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HPC Newsletter

Winter 2011

O come, O come Emmanuel Come, Thou long-expected Jesus All earth is waiting My soul in stillness waits Christ is coming. Let creation from its groans and labour cease. Many of our advent songs give voice to the longing and waiting that is such an important part of advent. But what are we waiting for? In Old Testament times, the people of Israel waited for the coming of Messiah. By the time of the New Testament this has grown into a strong expectation, a yearning for salvation, a longing for the fulfillment of the prophecies. But we do not expect the coming of Messiah like they did. Unlike Simeon and Anna we do not yearn to see the salvation of the Lord for the first time. Messiah came. The prophecies are fulfilled. Christ was born in Bethlehem. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, writes John. The verbs are all in the past tense. The incarnation took place in history. Jesus is not a baby anymore. We say, during advent, that we are waiting for the birth of Jesus but this is a symbolic waiting as we recall the historical events leading up to His birth and the birth itself. Christ came. And His coming changed the relationship between God and the people forever. Our waiting is a spiritual waiting as we pray for Christ to be born in us by the work of the Spirit. And yet, we are a people who wait. What are we waiting for? We wait for the return of the King. The Christ, whose coming we prepare for with eager expectation, is the Lord of heaven and earth. He is the incarnate Son of God who lived, who died, who rose again, and who is seated at the right hand of the Father. He is the One who promised to come again to judge the living and the dead. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. And we cry out like the Redeemed of

Revelation 22, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Israel waited for the coming of Messiah (the birth of the Christ). We, the church, wait for the return of Messiah (his coming in glory). Waiting for the Christ in a world that had (and still has) no room for him, in a world that did not (and does not) receive Him, in a world that hated and persecuted (and still hates and persecutes) Him is a painful thing. Jesus compares the pains we experience while waiting with the anguish of a mother in labor. We are experiencing excruciating birth pains that only in the fullness of time will make way for the joy of a new life (John 16:19-24). Advent reminds us that we are expecting; that the present is pregnant with the future; that we are in labor until Christ returns in glory. Too many of our carols are lullabies. Advent is therefore not a soothing and comforting time. It is a disturbing time that leaves us with a profound sense that all is not well; it is a prophetic time that cultivates a discerning eye for spotting sin and issues in the Baptists calls for repentance; it is a time for singing and praying, Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our sins and fears release us; let us find our rest in thee. Advent is a time for prayer. Holy God, lead me to repentance that brings life. Not the groveling show

thats more about convincing you Im worthy of your forgiveness, but the cut-to-the-heart kind of repentance that is grieved at my sin because of your holiness and glory. Move me by your mercy and lead me to a life of joyful obedience. Amen. (From Seeking Gods Face by Philip F. Reinders)

Gerard Booy

Upon What Do We Build?

At one point in his ministry Jesus turned on his would be followers with scathing words. Why do It is not enough to build upon solid rock, however well the foundation is laid. In 1903 Norwegian settlers in southeast Saskatchewan erected a church building. Kopperrud Lutheran Church stood proudly on the prairie, in a farmers field, and served the community proudly for 90 years. Then, in 1993, a rare plow wind swept through and scattered the building across the field. The only thing salvaged was the church bell. The foundation of carefully selected flat field stones was still in place and showed clearly the outline of the building. It was a good foundation, solid, level, and firm. The problem of course was that there was no way to fasten the building to such a foundation. And when the wind came, with nothing to hold it in place, the building was swept from its foundation and destroyed. So the question I would pose is this: how grounded are we on the foundation that has been laid for us in Messiah Jesus? Are we fastened to the Rock which will not move, or do we just rest upon it with little attachment? As Jesus Himself said: If you continue in my

you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46) He then goes on to illustrate by

comparing a house being built on solid rock which would withstand severe flooding to one built upon the ground which would be washed away as the river burst upon it. That got me thinking about the kind of foundations our lives are built upon, because that really is what Jesus is talking about. What shapes us? What forms our opinions, our words and our actions? We call Jesus Lord but do we do what he tells us? Another way to pose the question is to ask whether we are shaped, informed and molded by scripture or more by the family culture (way of doing things) out of which we come and the surrounding societal norms in which we live? Each year, as we approach Christmas, we hear the same plaintive cries to put Christ back in Christmas. But even as we hear, or even say these words, we are rushing about doing all the things everyone else is seemingly doing: making out our shopping list, searching for the right gift, putting up Christmas trees, decorations, baking, singing seasonal songs that have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Sometimes it seems we put more emphasis on the celebration and what makes us feel good (or at least nostalgic) than upon what it is we are celebrating.

word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:31-32) Something to think
about this Christmas season.

R. Dorne Cornish

Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur is a time to reflect, And ask the Lord, my heart to inspect. Selfish desires fall short of the mark, Too much of me has dampened the spark. Help me to listen and patiently wait, As rumbling of daily pressures abate. Then in the stillness, I take time to pray, Show me your will for me today. Looking up, whether gray sky or blue. I'm surrounded by beauty given by you. You didn't make the world black and white, But gave us colour and birdsong to delight. May I never take for granted my life or your love, Or the manifold blessings sent from above. Thank you , Lord Jesus for calling to me, For reaching out to such a degree. As love and grace overflow from you, May I always seek your will to do. May Hastie

Name That Christmas Carol

For a bit of Christmas fun, test your Christmas carol knowledge with the following quiz
(Answers on the last page)

1. 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. without noise 2. Miniscule hamlet in the far east 3. Exuberance directed to the planet 4. Listen, aerial spirits harmonizing 5. Monarchial trio 6. Yonder in the haystack 7. Assemble, everyone who believes 8. Befell during the transparent bewitching hour 9. Hey there! The announcing celestial beings carol. 10. O approach, y'all devoted happy and victorious...

Who Are Your Heroes?

After our premier Christie Clark last year announced strengthening families through a number of initiatives, the Women Educators of BC (DKG) contacted the premiers office in regard to the availability of violent video games to children. We were especially outraged with the newest video games that focus on violence and rape against women and decided that if good women decide to do nothing, evil will triumph. Ms Clark responded positively to us and invited us to continue our dialogue with the ministry of Child and Family. It made me think about growing up in a small town, of fights on the school playgrounds, and fights in the street outside the local bar in contrast to the safety of my home. Inside those walls violence had no footholdnot even in words. It made me think about heroes and how the values of heroes shape us. My dads hero was Mahatma Gandhi. It wasnt until I learned about Gandhis role in gaining Indias independence while doing world history in grade 10 that I realized he wasnt my dads intimate friend. Dad had read so much about Gandhi and had modeled his life after him that he spoke about him as if he were a close friend. It made me look at who my heroes werethe apostle Paul and the astronaut John Glenn. But did I model my life after them as my dad did after Gandhi? I doubt if my children could answer the question of who my heroes were as easily as I could dads. With the advent of T.V. my children had larger-than-life heroesSuperman for a while and John Steed and Mrs. Emma Peel of the Avengers. Were they heroes that could shape life? Yes. Good always triumphed over evil but unlike Gandhi, unlike the apostle Paul, these heroes also used force. And my grandchildren? They dont really speak about heroes but they emulate the people they are exposed to, the characters in books, movies and T.V. shows, and too often their own peers. Among their allowed video games are mythical quests for power and war games; the amassing of powerful weapons and strategies of intrigue; kill or be killed. As much as this disturbs me there is still one underlying value I subscribe tothe battle of good against evil. But what will happen to the next generation of children? Will my grandchildren have been inured sufficiently to the violence in the games they now play that their children will play with games that are violent for the sake of violence? Will they play the games where violence is glorified and the most violent win without concept of good or evil? Maybe it is time for us, parents and grandparents, to once again speak about our heroes; to sit around the dinner table and talk about the people whose lives have shaped our own. Maybe this Christmas we spend time with the apostle Paul and take to heart his teachings to the Galatians (7:22-23): But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control: against such things there is no law and remind ourselves, our children and grandchildren that these virtues are still worth practicing. Lets make our four walls a safe haven again for our children and grandchildren; free from even video violence.

Karin Breuer

Where to in the future?

Returning from the Christmas Dinner, I felt quite guilty thinking about all the people who worked so hard to make it possible. Maybe a guilty conscience, but I also thought I sensed critique towards the ones who were not helping. Thinking of how difficult this hard work must be for so many who are aging and starting to have more health problems, I felt that we will have to ease the load... But how? Feeling guilty about not having done anything for the Christmas Dinner (and so many other aspects of the work at church) is one thing, but its quite another reality to actually step in to help people who have increasing difficulty carrying the load. My weekdays (and evenings) are consumed by my job, leaving only weekends to get to household responsibilities. We basically have no social life anymore, I havent had a hobby (or read a book for enjoyment) for years and our family in South Africa are constantly complaining that we are forgetting them... Also, the time I do have available for church work, I prefer to allocate to things more directly related to ministry such as Sunday School. I do see my job as my ministry also, which is why Im very committed to that, even if I did not have to work to help support our family financially. I cannot see where I will find the hours to do more and looking at other families our age. I think most of them are in a similar position. So is there another way? Some of the activities at church serve an important function to help create a sense of community. Could that be done in an easier way? For example a potluck, thus sharing the work, rather than a few people breaking their backs before and after an event? Some of the activities are for fundraising. Are there ways to make fundraising events less labour intensive? Could we increase our basic income so that we need fewer fundraising activities? For example, could it be possible to create other ways of giving in addition to the envelope system? I know that if it was not for my organized husband, I would probably not have remembered to get an envelope ready in the Sunday morning rush. And then, if I had to look for cash in my purse to contribute to the offering, I would probably not be able to contribute more than $20, because I dont carry cash with me anymore. (I suspect that if it was not for the cheques we need for the HPC envelopes, we probably would not even have a chequebook anymore). I think I heard that electronic giving was explored, but that the bank fees were thought to be too high. However, I wonder whether creating this kind of opportunity to contribute for people who are administrating their finances differently these days, might not pay for itself? Im sure there are people that would welcome an electronic link on the weekly E-news or Newsletter to make a financial contribution to our congregation. Maybe even automatic bank withdrawals that people can sign up for to make regular giving easier? I dont want to be pessimistic, but if we want our congregation to continue to be successful, we will have to find different ways of doing things because the generation that currently carries most of the load will not be able to go on forever and there are very few (if any) people ready to continue with the existing activities. Annalize Booy

Now You See Em Now You Dont

Perhaps theyre barely glimpsed as heads bobbing up and down between rows of blueberry or cranberry bushes; or occasionally they are seen in small groups cycling toward town; sometimes half-seen on weekends aboard a rickety yellow bus bound for the grocery store. Equally likely, I suppose, they might not be seen at all. But here they are in our midst, January to December, their numbers swelling to several hundred as harvests approach. Each bobbing head or nameless figure on a bicycle represents the father of a young family waiting somewhere in rural Mexico. And every one of them is here for one reason: to be able to provide the basics of food, shelter, clothing and education for that family. And since most return to Mexico near year end they also hope to be able to take a few extras home for Christmas. While each considers himself fortunate to have been selected from among thousands applying to work here, a Canadian sojourn is not without some sacrifices, not least being an often painful separation from wife and little kids for up to 8 months a year. They arrive here and the jolt of culture shock gradually dissipates. As they settle into the long work days in the fields unexpected challenges rise. Its cold here; they need heavy work clothes, warm jackets. Their work area may be far from their bunkhouses; they need bicycles. They need help bridging the language gap in stores, banks, government offices. Eventually the time nears for their return to Mexico; everyone searches for a large suitcase to accommodate what hes been able to acquire to take home to the children. Weve been told repeatedly how much these migrant workers value the contributions of HPC. Donations of time, effort, clothing, suitcases, bicycles and gasoline have been phenomenal and have been added to by a lot of help from our contacts and friends from other congregations. The impact has been the meeting of many needs of a lot of strangers in our midst and, indirectly, easing the lot of good number of very poor families in rural Mexico. Thank you one and all, FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Its the first day of immature Bull Moose hunting; the boys are gone. The house is mine. I get up early as not to miss a moment of the day. I enjoy my cup of coffee, and then head outside to watch the sun come up. I stand at the edge of the cool, crisp lake and watch the steam rise. It is breath taking. The sun is causing diamonds to dance in its rays on the water; I close my eyes and lift my hands in prayer and I pray. Then I remind myself to stop and listen. Listen; listen to God. I hear leaves falling on the ground, the dogs drinking from the lake, ducks dipping in and out of the water, the tin roof on the boat house popping s it warms up, a squirrel scolding; amazing. How often do I really listen? Then I open my eyes and look, really look. I actually watch a leaf fall from the trees and I hear it, hear it plop on the water. The water is so still, not a ripple. My mind wanders to our house church. Listening to Gods words being taught to us by Dave. Listening to the thoughts and prayers of the other members sharing. Looking; looking around at our house church family and seeing folks who really care. When one is away, we pray for them. When one has a worry, we pray with them. When one is sick, we lift them up in prayer. We pray together for our families, our community and for our world. We all go about our daily tasks of living and then on Wednesday night we come together in worship, prayer and fellowship. We are united in Christ as a family. What a blessing. Fall to me is a time of harvesting and of giving thanks. We are harvesting, our garden and firewood for the winter. We are harvesting Gods word. Sheridan Lake house church to me is Gods food for the week and I am so thankful to the families I get to share in learning Gods Word with. Try to take time this season to listen, look and full-up on Gods beautiful creations. It is gorgeous. Be blessed! Jody Malm (reprinted from the Northern Light)

Roger Page

At the last teachers meeting we discussed at length whether or not our church school was meeting the needs of our older elementary children. While we appreciated the flexibility of our current format (meeting as a whole group for the story and lesson, followed by small group, age-appropriate activities), the wide range of ages has meant that our oldest children were not being challenged to grow in the faith. We had three concerns: The oldest children know the bible stories well while the younger ones are still learning them. Thus has meant that the lessons have had to be aimed at the younger children while the older ones hold back so that the younger ones can answer questions etc. Since the older ones do know the stories, they are ready to work with them on a deeper level. They have many questions about the faith but the present format limits the opportunity for discussion. They spend very little time in worship, yet worship is at the heart of the Christian faith and community. They need to experience God in worship not just learn about God in class. Following this discussion I contacted the (grand)parents of children aged 11 & 12 to propose a change. Your response was encouraging. Starting January 15, 2012, we will adopt the following format.

Children aged 3-10 will continue to meet in the church gym after the Childrens Story. This will significantly reduce the age range of the children while still giving them some (although minimal) time to worship with their church family. They will meet as a whole group for the lesson and break into small groups for follow-up activities.

Children aged 11 and 12 will now have a class on Sunday mornings at 9am, meeting in the upper room outside the balcony and a sermon discussion class during the end of worship, meeting in Gerards office.

We Believe

It is exciting to hear the questions that the oldest children pose. They want to know more about the faith and that will be the focus of the new class, We Believe. As always, the basis of our study is the Scriptures but we will begin to highlight Reformed doctrines in a more deliberate way, drawing on various catechisms which summarize the faith. Essentially we want our children to think more about what we believe about God, about humans and about the relationship between God and humans.

Sermon Discussions

From a very young age, children are capable of worshipping. Singing, praying, giving and collecting the offering: these are not age-dependent activities. The hardest part of the service for children is the sermon. Even so, most adults underestimate how much our children absorb. I would like to help our children learn to hear and discuss sermons. Right after their class with Gerard, I will join them in the upper room for about ten minutes to prepare them for the service. We will read the text for the day and talk about the theme for the service and the sermon. Most weeks I will give them a worksheet and clipboard as writing notes helps visual learners remember what theyve heard. They will sit with you during the service and meet with me in Gerards office immediately following the sermon to talk about what weve heard. Our sermon discussion will end at the same time as the service.

A Trial Period

This is something new for our church and I am excited about the possibilities for spiritual growth in our children. It is wonderful that Haney offers so many opportunities for teaching and reflection for our children ranging from our Friday night groups (each of which includes bible study), VBS, Church School and now We Believe and Sermon Discussions. I am very keen to hear your feedback both during the next few months and after the term ends in June. Well have the chance in June to talk about the changes and plan together for the fall. If you have any questions dont hesitate to contact me. Yours in Christ, Paddy

Why Children Belong in the Sanctuary - Carolyn Gal Many congregations today plan for children to be anywhere else rather than in the congregations worship. Sunday School is held at the same time. Childrens Churches are created to provide children with worship on their own level. Other congregations simply provide recreation activities to keep the children out of the sanctuary. The argument for this approach is that children and worship as it is generally practiced are incompatible. Children live in a fast paced world that is very visual and participatory. Where else do they mainly sit and listen in a situation that is planned for people other than just children? They wiggle and add noise to a quiet room. The fear is that they will be bored and therefore will decide before they are able to appreciate it fully that worship is not for them and leave worship forever. But when they are not part of the worshiping congregation children miss out. In the congregation's worship we take our place among all of Gods people. Simply being in the room and walking through the rites and rituals connects us to people of all ages in our community. Children see the youth and adults that they know as teachers, coaches, and the big kids singing and praying. Families worshiping together claim the faith for the entire family. In some families it may be the only time they see their parents express their faith in a visible way. The stories told and songs sung by people of all ages have a different importance than those same stories and songs told and sung with only other children. Finally, worship is not an activity a child expects to outgrow moving on to another group. Instead it is a mysterious way of coming into God's presence with people of my community. I may not understand it fully now, but I do expect to understand it more fully later and to be part of that community for my entire life. Children frequently participate in activities they do not fully understand. If they feel valued in those activities and if the adults around them let them know that the activities are very important, children participate as well as they are able and look forward to the day when they will understand more fully what is going on. Also, during the elementary school years, children are focused on the larger world. They want to know how everything around them works and who gets to do what. They want to try almost everything. That will not last. During adolescence the focus turns to my peers and our special activities. That means we have a very important window of opportunity to invite children into the congregations worship between the ages of six and about twelve. If we do it well, they will have both a home within the larger congregation and a foundational understanding of worship on which they can build throughout their lives. So, how do we include children in the congregation's worship? First of all we do not dumb worship down for the sake of the children. We offer the full feast. But we plan that feast expecting worshipers of all ages to be present. At the very least we include the concerns of children. If prayer requests are made publicly we hear with respect a childs grief over a dead pet. When school starts, report cards are eminent, and the school year ends we include them in the churchs liturgy. (Many congregations are incorporating a blessing of the book bags into congregational worship at the beginning of the school year.) Holidays such as Halloween that are of special interest to children are noted in sermons. We can also throw young worshipers life lines. We can tell the story behind a hymn before we sing it. Key vocabulary words can be identified and defined before a scripture is read. One aspect of a sacrament or ritual can be explored just before it is celebrated. The texts for the day can be presented in a lively way that both captures the essence of the text and catches the attention of children rather than simply read in a monotone. Such short moments of worship education are often appreciated by adults who are new to worship or need a refresher course. Children are most sure they belong in worship when they become worship leaders. Children can sing, play musical instruments, read scripture, light candles, serve with adults as greeters and ushers, take up the offering, and more. In smaller congregations all that is required is alert adults to invite children to take leadership especially suited to their interests and abilities. A child playing Jesus Loves Me with one finger on the chimes is a real call to worship for the whole congregation. In larger congregations, plans must be made for groups of children. So, there are childrens choirs and acolyte groups. Childrens classes are asked to help prepare a scripture presentation. And, more. Years ago I had a fight with a music director about a prime piece of time. He wanted it for a childrens choir. I wanted it for a kids club. He finally said, Lets be honest. These kids are going to grow up, probably disappear from church for a while at some point, and hopefully come back. And where will they come? They will come to the sanctuary. And, if they have been in my choir and learned the ways of the sanctuary, it will feel like coming home and they will stay. He is right, of course, and that is why it is so important that during their elementary years we welcome children to the sanctuary and intentionally find ways to help them grow as worshipers there among God's gathered people.

One Life! Whats it all about?

Coming in January to HPC, Christianity Explored is a 10-week course that will take us through the Gospel of Mark to explore the life of the person at the heart of the Christian faith, Jesus Christ. The Christianity Explored course gives you time and space to think through who Jesus is and why it matters.

In taking us through the Gospel of Mark, Christianity explored emphasizes truths that are often neglected like the gravity of sin, the centrality of the cross, the sufficiency of grace, and the necessity of repentance. (Dr John Stott)
You can find video clips and more information on the website

Thursdays from 7:30 - 9:00 pm, Starting on January 19th, 2012 Contact Gerard Booy (604.467.1715) or at if you plan to attend.

Bibles that are falling apart are usually read by people that arent.

A little girl asked her mother, How did the human race appear? The mother Answered, God made Adam and Eve and they had children and so was all mankind made. Two days later the girl asked her father the same question. The father replied, Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved. The confused girl returned to her mother and said, Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God and Dad said they developed from monkeys? The mother answered, Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his.

MEXICAN TRAIN Well, once again, we have reached the end of another year. We will not meet in the month of December as everyone is busy with family events, etc. The wonder of Advent and Christmas always amazes me. The hustle and bustle of shopping, the family dinners and get togethers. However, never forget the true meaning of Christmas s we go about our many tasks. Let us always remember that Jesus is the reason for this wonderful season of Advent and Christmas. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas may God bless you all in and throughout the coming year.

COMING SOON!! Our New Photo Wall

It will be located in the hallway by the main office. We all take many photos over the Christmas holidays, please submit an updated photo of yourself or your family for our new wall. Please leave your photo in Jacqueline Curtis mail box, in an marked envelope. See Jacqui if you have any questions or concerns.

Christmas in Malawi Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend Christmas in Malawi? PCC mission staff Todd Statham, his wife Annika and their children Sophia and Mio are about to find out, as their first Christmas in Malawi approaches. They have discovered that carefully packed advent candles melt in the scorching heat and that familiar Christmas songs about snow and cold just dont carry the same meaning in their new surroundings. Read about their experience of Advent in their blog at Todd lectures in Church History and Theology at Zomba Theological College. He and his family receive support from Presbyterians Sharing.

A little child a shining star a stable rude, the door ajar. Yet in that place so crude, forlorn, The Hope of all the world was born. --Anonymous

1st day of Advent

3rd day of Advent

The Not-So-Silent Night Christmas Pageant Starring the HPC Youth

Help the wise men find Jesus.

Upcoming Events
Jan. 19th - Exploring Christianity Bible study begins @7pm th Russell Stendal: guest Jan. 29 speaker @6:30pm th Feb. 6 Annual General Meeing @7:30pm Feb. 11th Camp Douglas Jazz Night Feb. 18th International Potluck Dinner Feb. 24th 26th HPC Contemplative Retreat nd Mar. 2 World Day of Prayer
*Answers to Name That Christmas Carol*

1. Silent Night 2. O Little Town of Bethlehem 3. Joy to the World 4. Hark the Herald Angels Sing 5. We Three Kings 6. Away in a Manger 7. Come All Ye Faithful 8. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear 9. Hark! the herald angels sing 10. Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable Gift-indescribable inestimable incomparable inexpressible precious beyond words.
--Lois Lebar