Monday, August 26, 2013


   We rocked the rafters at SPPC on Sunday night with an old-fashioned hymn sing.    From the contemplative "It is well with my soul,"  to the rousing "Onward Christian Soldiers," we sang, "lustily and with good courage," as one compiler of a hymnbook urged.
   From our own Book of Praise, we read that "Praise is the truest expression of our faith in and love towards God.  St. Paul urged the Ephesian Christians to 'be filled with the spirit' and to speak in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."  

Many thanks to our organist, Larry Skaggs for taking the lead on this event.  It was a great opportunity to worship with members of other churches and to "make a joyful noise unto the Lord."
Stand up, Stand up for Jesus
Irwin and Diane got to sit together!

This is My Father's World

Of course, there was food. 

From the oldest to the youngest, we all had a great evening, and "Praised the name of the Lord.  Amen." 


Monday, August 19, 2013

Take My Life and Let it Be, was the congregational hymn of choice last Sunday. Here is what Dr. Kirk had to say about it.

Scripture reading:  2 Corinthians 8. 1 - 9

        This is one of the best known hymns on the subject of Christian consecration and discipleship.  The occasion for the writing of the hymn was a five day visit Miss Havergal made to the home of some friends.  There were ten other guests at the home, some unconverted, others nominally Christian.  She prayed "Lord, give me all in this house!"  Before she left her prayer was wonderfully answered.  "Before I left," she wrote, "I . . passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration; and these little couplets formed themselves and chimed to my heart one after the other, till they finished with 'Ever, only, ALL for thee!'"

            We must never forget that the Christian is not only saved from something but also to something.  We are saved from a life of slavery to sin but we are also saved to a life of service.  Our salvation is not for ourselves but for the glory of God and the service of others.  Everything we have, everything we are, comprise God's gifts to us and we are the stewards of God's gifts.  They are held in trust and we are required to render an account of our stewardship.

            How do we use our time, our moments and our days?  Time is such a fleeting commodity.  If it is not used aright it can be rapidly squandered and before we realize it many precious years will have flitted by.  Time should be used "in ceaseless praise" to our great God.  And what about our bodies?  Do we use them as means of helping others?  There are many people who could use a helping hand in one way or another.  There are countless errands of mercy that could be a blessing to an incapacitated person if our feet were "swift and beautiful" for our Lord.  But we not only praise God in our actions we must also praise him with our voice.  Let us use our voice to sing his praises - and there is so much for which we should praise him!  Let us use our lips to impart messages of hope and joy and peace to others.  There is so much bad news abroad in the world; we can use our lips to bring the good news of the Saviour.

            There is no more searching examination of our Christian committment than in our use of money.  "The silver is mine and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts" (Hag. 2. 8).  Our bank book should be as much the Lord's as our hymn book.  And yet it is so often true that churches and missions are hampered in their outreach because of the niggardliness of God's people.  It is only when we can say, "Not a mite would I withhold" that we have begun to give in the same sacrificial manner as Christ gave to us.

            Our intellect, our will, our heart, all the influence of mind and heart that we have in relation to others must be subjected to his Lordship.  These are his own by right of our creation by him and also by right of our re-creation through his death.  It is only when we have enthroned Christ over every part of our life, having no personal ambitions of our own but placing him first in our affections that we have finally and truly consecrated ourselves to him.  That is summed up in the hymn's concluding lines.  There we pour out the "treasure store" of our love and allow Christ to be all in all for us.  Time, hands, feet, voice, lips, wealth, mind, heart and love are all re-integrated in the final prayer, "Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee".  That is a difficult petition to pray but what joy is ours when we reach the place where we can make that act of consecration.

   These words have been set to a variety of tunes.  The one used on Sunday was Hendon, composed by H.A. Cesar Malan and first published one of Lowell Mason's hymnals in 1841.

   SPPC loves its hymns and we love to sing, so Sunday, August 25,  7:00 pm we're having a hymn-sing.  Come and join us, raise your voice, bring your friends and family.  Admission is free.  Lots of parking.

Monday, August 12, 2013


The suggestion for this week's blog came from Linda Cliff, our resident "book-lady."

A recent fire in Bella Bella destroyed the Thistalalh Memorial Library, an important centre for the people of Bella Bella.  We have an opportunity to help to restore the library by donating gently used or new books to that community.   The  UVIC School of Environmental Studies who will ship them up to Bella Bella after they have been collected.   
   The Thistalalh librarian has requested books in the following categories: 

-Children’s literature (e.g. Robert Munsch , Mercer Mayer, Phil Hoose).

-indigenous literature (e.g.Joseph Boyden, Eden Robinson, Leslie Marmon Silko, N. Scott Momaday, Louise Erdrich, Gerald Vizenor, Sherman Alexie, Thomas King and Richard Wagemese )

-international fiction
-natural history and field guides
-general non-fiction

There is a box marked "Bella Bella" in the library corner of the Malloy Hall, where books can be dropped off.  Linda will collect them and see them on their way.

If you have extra books that don't fit in the categories listed above, don't despair, SPPC is holding a garage sale in September and will be glad to put your extra books, china, toys, small appliances, dvd's, etc. toward a good cause.

Questions re the books should be directed to Linda Cliff. Questions about the garage sale can be directed to Jean Strong or any member of session.

And here's a heads-up for Sunday, Aug. 25. We're having an old-fashioned hymn sing, in the sanctuary at 7:00pm. Admission is free. Bring your friends.>

Monday, August 5, 2013

Feast of Music

Mary Byrne, Tore Valdal, Alice Valdal
With the choir on vacation, one might expect the music programme at SPPC to be in slow mode, but we've been  treated to a feast of music  in July.  Our own soloists have shared their gifts, we've had two visits from my favourite flute player, Mary Byrne and on the last Sunday of the month, Raven Baroque Orchestra enriched our worship.  So much for summer doldrums!
Raven Baroque Orchestra at SPPC

   Music sings in my soul so I've always been grateful that it has been nourished in my church life.  There have been times, throughout history, when music, especially instrumental music, was banned from worship, for various reasons.  Yet, we read in 1 Chronicles 25: 1-6, that David selected three men to lead and organize the music of public worship.  Not only that, he ordered four thousand to play on instruments. (1 Chronicles 23:5)  Four thousand!  What a joyful noise they must have made.
   But music in worship, however beautiful, it not meant merely to entertain, or to give the preacher a break.  At its heart, worship is a time set aside to adore God, to seek the presence of the Holy Spirit and to proclaim the Gospel.  Music is a prime tool for achieving all these things.
     In song, choir and congregation express elements of the faith, committing great swaths of scripture to memory, and proclaiming our belief in "God who touches earth with beauty," or "The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord," to name but two.
    Music invites the congregation to participate in hymns and responses, becoming part of the whole body to experience a connection to God and with each other.  At other times, an anthem provides an opportunity for congregation members to hear a message proclaimed, not only with words, but with the resonance of music that reaches beyond the intellect and touches the soul.
   I've a saying on my wall, "When words fail, music speaks."  July at SPPC has given us a wonderful opportunity to experience the "voice" of music, ringing the faith of generations and vibrating in our hearts.
Raven Baroque Orchestra at Mt. Tolmie