler's shop
  Wasn't that a night! Once again, the Christmas play at SPPC brought together old and young, performers and hearers, insiders and outsiders. If you missed it, here are a few shots from "Once Upon a Christmas" by Rettke and Hatch. If you were there, thank you for your presence and enjoy the memories these pictures bring.

The Martyr and the Saint!

I plan to beat him all the way to jail!

Last minute cramming

A fire, a friend, a cup of tea -- It just might equal Christmas

Angelic carolers

Pizza time


                 Our Orchestra


Boots for the Wanderer

                          As Usual in the Kitchen

                             Stage Mom

Preparing a feast

    The Apple Seller

Yasha and carolers

Petrov and that miserable cart


On Our way to Church

Monday, December 6, 2010

More on the Christmas Play

by Phillip Van de Ruyt

     When my family moved to Sidney, in the Christmas of 1992 (just before my second birthday), we needed to find a church close to home. We were welcomed warmly by SPPC, and have been attending ever since. Shortly after, my brother Marcus and I were asked to be involved in the Christmas pageant. Now, Marcus being the older one, was meant to play a wise man and myself a sheep. Some confusion ensued however when our names were mixed up. When I got wind however, of ‘Phillip the wise man’, I would settle for nothing less. And so the show went on, with Marcus on his hands and knees with sheep skin tied to his back, and a dwarf of a wise man. I remember little of the performance (besides sucking on my belt), but I’m told that I didn’t miss a line. Now I would be exaggerating to say that I was destined to perform from this time on, but it certainly did key my parents into an unforeseen avenue for their shy son. There were many more Christmas pageants to follow, in which I began to work my way up from sheep, to Roman soldier, and eventually back to wise man.
     In elementary school I was involved in plays and skits, but to no further extent than any other kid, until grade four. At this point the school was putting on a Christmas production, which included a short skit from each class. When it came time for my class to be cast, I was overjoyed to find that all I had to do was say the word, and I got the lead. Our scene was set on an airplane, with all of the passengers heading home for Christmas; I played the pilot. Equipped with a borrowed hat from my neighbor, a headset from the school, and holding an old steering wheel from my Dad’s first car, I committed to the role 100%. I was quite upset when my teacher taped my lines to the steering wheel, as I had worked hard to memorize them. Nonetheless, she insisted, but I didn’t so much as peak at them during the performance. After the show my parents asked me, "Do you really like acting Phillip?" To which I replied, "No, I hate it!" (I was a very stubborn child).
     My performances hit a lull in middle school, as I suppose I was just ‘too cool for that’. In grade eight however, we all went to see the high school’s musical production of Bye Bye Birdie. I was astounded, as this was the first time that I really enjoyed live theatre. It was high energy and seemed so ‘professional’ to me. When I found out that all I had to do was sign up and I could be in the next year’s show, there was no question about it. My first production with Parkland was Oklahoma!, for which I was a chorus member. One of the older students that I got to know in that production, encouraged me to do a summer musical theatre camp, with Victoria Youth Musical Theatre Society (VYMTS). I signed up, auditioned, and landed the role of Mr. Macafee in Bye Bye Birdie, the very show that had sparked my interest. From that point, I went on to play leading roles in Parkland’s productions of The Music Man, Grease, and The Boyfriend. As well I did a second show with VYMTS, that being 42nd Street. I too became very involved with the acting class at Parkland, and in my grade twelve year I was the assistant instructor.
     After graduating I took a year off school to work full time, and became involved in a community show. I was cast as a lead in the annual Kaleidoscope Theatre / Lawyers on Stage production of The Rocky Horror Show. Not willing to let performing out of my life, I submitted my application to the University of Victoria theatre department. I was accepted and now have a full course load, with a minor in professional writing. In my first couple weeks at UVIC I was cast in a student show, which tied up my evenings. I  keep myself very busy as I have continued to work part-time, and have also been ushering at the UVIC Phoenix theatre.
     This year’s production of Once Upon a Christmas is my fourth such production with SPPC and Alice Valdal. I am pleased at the chance to be exercising another area of the craft, in stage directing this show. I could ask for no better Christmas present, than an opportunity to perform.

 Ed. Note:  Once Upon a Christmas, Sat. Dec. 11, 7:00 pm.  SPPC.  Free admission.  Free refreshments.  Bring your friends.

Cast of Once Upon a Christmas in rehearsal

Monday, November 29, 2010

Introducing our Choir Director, Michael Denton

The Lord leads us in wondrous ways! And I’m thankful that He has led me to Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church as your new Music Director. It’s some 10 years since I was a “full-time” Organist and Choir Director. A number of reasons led me to “hang up the organ shoes.” The main one was my shift work when I worked for BC Ferries. I just found it too difficult to have a firm church commitment while trying to juggle a work schedule to satisfy the needs of my job, which frequently took me out of town, often at very short notice.
     So, during the past 10 years I’ve “filled-in” at various churches on an “as needs” basis. And that’s how I came to play at SPPC. I was sent the note about your vacancy through the Royal Canadian College of Organists. I called Dr. Brian Altenkirk and told him that while I wasn’t interested in the position on a “full-time” basis, I was available to provide relief during your search. I’d just finished “filling in” at St. Stephen’s Anglican church in Saanichton, so the timing was good.
     I was very touched by the warm reception I received from the Minister, choir and congregation of SPPC. As time went along, and the Selection Committee wasn’t exactly flooded with applicants, I was asked on more than one occasion if I’d consider applying for the position. So, with the blessing of my wife Jeannie, and because of the warm reception I’ve received from the choir, congregation and Minister, I put in my application.
     I’m delighted to have been accepted and will do my best to carry on the excellent standard of music set by my predecessor.
Advent and Christmas will soon be upon us, and we’ll be singing some old favourites, as well as some new music I’ll introduce. We’re always looking for more singers, especially men, so if you feel you’d like to contribute to the ministry of music, please don’t hesitate to come and speak with me.
     Just one favour to ask of you all. As you know, all organists fall into various categories – and each organist seems to fit into them all. We either play too loudly, too quietly, too quickly or too slowly! Some people enjoy quiet and contemplative music before the service; others say it puts them to sleep! So, I’d appreciate you coming to me directly with any comments and/or suggestions, bearing in mind that one person will never satisfy everyone! But I’ll do my best! I would however appreciate it if you’d come and speak with me. It’s much better than hearing it from others. Please don’t be shy; I don’t bite!
     Thank you for the opportunity to share my gift of music with you all at SPPC!
-- Michael

Michael playing the organ at St. John's

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coming Home

Yes, it does feel like coming home to be attending a Presbyterian church again—and a good reformed one at that! I started out life in a Presbyterian church--Fairview Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, to be exact. At the age of eight it was on to another reformed church, this time in Pennsylvania, where my dad had obtained the kind of job unavailable in Canada in those days. I moved back to Vancouver when I was 17, returning to my old church, marrying a Swiss several years later, and moving to Switzerland nine years later.
You don’t truly appreciate real evangelical churches until you have lived long-term on a continent which is now only nominally Christian. It becomes all too easy to give up on the state churches and succumb to the temptation of just watching services from the UK on the TV. However, this kind of compromise never compares to the joy of being in communal worship, although I was perhaps not conscious of it at the time.
We returned to Canada in the year 2000, but came to Sidney only in 2006. At the time SPPC did not have a permanent pastor (at least, that is what my sometimes faulty memory is telling me….), so I attended a church which was within walking distance of where I live. Still, I felt drawn back to my roots and am very happy to report that I have indeed come “home”. You probably didn’t even realize I was missing!

Blessings to all

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Musical, 2010

When I was asked by my friend and fellow UVIC theatre student, Phillip Van de Ruyt, if I would fill a role in a Christmas musical he was directing at SPPC, not only was I honored to be asked, but I was immensely excited for the opportunity. I have always been passionate about music and theatre, so this has naturally been a wonderful experience for me. Thank you to everyone involved for making me feel so welcome!"
Editor's Note: The Christmas musical this year is "Once Upon a Christmas" with music by Owen Hatch and words by Marion Rettke. The play is based on an old Russian tale of Martin the Cobbler, as told by Leo Tolstoy. On Christmas eve, in Tsarist Russia, Martin is expecting a visit from Christ.
To meet Martin and his visitors, plan to attend, Dec. 11, 2010, 7:00pm. Free Admission. Good will offering to support Mission and Outreach projects. Refreshments to follow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Listening to the Bible"

by Joan Larsen

I enjoy reading the Bible, but, because of the poor sight in my right eye,the printing in my Bible was too small. So, off I went to the Christian Book and Music Centre to get a large print Bible. WOW!!

What a variety of Bibles, with discs to go along with them. In fact, the new King James Bible has sound effects that make you think you are in a movie theatre. I decided to get the "New International Version" of the Holy Bible" and the set of discs that go with it. I then transferred the discs onto my IPad.

I thought I might as well start at Genesis, seeing it is the first book in the old testament. I was doing quite well and was fascinated with all the history. But, when I got to 2 Kings, I got bogged down. All the wars seemed to unsettle me. So, I left 2 Kings and started skipping around and only read my favorite scriptures. This was not going to work if I was planning to read the whole Bible. Finally I got a chart listing all of the books of the Bible, and how they relate to one another.

I found the best way to read was to listen to the disc, and follow along reading the Bible. This works for only a short while for me as my eyes tire easily. I then close my eyes and listen to the narrator. He has a pleasing voice with not too many inflections in it. I read some every day and I know it will take me a lot more time than it would for some others, but I will do the best I can and learn how to follow God Almighty and Jesus Christ my Saviour.

God Bless

Joan Larsen is a faithful member of SPPC. She is the former accompanist for the Living Flame (Children's Choir), takes a regular turn in the kitchen and counts Bible Study as one of the highlights of her week.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunrise Service - Easter 2010

What a glorious day! We gathered at Cy Hampson Park to Celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.