Faiths Faces Kelowna

Faiths Faces Kelowna

This is a personal experience exploration of the different churches, temples, mosques, etc. in Kelowna. Through this weekly experience, I hope to become more spiritually-oriented, while getting to experience different religions, and different slants on the Christian experience.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Trinity Baptist Kelowna

Address: 1905 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC
Date & Service Attended: September 10 2006
Pastor/Priest/Leader: Tim Schroeder, Senior Pastor (and two "unknown pastors: spoke as well - why don't these people ever introduce themselves?)

Sermon: The sermon was centred on Acts 1, and related to being open to a call from God to be in his service. Pastor Schroeder started with a humourous story relating to the most unusual (telephone) calls he ever recieved. stated that there's four life-changing truths about a call from God:
  1. A calling is personal
  2. A calling rests on absolute conviction;
  3. A calling provides direction;
  4. A call is always accompanied by a promise (typically, in the Bible, that God will be there with us through our trials and tribulations).

Pastor Schroeder illuminated these basic points through various stories and relating them back to different verses in Acts 1, showing how the disciples were, at times, also not following their calling.

All-in-all, a good, deep, sermon.

Other parts of the service: The music - about five songs - was done by a 17 person choir/band playing/singing mostly what I'd call gospel lite; however, there was one notable jazzy/big band type piece that had just about everybody tapping their feet or swaying along with the music.

My feelings/thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed the service and the music. This is a modern type church with multi-media, but they also provide a traditional service as well. If you wanted to make a church community at the centre of your life, Trinity probably provides enough services to comfortably do so, without getting bored with a lack of variety.

Other things: Trinity is a very large church with many services for

My own very personal ranking on the service and sermon overall: [I liked it a lot]

Religion: [Christian]
Denomination: Baptist
Size of Congregation: [Large]
Primary demographic appearance: [Mix of above and below 40]
Was greeted/welcomed, made to feel welcome: [About three to eight times]

Service Started: 9:30AM
Service Finished: 10:44AM

Contact this church:
Phone: (250) 860-3273
Web-links: Main church

Faiths Faces Kelowna

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    Kelowna Christian Reformed Church

    Address: 239 Glenmore Road, Kelowna
    Date & Service Attended: August 27 2006, 10:30AM
    Pastor/Priest/Leader: Pastor John Gerrits

    Sermon: The sermon centred on the personal peace God can give us, when he surrender ourselves to him. Pastor Gerrits used Luke 2:13-14, John 14:25-27, 20:19-23, which involve promises of peace, either from the angels, or Jesus himself. He reminded us that the Bible promises that this peace is not temporary or fragile.

    He also used the recent youth missionary trip to California (a week-long camp for mentally challenged adults), as an example of where those youth had recieved some of the peace of God, by serving him.

    Other parts of the service: The service spanned both contemporary and traditional music, using contemporary instruments. Overall, we sang ten songs/hymns, which seemed to be more than most of the services I've gone to recently.

    They also had a very nice "children's message", where the young children (2-8?) come up to front of the church, and a very simple and straightforward message is given to them.

    Of course, it's useful for us adults too. Again, the theme was that just as children can count on their "stuffies" to provide comfort during worrying or troubling times, their parents can lean on Jesus in the same way.

    I liked this format. The message was solid for all age groups, and it's nice to see the children placed in "place of pride" in the church.

    The offering was also going to M2/W2, a group helping prisoners. I personally felt good about this.

    My feelings/thoughts: See ratings, below.

    Other things:The youth group had come back from the aforementioned trip, and each person gave a verbal report of what it was like serving these mentally challenged people for a week. Among the most commong reports of growth were the understanding that each of these individuals are, in fact, very different people. Secondly, the growth of patience was widely noted amongst the youth leaders.

    Finally, almost all said that they enjoyed an evening dance with these people the most, because they danced with abandon, and without worry of "how they would appear". This freed the youth to also be able to do the same. Most of their faces lit up when they recalled this aspect of this hard-working trip.

    My own very personal ranking on the service and sermon overall: I am wavering between [I liked it a lot] and [It felt "Average" to Me]. The sermon was a bit too short (leaning it towards average) and the music seemed to be a little too much and too wide a variety. Against that was the youth report and pictures of the trip, and the "children's message". I think I'll just have to leave it stuck in the middle of those two choices, for now.

    Religion: [Christian]
    Denomination: Christian Reformed.
    Size of Congregation: [Medium]
    Primary demographic appearance: [Mix (above & below 40)]
    Was greeted/welcomed, made to feel welcome: [About three to eight times]
    Service Started: 10:29AM
    Service Finished: 11:42AM

    Contact this church:
    Church Office: 762-3084, Home Office: 764-4643
    email (non-clickable):
    Web-links: Main church. (Note, they appear to be very nearly complete what appears to be a very content-rich web-site)

    Faiths Faces Kelowna

    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Garden Valley Community Church Kelowna

    Address: 228 Valley Road, Kelowna
    Date & Service Attended: August 13 2006, 10:30AM
    Pastor/Priest/Leader: Lay Pastor, Eric Frans. (Regular Pastor is Terry Lamb)

    Sermon:The sermon used Genesis 22:1-15 (the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac) as a launching point for having faith, and especially that God is asking us to give up what we want to hold onto the most (unless we are holding onto God the most).

    Lay Paster Eric Frans did a nice job of relating a story in his own life about how difficult it can be to give things up - even including fear in this particular case - and lay it all into the lap of God. And that once that's done, things generally will start improving; positive things will start happening.

    Lay Pastor Frans implored the congregation to think about what they're holding onto too tightly, and to let it go. To let God take it. And sometimes he won't (just as with Abraham's sacrifice) demand it; but he's a jealous God and wants him to be first in our hearts.

    Other parts of the service: This is a modern contemporary service, with the hymns using multi-media so the congregation can follow the lyrics, and with the use of drums, electric and acoustic guitars. Corey Doak as the main singer, and also with a couple of his own songs, and an especially nice blue-grass country number called "The Builder".

    Hymns/songs composed about 35 minutes of the service.

    My feelings/thoughts: Two things:
    1. First, I agree that it can be very difficult to give up something that you've held onto, even when you know it's harming you, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I have had these issues in my own heart from time to time. I still have my issues in this regard too. But prayer also helps to release these things, I find.
    2. Nothing to do with this service particularly, but I am often reminded of how the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the founder of TM) says that the mind is like a drunken monkey, lurching back and forth. Sometimes I'm in service, and find my mind wandering far, far away from what is being said. This is one challenge in life: the remain fully "in the moment". I hope I will become better at this so that I can enjoy the service in front of me more in the future.

    Other things: (Occassional comments on church goings on, or musings about the service, situation, etc.). The church is lacking a Nursery at present, because the Grassmicks (who have done this for ten years), want a break. Lay Pastor Eric Frans would like to see some adults step up to the plate and help out here.

    My own very personal ranking on the service and sermon overall: [It felt "Average" to Me]

    Religion: [Christian]
    Denomination: Mennonite
    Size of Congregation: [Small]
    Primary demographic appearance: [Younger (mostly under 40 years old, many children)]
    Was greeted/welcomed, made to feel welcome: [About three to eight times]
    Service Started: 10:34AM
    Service Finished: 11:40AM

    Contact this church:
    Phone: 763-4822
    Web-links: Main church, youth.

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    "Nature's Service on the Penticton Channel"

    Hi there,

    I didn't attend any service this week as we had plans with some friends and my kids to float down the Penticton river channel. The size of this "congregation" was large, the "service" was nice, and we had some nice "discussion sermons" amongst the friends and family.

    It was fun, although quite windy at the end (where the current slows noticeably), which was blowing us the opposite way to the current. Hence, a lot of swimming was required to get to the Skaha Lake end of the channel.

    It was fairly warm, but quite smoky, as some forest fires in Washington State were blowing smoke up here.

    Will see you back here next week ...

    Faiths Faces Kelowna

    Sunday, July 30, 2006

    St. Mary's East Kelowna

    Address: 2710 East Kelowna Road
    Date & Service Attended: July 30 2006
    Pastor/Priest/Leader: Lay pastor - Eileen

    Sermon: A contemplation of John 6: 1-21 (The Miracle of the Fishes and Loaves, and Jesus walking on water.

    The lay pastor, Eileen, referenced a biblical book (sorry, I've forgotten by whom) that said that there are three ways to look at the Fishes and Loaves:
    1. An actual miracle as stated;
    2. A communion, where sustenance is gained;
    3. Jesus turning the 5,000 from selfish, to sharing and caring
    She elaborated on the third point - that the people, having come so far, and it being the travelling time of Passover, were unlikely to have arrived there (Sea of Galilee) without some food.

    By Jesus setting the example, and sharing what little he was able to round up, encouraged the crowd of pilgrims to share what they had. In short, to turn from selfish, to sharing, and then caring. So that the five barley loaves and two fish ultimately became twelve baskets of leftovers. A miracle of a sort too.

    (This reminds me of the story of stone soup that I had read as a child. Perhaps Jesus was the spiritual originator of "stone soup").

    In any case, it was a different way to think about John 6.

    The second part of the sermon related to the walking on water miracle. Again, another biblical book was related, and Eileen said that John 6 also shows us how Jesus does three things:
    1. Watches us;
    2. Guides us;
    3. Helps us.
    Other parts of the service: There was hymn singing, one which I really enjoyed, "Wind Upon the Waters", in their 1998 "Common Praise" hymn book (anything with nature in it really gets me, as I enjoy this display of God's magnanamous nature more than almost anything).

    They also had flute playing, a hand drum, two acoustical guitars, and an organ. Usually, one or two of the instruments were being played while a hymn was being sung.

    My feelings/thoughts: Usually, I don't comment on the church venue, but this is a very small, historical church building. Very nice I thought.

    I also thoroughly enjoyed the service and the people: it's a very intimate type venue, and the interaction of the congregation supported that intimacy even more. To me, it felt like the best kind of family gathering. I also appreciated the prayer, where we prayed for a number of different worker types, and various people of the congregation, but where we could also call aloud the name of someone we wanted a prayer for.

    I enjoyed the variety of music, I liked Canon Jim Kiddell ringing the bell at the start of the service.

    All-in-all, I really enjoyed the service, with the slight proviso that I enjoy a sermon that uses a current "life" example, of how the scriptures/God has meaning (and in what way) and can be put to use on a regular basis. In that regard, the sermon wasn't quite as I like, but the rest of it was unbelievably beautiful for me.

    If you're like me, I can't recommend enough that you try out this service. I think this is a real hidden gem of a church.

    Other things: (Occassional comments on church goings on, or musings about the service, situation, etc.) Announcements that were slightly humourous: If you are between 75-80 and volunteering at the church, they need to know your name so you can be covered by the insurance policy (not quite sure why everyone else's name doesn't seem to be needed). Got a laugh from the congregation when one parishioner asked, "What if you're over 80?"

    My own very personal ranking on the service and sermon overall: [I liked it a lot]

    Religion: [Christian]
    Denomination: Anglican
    Size of Congregation: [Small]
    Primary demographic appearance: [Older (mostly 40+ years old)]
    Was greeted/welcomed, made to feel welcome: [Once or twice] And was personally introduced in the service to the rest of the congregation by the lady sitting next to me, Joan.
    Service Started: 9:30AM
    Service Finished: 10:25AM

    Contact this church:
    Phone: 763-3660, email:
    Web-links: None found.

    Faiths Faces Kelowna

    Saturday, July 29, 2006

    Seen: The Crystal Cathedral

    Well, this isn't really a church review, but just something I've always wanted to do, and did it last year (2005) when I was down in Disneyland. I and my eldest daughter, saw the Crystal Cathedral and took in the service.

    I have read, over the years, a couple of inspirational books (1, 2) by Dr. Robert H. Schuller, and always enjoyed his inspirational and upbeat message. And of course over the years, I'd seen a few of his Hour of Power sermons on TV, given in the marvelous Crystal Cathedral. What a wonderful man, and a great venue.

    Unfortunately, he wasn't giving the sermon the day I was there, so I missed out on that.

    However, his son-in-law recounted his testimony of how and why he became a Christian. It was interesting, and kind of a cautionary tale on a life lived only for wordly pleasure (before he became a Christian). One of the parts of his testimony that I particularly enjoyed was his recounting of various people warning Dr. Schuller that this fellow was kind of unsavoury, with a dubious past: did Dr. Schuller really want this fellow mixed up in Dr. Schuller's growing church?

    To one questioner, Dr. Schuller replied: Yes, he's exactly the type of person we want here! This is a (spiritual) hospital for sick people - not a museum of saints! Which of course reminded me of why I'm so fond of Dr. Schuller and his message of hope.

    More info: Crystal Cathedral


    Faiths Faces Kelowna

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    St. Charles Garnier Parish Kelowna

    Address: 3645 Benvoulin Rd, Kelowna V1W 4M7
    Date & Service Attended: July 23 2006, 8:30AM
    Pastor/Priest/Leader: Wayne Pfliger

    Sermon: The new church allowed both Jew and Gentile to come together in worshipping God. The new God presented by Jesus wasn't like the old God who was seen as a rule giver and enforcer. The new God was kind and forgiving and open. However, many Jews could not accept that Jesus was the embodiment of God on Earth. The Pharisees (priests/pastor etc. old the old Jewish religion) also could not accept this, as they were held to be the interceders/interpreters of God.

    Very short sermon, very limited "tie-in" today's world.

    Other parts of the service: Traditional Catholic, prayers, hymns, small readings.

    My feelings/thoughts: Similar to last week (a Catholic service also), the service is so filled with ritual that made me feel like I didn't know the secret handshake. No guide handed out to the service, so as a newcomer, you really don't know where you are going. No multi-media to help you along.

    The Catholic Church, based on my two experiences so far, seems to be an insiders club. To some extent, it seems to me like they are the Pharisees of old. Lots of rituals that I couldn't understand, and without explanation. Even the pastor doesn't say who he is.

    It all seems needlessly mysterious to a faith that should be - in my opinion - striving to welcome newcomers. But I suppose that many comfortable with the rituals don't see how it can be intimidating to newcomers who lack the years and years of practice.

    Even the service is set out in a handbook that outlines the weekly service for an entire year. This seems, to me, to be very rigid, which is exactly what happened with the Pharisees, says the Catholic Encyclopedia.

    However, I also have a strong bias towards a meaningful sermon, and when that is lacking, I feel disappointed, cheated even. I prefer one good sermon with some tie-in to today's world, to one hundred rituals that others may find comforting. So this definitely colours my view of today's service.

    Other things: No comment.

    My own very personal ranking on the service and sermon overall: [Not Really for Me]

    Religion: [Christian]
    Denomination: Catholic
    Size of Congregation: [Medium]
    Primary demographic appearance: [Older (mostly >40 years old)]
    Was greeted/welcomed, made to feel welcome: [Once or twice]
    Service Started: 8:30AM
    Service Finished: 9:30AM

    Contact this church:
    Phone: 860-6776
    Web-links: Unknown

    Faiths Faces Kelowna