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Sandpoint Sunday Service

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The Gardenia Center welcomes all

Sandpoint Sunday Service is a religious congregation that meets every Sunday at 10 am at the Gardenia Center. The term "Gardenia Center" is sometimes used to identify the group, but the two organizations are independent. The Center is a multi-purpose building utilized for a variety of activities. The Sunday Service is just one of these groups. Although the owner of the Center is a supporter of the Service, the rental arrangement is designed to be mutually beneficial.

"Celebrate Diversity" is a Service slogan. This means people of all spiritual beliefs are welcome; however, the slogan is misleading as it suggests the group is very different. The congregation is characterized more by similarities than by differences. The format is similar to most traditional services.

Like most religions, there is a basic truth or belief on which the rituals are built. The group starts with the concept that the World was created from a "blueprint" or "master plan." For many, this belief is faith but for some, it is based on mathematics, physics and probability. The alternative, creation by "chance, random variation selection, evolution," is so mathematically impossible that one is left with the more feasible option. The next logic suggests that there must be an evaluation system and a purpose. The obvious question becomes, "What is the purpose and how is progress evaluated?" No one knows the answer to these questions. For the entire history of the world, no one people have found answers acceptable to all others. Nobody has a monopoly on the truth, but everyone knows what he believes. Even for those who claim they don't know, they believe that much and are therefore included. This makes religion a personal path. Why should one person care what the next one believes? Why would one try and convert the other?

The Congregation comes together, not to preach or to change anyone's beliefs, but to find common denominators for inspiration. The Service includes traditional piano music, plus a "Special Music" program. The inspirational reading usually quotes a source of wisdom. The speaker is a member or a guest who has a reputation for having something to offer.

The congregation warmly welcomes everyone to attend, but this is also true of most churches. The biggest difference from a traditional service is the lack of an authoritative figure. The moderators, the inspirational reader, the speaker and the greeters are all volunteers and change each week. Many will be performing this service for the first time. A board meeting is called and those who show up make up that month's board. Programs tend to be varied and it would be difficult to define the Service from just one visit.

The Congregation celebrates the Christmas season with special programs based mainly on traditional music. Saturday, December 17, "The Solstice Christmas Celebration" will be presented at 7 pm. The concert consists of musical talent providing both entertainment and inspiration.    On Dec. 22 at 10 am the joy continues with the "Christmas Sunday Service." Everyone is encouraged to participate in these musical festivals celebrating the wonderful season. Regardless of personal belief, all can share the common theme of Peace and Good Will towards our fellow people.


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Harvey Pine

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