Monday, October 31, 2011

Ikea Trip

by Michael Denton
and Janet Smith
Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho,
It’s off to IKEA we go,
On a BC Ferry
And a chartered bus,
Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho!
Thanks to Janet Smith, a large group of 38 people gathered at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal to board the 09:00 departure of the Spirit of British Columbia, heading for Tsawwassen.  Once at Tsawwassen, a chartered bus picked up the group and took them to IKEA where I’m sure they all “shopped ‘till they dropped.” 
The group returned on the 17:00 (5pm) sailing from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, with large yellow and blue bags in hand! The shopping was heavy but the purses were lighter at the end of it all.
International Stage Lines were great, we needed 47 to fill the bus. At one point we were going to cancel as we only had 36 people signed up to go but ISL gave us the 47 seater coach for the price of the 28 seater which made it all possible. So, thanks to Carla in the office of ISL for working with us on the trip and to Peter, our driver for his good service.
It was fun!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Things to Think On

by Alice Valdal

A recent tv show introduced me to the phenomenon of "snark blogs."  These bits of cyber nastiness have grown at an astounding rate.  They are a recognized sub-set of the blogosphere. The term "snark blog" has its own definition in the urban dictionary.  While these postings may be intended to be funny, they mostly come off as spiteful.  They seem to have no purpose other than to build the self-esteem of the bloggers by hurting and humiliating their chosen victims.  Sadly, these blogs often develop a large readership.

     I have a friend who has experienced a great deal of stress over the past year.  All of our visits were punctuated with tales of failing parents, ghastly renovations, job uncertainty, parenting difficulties.  She suffered sleeplessness, stomach upset and hives.  Life seemed a continual downward spiral.  Then, at our last visit, she was relaxed, smiling and comfortable.  What happened?  She had made a conscious decision to stop thinking about her troubles and focus on gratitude.  She'd started keeping a gratitude journal, and her life was transformed.  She still has job uncertainty and troublesome parents  but these negative issues no longer ruled her life.
My friend had learned the lesson of Philipians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  

Gratitude, the perfect antidote for snark.


Monday, October 17, 2011


by Alice Valdal

On Thanksgiving Sunday, the sanctuary was decorated with the fruits of harvest.  Squash, corn, pumpkin, pickles, apples and tomatoes, homemade bread, grapes and peppers.  We sang "Come Ye Thankful People, Come."  And who wouldn't be thankful at such a time, the table groaning under the weight of crops safely gathered in.
A few days later, we gathered in that place again.  This time, for a funeral, a very different occasion.  And yet, there was thanksgiving there too.  Gratitude for a life well-lived, for love realized and for the glorious homecoming of a sister.

Gratitude for Jesus, who promised "in my father's house are many mansions.  If it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also."

Two different services, two different moods, but through them both, the thread of thanksgiving to God from His people.

Monday, October 10, 2011

We Have a New Organ

by Michael Denton
The Wurlitzer 3 manual ‘church’ organ is a magnificent instrument.  All sounding stops have been digitally reproduced and very closely resemble a pipe organ.
Each manual, Swell, Great and Choir (from top to bottom) has 12 speaking stops, and the Pedal section also has 12 stops.  In addition to the 48 ‘speaking stops’ the organ has Chimes on the Swell manual.
The organ sounds are described as “Principal” (Diapasons), “Flutes,” “Strings,” and “Reeds.”  The Chimes form the Percussion sounds (equivalent to ‘ranks of pipes’ on a pipe organ.)
Each manual can be coupled to one of the other two by way of “Couplers.”  These “Couplers” are operated either by thumb tabs below the manuals, or by toe pistons above the pedal board.  The organ also has 6 sets of ‘pre-sets’ for each manual, and 6 ‘general pre-sets’ which will operate the entire organ.  There are six sets of memory bank for the ‘general pre-sets’ allowing different organists to select and retain their own preferred registration (the use of different stops in combination.)
And last but by no means least, the organ is equipped with three expression pedals – one for each manual – which can be operated individually or in a combined fashion.  There’s also one “Crescendo” pedal which will “pull out the stops” as it’s pressed down and a “Tutti” button and toe-piston which will immediately bring on the “Full Organ.)
The organ is capable of providing excellent ‘colour tones’ with very quiet stops being used for those quiet reflective moments, building up to a much fuller and richer (and louder) sound overall.  All this technology is supported by 8 speakers; 6 general ‘rank’ speakers and two sub-woofers.  It has a lot of power!
As a matter of interest, the organ at its current volume level is probably no more than 20% of its maximum capacity.  If I were to “open up” the speakers to full volume, we just might interfere with landing aircraft!  Certainly we’d have to replace the roof of the church as we would literally “raise the roof.”   
As your Director of Music and organist, I am still experimenting with various combinations of sound.  I trust you will bear with me during the ‘learning curve’ of operating this magnificent instrument. 
I’m extremely grateful to Session for their foresight in purchasing this instrument.  It will hopefully last us many years and provide an enhanced sound to our worship services.  I wish to particularly thank Rev. Irwin Cunningham, Mrs. Jean Strong and Mr. Mark Johansson for their part in coming to scout out the instrument.  I would also like to thank all those generous people who have contributed to the Organ Fund over the past years which has made this acquisition possible.
If I’m playing it too loudly (even at its 20% capacity) I’m sure I’ll hear about it.  But when commenting, please also reflect on those quieter moments when the organ is played very quietly and gently!
In his dedication of the new organ, Rev. Irwin also thanked the Milne family, who gave the gift of music to SPPC  with their donation of our first organ.  It has served the congregation faithfully for twenty years.  We hope to pass on that gift to another congregation.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In all things...

by Alice Valdal

This year, wherever two or three gardeners are gathered together the talk inevitable turns to the disappointing yields this year.  The litany of complaint is loud and long.  Miserable spring, cold July, no bees, marauding deer, slugs, no sun.  I complain with the best of them, often leading the chorus.  Here it is, the end of summer and my tomatoes are still green.

In previous years, my plum tree has yielded bushels of fruit.  This year, I've got a niggardly offering that won't full one ice cream bucket.  I was ready to write off the garden as a complete failure, and then I found the blackberries. 

The bushes are laden, the berries sweet and juicy and huge!  Best of all they require little effort to grow and maintain.  I can't help considering the blackberry bushes along the roadsides as an example of God's grace.  We label them "noxious weed."  We cut them down, plough them under, trample them over.  We strip them of fruit and hack at the vines, then turn our backs and ignore them.  Yet, year after year, the blackberries shower the ungrateful with abundance, fruit fit for kings, there for the taking, no questions asked, no one excluded.

When I look at the failures and successes in my garden, I am reminded of Paul's message to the Thessalonians, In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.