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Friday March 18th , 2022

Dear First Folk,

Enjoy the light and the first day of spring this Sunday! 


PS Look for the poem "About the Light" written by Jan Richardson at the end of the Friday Letter.





Sunday March 20th, 2022 - Rev. Harry Disher

At 10:30 am - Worship – Lent III

Theme ‘The Home Stretch

To join the service please CLICK HERE




The Circle of Life. I would like to share a personal story: This week I had the privilege of attending not only Jean Arnett's Celebration of Life Service by livestream, but also my son-in-law (Gregory)'s grandma's funeral service in Jamaica, and my daughter (Suzanne)'s qualifying sermon in Woodstock, NY. [Such a sermon is a requirement in the ordination process of the Presbyterian Church USA]. [Isn't the internet wonderful!]

Grandma was 109 years and when Gregory told her that he and Suzanne were expecting a child, grandma gave a big happy hoot. She later told her nurse that now she could "go" for a child would carry on for her. I felt the same way hearing my daughter's sermon for now I feel I can retire in peace knowing that the Good News will be told in ways that will bring people closer to God. If you would like to hear Suzanne’s sermon, send me an email and I will send you a link.

Sunday, March 27 Worship at 10:30 AM ~ In-person and livestreamed ( Today the Rev. Harry Disher and I are leading worship and exploring Images of Jesus and Images of the Christian Life (Story Theology) in Luke 13:1-9. This is also the day that the United Church of Canada launches its Korea Peace Appeal Ten Thousand Signature Campaign (CLICK HERE) and declares, “70 years is enough. It’s time to end the Korean War.” If you wish to add your name to the campaign (CLICK HERE).

Sunday, March 27 Happy Hour Church at 4 PM on Zoom (CLICK HERE) ~ Zoom gives us an opportunity to be interactive and discuss topics that arise during this simple one-hour service with communion. Those who have attended find it a gentle way to explore faith in a safe space. You might too! Know that all are welcome. If you wish to receive communion have some bread and juice/wine handy.

Online Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time ~ Wednesday, March 30 at 1 PM (CLICK HERE) All are welcome to this 45-minute bi-weekly conversation group based on Marcus Borg's book. Hurry for there are just two sessions left! The March 30th session will cover the topic of the previous Sunday's sermon. The final session on April 13 will cover The Truth of Easter. You need not know the Bible or have heard the sermon. Just come!

Peace Cranes ~ Sunday, April 3 following worship. There will be a table in Hilliard Hall for those who wish 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. If you would like to help craft that service, please let me know.

Sunday, April 3 Worship at 10:30 AM ~ In-person and livestreamed. Today we'll look at the story of Jesus raising Lazarus (John 12:1-11) as we ponder Resuscitation or Resurrection? If you would like to be a reader (in-person or recorded) for this service, send me an email. Thanks.

Future Worship Opportunities ~ And looking way ahead, the Waterloo Churches are collaborating on the Holy Week Services: Westminster is hosting Maundy Thursday (7:30 PM) and First United Good Friday (10:30 AM). This year, in addition to our Easter Sunday Service at 10:30 AM, there is an Easter Vigil on Zoom on Saturday evening at 8:00 PM.

Pastoral Care If you need pastoral care through March 25, please contact the Rev. Harry Disher [519 860 9198], Mary Joan Brooker or Sheena in the church office. At all other times, if I can be of pastoral help, don't hesitate to contact me.

If I can be of pastoral help, don't hesitate to contact me.

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

( ~ 647-763-0101)







First United Church and DeliWorks Restaurant are coming together once again to offer delicious take away dinners that will please your taste buds and help generate funds for our Ministries here in our community.



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.





Rev. Disher will offer guided experiences in spiritual exercises for the next three Monday evenings. (These offerings will replace Monday Night Chat online times).

Monday, March 21: Walking the Labyrinth  in the Labyrinth Room between 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Come anytime between 7:00 and 8:00 pm.

Monday, March 28: Centering Prayer. Three separate sessions in the Chapel. 7:00-7:30 p.m.; 7:30-8:00 p.m.; and 8:00-8:30 p.m.

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




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



Covid has continued to delay movement for our refugee families, but we finally have some good news!

The application for the Mahrat family (Lebanon) has been sent to the embassy in Beirut. This is a big step closer for them!

The application for the Aldroubi family (UAE) is still waiting at the United Church but getting close to the top of the pile. They will be sending this application to Immigration, Refugee and send Canadian Citizenship once they have their quota for this year. 

Thanks to a generous donor, we are continuing to support these families as they wait for this long process to be completed.

Cathie Stewart Savage




UCW Meeting Day Has Moved - The UCW will resume meeting in-person in the parlour on the first Thursday of the month at 1:30 PM. Come on April 7 to see your friends and the new floor that is a gift of the UCW to the church.

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.

You can pick up origami paper with printed instructions from the office (call first: 519-745-8487) or on Sunday mornings. Please bring your cranes to church by Easter, April 17.



Yes we are thinking of having a rummage sale this May.

As you can see we are thinking of making it a big event for a fundraiser for the church and the UCW. The last time it was held in 2013 it was a great success.

We need church members that can help organize and run the different rooms at this event. It runs for 8 hours over 2 days, so many helpers are needed for short periods of time.

Please contact Alice Bieman @ 519 634 8614 if you have ideas, need more information and to help with this event.



At the Annual Meeting the motion to form a Justice Team, to join the local Faith Climate Justice (FCJ)organization, and to hang its banner outside First United Church was passed.

FCJ is a local organization of faith groups, dedicated to furthering Climate Justice.

So now it is time to form a Justice Team. If you are concerned about the Climate Emergency, about a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and are willing to be active in this area for our church, please contact either Shirley Irish or the Reverend Harry Disher. We need to put action to our words.

Shirley Irish




Thanks to the Church Board for lifting capacity limits at last week’s meeting, so that people no longer have to pre-register for the concerts. However, pre-ordering of lunches is still required by Thursday NOON, since proceeds from which pay for our amazing musicians. Many thanks to all who continue to donate as well.

On Tuesday March 22, the WLU Chamber Students directed by Christine Vlajk will perform. Since it’s their first live concert in two years, please plan to attend to support them.

On Tuesday March 29, Ian Sadler will amaze us once again on our Kney Pipe Organ, a concert not to be missed.

Updates continue on the church’s website so please visit often.


Sharon Gowland, Concert Coordinator




Saturday March 26, 2022 09:00 AM

Slaughterhouse-Five (or The Children's Crusade) by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Slaughterhouse-Five is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had witnessed as an American prisoner of war. It combines historical fiction, science fiction, autobiography, and satire in an account of the life of Billy Pilgrim, a barber’s son turned draftee turned optometrist turned alien abductee. 

We are hoping that Wordsworth will have this book and well as April's selection A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Translated by Henning Koch in the near future




Sunday March 27th , 2022 – Rev. Rose Ann Vita and Rev. Harry Disher – Lent IV

At 10:30 am - Theme ‘Images of Jesus and Images of the Christian Life

At 4:00 pm – Happy Hour Church

Sunday April 3rd , 2022 – Rev. Rose Ann Vita – Lent V

At 10:30 am – Theme ‘Resuscitation or Resurrection

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

Pastoral Care – March 17 to March 25 - Rose Ann will be away – if you have a Pastoral Care need please contact the Rev. Harry Disher [519 860 9198], Mary Joan Brooker or Sheena in the church office. .

For Pastoral Care – After March 25th 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. **




Month of February

February YTD

YTD Prior Year

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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 1st, 2022

Tuesday March 29th, 2022 – end of day

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.






World Water Day - Age 8-12. March 22 @4-5pm. Join members of the Eager Environmentalist program (as mentioned above) as they raise awareness for World Water Day. This virtual event will explore water's important value and how we can work better to protect this valuable resource. Register at 

Carbon Fast for Lent -  Lent is a period of reflection and fasting recognized by Christians. It takes place for the 40 days leading up to the celebration of Easter starting on March 2. Climate Stewards offers an opportunity to take part in lent with others. This Lent, they are leading a fast to draw near to God and deepen our care for the climate. Each week will feature a different theme designed to challenge us to take climate action. To sign up visit the website here.

Free Webinar Series called “God, Country, and Climate Change” hosted by the Center for Faith, Justice, and Global Engagement in Houghton College. Starting on Mar. 9. In addition to some of last year’s favorites (Katharine Hayhoe, Bob Inglis, John Cook, and others), they have 8 new speakers including author Bill McKibben, Native American leader Terry LeBlanc, Kenyan activist Elizabeth Wathuti, theologian Steve Bouma-Prediger and more. To sign up visit the website here.

"Films for the Planet" has many environmental films and resources to view at your leisure. To celebrate the lives of faith leaders, Thich Nhat Hanh (Buddhist) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Christian), this organization has selected a few films on the art of “interbeing” and science of inner peace you might enjoy..

STAYING CONNECTED! Communities and individuals within FCJ are part of many local initiatives. Be sure to send us any events at your faith community (book club, workshop, gardening, clean ups,...etc...). We would love to help spread the good things you are doing. 




Several months ago, Parkminster applied for a ‘New Horizons for Seniors’ grant to set up a Boccia League for our community. At this point we are restricting the league to adults, but as we become established, we can look at teams of children and youth. COVID-19 has slowed the process down, however as our province prepares to re-pen, we are now able to offer our church as a location for an intramural Boccia League.

Boccia is a sport like lawn bowling and curling but is played indoors. It has roots in ancient Greece and Egypt. Players propel balls to land as close as possible to a white marker ball, known as the Jack. Two sides compete as individuals, pairs or as a team of three over a set number of ends (4 for individuals and pairs, and 6 for teams). Each side plays six balls (red or blue) each end. After each end, the team with the ball closest to the jack receives 1 point plus an additional point for each ball closer to the jack than their opponent’s. Points are accumulated over the course of a match to find a winner.

We are just asking for you to consider getting a Boccia team (or teams) together for some good old-fashioned fun, Boccia style. Teams can be as small as 2 or as large as 4 per end. It is an indoor game with 4 lanes so we can accommodate several teams. We have also made allowances for those who need to sit to play as we have a ramp and some push sticks. This is a perfect way to come back to a group setting as COVID-19 has made it challenging to socialize. We recognize that some restrictions are still in place, so physical distancing and masking is required for the time being. Parkminster has also mandated that everyone who enters the building be fully vaccinated.

We are excited about this project, so we invite you to respond with your team(s) and a contact person for your group. We will let you know when we are ready to begin the friendly competition. Please reach out to me by email with your questions and contact names for your group(s). We would appreciate hearing from you by the middle of March, if you’re interested or just curious. We hope to have the program up and running by early spring.

Bruce Mutton, Parkminster United Church –




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’.


Together We Stand, but Apart

Thought I would share this poem, "About the Light" with you....

As of yet

I cannot say

which I love best

about the light:

that it gathers itself

even in what goes hidden,

no stranger to

the seed, the stone,

the labyrinth of night,

or that it is wildly

generous in where

it lands, glad the same

to touch the face of

the one in laughter,

the one in tears,

the one in trouble,

in fear, in pain.

But it may yet be

that this is what

woos me the most

about the light:

that it knows

what to do with distance,

how it arcs

across the space

between a heart

and a heart,

illuminating that ache

through which

the farthest of stars

might be seen.

- Jan Richardson