Monday, December 28, 2015

Angels from the Realms of Glory

In the world of commerce, "Christmas" begins sometime in October, often clashing the red and green of new life with the orange and black of the hallows of Hallowe'en.  No wonder the secular world decries the playing of Christmas music (musak) by the middle of December.

   In the Christian tradition though, Christmas doesn't start until Dec. 25.  In the four Sundays preceding Christ's birth we celebrate Advent with candles and carols such as "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," and "On Jordan's Bank."  If we adhere strictly to the Christian calendar, we sing Christmas carols in the days between Christmas Day, Dec. 25 and Epiphany, January 6.
   In that we differ markedly from the shopping mall and the radio stations who seem to think that Christmas ends at noon on the 25th. By Boxing Day there isn't a hint of a Silent Night or Little Town of Bethlehem.  It makes me sad to see Christmas curtailed in such a way, so I'm glad we've got twelve days of Christmas in the church.
    One of our Christmas carols that may be sung during that time is "Angels from the Realms of Glory."  The author, James Montgomery was the child of Moravian missionaries.   The parents placed young James in Moravian settlement in Ireland when he was only six, in order to answer their call to missionary work in the Caribbean.  Sadly, they died without ever seeing their son again.  
     James was unsuccessful at school so was apprenticed to a baker.  Again, not his field.  After drifting about Great Britain for a time, he finally settled in Sheffield and began writing for the Sheffield Register.  At last, he'd found his niche.  The paper was politically active and the owner had to flee the country to avoid imprisonment.  James Montgomery bought the Register and renamed it the Sheffield Iris.  He kept it's Reform leanings and was twice imprisoned for his editorials.  He persevered in his devotion to Christ and the gospel, championed the cause of foreign missions and the British Bible Society. 
    Eventually, he became a respected leader in Sheffield and his writings much admired.  On Christmas Eve, 1816, the forty-five year old James opened his Bible to Luke 2: 13.  "And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying:" (KJV)  The story of the angels sparked an idea and by the end of the day his new Christmas poem, "Angels from the Realms of Glory,"  was being read in the pages of his newspaper.  Later it was set to music, Regent Square, by Henry T. Smart and was first sung on Christmas Day, 1821 in a Moravian Church in England.
   Montgomery was a prolific writer and poet, but "Angels from the Realms of Glory" is probably his best-known contribution to the world of letters.

Ed. Note  The inspiration for this post came from a book donated to SPPC by one of the saints of this congregation who has passed on to her heavenly reward.  It seems especially fitting that her gift be celebrated at Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pageant 2015

This was Pageant Sunday. There is always a special buzz in the church on the day the Sunday School presents the Christmas Pageant.  Whether we have a cast of half a dozen or dozens upon dozens, the excitement is the same.  "Is my crown on straight?"  "Where are my wings?"  "The shepherds have lost a lamb."  "What's frankincense?"  

  Our pageant this year opted for simple.  Diane wrote a script that told the story.  Max and Rebekah narrated.  Our regular Sunday School members acted the parts and we had an import to round out the angel chorus.  Everything a pageant should be.

Arrival of Joseph and Mary and the Babe at the Stable.

 Angels surround the manger.

Followed by the Shepherds.

Then the Magi.
The scene is complete.
The story we know and love is told again and we rejoice.  We kneel with Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, we marvel with the shepherds, we hear angel choirs and we offer gifts with the wisemen.   Truly, Christmas is here.

Monday, December 14, 2015

White Gift Sunday

White Gift Sunday at church this week.  I remember wrapping up cans of tomato soup when I was a kid, so I wondered what was the difference between White Gift Sunday and our regular Food Bank Sunday.  Thanks to Norma for filling me in.
   White gifts are used to pack hampers for shut-ins from our own congregation.  So, that jumbo package of Shredded Wheat isn't suitable here.  Most shut-ins live alone and don't have room to store the family-plus size of anything.  However, if you did drop off one of those super-sized bargains, we'll put it directly into the Food Bank box and it will be most appreciated.
   So, back to white gift.  This is our opportunity to send a Christmas gift to members of the congregation who are no longer able to get out on a regular basis or attend worship services.   A packet of special tea or coffee, some pretty soap or hand cream, chocolates, fancy cookies, even a pair of gloves or a scarf can find their way into a Christmas hamper.  A Christmas card or small book is also welcome.  
   Of course, Christmas isn't the only time we remember shut-ins of the congregation.  They receive regular visits from elders and other congregants.  They are invited to the sunshine lunch (there was one just this past Monday), and our minister keeps in touch.  But Christmas is a special time, and can be lonely for those without close family or good health.  That's where our white gift can make a difference.  A basket of goodies that says, "You are not forgotten, we care about you." There are twenty-two people on our list -- "our" family.  
  Thanks to all who brought mysterious packages wrapped in white paper and thanks to Norma and her team for sorting and re-packing in a Christmas bag.  In the next few days these tokens of friendship and offerings of joy will find their way into the hands and hearts of those we love.  If you receive one, may it brighten your day and bring a smile.  And may we all enjoy the blessings of this holy season.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Advent Celebration

  If you weren't at SPPC on Sunday night, here's what you missed.

Sing-along carols.

Our talented "orchestra."

A surprise telephone call with God.

A lovely solo

And Humphrey, the Lonely Cello

Neighbourhood kids who won't let him play with them.

A dancing doll who won't dance to his music.

A choir who won't sing with him.

But then, Mary asks him to play for Jesus, and that changes everything.

 You also missed out on some great snacks. 

Blanche's shortbread.

                         And the crew being silly.

Thanks to all who made our "Advent Celebration" special.  May you find love and hope and joy and peace this season.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Warm Welcome

   Every church says they're friendly.  Our notice in the local newspaper says "a warm welcome awaits you." Everyone welcome is a standard line in church notices. Yet most of us have had experiences like the one pictured here.
  I once visited a church where the front door was locked.  There was no sign on it but "everyone knew" to use the door off the parking lot.  When we finally got inside we were frazzled.  The greeter didn't help when she announced, "Oh, we haven't used that door in years."

   I've also been in churches where I felt like I was a trophy to be won, with dozens of strangers rushing at me and insisting I join every sub-group in the congregation on my first visit.
True hospitality is open and welcoming without being pushy.  Sometimes it's hard to find the right balance.  An invitation to coffee hour after the service is a good place to start.  Friendship coffee is an excellent next step.  As the poster says, this is an opportunity to engage with other members of the congregation, to share your stories and your news, to exchange ideas and enjoy a cup of coffee in the process.  Real friendships often start over a cup of coffee, where we discover common interests, a kindred spirit and a shared belief.
   I'm happy to report that in my search of "unfriendly church" stories, I didn't find any that fit SPPC.  In fact, I was privileged to hear a testimonial by a newer member of our congregation, affirming the genuine warmth and welcome she found at SPPC. 
  22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness(hospitality), goodness, faithfulness.  Thanks be to God.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Prepare the Way!

 The title of this blog is also the title of an anthem in our church music library.  I'm sorry if you think it's too early for a blog about Christmas, but I must warn you it is only a month until The Big Day, and we need to prepare.

    Many of us have already begun to prepare by making Christmas cakes and setting them in a crock to age, or baking Christmas cookies and putting them in the freezer to be brought out when company comes through our doors.  At SPPC we've put out a call for helpers to decorate the sanctuary as we prepare for our Advent and Christmas services.

  The Living Flame choir is preparing a short entertainment to present at the Celebration of Advent on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 7:00 pm. It's not too late to take part in that concert, or help with the refreshments afterward.  See Diane if you'd like to be involved.  

     White Gift Sunday on December 13 invites us to prepare our hearts by remembering those in need.  At Bible Study last week, we talked about giving -- publicly or privately.  The danger of public giving is that it may be more about the giver than the reason for the gift. It may give the donor a sense of well-being to be generous, but that is the end of his reward.  The private giver also receives that sense of well-being but is also promised reward in heaven.    Matt 6: 2-4.  White Gift Sunday is an opportunity to give secretly -- all those anonymous white-wrapped parcels -- they'll  help to brighten the season for others and help you fulfil God's command to generosity.   

    Many community groups are putting on Christmas events and asking for donations -- to the food bank, to Our Place, to overseas missions, -- the list is endless.  It's always wise to check out a charity before making a donation, be sure they are registered and find out how much of your giving goes to the cause and how much goes to administration.    It's nice to note that donations to religious charities rate highest on the efficiency scale.   So, if you are wondering where best to spend your charitable dollars, PWS&D or Presbyterians Sharing are good choices.  
    However you spend the next five weeks, I hope you prepare -- prepare for love, joy, hope, and peace.  Prepare for Jesus.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Jesus Bids Us Shine

           This week our blog received a gift. A member of the congregation who wishes to remain anonymous, provided me with   a series of short homilies to be used at random on this page.  I'm extremely grateful, and thought I'd run the first one today.  November is notoriously drear and dark.  We've had our first storm of the season and the weather forecast is for more cloudy skies.  Seems like a perfect time to write about light.

Jesus bids us Shine

Matthew 5.16  …let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.

   Scripture tells us that Christians are to be shining lights - witnessing for Christ. But all lights do not have the same function. When you think of your own Christian life do you wish to be the biggest, the brightest, the most outstanding?- the “floodlight” type?
   The Lord does not call many people to fill that sort of responsibility, in fact, only a very few. Most of us will never be called to do a tremendously impressive job but all of us are called to be faithful wherever
   “Jesus bids us shine”. It may be in a very small corner, but even the smallest candle lighting the darkest corner can be the means of saving someone from injury or harm.
   In its work of lighting a corner the candle must not be covered by anything for then it will give very little light and its usefulness will be limited. This kind of light can only do a complete job when the candle is
                        the wick is functioning
                        the flame is burning evenly.
  Few will give credit to the light even when it is doing everything it is intended to do. But the important thing is not the candle or the wick but the light it produces in a dark corner.
   This is all God asks of us - “you in your small corner and I in mine”
   He may ask you to shine in your neighbourhood, to be a light for the house next door. It may be just at home, the most difficult place to shine.
    But He does ask you to be a shining light - ready to be put to use wherever He shows the place.
Are YOU shining?

Ed. Note:  As though to reinforce this story, I heard the other day of a man who visited in a home he hadn't been in before.  His first impression was "this is a Christian home."  There were no overt Christian symbols on the walls, no one was reading the Bible, the family wasn't assembled at prayers, but my friend was struck by the light that seemed to shine from every member of the household. He knew immediately that inner light came from God.
   Let your light shine!


Monday, November 9, 2015

I Vow to Thee My Country

   For the last couple of years we've included the hymn, "I Vow to Thee, my Country," in our Act of Remembrance on the Sunday before November 11.  This hymn was not in the hymnary I grew up with, so I thought I'd find out something about it's origins and use.
     While the hymn is associated with war and remembrance,it was written in peacetime, 1908.  The author, Cecil Spring Rice, was a British diplomat, posted to Sweden at the time.  The lyrics of the first verse express the longing and love of an ex-pat for his homeland.  Some critics consider the words too jingoistic, going beyond patriotism to a dangerous nationalism, others counter that the lines speak of "earthly things" and make a statement on the nature of love.
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

     The closing verse speaks of "another country", the Heavenly Kingdom, that the Christian loves even more than his earthly homeland.  The final line references Proverbs 3:17Her[Wisdom's] ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."  
This verse urges Christians to make the Kingdom of God our goal and our pattern for living.  There can be no controversy over the sentiment of these lines. 

And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

     There is another verse, very rarely included in the hymn.  It was written by Spring Rice in 1918, while he was ambassador to the United States.  One of his duties in that role was to encourage America to support the allies in WWI.  One might have expected him to exalt the claim of country at that time, yet this new verse replaces the ringing promises of the patriot with the sombre reflection of a witness to the carnage of war.  Yet Spring Rice remains unshaken in his love for his country, seeing her as a mother and he her son.
I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the waves and waters, she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And around her feet are lying the dying and the dead;
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns;
I haste to thee, my mother, a son among thy sons.

     There are other hymns sung on Remembrance Day, "O God Our Help in Ages Past,"  "Eternal Father Strong to Save,"  "O Valiant Hearts," to name just a few, but "I Vow to Thee my Country," continues as a favourite, despite the objections of some.  It may be the tune that makes it so popular.  Thaxted, an adaptation of  the Jupiter movement from Gustav Holst's "The Planets," cannot fail to stir the soul.  Holst made his first adaptation in 1921, then, at the request of his friend Ralph Vaughn Williams, he harmonized it in 1926 so it could be a sung as a hymn.  Thaxted is the name of the village where Holst lived.  
     The hymn has been sung at weddings, at funerals, on Remembrance Day, at sporting events, and at school graduations.  It bears no childhood memories for me, but the tune alone makes me glad I've learned it.

    Whatever you sing on Remembrance Day, however you mark the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, say a prayer for those who put themselves in harms way so others can live freely and in peace.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Thick Socks

Sunday marked the end of our "Warm Toes" sock drive.  As we do every October, the congregation donated new, heavy socks and small toiletries for folk living on the street.  This year we collected 112 pairs of socks, 9 bags of toiletries and 1 bag of mitts and scarves.  They will be given to The Dandelion Society and Rev. Al Tysick for distribution.  The Dandelion works with the most vulnerable among the people who live on the street.
   Most of us take dry socks and warm feet for granted.  If we occasionally get wet and cold in the garden or on the golf course, we can hurry inside, change our socks and warm up.  For those living on the street that option is not available.  Wet, cold feet is a constant in their lives.

    Studies have shown that worn out footwear and damp socks contribute to the general misery of life without a home.  Frostbite and hypothermia, arthritis, wounds and bruises, skin lesions, toenail infections, trench foot, calluses, warts, corns, ingrown nails, exacerbation of mild illnesses resulting in hospital visits.  These are some of the conditions that can be alleviated by a pair of clean, dry, socks.
   There are many reasons for homelessness, among them addiction, mental illness, poverty and abuse.  The issue is pervasive and chronic, especially in Victoria.  There are many agencies seeking to improve the situation by providing housing, medical and dental care, and mental health facilities.  These are large goals.  Goals that take time and money and organization.

   But for those on the street, suffering now, a pair of warm socks is a simple, affordable and immediate remedy.  Thanks for the socks, SPPC, and thanks to the Dandelion Society for handing them on.

Monday, October 26, 2015


I first became acquainted with the "What Would Jesus Do?" movement in the late 1990's when golfer Payne Stewart wore the letters in a bracelet.  Turns out, that was a revival of a much earlier practice.  In 1896 Rev. Charles M. Sheldon published a book called In His Steps.  It was a huge, best seller at the time.  Although the author made almost no money from the book, he  delighted in the fact that so many people read his message of living a life as Christ would.
    Over the years several authors wrote adaptations of In His Steps and in 1997 Garret W. Sheldon, the great grandson of Charles Sheldon wrote What Would Jesus Do?, a contemporary version of his ancestor's original book.  
    When I began the book, I wasn't sure I'd like it, the writing style is reminiscent of 1960's Sunday School leaflets, but I soon became so fascinated with the characters and their tales that my inner editor fell away.  The story, this is fiction, concerns the minister of a large, well-off congregation who realizes that their church is "successful"  in secular terms but failing in their duty to model Christ to the community around them.  So he and a number of his congregation take a pledge to live their lives in accordance with Jesus' teachings.  Every time they must make a decision they ask first "what would Jesus do?"  The results are amazing.
     Attendance at church drops, but attendance at the after-church meetings of those taking the pledge goes up.  A TV station decides not to air questionable programming or advertising.  The result is an increase in viewers.  A store keeper decides to remove pornography, tobacco and liquor from his shelves.  His business falls away.  He faces financial set backs and his wife is very unhappy.  A young woman breaks her engagement.  The congregation sets up a mission in the seedy part of town and sees many broken souls respond to Christ's call.
    Living "What Would Jesus Do?" has consequences, some welcome, some more difficult.  
    The book is an easy read, but one that made me think, made me consider my own choices, turned "what would Jesus do?" from a slogan on a coffee mug into a real question for life.  Thanks to Rev. Irwin for loaning it to me.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Post Thanksgiving

    The fine china is back in the cupboard, the linens laundered and today we finished the last of the turkey leftovers.  But my season of thanksgiving is not ended.  Today I give thanks for the good things I've found at Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church.

    First on the list is the Living Flame Choir.  They sang on Sunday, in case you missed it, and they were terrific.  I'm grateful to this group of children/youth for their willingness to tackle a challenge, their creative solutions to problems and their enduring friendship.  I've been directing a junior choir at SPPC for nearly fifteen years.  I've had the privilege of watching my most junior singers learn and grow, develop their skills and share their talents, and move from novice to leader.  They've included me in their circle of adult friends, extending an invitation to school events and other extra-curricular activities.  I always offer them cookies when extra practices take place at my house.  Last week I was the visitor and a choir member offered me a cookie.  When I was first asked to take on the role of developing and leading a junior choir I agreed, with conditions.  I had no idea what joy this ministry would bring to me and to the congregation.  I've dropped all the conditions of my participation.  I whole-heartedly give thanks for the Living Flame Choir.

     Another area of thanksgiving is Bible Study.  We're doing John Stott's study of The Sermon on the Mount, you remember, all those "blessed are. . ." verses that seem totally contradictory.  "Blessed are the poor in spirit.. . .  Blessed are they that mourn . . .Blessed are they who hunger and thirst . . ."
Scholars consider this chapter of Matthew one of the most important in Scripture, but it can sure be confusing.  But . . . every Wednesday morning we meet, break into small groups and talk about the passage, following the questions in Stott's study guide.  Then we meet together to share our thoughts while Irwin leads us through the finer points of the verses.  It is a wonderful time of fellowship and teaching.  No question is considered too trivial, no comment is dismissed as "wrong."  In fact, Irwin is an expert at making us all seem brilliant.  Death has claimed some stalwarts from the Bible study group and we miss them dearly, but newcomers have come to fill the empty seats and are most welcome.  Feel free to join the study on Wednesdays at 9:30 am.  You don't have to attend every session.  You can join any time.  Coffee and goodies are freely shared, as is the laughter and the stories.

    The Shepherd's Way, our church newsletter is another item on my gratitude list.  There was a new issue in time for Thanksgiving.  You've got to read Ruth's item about "huggitis" as she caught it at SPPC and as she spreads it among her neighbours and friends.  At an age when she could rightly say, "I've done my turn," Blanche keeps on keeping on, putting out the newsletter and filling our mailboxes with stories and quotes and chuckles and information.  Bill draws the pictures, making each issue a work of art.  I was thinking the Sunday School children could colour those drawings as part of a lesson sometime.

   This list is far from complete, but three is supposed to be the ideal number of points in an essay. I've found many more blessings  in this congregation, a.  I invite you to add your own items, either in the comments section below or in a blog post.  I'm always happy to feature other members of the congregation on this page.  In fact, those who write for the blog are very high on my gratitude list.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Thanksgiving day -- turkey's roasting in the oven, pies are cooling on the shelf, autumn leaves provide a colourful background and friends are gathered together.  It's easy to give thanks.  
But I am reminded of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  She strove to give thanks, even when life wasn't perfect.  She listed squabbling children in her journal, thankful that they were healthy and independent and hers to teach.  She gave thanks for a jumble of shoes in the hallway, the sign of a happy, busy household.
   She also points out in her devotional of the same name that a list of easy gratitudes may not lead to real thanksgiving.  Unless we dig deep in the less pleasant moments of life to find true blessing, we haven't really achieved Paul's admonition to "give thanks in all things."  Discontent is part of human nature.  We will never rid ourselves of discontent by trying to root it out.  That leaves a vacuum and discontent comes racing back. But if we replace discontent with gratitude, one small moment at a time, then we can experience true grace.  All those little moments add up until they overwhelm greed and envy and worry and our lives are transformed.
   I was reminded of her words when I listened to The Vinyl Cafe on CBC radio.  This thanksgiving weekend, Stuart McLean, storyteller and creator of The Vinyl Cafe gave out the Arthur Awards, a recognition of small acts of humanity that have enriched the lives of family and neighbourhoods.  The awards are small, a copy of McLean's latest book, or maybe tickets to a show, the acts are small, like phone calls or snow shovelling, but they have tremendous effect on their corner of the world.  
     This year there was a nomination for a voice -- the letter-writer didn't know who owned the voice, but every morning she heard it shout, "Wah-hoo," and it brightened her day.  The voice has gone silent and she misses it.  Another time the Arthur was awarded to a man who had made it his business to string Christmas lights on a lonely stretch of highway, to cheer strangers passing by. 
    I'd love to nominate McLean himself for an award.  His tales, filled with humour, gentleness and just plain goodness, are a welcome antidote to the steady stream of tragedy and disaster and evil that dominate our airways.  However, people who work on the show aren't eligible to receive an Arthur so my nomination remains unsent.  
    I'm grateful to the Apostle Paul for his witness and his instruction.  I'm grateful to Ann Voskamp for her writings on thanksgiving.  And I'm grateful to Stuart McLean for his stories of the small things that add up to a grand thanksgiving.
   Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I hope your table groans under the spread of food, that you run out of chairs for your many guests and that you find a small moment in the day to be grateful for all things.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Church Around the World

 Often people confuse church with church buildings, or with particular congregations or even particular denominations.  Not so. As the hymn says, "the church is wherever God's people are gathered."  God's people.  Not God's steeples.  (Actually, I like steeples and bells and stained glass windows, but that's another story.)  The church, as Christ envisioned it and Paul and Peter established it, was a group of people who followed Jesus' teachings and sought to be like Him.  Many turned their lives upside down.  Matthew gave up his lucrative post as a tax collector.  Saul/Paul turned from persecutor to persecuted.  Lydia, a seller of purple, had her whole household baptized.  Roman soldiers mixed with Jews, masters mixed with slaves.  Care for each other was paramount. There wasn't a steeple in sight.
   On Sept. 20, World Peace Day, we saw an example of that borderless church.  About 200 people gathered at the band shell at Beacon Park in Sidney.  There were speakers from many faiths, flags, puppets, balloons, music and a Peace Pole.  The weather was perfect, the mood was joyous and the message of peace was carried from the sanctuary to the street.  The event was organized by Faithlink.
    This Sunday was another example of people of the worldwide church coming together for World Communion Sunday.  On this day Christians around the world and in many denominations come to the Lord's table in solidarity with one another.  Whether we choose steeples and prayer books or gymnasiums and slideshows, we are all one family, all followers of Christ, all believers in one God.  As we celebrate the Lord's Supper as "one church, one faith, one Lord," we fulfil our calling as one body in Christ.  
    It is easy to confuse "church" with building or with "congregation."  But that view is too narrow, too parochial and not faithful to the Bible.  While we may love our own buildings and our own congregations we rejoice in the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world. World Communion is more than just a date on the calendar.  World Communion is true "church."

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hospital Song Book

      Over the past few months a committee has been hard at work creating a song book for us to use when we conduct the service at Saanich Peninsula Hospital.  That is, SPPC has made a song book for SPH!  
The book is now completed and was dedicated during the service on Sunday morning.   Copies were passed among the congregation and we sang "Jesus, Saviour, Pilot Me," an old-time favourite not available in our "Book of Praise."
     On Sunday afternoon, we took the Songbook to the hospital and used it for the first time at the service there. Those of us who worked on the book, we were sure the singing was more robust than before.  Rev. Irwin invited the residents to choose their own hymns and there were many requests.
     The book contains many of the old gospel songs familiar to residents at the hospital, along with a smattering of great hymns of the ages, like "O God Our Help In Ages Past" and "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah."
     Since music is a large part of our ministry at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, it seemed appropriate that we should have a song book dedicated to that purpose.  The print is large.  There is one song per page and it's all in alphabetical order.  All in an effort to make words easy to read, easy to find and easy to follow. 

    The books will be kept at the church.  With reorganization at the hospital, we're never sure their books will be available on a Sunday afternoon, so bringing along a supply of our own ensures we'll be able to share music with the residents.

All in all, we had a good day with lots of music at church and at the hospital.  I love the old hymns so it was a treat for me as well.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Auction Fever

 There's something about an auction that brings out the competitive spirit.  Last week, there were only a few bids on the items displayed about the Molloy Hall.  Today, the sheets filled up.  There was a puzzle maven in our midst who raised the bidding to new heights. 
  Despite his best efforts, I did manage to secure a couple of puzzles for myself.  I also had the winning bid on a pair of exquisitely cross-stitched hand towels.  They'll look very elegant in my guest bathroom.
  This hand-sewn quilt was a prize worth having.  The lady with the winning bid asked me to be sure to take its picture.
 I featured it last week but it's worth a second look.  Truly lovely.

   The excitement around the auction nearly eclipsed the treasures on the pot luck table -- nearly but not quite.  This congregation does enjoy breaking bread together.
   For those with enquiring minds, these mouth-watering brownies were made with zucchini!  Don't tell the children, they hate vegetables.

  There was food enough to go around.  

But it seems we ran out of table space.   Benjamin, all alone at the "kids" table.

Not to forget the purpose of the exercise, which was to raise funds to replace/repair the dishwasher.  Hence our faithful Felicity in the kitchen.
 Preliminary reports say the event earned approximately seven hundred dollars.  Well done everyone.
  Now, I'm off to work on a puzzle.