Friday September 10, 2021



Dear First United Friends,


Our picture at the beginning of this week’s Friday Letter is one of the many sunsets on the shore of Lake Huron in Southampton.  I took this picture a few days ago as I enjoyed playing in the sand with my granddaughter and listening to the piper as he piped the sundown.    Each evening we enjoy sitting quietly on the benches that overlook the lake – watching the waves rolling in, the children playing on the beach and the birds trying to catch a fish.  This is where I see and feel God’s presence each summer.

Where do you see and feel God’s presence?  Please send us any pictures we would love to see them and include them in our letter.


Hugs Jo






Summer is fading into Fall.  School, colleges, and universities are re-opening for in-class learning.  First United is offering the option of in-person worship.  It’s been a long, strenuous time of living under the siege of a global pandemic.  It isn’t over yet, and it will likely drag on for some time yet.  But, because of vaccinations and reduced numbers of cases, more freedom of movement and opportunities for in-person contact are currently live options.  We realize that there are mixed feelings about that in our congregation from excitement, to uncertainty, to anxiety.  However, if you are feeling, whatever you are willing to risk or not risk, we honour your decision and encourage you to choose what seems safest and most healthful.  Worship and other church activities will continue to be offered on-line as well as in-person.  Whatever any of us opts for still allows us to be together in community.  We are beginning to call it integrated church rather than hybrid church.  All of us will continue to seek to bear one another up as we yet manage our griefs and losses, rumble with our fears and concerns, discern how and when and with whom to take some risks, and find our way into the ongoing variations in “the new normal” of faith and life in human community.  Rose Ann and I look forward to meeting with you, being present for you, sharing the journey of this transition time with you.  We carry you on in our hearts, in our thoughts, and in our prayers.



Harry and Rose Ann







Sunday, September 12 -  James 2:4-16;  Matthew 13:31-32; 17:14-21
                                                      “Truly a Time for Living Faith”

To join the online service please  (CLICK HERE)   

Join us for Coffee time and Conversation  (CLICK HERE)







I hope that you have all seen the “Return to In-Person Worship” video that was sent out earlier this week. If you have not, it will be on the church website.


We are looking forward to seeing many of you! The services will also continue to be live streamed, so if you are not ready for in person meetings yet, that is perfectly fine! We trust you to know what is best for yourself.


We had a trial run on September 5 that went very well and showed us a few places to improve our procedures.


We are asking that those planning to attend on a Sunday morning arrive early. Getting to a seat is going to take a little more time than you remember! And remember, always wear a mask!


To reduce cross contact, we are trying to have everyone moving in the same direction. The preferred entrance will be the double doors off Waterloo Square parking lot. We will also unlock the William Street Hilliard Hall doors to accommodate those walking.


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.


  • You may have preregistered either with the office or online. If that is the case, you will be marked as in attendance with a check mark.
  • If this is your first time back in the building, you will need to fill out a waiver (required by our insurance). This will count as your sign in for that Sunday.
  • You may be asked to add your name to a contact list.
  • You might hand in a prefilled screening form.


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. These will be led by others and allow those of us in the pews to spend more time in contemplation of what we are hearing. 


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.








Sunday, September 12 is Grandparents' Day.

A Blessing: Know that you have a call to be a special person in your grandchild(ren)'s life. You are called to be a person of God: your touch is God’s touch; your embrace is God’s embrace.


We pray that you receive the ability to share the gifts of wisdom, experience, and love that you have received and your faith with your offspring. As you embrace grandparenting, may you also experience the blessing of inner growth and understanding. As you seek to love, care for, encourage, and bless your grandchildren, may you be open to the Spirit’s guidance as you do everything for the Glory of God. As you seek to assist their parents in raising these children, may you be blessed with infinite patience, sustained energy, true wisdom, and good timing.


May God be your role model as you extend love, encouragement, wisdom-sharing, and, for some of you, primary care for your grandchildren. May you always serve God’s children and grandchildren with compassion and humility. May God bless you with every heavenly blessing and keep you safe and strong. AMEN


Sunday, September 19 is HAPPY HOUR CHURCH at 4 PM.

This is a new adventure to gather via ZOOM to reflect on hymns and scripture and participate in a home communion worship service. During this interactive venue, you can offer your insights to the morning's scripture and sermon.


Happy Hour Church is offered once a month on a Sunday afternoon, alternating leadership between myself, and the Rev. Harry Disher. The theme for September 19th is TRUST and is led by me. To attend CLICK HERE or use the link on the First United Web Page.


Monday, September 20 is Election Day.

For the United Church's web page on Faith and Politics, CLICK HERE 


Sunday, September 26 is Orange Shirt Sunday.

You are invited to wear an orange shirt to remember and honour the Indigenous children who were taken from their communities and families and brought to residential school -- many who never returned and remain on the grounds of those institutions in unmarked burial sites. This is an occasion to reflect on our role in colonialism and the residential school system and on our ongoing responsibility to make reparations. For more information CLICK HERE and also CLICK HERE.


Tuesday, September 28 at 2 PM is Caring Community.

Mark your calendars! More information will follow in next week's letter.


Tuesday, September 28 at 7 PM is a Birthday Celebration!

Anyone who has a September Birthday is welcome to gather on ZOOM to share a birthday story. Please let me know your birthday and then come and party with your birthday buddies on the 28th. Just CLICK HERE.


Monday, November 1 is an online All Saints Memorial Service led by our Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Richard Bott. Loved ones lost during the pandemic can be included in the service. Submit their names by October 1st by CLICKING HERE. The service will be live streamed on November 1st on the United Church YouTube Channel (CLICK HERE).


Pastoral Care Committee meets on Thursday, September 23 at 1 PM on ZOOM. (CLICK HERE).


Office Hours: I will be at church on Monday-9/13, Sunday-9/19, Thursday-9/23, Sunday-9/26, Tuesday-9/28. 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.


You are blessed to be a blessing!


The Rev. Rose Ann Vita

647 763 0101 and


Pastoral Care ~ Please reach out if I can be of pastoral assistance. I am just a phone call or email away. The Rev. Rose Ann Vita (Mobile: 647-763-0101 / Email: rose.ann.vita2@gmail.comHappy Summer!


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.







As we move into the Fall and look forward to being able to offer in person as well as online meetings, your Transition Team has been working on ways to confirm the core values of our congregation. These core values are what we want to be at the foundation of both who we are now, and who we want to continue to be as we move into new ministries. Why is this work important? It is important because we need to be able to clearly say who we are to have a successful transition to new permanent minister(s).

We will be sending out information and questions for you in the next week that will include an invitation to participate in a discussion group. You can choose your preferred method of meeting and the time that might work best for you. We promise to be flexible. We really want to hear from everyone!


Your Transition Team:

Cathie Stewart Savage – Chair; Debora Smith – Secretary; Greg Case – Communications; Mary Joan Brooker; Shirley Irish; Carol Stephenson – Western Ontario Region Liaison







Please join us on Monday September 13 at Waterloo Park for a picnic.  We will meet at the Pavilion at 12:00 pm.  Use the entrance to the park off Westmount Rd.  Bring a lawn chair, a bag lunch and a big smile.  It will be great fun to get together and share stories! 

In case of rain, we will picnic together on Zoom.

If you need a ride or more information contact:

  • Edith Coyle - 519-744-9066
  • Marg Colmer - 519-884-2525






Holy Strollers

Join Harry for some meditative walks on a number of hiking trails and nature locales in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.  Notice where God is present and active.

Wednesday, September 15 – 6:30-7:30 p.m. -  Hydrocut Trails.  End of Glasgow St. past Ira Needles going west and behind Walmart Plaza.  1552 Glasgow St.  Meet in the parking area.

Wednesday, September 22 – 6:30-7:30 p.m. -  Forest Heights Trail.  49 Yellow Birch Drive.  Meet in the parking area (which maybe off of Stonehenge Place, I haven’t had a chance yet to check it out.  Watch for an update)

*** Let me know if you plan to come so I can watch for you. ***





Let’s Talk About It   - Broadview Magazine Discussion Group


Our September gathering will be held on Wednesday, September 15 at 10:00 am.

(CLICK HERE) to join the September meeting.







Our next book club is on Saturday October 2nd, 2021 and the selection is Caste: The Origins of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson.

“As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power—which groups have it and which do not.”

Isabel Wilkerson gives us a portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Words Worth Books will have some copies in  (at a 20% discount). Please consider supporting our local Bookshop.

You can find information to join at


Greg Case




Sunday, September 19 -  Psalm 137; Nehemiah 7 and 8 various verses
                                                             Theme:  Trust

Sunday, September 26 -  Psalm 15, Genesis 12, 18, 21, various verses
                                                              Theme:  Love


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 needs please email the church (  For our Minister of Pastoral Care call Rose Ann Vita 647-763-0101 (cell) or (email).



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.**






A great big THANK YOU to all who responded to our Stewardship letter.  We very much appreciate the extra support!!  It has made our start into the fall a lot easier!  Thank You!


Nancy Lennox




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Thanks to all who have remembered to contribute to the Resiliency Challenge to pay back the loan for the mold abatement.  Donations continue to keep ahead of the loan payments so we do not have to use operating funds for this purpose.  We are over halfway there!


Joan Westcott




We are hoping to find some people in our congregation who would be willing to help with Sunday morning worship.

  1. (Beginner & Intermediate Level) Managing the sound in the Sanctuary: Turning on and off mics during the service, setting the sound levels and catching any sound issues that arise.
  2. (Beginner & Intermediate Level) Managing the “service flow” that is being presented on a livestream and on the screens in the sanctuary, switching words for hymns and liturgy and changing “slides” that are being presented.
  3. (Advanced) Streaming and Production
  4. (Beginner & Intermediate) At home you can set up the slides for each Sunday’s service (you will need a computer)

Training will be provided for all of these roles. The hope is that we develop a roster of people who are able to take scheduled weeks.

If you are interested in learning production skills or curious about how things work and would like to help out, or simply know more, please contact Greg Case at

There are also volunteers needed to help update the webpage and various “computer” tasks.

For High School Students this can be used towards your community volunteer hours






The Choir Auxiliary is happy to announce that in-person free live Noon Hour Concerts will resume in October, with the caveat that should strict pandemic restrictions return, concerts could be cancelled.

All Covid Safety Procedures will be in place (masking, social distancing), and now PROOF of vaccinations as well as the need for attendees to pre-register to comply with attendance regulations, if required.

As I write this in early September, restrictions for October are unforeseeable, so please refer to the Church’s website for Covid Safety Procedures and any updates or changes under EVENTS.  If required, instructions on how to register for the concerts will also be available at this site, as well as the complete 2021-22 schedule.

Unfortunately, the 100% sponsorship which we received this winter for live streaming, is no longer available, so it’s imperative that we’re allowed to sell our lunches, proceeds from which pay for our fabulous musicians.

We’re thrilled to announce that our first concert on Tuesday October 5th will feature the fabulous Andriy Tykhonov on piano and Robin Habermehl on saxophone…a dynamic start to our series! Concerts will run from 12:15 to 12:45 with lunches available from 11:30.

Looking forward to welcoming everyone, and of course hearing our amazing musicians!

Stay safe! 

Sharon Gowland, Concert Co-ordinator






Our friends in MT Space (their office is on the upper narthex at First) are in the last days of planning for IMPACT 21, an international theatre festival bringing together local and international artists and performances, September 28 – October 9.  Under the leadership of Artistic Director Pam Patel who is also MT Space’s Artistic Director, the powerful performances are being adapted for COVID-19 times.  You can find details about the performances and their locations at






Together We Stand, but Apart



Every Child Matters…