Monday, February 23, 2015

After the Picnic

After the picnic, it was time to roll up sleeves and pitch in.

There was an official sod-turning ceremony on June 17,1990.

Here is Peter Coutts at the log pulpit outside on the spot where today's pulpit stands indoors.

Over the summer the site was prepared, cement poured, walls 
erected and rafters raised.

   I love the way the sun pours through the open roof.

  Once the building was completed, it was time to embed the plaque.

The first indoor service in the church building was held in April 1991

Of course, we want people to be able to find us, so we put up a sign.

There was still much more work to do outside as well as in but the congregation of Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church finally had a place to call home.

Monday, February 16, 2015

JERUSALEM at the Imax

by Blanche Richer

    On Tuesday, February 10, 2015 fifteen members of our church parked their cars at the McTavish 'Park and Ride' and travelled by bus to the Imax Theatre in downtown Victoria.
     We arrived at 11:20 am and the film "Jerusalem" started at noon.  The screen is enormous and is the largest in Canada - six stories high.
    First we were shown a bird's eye view of Jerusalem and it seemed that we were surrounded to the left and right of us and above and below us by that lovely ancient city.  it had been destroyed and rebuilt many times over 5,000 years, yet its appeal has endured.
    Several questions were asked:
    What made Jerusalem so important to so many different cultures?
     how did it become the centre of the world for three major religions?
     Why is it still important?
     The movie "Jerusalem" attempts to answer all these questions by following three young women who live with their families in Jerusalem and they represent the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions.
      Through their eyes, audiences will learn what it means to call Jerusalem 'home' and experience celebrations and events that mark the highlights of a year in the life of that city.
     The film also follows Dr. Jodi Magness, (a noted archaeologist) as she explores some of the most historical and noteworthy sites in the region in order to understand why Jerusalem has become a virtual crossroads of civilization.
    My lasting impression:  Hundreds of people of different cultures seemed to be mingling peacefully together in the streets and the markets without any animosity.  Surely a point to world peace!
    Following the movie, thirteen of the group went to the Old Spaghetti Factory for lunch.  Only Bill and Blanche were missing for they knew that Heidi would be anxiously waiting for them at home.

    For some, lunch decisions are a serious matter.

For others, it's just fun.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Our Beginnings

At SPPC we are preparing to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary in April;  the twenty-fifth anniversary of the building, that is.  The congregation is actually older than that.
     In the fall of 1981 a small group of Presbyterians on the peninsula began to hold once a month services under the auspices of St. Andrew's, Victoria.  A way to test the waters. Response was significant enough that regular weekly services began on May 9, 1982 -- Mother's Day. Early records show thirty-two charter members and two adherents.  The church school was begun in 1982 and a choir formed under the direction of George Roberts.  Fellowship coffee happened on the first Sunday of every month.
    We began as a mission church, receiving financial support from the Presbyterian Church of Canada.  We relied heavily on the support of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Victoria, and for a time, were known as St. Andrew's North.

    The congregation first met in a portable at Sidney Elementary School.  I came across an accounting for that first service and the rent for the portable was $4.50.  As the congregation grew it moved to Silver Threads, then another portable at N. Saanich Middle School, the Masonic Hall on 4th St., Sidney and finally into the former Seventh Day Adventist Church on Resthaven Drive.  The rent there was $50.00 a week.  When the Seventh Day Adventists sold their building, the congregation was back to wandering, rather like the Israelites but fortunately for less than forty years. We found temporary homes at Sands Funeral Chapel on 4th St. Sidney and Bethel Baptist on Mills Road.
  The Rev. Bruce Molloy of St. Andrew's, Victoria, was a great champion for SPPC.  He encouraged, guided, and shepherded the fledgling congregation, officiating at many services and recruiting student ministers, Keith Atcheson and Bob Wicks, to help out in the early years.  Sadly, Rev. Molloy did not live to see the dream of a physical church on the peninsula fulfilled. He passed away in 1986, but is fondly remembered by our charter members.  His contribution to the congregation is recognized in the naming of our "Molloy Hall."

     In the midst of their wandering, the congregation worked to find a site to build their own church and in 1988 purchased 9296 E. Saanich Road.  In 1987 the name was changed to Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church and in July 1987 Rev. Peter Coutts accepted a call to minister at SPPC.   By June of 1988 the congregation was able to hold it's annual picnic on the cleared construction site of our present building.  There was still a long way to go before the laying of the cornerstone, but the process had moved from hopeful vision to solid earth.  


Monday, February 2, 2015

Sorrow and Joy

                                     When I must leave you for a little while . . .

The past seven days at SPPC have been hard ones.  We had two funerals.  We are missing two faces from our fellowship.  We have two families suffering bereavement.  Our hearts are heavy.  And yet. . .
    I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also.  John 14: 18-19
   I go to prepare a place for you.  I will come again, and receive you unto myself;  that where I am, there ye may be also.  John 14:3
   And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Rev. 21:4

    We grieve our loss, but we rejoice in the life that was lived, in the love known and the laughter shared.  Our loved ones live on in the stories told, the pictures in our memories, the baby who wears his forebear's smile. 

 In the midst of sorrow, we have hope.  We believe in the resurrection.  We know our good-byes are not final.  As Rev. Irwin said, "we gather as a congregation to say good-bye, but what we really mean is "see you in a while.'"

Let Not your Heart be Troubled, H.A. Clark