Friday October 29, 2021

Dear First United Friends,

What a treat to see the sun shining on beautiful leaves today as I glance out my window! More treats on the weekend with Hallowe'en! Guess what? More treat possibilities coming your way in November!

Remember - It's First's Online Auction- Bidding at First- 2021. Last year's was a great success with lots of generous people offering treasures, useful goods, perfect Christmas presents and... don't forget the wonderful homemade treats. Oh, and remember all the fun bidding!

A great fun, fundraiser reappears November 20-27 under Joan Westcott's skillful leadership!

What parts can we play to make it live up to our memories of 2020?

Be a contributor (articles for all ages), a cheerleader, a bidder, a messenger about our auction to family and friends!

A shameless plug for a worthwhile event!




We invite you to bring the donations you have collected to the church on Sunday morning October 31 or contact me to arrange pickup or delivery. 

Joan Westcott




The number of people attending in person worship is continuing to increase slowly. Last week, October 24, we started checking vaccine status verification for those in attendance and initiated a check in list to speed up the process of creating a contact tracing list. We also heard the plan for Ontario to lift restrictions based on the many factors of the pandemic recovery.

Please note that the verification we are asking for would include proof of exemption and cannot apply to those too young to be vaccinated.

We continue to require wearing a mask inside the church building. We are also continuing to use only the double doors off Waterloo Square parking lot and the William Street Hilliard Hall doors.

When you are parking, please keep the spaces behind the chapel for people with mobility issues.

As you enter the narthex, you will need to be signed in. This can happen in a few different ways.

  • A list of people who have attended will be kept by the ushers. This list will show if we have seen verification of your vaccine so you will only need to show us that once. You will be marked as in attendance with a check mark.
  • If your name is not on the list, you will be asked to sign in with your contact information and your name will be added to the list for the next week.
  • We also have a refillable screening form you can bring in.

Which ever way you sign in, you are indicating that you are voluntarily attending and that you do not have any COVID 19 symptoms.

Once you are signed in, you will be ushered to a seat. Pews will be filled from the front to the back, and you must stay in your seat for the duration of the service. An usher will indicate when you can leave.

There will be lots of worship elements that you are used to, and there will be changes too. The biggest change will be in the music and prayers. We have started to participate, but only very quietly behind our masks.

When the service is over, an usher will indicate when you can leave the pew. We ask that you please proceed right through the outside doors. The ministers will be waiting for you there. If you want to speak to each other, outside on the lawn is the safest place to do that!

Your Safe Start Team:

Cathie Stewart Savage (Chair); Ken Arnett; Jay Brooker; Sheena Curwood; Rev. Harry Disher; Joe Hipperson; Kathleen King Martin; Ron Taylor.



Coffee and tea are being offered by First United at the corner of William Street and King Street from about 9:30 to 10:25 on Sunday mornings as an outreach project. Shirley Irish and Marilyn Gerriets are serving. The general public and the congregation are welcome.

Shirley and Marilyn




Sunday October 31st – Theme: “Respect”

To join the online service please CLICK HERE

Join us for Coffee time and Conversation CLICK HERE




Monday, November 1 at 12 PM ~ All Saints Memorial Service led by our Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Richard Bott. The service will be live streamed on the United Church YouTube Channel (CLICK HERE).

Tuesday, November 2 at 7 PM ~ Celebration of October Birthdays (CLICK HERE). It is a wonderful gathering on Zoom to share one of your birthday experiences. If you let Rose Ann know, she'll send you a reminder.

Wednesday, November 3 to Sunday, November 7 ~ Love & Justice Gathering sponsored by the United Church.CLICK HEREfor details.

Sunday, November 7 at 10:30 AM - Remembering Our Loved Ones. We will be celebrating both Remembrance Day and All Saints Day -- a candle will be lit during the service for your loved ones. Please call or send Rose Ann an email with his or her name. Thank you.

Mondays, November 15 & 22 from 7 to 9 PM ~ Transformative Community Outreach (CLICK HERE). We will watch a presentation on Zoom by Vibrant Faith ( on how to engage others with consistent authenticity that opens the possibilities for deep transformation anchored in Christ’s joyfully disruptive presence. Afterwards we'll discuss realistic and impactful strategies that might become part of First United's culture.

Pastoral Care Committee meets by Zoom on Tuesday, November 2 at 3 PM (CLICK HERE Caring Community is scheduled to meet in-person on Tuesday, November 16 at 2 PM. Details will be in the November 12 Friday Letter.

Let us Pray: A Twenty-First Century Lord's Prayer (by Roger Courtney)

Great divine Spirit of love that is at the core of everything and from which all life flows, we acknowledge your healing and transforming power. May the Spirit of unconditional love and forgiveness flow through each of us and enable the realm of love to spread throughout the world. Like the flowers in the fields, ensure that we have the basics we need to live and give us the love and commitment to ensure that others have what they need too. Give us the courage to acknowledge when we have done wrong, to seek forgiveness from those we have hurt and to forgive those who have hurt us, so that we may be reconciled. We acknowledge the power of self-giving love to transform individual hearts and the world. We recommit ourselves to the unconditional love of others and the work of justice and peace. May it be so. Amen

My Office Hours: I will be at church all the Tuesdays in November and leading in-person on November 7 and 14. Please contact me if you would like to drop by or have me visit you. Other times, I am working from home. Feel free to call or email me if you would like to talk.

Remember You are blessed to be a blessing!

The Rev. Rose Ann Vita

(647 763 0101 and



 On behalf of UCW, thanks to all who supported our very successful Harvest Dinner event.

We served 105 dinners! A special thanks to all the volunteers and the folks at Deli Works whose help made it a success.




The church board met Tuesday October 12 via Zoom and had a very productive meeting. We wish to report the following:

The 2022 budget process has begun with a reminder to all committees to submit their requests keeping in mind a significant projected deficit at the end of the year. Finance is looking at all possibilities to reduce the deficit, but additional donations will be gratefully received at any time!

Joan Westcott continues to apply for grants for projects for the church and we hope to successfully cover part of the costs associated with additional peripheral work required to preserve extend the life of the new boiler recently installed.

The following motions were passed:

  1. The board has approved Worship committee's request that 2-3 rows of pews be removed from the front of the sanctuary on a trial basis. This would allow more space and flexibility for the Bell Choir and Choral Choirs etc. while maintaining COVID distance protocols.
  2. The board feels the waiver that was created at the onset of Covid is no longer required and therefore will be removed from the protocol. All waiver forms that were filled out will be collected and destroyed. Any committee or group who has them should return them to the office to be destroyed or destroy them themselves. 
  3. The board approved that the finance committee re-establish a benevolent fund, separate from the general expenses. We will keep you informed when details are worked out. 

Your board continues to meet on the second Tuesday of the month.

If you wish to contact me, you can call or text me at 519-404-8817 or email

Rick Heemskerk

Acting Board chair 



We expect that all of you have seen the Core Values, either in video or on paper, or both by now. We have had a couple of formal conversations affirming them and we are encouraging you to continue with talking about these in any of your meetings with others connected to First United. We would like everyone to have their say!

A few minutes discussion on this could be a good opening for any of your meetings. What we really need to know is if this truly reflects who we are. And, please, let us know what happens! Even if it is just to say you’ve had the discussion, it helps us to know we are moving in the right direction.

Our members are happy to set up a time to discuss values with any group or individuals.

Your Transition Team:

Cathie Stewart Savage (Chair), Mary Joan Brooker, Greg Case, Shirley Irish, Debora Smith, and the Rev. Harry Disher



Nine people from our congregation listened to and shared in a presentation of "Black Experiences of the Canadian Church" on Tuesday evening. The event was hosted by Parkminster United and First United was one of the co-hosts. We heard presentations from three young individuals who were given funding from the United Church to research topics related to the experiences of black persons in our congregations and communities. The presenters left us with several questions for further consideration in our own congregations. Here are the questions:

  1. What is the racial composition of your community?
  2. How are Black people treated in your congregation? What factors limit the involvement of Black members in your church congregation?
  3. When it comes to inclusion, how can the church foster an environment where people who come from different backgrounds can feel welcome and valued?
  4. How can the church break away from the “pray away” method of dealing with mental health?
  5. How can you help create a space that makes Black congregants feel safe talking about their mental health?
  6. What are things that you are doing now that you could do differently?
    How might humility encourage effective allyship?
  7. What obstacles stand in your way of learning more about anti-racism? How can you overcome them? 
  8. How can you provide immediate help for Black people while staying within your means?





UCW meets on Zoom to reflect on Remembrance Day. Come to share memories and hope for a new tomorrow.

Marg Colmer Shantz



The word is getting OUT! Over 70 people attended the October 26th, concert, our largest audience yet during covid. Even though some of the Provincial Covid Protocols have lifted, we’re asking audience members to continue doing the following until the Church Board receives more specific information:

  1. Pre-register foreachconcert by NOON Friday at
  2. Show proof of double vaccinations upon entering
  3. Complete the self-health check for covid symptoms (list on church entrances)
  4. Wear a mask at all times unless enjoying lunch
  5. Avoid socializing inside the church
  6. Choose a seat indicated by a cushion for social distancing

On Tuesday Nov. 2ndKrista McGinn, a recent WLU grad and classical pianist will perform a gorgeous water set including pieces by Liszt, Chopin, and Beethoven. As mentioned in the previous newsletter, the Laurier Singers will perform on Tuesday Nov. 9th under their new Director Patrick Murray, a change from the original schedule.

Musicians’ fees have increased so we’ve had to raise our lunch prices.

whole sandwich (egg, salmon, or diced ham on whole wheat) $6

half sandwich $3

square $2 (raspberry macaroon, Nanaimo, or macaroon madness)

coffee or tea $2

water & concert FREE



The FREE concerts run from 12:15 – 12:45 with pre-ordered lunches available for pick up in Hilliard Hall from 11:45. To find the complete schedule, visit under EVENTS.

Many thanks to the volunteers for all they do to make this series happen.

Sharon Gowland


  • Warm hats, scarves, mitts, and socks,
  • Handmade and from the store,
  • Brand new and gently used, 
  • Soon to be needed
  • By you!

Let's remember to share the warmth with our Waterloo community!

  • Knit or crochet something cozy,
  • Donate extra warm things of yours,
  • Buy something new,
  • Make a donation of wool to be knit up.
  • Make a monetary donation to help pay for wool/ buy new items. 

Please drop off items in the bin on the front porch at Lynne and Kirk's house- 210 Stanley Dr. Articles will be bagged and hung on fence by the back laneway at the church. 




Click here for more information and a link to join us!

Our next book club selection is Clouds Over Okotoks by H. Lee Disher. We'll be discussing on Saturday November 13, 2021, at 9:00 AM

Clouds Over Okotoks explores one young man's path in pursuit of his inmost desire. Family, friends, the people of Okotoks, the rodeo community, the province of Alberta, geography, and religion all have a share in Tyler Stedman's determination and spirit, either in supportive favor or with precaution and fear. These are ordinary people leading what seems to be ordinary lives, but the extraordinary and that which is special and precious happens. Clouds Over Okotoks is a celebration of the spirit of the Canadian West.

Books are available at First United Church for $20 (also available online at Amazon but at a higher cost)

Greg Case


Sunday November 7 - Remembrance Day and All Saints Worship Service (See " Remembering Our Loved Ones" in Words from the Pastoral Care Minister).

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

You can also go to our webpage to find the Zoom Link for Coffee Time each Sunday after the church service.

If you would be interested in leading a worship service or in participating in some way please let me know at

For Pastoral Care


As Rose Ann is away during the month of October, please call the office – 519-745-8487 or Rev. Harry Disher – 519-86-9198.

Rev. Harry Disher will be on Study Leave from November 1st through November 7th. In case of Pastoral Care need or emergency, during that week, please contact Rev. Rose Ann Vita.

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. **




By now, you will have received information about our Annual Stewardship Appeal. Our theme this year is "Called to be the Church". Your prayerful and considered response is encouraged. We look forward to receiving your prayerful pledge of financial support as we seek to move our congregation closer to financial sustainability in the year 2022. The cover letter in that package includes the names of persons on our Appeal Team who would be happy to have conversation with you if you have any questions regarding the material you receive.

At our Annual Meeting we decided that our special Thank offering at Thanksgiving would go to support the hard work that Shalom Counselling Services and Vera's Place do to support those less fortunate in our community. As we were unable to distribute the special envelopes for this offering, we ask that your donation would be noted separately for the counters.


Nancy Lennox


Month of September

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Our Outreach committee is looking at a number of our regular activities and planning how to do as much as we safely can for our community.

Fridays at First

Fridays at First will be running with a hybrid of eat in and take out. Tasks will be split between Wednesday afternoons, Friday afternoons and Friday evening to allow for minimum contacts for volunteers.

White Gift Sunday

This year White Gift Sunday will be on December 5. We will be asking for gifts for our Fridays at First Guests. This will be very much like 2018 and 2019 with the green bags, turning our White Christmas to a Green Christmas. More information will be in the next newsletter.

Holiday Meal

We are in the early stages of planning a takeout version of our Holiday Meal. More information will follow in the next newsletter.

New Ideas

If you have an idea for an outreach project and would like to explore it with us, please contact any of the committee members.

Marilyn Gerriets, Dave Parrott, Eric and Kathy Saunders, Cathie Stewart Savage


The Friday Letter will continue this Fall but will not be produced every Friday. It will be produced every two weeks. In the table below are the dates for October and November when the Friday Letter will be appearing in your mailbox. We are also including the dates when we would like to receive articles for these letters.




Friday November 12th, 2021

Tuesday November 9th end of day

Friday November 26th, 2021

Tuesday November 23rd end of day

Friday December 10th, 2021

Tuesday December 7th end of day





Because of COVID restrictions the Garden Club is unable to have their Christmas Sale at First United. The good news is...

The Garden Club of KW is taking orders for urns: There is a choice of colours. Clients can choose predominantly Gold, Silver, Bronze, Red, Green, White, or Natural.

Order deadline is November 8th, 2021.

Pick up will be November 19th at the Garden Club Studio by Columbia Lake on the U of W campus, in the afternoon. Time to be determined.

Special arrangements can be made with Jana.

Cost is $40. Pre-payment would be appreciated by cash or cheque to Garden Club of Kitchener-Waterloo and mailed or otherwise delivered to Jana at 525 Heatherhill Place, Waterloo Ont. N2T 1H7.


Together We Stand, but Apart