Friday April 1st , 2022



Dear Friends,


Happy April Fool's Day!


I wonder if you're remembering a funny prank played on you - maybe the sugar being replaced by salt or CBC' s announcement that since loonies and toonies were so popular the mint was going to start making throonies. Well, sorry no prank from me... I think the weather in the past couple of weeks has pulled enough pranks for all of us! However, the birds are singing and the crocuses began to bloom- nature's promises for spring. I give thanks!








Sunday April 3rd,  2022  -  Rev. Rose Ann Vita

                               At 10:30 am  -  Worship –  Lent V

Theme ‘Resuscitation or Resurrection?


To join the service please  CLICK HERE




Sunday, April 3 Worship at 10:30 AM ~ In-person and livestreamed ( Today we are looking at the story of Lazarus and chapter 6 from Meeting Jesus Again for the First TimeResurrection or Resuscitation. During the Children's Time we'll learn about CPR.

Let's Make Peace Cranes Together ~ Following the April 3rd service, come to the demo table in Hilliard Hall to make some cranes. I will do my best to show you how to fold these origami birds which will decorate our church on April 24th ~ Earth Day Sunday.

Online Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time ~ Wednesday, April 13 at 1 PM (CLICK HERE)   This is the final session on April 13 which will cover The Truth of Easter. You need not know the Bible or have heard the sermon. Just come! It is a fascinating ending to a fascinating series.

Sign the Petitions ~ In last Sunday's service, two opportunities to sign petitions for world peace were mentioned. Here are the links for you to add your name to the documents:

  • Korean Peace Appeal - End the War Now (CLICK HERE)
  • Open Letter from Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and Citizens of the World Against War and Nuclear Weapons (CLICK HERE)


A Request from the Pastoral Care Committee ~ We are putting together a few pages of prayers that we might say at the end of a pastoral call and wonder if you have a favourite prayer or quote to offer. One quote was shared with us today, "We come into the world crying while all those around us are smiling. May we go out of the world smiling while those around us are crying." If you have anything that might be helpful, please send it to me. Thank You.

My Daughter's Sermon. If you read the last newsletter, I mentioned that my daughter, Suzanne, preached a sermon on the Book of Ester (Chap. 4: 1-17). She has just been accepted into the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and is awaiting her first call. I shared that now I can retire in peace knowing that that Good News will continue to be told through her. If you wish to hear her sermon (CLICK HERE), it begins at the 12-minute mark. If you start at the beginning you will hear the Children's Time and the Scripture. Thank you for taking the time to share my joy.

Future Worship Opportunities ~ And looking ahead to Holy Week, the Waterloo Churches are collaborating on Maundy Thursday (April 14 @ 7:30 @ Westminster) and Good Friday (April 15 @ 10:30 AM @ First United). And in addition to our Easter Sunday Communion Service (April 17 @ 10:30 AM), there is an Easter Vigil on Zoom on Saturday evening (April 16 @ 8 PM).

Your Pastoral Care If I can offer you pastoral care, don't hesitate to contact me.

Be blessed to be a blessing, the Rev Rose Ann Vita

( ~ 647-763-0101)


Delivery of Daffodils to Shut-Ins


The pots of daffodils, (a gift from UCW) for the shut-ins will be arriving at the Church on Saturday, April 2nd.   They can be picked up on Sunday, after Church.   We still need some helpers for delivery.   Please call Jean Hoffmann if you can help.  519.746.7184.


Jean Hoffman, UCW




SHE FLIES ON:  An Opportunity for Spiritual Nurture


Rev. Disher will offer guided experience in spiritual exercises for one more Monday evening.


Monday, April 4:  Guided Meditation.   In the chapel from 7:00-7:40 p.m.; or 7:50-8:30 p.m.



FILLING IN OUR STORY:  Sunday, April 10 in Hilliard Hall following worship (till about 1 p.m.).
This workshop gathering will be a follow-up to the Asset Mapping exercises that happened in early February.  Participants will be invited to select possibilities for ministry and action for which they have passion and energy.  A second part of our time together will be spent naming the "outcomes" we expect as we engage in ministry and mission..  What we have are a lot of ideas, but: Why are we considering them?  What are we hoping to accomplish?  What outcomes are we seeking to achieve? How will we know how much we have succeeded? All are welcome to share in this time of conversation and exploration.

(Our team will provide refreshments.  You may choose to bring along a snack or light lunch)






Thank you to all the early birds who have already ordered your ham or chicken dinners for Easter.  I understand the delicious dessert is the selling feature in some people’s minds!

I know many of you really appreciate the luxury of having all the preparations done for you, and we are happy to facilitate this and also help finance the programs at First United Church. Feel free to invite your neighbours or friends you think might be interested.

Please remember the deadline for orders is Sunday April 10 at 8:00pm

Don’t be disappointed. Order today.



Glazed Ham with Scalloped Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables


Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs with Scalloped Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables.

Each dinner includes a Brioche Roll with Butter and for Dessert a 4” Easter Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Easter Décor.

The meals come in oven ready packaging and boxed as single complete meals with heating instructions included.

  • Cost per Dinner: $26 prepaid, including tax. 
  • Final Date for Orders: 8:00 pm on Sunday April 10th, 2022.
  • Place your order by calling: Lynda Mc Dowell at 519-885-4534 or Muriel Omand-Naylor at 519-746-2566
  • Pay for your order: Please make cheque payable to: First on Stage and drop in the church mail slot or mail to 16 William St W Waterloo N2L 1J3.

For E-Transfer, email to:

Pick-up is again behind the restaurant Deliworks on Spetz Street, near Frederick and Weber.

When you call to place your order, you will be asked to confirm a five minute pick –up time beginning at 3:00PM on Saturday April 16th .

All who attend activities hosted in First United Church, are welcome to participate.

Thank you for joining us.      Invite your friends.   Enjoy your meals.




The 2022-3 Church Board had its first meeting March 8th with new board member Lee Willingham as the new chair of the Worship Committee.

As part of the process of calling a new minister process a congregational meeting will be called after the April board meeting with a tentative date of May 1st to share the asset mapping data and possibly a job description for a new minister. 

Edith Coyle, Doug Facey and Rick Heemskerk have begun working on the Church Profile and are making good progress. Part of the profile includes financial information provided by our treasurer, and input from the Living Faith Team.

One of the responsibilities of committees each year is to review their existing committee descriptions and update them as required and send it back to the board.

The board has also started the process of reviewing the current Policy Handbook asking each committee to update policies under their responsibilities as required and send it back to the board for approval. This is likely to take some  time, but a start is required.

A gathering to celebrate the Reverend Rose Ann Vita's ministry is planned for after church on May 15th which is Rose Ann’s last day of preaching.

In person worship resumed on March 13th with the following conditions:  masks must be worn, all doors to the building will be unlocked, coats may be hung in cloakroom, every second pew will be blocked, no bulletins or hymn books will be available in the pews, no physical passing of the peace, choir and music as deemed safe by those involved, communion will be with the use of prepackaged elements.  Coffee hour may resume with drinks only, not self-serve, and individual milk, creamer and sugar will be used.  



For now, the group on the Transition Team is building the vision story which is part of the process of calling a new minister, but more volunteers are welcome.  The goal is to have this complete by the end of March.  This will also give direction to other things. 

MARCH – working group refines proposals from Asset Mapping into a sense of direction and future vision for First United; may also design and distribute a survey on “what are you looking for in a minister?” A small group of Board members complete other pieces of the Congregational Profile required by the Region:  demographics, financial data, real property, etc.

APRIL – Board may preview the Living Faith Story and possible job description that will go to a congregational meeting later in the month for approval.  

MAY – Profile and any other required documents are sent to the Region for consideration and approval by the Covenanting Commission.  If approved, First United can appoint a Search Team. 

JUNE – Church profile information and job description are posted on Church hub.  Search Team is trained by a Regional liaison and begin their work – Transition team completes final evaluation of Intentional Interim Minister and is disbanded.

SUMMER – applications received and possibly interviews conducted.

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER – It may be that a candidate for a call is chosen.  If that person accepts they need to give their current congregation 90 days’ notice before resigning to accept a call to another congregation.

JANUARY 2023 – Most likely date for a new minister in place at First United (at the earliest) 


Rick Heemskerk, Board Chair





Our Fridays at First program has wrapped up for the season. It was a shorter season due to not being open Christmas or New Years and shutting down the end of March rather than our normal of mid April.

We served a total of 662 meals over 19 weeks. Our highest week we served 52 meals and the lowest was 21. We had 225 meals served in person and were able to offer that option for 15 of the weeks we served. those numbers ranged from a low of 7 to a high of 22 which was on the last night we were open. 

There were a number of highlights through the season. Two particular ones were the Christmas bags that were gathered by the congregation and handed out starting the week before Christmas. I just love the way the guests share this bounty among themselves. Other years they have opened them at the church and shared items between each other. This year, with the restrictions on eating in, I was not expecting as much sharing but for a couple of weeks, the quests returned items that they did not need so that others could have them. This actually stretched out the giving season for a couple of weeks!

The second highlight I would like to tell you about was a special visit from a Brass Quintet. These students from Wilfrid Laurier treated us a couple of years ago when some of them were in first year. They contacted me at the beginning of March to see if we would be open to them coming again. Not only did this group entertain our guests for about 45 minutes, they also answered many questions from the audience and we all learned about both the performers and their instruments. Following the performance, they all joined the guests in eating a meal and were very grateful for both the opportunity to perform and the meal they were provided.

This was a challenging year with Covid restrictions limiting the scope of our program as well as the number and timing of volunteers. Other challenges were planning meals that were conducive to take out, working with fewer volunteers, and trying to keep expenses down.

Overall, I consider this to be a good year. We were able to serve nutritious meals to many people over a time when other programs were limited.

I thank all of you who donate time, space and finances to keep this outreach to our community going!

Cathie Stewart Savage, Coordinator Fridays at First




It's almost here! What is?!

Our UCW meeting is next Thursday, April 7th at 1:30pm. 

Wear your comfy Zoom clothes and bring your datebook. (Yes, we changed the plan!)

A great chance to share our smiles and encouragement with one another!

Lots to catch up on, lots is happening, lots of ways to be involved!

Hope you will be part of the gathering!

The UCW will meet on Zoom (CLICK HEREon the first Thursday of the month at 1:30 PM.

Contact Edith Coyle for more information.

Peace Cranes ~ The UCW is sponsoring a congregation-wide "event". During Lent we are encouraged to make origami peace cranes to decorate our sanctuary on Earth Day Sunday, April 24. This could be as simple as making a crane-a-day during the 40 days of Lent or just making four . . . in fact, if everyone (especially children and grandchildren) makes some cranes, our church will be filled with peace. And making cranes is simple!

See for yourself (CLICK HERE) or come to the in-person demo in Hilliard Hall following the worship service on Sunday, April 3rd.

Lynne Blake-Dickson







The lockdowns and ever-changing safety protocols were not able to shut us down, so we were able to present 9 concerts in the fall and 11 in the winter, and sell pre-ordered lunches!  Thankfully, the Church Bord allowed us to increase our audience capacity from 80 to 100 which pleased our audience members.

It’s hard to believe that only 2 Noon Hour Concerts remain until the fall, and they will be outstanding as have been so many others.  On Tuesday March 29, Ian Sadler certainly blew out any remaining dust left by Kathleen in the 3,000 plus pipes with his impressive performance!  Especially touching were his two final pieces that were dedicated to the Ukrainian people.

On Tuesday April 5th, the Penderecki String Quartet with Jeremy Bell and Jerzy Kaplanek on violins, Christine Vlajk on viola and Katie Schlaikjer on cello will perform “Lament in the Trampled Garden” by Mozetich and 2 movements from Dvorak’s String Quartet No. 14.

Our final concert on Tuesday April 12th will feature the Springdale Trio with Wendy Wagler on flute, Ben Bolt-Martin on cello and Boyd McDonald on piano.  Their program will feature a premiere by Boyd McDonald and will also be the very last concert for the Springdale Trio.

There are so many volunteers that make this Concert Series a success…. Barb Blain and Jean Hoffman (lunch conveners), Judy Berthin, Edith Coyle, Julie Dietrich, Jana Heemskerk, Audrey Nicholls (newbie!) Shirley Schweitzer, Pauline Williams and Mary Wybrow (lunch crew), Shirley Irish (treasurer), Rick Heemskerk (attendance), Joe Hipperson (usher), Matt Savage (technician) and Sharon Gowland (concert co-ordinator).  Special thanks to staff members Rev. Harry Disher, Rev. Rose Ann Vita, Kathleen King Martin, Sheena Curwood, Harold Arnett, Jay Brooker and Craig Lennox for their support and assistance. A donation was made to the Food Bank in memory of one of our steadfast volunteers, Trish Chambers, who passed away last month. 

Please watch for an announcement in late August for our upcoming 2022-23 season on the church’s website at

Have a safe and wonderful summer!

Sharon Gowland



First United Church Garage and Plant Sale

Friday May 13, 3:00pm to 7:00pm and Saturday May 14, 8:00am to 11:00am

Drop OFF on Thursday May 12

  • Please bring your donations of clothing, linens, shoes, boots, purses, jewelry, books bikes, records, DVDs, CDs, small appliances and electronics, kitchenware, toys, games, puzzles, baby items, and decorative items for the house, to Hilliard Hall.
  • Larger Household items to the Chapel
  • Vintage items and Art Work to The Parlour
  • Plants to the Narthex



Let's gather Saturday, April 23 at 9 AM to discuss "A Man Called Ove".

Everyone is welcome!


A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Translated by Henning Koch

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Click here for connection information.

Words Worth has ordered the books and they should be in shortly




From Faith, Climate, Justice:

The Faith Climate Justice banner which says, in large print ACT NOW, has arrived, and is awaiting the time for members of the Property Committee to hang it on an outside wall of the church. (Maybe when the weather is a little warmer). The FCJ group has produced a statement about Just Transition and has sent it to the councillors of all the cities and townships in the Waterloo Region. This statement can be found at the following link:

First United Church is one of the signatories.

Also, see reports of the Day of Action on March 12th

I attended the action at Waterloo Square, and was proud of the two young University students who organized the gathering. I am hoping others in the church will join me in taking action for the climate.

One member of the group is willing to provide a letter-writing workshop, if enough people are interested in learning how to write letters to politicians, newspapers, etc. It would be wonderful to have a letter-writing group at First United, who could be ‘activists’ without going to rallies, marches, etc. Please let me (Shirley Irish) know if you would be interested in such a workshop. It will take place only if there is enough interest.

Shirley Irish




Sunday April 10th , 2022 – Rev. Harry Disher – Palm Sunday

                                         At 10:30 am  - Theme ‘The Sound of Stones

Thursday, April 14th, 2022 – Maundy Thursday 

At 7:30 pm – Westminster United


Friday April 15th, 2022 – All Four Churches  – Good Friday

At 10:30 am  - at First United

Saturday April 16th, 2022 – Rev. Rose Ann Vita 

At 8:00 pm – Online Easter Vigil

Sunday April 17th, 2022 – Rev. Harry Disher  – Easter Sunday

At 10:30 am – Communion

You can always view the weekly service by going to the webpage each Sunday morning, or you can see previous live streams at

For Pastoral Care - Please contact Rev. Rose Ann Vita (647-763-0101) or the office (519-745-8487 ext. 201) or the Rev. Harry Disher (519-860-9198) for Pastoral Care Emergencies.

Interested in Membership? Or in knowing more about the United Church of Canada? Just contact Rev. Harry Disher ( or Rev. Rose Ann Vita ( They will be happy to find a time to have a conversation with you.



You can get your offering to the church office in several ways:

  • You can use PAR, or
  • E transfer to, or
  • Website donation to, or
  • Send a cheque to First United Church, 16 William St. West, Waterloo ON N2L1J3, or
  • Drop a cheque into the mailbox located at the Entrance on William St. side.


**Just a reminder- credit card companies have a fee of around 3-5%. If you wish the church to get the full amount, then please add that % to your contribution. **





The Special Envelopes for Easter this year are designated for :

Supportive Housing Of Waterloo – who provides housing and support to those who have experienced homelessness and encounter barriers to achieving their fundamental right to safe and affordable housing.

Community Justice Initiatives – who provide conflict resolution services, support for people impacted by sexual trauma, assistance for families involved with child protection, reintegration support for adults returning to the community from prison or custody, and integration support for new Canadian youth.

These organizations in our community do great work on our behalf and we hope that you can show your support if you are able.

Thank you!!

Nancy Lennox




The Friday Letter will continue but will not be produced every Friday. It will be produced every two weeks. In the table below are the dates for the Friday Letter. We are also including the dates when we would like to receive articles for these letters.




Friday April 15th, 2022

Tuesday April 12th, 2022 – end of day

Friday April 29th, 2022

Tuesday April 26th, 2022 – end of day

Friday May 13th, 2022

Tuesday May 10th, 2022 – end of day


NOTE:  Please send Word documents only for contributions to the Friday Letter.




As many of you know Rose Ann is leaving us to move back to the United States. This is a joyful and sorrowful time for Rose Ann and for us as well. Her last Sunday with us is May 15th, 2022. We would like to celebrate her time with us on that day.

We would also like to collect some money for a farewell gift for Rose Ann. If you would like to contribute you can make your donation one of three ways.

  1. via cheque to First On Stage indicating on the cheque that it is a gift for Rose Ann – so there is no confusion with the Easter dinner. The cheque can be mailed to the office or dropped in the outside mailbox or dropped off at the office.
  2. via e-Transfer to
  3. cash donation that you can drop off at the office in an envelope marked ‘Gift for Rose Ann’.




Reconciliation between settlers and Indigenous peoples.

This video is the 2nd one in a series 8th Fire. For learning about Indigenous issues. I think it is important for us to watch and see how other communities are making reconciliation efforts. It is a hopeful picture.


Seniors’ Program at Terrace-on-the-Square:  April 6, 13, and 20 at 2 p.m.


Fit Minds is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people! The 3-week sessions provide group facilitated brain exercises and activities across the full spectrum of cognition - language skills, visual/spatial, memory, critical thinking, and computation abilities. You will learn how to implement a brain healthy lifestyle into your every day, and you will be challenged to set nutrition, physical activity, and socialization goals as part of the program.

This course will encourage and empower participants to maintain and maximize brain health! Vicki Lees is a Retirement Living Consultant with Chartwell Terrace On The Square Retirement Residence and will be leading this program.   Here is the link to the poster offering dates and times:  Fit Minds Poster First United Note: you will need to register to attend: Call 226-792-0593 to RSVP



Together We Stand, but Apart