Embracing the whole community…

Embracing the whole community…

Small churches everywhere are struggling.  We know we’re not unique in trying to stay relevant in the community.  The most often asked question used to be, “how do we get more people to attend on Sundays.”  We’ve conducted all day vision meetings and discussed the topic over many cups of coffee after Sunday services.

Almost 20 years ago we opened a second hand bookstore called A-Frame Bookstore in the church hall.  Read the whole story in the post dated May 24, 2013.  The reason it’s included in this post is because our secondhand bookstore is a ministry in itself.  Supporting literacy and affordable books for all ages.  It’s a welcoming place for conversation and a cup of coffee.  A true community meeting place.


Our members have always given their time and incredible talents and somewhere along the line the word change became a challenge and not a threat.  If you haven’t been to visit us in a while you will see so many changes.  Sunday services aren’t quite the same as they used to be. These days the service shows us on a big screen with all the prayers and words for hymns printed in advance so no bulletin is required…unless you want one.

We have a computer tech who ensures the hymns and videos happen when they’re supposed to and most Sundays our sermon comes to us from another part of Canada.  A program called, “Together We Worship” that is downloaded from a website and comes as a complete package.  We welcome visiting ministers once every month or two and one of our congregation members Deborah Murray has become a “sacramental elder” meaning she has been trained to conduct funerals, and baptisms as well as communion.


Every day of the week there’s something happening in the church and hall – listed here in no particular order 😀

  • Happy Gang – a group of seniors and those with mobility issues get together Thursday afternoons from 1-2pm for refreshments, fellowship and guest speakers
  • Meditation – Monday evenings from 5:15 to 6:15pm
  • Bible Study – Monday evenings following meditation
  • Wellness Clinic – a program run by Island Health Authority
  • Community Garden – raised garden plots available to anyone interested in growing their own fruit/vegetables/flowers
  • Speaker’s Corner – funded by United Church ProVision Fund this series of talks, open to the community, has included topics such as: cyber bullying, Humpack Whales, Orcas and a local woman who was a finalist on the TV reality show Alone
  • Wild Heart Choir – open to elementary and high school students in schools across the North Island.  This program started at St. John Gualbert Church
  • Potlickers  – potluck lunch open to all every Friday.  Quite often includes live entertainment
  • Pasta Night the first Monday of the month
  • Yoga Class
  • The local Masonic Lodge is a tenant and holds meetings here
  • Sunday Service 11am followed by refreshments
  • A-Frame Bookstore open Monday to Saturday.  Run by volunteers and all books are donated by the community.  If the sandwich board is out front we’re open !!

Singing program encouraging and inspiring young North Islanders

For more information about any of our programs/events please contact us at:

St. Gualbert Church


Or visit our Facebook pages:



Journey into Advent


Advent is a season in the church calendar — a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.  

As we journey into Advent here are some of the upcoming events at our church and in the community.

Saturday November 28 – 11am-4pm there will be a church table at the Christmas Showcase happening at the Community Hall & Old School.  Homemade pies, baked goods & books for sale.  

Sunday November 29 – Board meeting at 8:30 am.  Reverend Tanya McKoen will lead us in worship (11:00 am) as we head into advent.   Service to be followed by turkey dinner with all the trimmings as well as live music.  Contact Deborah to sign up for food needed and confirm numbers attending.  Bring a friend !!

We will once again be selling Christmas trees at IGA the first two weeks of December.  Volunteers will be needed to unload trees on December 1st and to work shifts selling them.  Contact Deborah for details.

Sunday December 6 is White Gift Sunday.  We will be putting together a Christmas hamper again through North Island Community Services.  This year our family is a single mom (ladies L), 12-year-old boy (L) and 11-year-old girl (M).  Items include: non-perishable gift foods, clothes, toiletries, or cash which will be accepted until December 10th.

Sunday December 6 – 7:00 pm all are welcome to St. Mary’s Catholic Church for a free Christmas concert followed by refreshments

Saturday December 12 & 19 – 10:00am – 4:00pm  3rd Annual “Wrapathon.”  Karen & her helpers are gearing up for Christmas gift wrapping by donation in the bookstore.  We have plenty of gift wrap & accessories but could use a few more cardboard boxes.  

Sunday December 13 – 11:00 am Service of Lessons & Carols.  Invite family & friends as we experience the Christmas story through word & song. 

Thursday December 24 – 5:00 pm  Christmas Eve Communion Service with Reverend TanyaMcKoen 

For more information please contact us at 250-956-3533 or gualbert@telus.net

Upcoming Events for June & July

Creative Writing Workshop

What an honour to have author Rachel McMillen visiting A-Frame Bookstore in a few weeks.  And not just once but two nights in a row.  Thursday June 11st Rachel offers her experience in a free creative writing workshop.  Writers of all ages & experience are welcome to attend.  Registration not required.  Bring your laptop or ipad or pad of paper & pen.  Hear from this author of two mystery books both set on the west coast.

McMillen Poster for online

Black Tide Rising is Rachel McMillen’s 2nd book in a trilogy.  The first one called Dark Moon Walking is a fast paced, suspenseful thriller.  And what a thrill to see the mention of West Coast Helicopters in Port McNeill !!  The reading will be followed by dessert & refreshments (by donation) as well as live music.  For more information please call Karen at 250-956-2912

Summer Camp 2015 Poster

We are pleased to be offering a week-long summer camp for children from July 13-17.  The theme is heroes and children will meet five biblical heroes (Moses and Joshua, Esther, David, Mary and Jesus.  These heroes will be explored through stories, music, art, games and craft activities.  Children learn how they can be heroes too, at home, in their community, and in the world.

The Summer Day Camp programme is designed for children ages 5 to 11 years old and will run from 9am-3pm each day.  The cost is $10 per child for the week.  Snacks will be provided; please bring your own lunch.  For more information contact St. John Gualbert Church at 250-956-3533

Happy February !!

Shrove Tuesday

Please join us for a pancake & sausage supper coming soon on Shrove Tuesday — February 17th from 5-6:30 in the church hall.  By donation.  We welcome our church family and the whole community so please help us spread the word !!

Birthday party

The next day February 18th at noon we’re throwing a birthday bash pot-luck lunch in the church hall to celebrate our February birthdays.  There will be cake & word has it there may be live entertainment 🙂

Ash Wednesday

The Ash Wednesday service at St. Columba Church in Port Hardy has been cancelled — Reverend Allan will be attending a cleansing ceremony at St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay.

As an alternative St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Port McNeill is holding an Ash Wednesday service at 5:00 pm.


Blessings from St. John Gualbert Church






8 Gifts That Don’t Cost a Cent

These wise words were passed on by a member of our church family — a woman who was one of the very first members of St. John Gualbert.


1.  The Gift of Listening … But you must REALLY listen.  No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response.  Just listening.

2.  The Gift of Affection … Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handhold.  Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

3.  The Gift of Laughter … Clip cartoons.  Share articles and funny stories.  Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

4.  The Gift of a Written Note … It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet.  A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

5.  The Gift of a Compliment … A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” “You did a super job” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

6.  The Gift of a Favour … Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

7.  The Gift of Solitude … There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone.  Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

8.  The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition … The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone; really it’s not that hard to say, “Hello” or “Thank You”



In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway.  The he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.

Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.  Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the road clear, but none did anything about getting the big rock out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables.  On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road.  After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.  As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been.  The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

The peasant learned what many others never understand.  Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one’s condition.

God’s blessings…


All ages event on February 2, 2015

An invitation to children of all ages to Join the Kid-dom of God!  This unique workshop will take place at St. John Gualbert Church on Monday February 2nd from 6-8pm. The evening starts with a pot-luck dinner in the church hall.  The workshop is co-facilitated by Linnea Good and Nancy Reeves, co-authors of a new book “The Kid-Dom of God:  Helping Children Grow in Christian Faith,” the workshop begins with adults and children together for prayer, song and story.  Participants are then divided into two groups for additional activities.  Linnea will engage the children in age appropriate faith nurturing activities, including singing, large muscle games, discussion, artwork, and creating songs for drama.  Nancy will facilitate the adults in conversation by offering guidance on how to respond to children’s God-wonderings and spiritual experiences as well as how to communicate their own values and faith.  Both groups will then reconvene and move into intergenerational small groups to share what they have learned.  The workshop will conclude with prayer and song.  This lively and exciting workshop is open to anyone of every age…whether they have a faith community or not.  There is no fee to attend and registration is not required.  Simply come, enjoy, have fun and be inspired.

Kid Dom of God

Between the covers of a book…

The bookstore is located in the hall of our church which is formally known as St. John Gualbert Church or as many locals refer to it the “A-Frame Church” at the corner of Cedar & Haddington in Port McNeill.  In 1998 our bookstore was created with shelves, a cash register and mountains of unsorted books all donated by Community Futures when the local second hand bookstore went out of business.

The sale of books is a fundraiser for our for church & community programs by offering affordable books for all ages.  In the beginning there was also a vision to work with the school district and use the store as a venue for adult literacy.  At that time there were trained tutors and the school district was willing to continue but they required an organization to coordinate the program.  Sadly that never came to fruition so volunteers weren’t utilized and adults needing reading support weren’t identified.

The focus of the bookstore became and still is an incredible outreach from our church to all the surrounding communities and even internationally.  For quite a few years we exchanged books with Literacy Nanaimo.  Some of the books we donated to them went on to Seniors Centres, women’s shelters and prisons.  We’ve provided books to the First Nations village of Kingcome Inlet, Sunset Elementary School book exchange, public health’s “Born to Read” program and books were sent to Africa through the Courtenay Rotary Club.

2013-04-20 12.05.30

The bookstore is completely staffed by volunteers and is open Monday evening and Tuesday to Saturday afternoons.  If the sandwich board is out front — the bookstore is open.  All the books are donated so we’re able to keep the price very low.  For 15 years the price was $1 for adults and 50 cents for children.  As of July 1st the price will go to $2 for adults and $1 for children.  The store is organized into sections with all genres of fiction as well as non-fiction including: Christian, reference, biographies, cookbooks etc.  If you’re looking for Shakespeare — we’ve got Shakespeare.

We welcome readers of all ages and we certainly welcome donations of books you’re finished with and would like to pass along.   Sorry we can’t take old textbooks or encyclopedias.  We just don’t have the storage room or the demand.  And we can’t accept damaged, dirty of smelly books.  We invite you to come to stop by — for the first time or nth time.  We renovated last year and have a bigger, brighter space.  Explore the world of books !!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books”   ―     Henry Wadsworth Longfellow