Monday, February 28, 2011

Stretch into Spring

S-T-R-E-T-C-H into spring with Gladys.
Commencing March 3rd at 9 a.m., and continuing each Thursday morning until Easter, Gladys will once again offer a stretching class, to limber us up for the gardening (or golf) season.  This is a series of gentle stretch exercises - head to toe, suitable for any age. 
Exercise is important for people of all ages, including seniors.  Research shows us that exercise can improve function in four areas that are important for staying healthy and independent: strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.  There is also evidence that an active lifestyle improves cognitive function, elevates mood and may even help to ward off dementia.
 Men­tal fit­ness seems to depend on a large part on being con­nected with other peo­ple. One study pub­lished in 2008 showed that social­iz­ing and men­tal exer­cises have very sim­i­lar effects in terms of improv­ing brain functions.  It follows then, that physical exercise done in company with others will have added benefits.
The Bible makes many references to our physical health and tells us to look after our bodies, i.e. 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. Similar ideas are found in 1 Corinthians 3:16 & 17;  2 Corinthians 6:16. It seems fitting, then that S-T-R-E-T-C-H into Spring will take place at SPPC during Lent, the season when we reflect and take stock of our spiritual lives, often by using a physical discipline to keep us on track.
So there it is, Thursday mornings at SPPC, an opportunity to honour God in body, mind and spirit.

Gladys is not the cat at the top of this blog.   She is a member of SPPC, a one-time competetive water-skier and an avid golfer.  Recently she learned to play the ukulele 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Come Sing your Thanks -- Children's Choir

If you missed the Living Flame anthem on Feb. 13, here's your chance to hear them.  Thanks to Diane for making the video and figuring out how to put it on youtube."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mission Month

February is Mission Month at SPPC 

Our congregation contributes to the Presbyterian World Service and Development fund in order to spread Christian love and practical aid to nations and people in need around the world.

To help us understand where our dollars go, the Sunday School gave a presentation on micro-credit last Sunday.

PWS&D Sunday School Presentation

The Mission and Outreach Committee and the Sunday School are partnering with PWS&D and YOU to reach out to women in Mozambique in a creative way. We have chosen for the destination of this year’s fundraiser MICRO-CREDIT of businesses for women in Mozambique.
You may be asking: What is MICRO-CREDIT? Well, we’ll get to that. 
First some background on Mozambique.
Mozambique has been identified by PWS&D as the area of greatest need of assistance at this point in time.
Following 16 years of civil war the country has been slow to rebuild. After the war, there was not enough emphasis placed on infra-structure by the government.
The country was then hit hard by natural disasters, first by devastating floods, then by drought.
This resulted in extreme poverty - 50% of Mozambicans live on less than $1/day.
Their average life expectancy is 49 years - that doesn’t leave Diane much time in Mozambique years!!!
As with many cultures, the women suffer greatly. They have few societal rights and limited access to financial resources.

This is where MICRO-CREDIT comes in to help.

Today we would like to give you a visual example of the benefit of MICRO-CREDIT and how it works.

Let’s look at the benefits of MICRO-CREDIT by looking at various ways of helping people.

First we have a traditional model of assistance:
We see a need
Gather our resources

and meet the need.
We give a gift, this time clothing, and we have completed our mission. While we have made their life better for now… we may have done little to help them in the future.
Second is the "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but if you give him a fishing rod, you feed him for a lifetime" idea of misison
I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before.
This time we recognize we need for lasting help. We want more than just the item to be given. We want the skill and the equipment given to the person so that they can continue to help themselves and their families. We give them a sewing machine.

The third model, is the micro-credit model.  Here's how it works.
You…the people of a Christ centered, compassionate organization… donate money.
That money is then loaned to a person who wants to start a small business, say a sewing shop, WITH the expectation that the money will be paid back. As the business grows, the money is paid back to the coordinating bank.

This money is then available to be loaned to someone else

to start another business, say a sewing shop in another village.
Once again this business is responsible to pay back the money.

And the money is AGAIN available for someone else
to borrow…to start a new business…
perhaps a quiet beading business!!
In this way the money can be used not only to help one individual, but to build an entire community.
In this way the money can be used not only to help one individual, but to build an entire community.

In the process, it develops self-respect.
In the process, it provides access to the banking system.
In the process, it develops literacy, leadership and business management.

In the process, it develops entrepreneurial skills.
It empowers women and brings about long-term societal changes with regard to equality for women.

MICRO-CREDIT is an effective, proven way of eradicating poverty and providing real sources of income for poor families.

  • The women are most certainly better off because of the work of our program partners – many women go on to take out multiple loans in order to grow their businesses even further.
  • Most banks and money lenders wouldn't even consider offering small loans to poor women, and those that do often charge ridiculous fees and interest that people are unable to pay back.
  • Our program offers a workable, empowering and life-changing alternative to that system.

    This program is an incredible success story.
  • All of us at PWS&D are frequently inspired and impressed with the great stories we hear of life-changing improvements made to the lives of women and their families.
  • You can be assured that any funds you send in to this project will ensure this important work can continue.

Jesus said in John 10:10  
"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

Will you join us in Christ’s mission?

You can be a part of bringing Christ’s love to these people in a significant way by:

  • Buy from our Bake Sale at the end of the month (Feb. 27)
  • Collecting your bottles and cans and bringing them to the church
  • Joining us for a soup lunch where donations for PWS&D will be accepted (Feb 27)
  • Collecting pennies in your boxes (boxes are available for pick up or drop off at the church)
  • even by making a donation through your offering envelope and labeling it PWS&D Mozambique
Research resources:PWS&D resource materials, correspondence and website (
KIVA website (
Caixa model of lending (

Monday, February 7, 2011


by Joan MacDonald

    The McIlveen and MacDonald family decided on a family holiday over Christmas to New Year, destination, Cable Beach, New Providence Island in the Bahamas.  Arriving at the hotel, we found blue skies and warm blue waves lapping up against powdery white beaches.  Within 3/4 hour the family was at the beach, some swimming, some beach combing, others enjoying the views from the comfortable chairs provided by the hotel.  Here we stayed until suppertime after which we discovered lots of entertainment to finish off the day.  Armed with a tourist map we boarded a bus ( cost $1.25) to Nassau.  There were no designated bus stops, but we discovered a wave or whistle will bring the bus to you.  When you board, the driver asks your destination then takes you there. 
    Nassau intrigues travellers of all kinds; shoppers, history buffs, culture mavens or visitors who simply enjoy strolling and enjoying the blur of colours and aromas.  In the Adastra Gardens Zoo and Conservation centre, we fed the parrots, watched the flamingos dance and marvelled over an aviary of tropical birds.  The gardens are five acres containing exotic fruit trees, coconut palms, orchids, hibiscus and other beautiful and colourful plants, as well as 300 mammals, birds and reptiles. 
     Fort Fincastle and Water Tower, built in 1793, is at the top of the Queen's staircase, a set of 65 stone steps hewn into a cliff and name built in honour of Queen Victoria, in the 65th year of her reign.  Queen Victoria is revered because she abolished slavery from the island.  Other notable sights include Government House built 1801, Christ Church Cathedral, 1817 where white pillars support ceilings beamed with dark wood handcrafted by ship builders, a stained-glass window of 1837 depicts the Crucifixion, the empty tomb and ascension.  Gregory's Arch, built in 1849 and named for governor John Gregory, provides a picturesque entrance to downtown.
       On Blue Lagoon Island, one stands waist deep in water and a dolphin performs back flips and other tricks.  They snuggle up to be patted and give a little kiss. They loved to be stroked.  They stand up in the water fins out to the side.  Holding the fins, people dance with them.  A day's sail to Rose Island was a highlight.  On arrival some of the family went snorkeling, others beach combed, after about an hour folks changed places. Meantime, the skipper cooked lunch, chicken, spare ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, hot bread cooked to perfection followed by desserts of fresh fruit picked that morning and choice of drinks, morning and afternoon. 
     On Christmas Day, we attended the Presbyterian Church service, very traditional.  The congregation was celebrating their 200th anniversary in a beautiful old church with wonderful stained glass and an organ for the music.  Even the minister was from Toronto, so his accent matched ours. Boxing Day saw us at the Junkanoo in Nassau at 12 midnight.  This parade dates back to the 17th century when slaves were given three days off over Christmas to visit family.  Over time the parade evolved into a competition among four main groups for prizes and bragging rights.  The street erupts in a kaleidoscope of colourful sights and sounds, vibrant costumes sparkle in the light of the street lamps.  Marchers bang on goatskin drums, clang cowbells, blow on conch-shell horns, the whole lot followed by brass bands.  All costumes are homemade in paper, full of wonderful themes and colours.  This year the Saxon group won.  They received money prizes and twelve months of bragging.  The bragging rights are valued more than the money.
    The Bahamians are friendly, nothing is too much trouble.  In a nut shell it was the best of times, the worst of times.  The best arriving to sunshine, blue seas and white beaches.  The worst, climbing back into our Canadian winter clothes.

Joan MacDonald is a long time member of SPPC, sings in the choir, and creates wonderful food for the Sunshine Lunch and other special occasions.