April 9, 2021
Hi, Everyone!
Big grateful Thank Yous to Joan Westcott and Muriel Omand-Naylor! Hard to find ways to keep our community together, raise money and give small local business support.

However, Joan took up this challenge by spending many hours organizing our First's First Online Auction.  Lots of fun and a big success! Muriel forged ahead, keeping in mind our themes and that food you don't have to cook is a special treat. The result being that we've enjoyed three tasty dinners. We bid a little higher, do a little Turkey Trotting and tip our hats to Joan and Muriel!
Worship this Sunday - on April 11 at 10:30 AM For Zoom registration (CLICK HERE). The service is written and shared by the members of the Worship Committee (Greg Case, Rev. Harry Disher, Kathleen King Martin, Nancy Lennox, Michael Savage, Lee Willingham, Rev. Rose Ann Vita, and technician Harold Arnett). The theme is The Shape of Worship and is informed by the Emmaus Story (Luke 24). You may find the essay, "What if we are on the Road to Emmaus?" written by Carla Leon intriguing. It was published in the Embracing the Spirit newsletter (CLICK HERE).
Stay on Zoom after the service and be part of virtual Coffee Time, kindly hosted by Muriel.
Wednesday, April 14 at 7 PM (CLICK HERE) Week 2 of Praying with the Elements ~ The Sun and the Element of Fire invite us to kindle the deepest passion of our hearts and connect us to the infinite well of compassion that dwells in each of us. John of the Cross called this the living flame of love that burns within. Let's explore the Celtic practice of illumination and how it invites us to see the world and our creative work in new ways.
1000 Peace Cranes (CLICK HERE). I will be dropping into Monday's UCW meeting to introduce the idea of our creating one thousand origami cranes to hang in the sanctuary on Pentecost. This is a major effort (at least 40 people folding 25 cranes each) that has become complicated by the present lockdown. Once the church building is open, there will be an invitation to whoever is interested to pick up some origami paper and instructions. Become part of First's wish for peace!
April Birthdays Please send me your birthdays. During the month I will strive to call you to say "Hello," pray for you on April 18, and invite you to a virtual gathering on Tuesday, April 27 at 7 PM.
Interested in becoming a member or to know more about First United? Please contact me or Rev. Harry Disher and we'll set up a way for us to have a conversation about your interest.
The Rev. Rose Ann Vita (rose.ann.vita2@gmail.com and 647-763-0101)
From the Safe Start Team
For the most up-to-date vaccination information, please refer to the Waterloo Region Public Health website or call 519-575-4400.

Information about Vaccine Clinics in Waterloo Region is available here and to learn about Vaccination Pre-Registration (for Eligible Priority Groups) click here.

If you have any comments, concerns or suggestions for us, we would be happy to hear from you! Email us at safestartfirst@gmail.com

Your Safe Start Team: Ken Arnett, Jay Brooker, Sheena Curwood, Harry Disher, Joe Hipperson, Kathleen King Martin, John Lindsay, Cathie Stewart Savage, Ron Taylor
Outreach Drive By Food Drive
It is with regret that we announce the cancellation of the "Drive By Food Drive" scheduled for Saturday April 10. We encourage you to financially support the Waterloo Region Foodbank by visiting CLICK HERE

First United Outreach Committee

Grand River UCW Annual Meeting (formerly Waterloo Presbyterial)
Sat. Apr. 10  10:00AM – 12:00PM
To see program and zoom link, CLICK HERE

Celebrating Hope Dinner April 3
Total Raised: Approximately $1,000.00
Thanks to the many people who have supported this project by promoting it in Friday letters, Sunday announcements, mass mailings and with your orders. To date I have had only positive comments about enjoying the delicious meal, the wonderful dessert and the very ample size of the servings.
I also want to say thanks to Sheena who collected and held all the orders received at the church, and to Joan W. who handled all the money details through the First on Stage bank account including all the cheques, cash and e-transfers (which were, once again, very popular as a payment method.)
Thanks to Lynne Blake-Dickson, Jean MacLean, Karen Fries, Shirley Irish and Joan Westcott, who joined me at DeliWorks to assemble the 125 dinners, carefully following the organization by Angus, Harley and Matthew, the restaurant staff.
Pick-up and delivery happened efficiently because of the generosity of members who handled multiple orders, which reduced the number of vehicles in the line-up to just 17. Thanks too, to Kirk Blake-Dickson who did a great job as traffic manager, making sure the correct number of dinners got placed in the right vehicles in an efficient and safe way.
Finally, a big thank you to Lynda McDowell, who has been my dedicated co-worker, sharing in receiving the orders and answering questions for all three of our fundraising dinners and to Angus and his crew at DeliWorks for their creative menu planning and preparation and their positive and patient attitude towards us as volunteers.
These projects have given me something new and interesting to focus on during the pandemic, and I thank all of you.
Muriel Omand-Naylor
First’s UCW Meeting
The UCW unit is meeting Monday April 12 at 1:30. Please join us for fellowship and a presentation on 'HOPE' led by Karen Fries, Roberta Godwin, Shirley Irish, and Darlene Weir.
Everyone is welcome to attend. Contact Marg Colmer-Shantz for information. 
Join Zoom Meeting (CLICK HERE)
Or By Telephone
Meeting ID: 892 9652 7567
Passcode: 549156
Small Group Ideas
Following review by the Transition Team, the five activities considered easiest to implement in the short-term are moving forward. Calls will go out shortly to those who expressed interest either in leadership or participation.  
One of the groups will be a book study over several weeks of Brian McLaren’s book “Faith and Doubt” with further details to follow.
Additional opportunities will be provided to put the remainder of the ideas into action, so please stay tuned! 

From the Small Group Animators: Harry, John and Joan
Transition Team
Our transition team met on Tuesday of this week. We are working in a number of areas.
Small Groups:
Encouraging and growing small groups is one of the initiatives that came out of the Credence report actions and a subgroup has taken that on, as noted above.
Conflict Resolution:
Another subgroup has taken on this work. Some of it will need to wait until we can meet in person, but they are already working with some individuals. If you are feeling that you have some conflict within the congregation, contact one of our ministers and they can help.
We discussed some of the goals of changing our governance models and will be presenting a couple of possibilities to the Board. Harry has a lot of experience here and will be taking the lead.
We ended with a review of where we are in the transition path. All of us see that there has been progress, but we have been slowed down by the COVID restrictions. The journey is slower, but we will still get to the destination. It reminds me of car trips with my dad, some were just to get to a destination, but the better ones were when we took the scenic route and were able to enjoy the view!
Cathie Stewart Savage
Noon Hour Concerts at First
On Tuesday April 6, the Springdale Trio wowed our viewers with its energetic program beginning with the very poignant Trio by Martinu, followed by delightful compositions by three Canadian teenagers, and finishing with Beethoven’s Trio Op. 11.

Because of the Government’s stay-at-home order effective as of Thursday April 8, our last concert featuring Ian Sadler will be taped instead of live streamed. How to access his concert will be announced on the church website soon.

Many thanks to the Board for allowing this series to happen, to Harold for his technical expertise, to Kathleen for her flexibility, for Sheena, Jay and Craig for all their efforts and to Greg for updating the website. Support from Harry and Rose Ann was much appreciated. Thanks also to our viewers who made it all worthwhile.
Details regarding our additional concert featuring Joanne Bender (piano) and Bruce Skelton (violin) will be announced when more information is available.

For additional FREE concerts CLICK HERE
Stay safe! Sharon Gowland
Book Club
Next gathering, Saturday, May 1 at 9:00am. Next book selection, This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, a novel about a family with a transgender child, told with honesty, sensitivity and wit. “Brave, sometimes horrifying and frequently very funny - Frankel is a firstrate storyteller.”

Words Worth Books has ordered copies that they expect will arrive by April 9 (or possibly April 12) and offer their usual 20% discount for the First United Book Club.

Mary Joan Brooker and Eva Mezo
Worship in Coming Weeks

Sunday, April 18, 2021   – 10:30 a.m.  Rev. Rose Ann Vita  
Sunday, April 25, 2021   – 10:30 a.m.  Rev. Harry Disher

If you would be interested in leading a worship service or in participating in some way please let me know at gregjcase@gmail.com.

Holy Week
The website has been updated with the Holy Week videos and sermons.

For Pastoral Care needs please email the church (office@firstunitedchurch.ca).  For our Minister of Pastoral Care call Rose Ann Vita 647-763-0101 (cell) or rose.ann.vita2@gmail.com (email).
Stewardship / Finance
  March Year to Date
General Fund Local $ 13,400.38 $ 38,237.76
Wage Subsidy Grant $   1,667.56 $   4,727.92
Other Operations $   7,105.17 $ 24,692.09
Mission & Outreach $   3,705.00 $   9,768.00
TOTAL INCOME $ 25,878.11 $ 77,425.77
TOTAL EXPENSES $ 39,114.98 $105,869.95
EXCESS INCOME/(EXPENSES) ($13,236.87) ($28,444.18)
Capital Income $      975.84 $103,322.52
Capital Expense $   1,583.26 $108,514.33
CAPITAL EXCESS INCOME/(EXPENSES) ($    607.42) ($  5,191.81)


Drive-By Farewell
Annette & Gordon Wray are moving to Kentville Nova Scotia in mid April. Our granddaughters are growing up fast and we have not visited them in over a year, so when Gordon took a package from work we decided to embark on a new adventure. We will host a Drive By to say farewell on Sunday April 11 from 2 to 4 at our home. You can wave, open your windows and chat, etc. We ask that you not bring any gifts, flowers, etc as we don't want to have to pack it or put in the compost or garbage.

Matt & James will be in an apartment in Kitchener, with James going to Conestoga College and Matt working at Resurrection College. 
We have been so blessed by our community, the various groups we have belonged to, and our workplaces. May God's Blessings be with you all.
Annette & Gordon Wray


Art Show - An Invitation
I have recently been participating in a course at Visual Arts Mississauga to learn how to put on an art exhibit. Our class's exhibit can be viewed virtually until April 15th (CLICK HERE). I thought you might like to take the tour. Also, there is an artist talk on April 15 at 7 PM (CLICK HERE) Gratefully, Rose Ann Vita


A Special Message from First’s Neighbour – The Button Factory
We are happy to announce Button Factory Arts with the support of Grants Ontario will be offering FREE online music Therapy online for anyone 55+. 

Here is the direct link to register: https://www.buttonfactoryarts.ca/store/Music-Therapy-c76586005
We are also offering The Art of Letter Writing which will connect participants with a pen pal among other free programs https://www.buttonfactoryarts.ca/store/Aging-Artfully-Seniors-55-c74544002


Fridays at First
It has been one of the most disconnected seasons ever! We served 12 weeks, instead of our usual 24. We served 250 meals for our own crowd and 200 that went out into the community. On top of that, there were numerous frozen meals that were handed out during the week as people came to the church hungry. (Kathleen will continue to make meals for the community and we will assist her on request.)
With the latest news on the pandemic, I am not sure where we will be by next fall. We do know that some added levels of safety will need to be continued. We now have two models that have been tested and found to work safely, an eat in with takeout option if the restrictions are lighter, and the strictly takeout model that we have used for most of the season. Splitting the work between Wednesdays and Fridays has worked well too. 
Cathie Stewart Savage


Together We Stand, but Apart