December 18, 2020
Dear fellow Advent travellers,
The word, blessings has been meandering through my brain and heart recently. So many kinds of blessings - people, beauty of nature, health care, smiles that extend beyond mouths, special occasions (psst... Cathie and Mike Savage celebrating their 45th anniversary this weekend!) Sometimes, in challenging times, blessings seem scarce. Look for a tiny one to get you started! Give thanks to God as you let your own blessing thoughts spill out.
Bruce Sweet
In October Rev. Bruce Sweet joined our First United staff team and it has been such a pleasure to get to know him during his time with us.  Bruce is such a gentle and caring individual who has shared so many of his gifts with us.  Many members of our congregation have benefited from his pastoral care and his leadership in Caring Community.
Bruce attended the Praying with Scripture group on Tuesday mornings.  We have so enjoyed having him join us and listening to his insights.  He also attended our Board meetings.
On December 31, 2020 Bruce’s time with us will come to a close. 
We want to thank you Bruce for all that you have done for us during your short time here.  Your work with us has been such a blessing.  Once again, I would like to say on behalf of everyone what a pleasure it has been to get to know you and experience your ministry.
We wish you well for the future and all the best for the coming year.
Joanne MacPhail
Turkey Trot Latest News
What:    Turkey trot pick-up (200 dinners, 54 orders, 45 pick–ups in one hour)
When:    Saturday December 19
Where:   Parking lot at First United Church 
1.  Times 4:00-4:14, 4:15-4:29, 4:30-4:44,  4:45-5:00   Please come during the time you selected. Don’t remember? Please call Muriel by Friday evening 519-746-2566.
2.  To help keep traffic moving, please approach from William St so you enter the parking lot with a right turn only and plan to leave using a right turn onto Caroline St.

3.  Please wear a mask and stay in your car.  Kirk Blake Dickson will help direct you to the pick-up station outside the kitchen door. Your order will be confirmed and your dinners will be placed in your car either on the seat or in the trunk as you prefer. 

4.  If there is a line up, you may be asked to move forward along the side of the chapel to wait for your order to be brought to your car.
5.  Thanks for supporting the Turkey trot and helping the process move along. Your participation is most appreciated.
6.  Enjoy your turkey dinner!!  Merry Christmas!!  Stay tuned for an announcement about future take out dinners.
7.   If you passed the information about this project along to friends or family who are not members at First, please remember to share this information with them as soon as possible.
Special thanks to Angus Sheach from DeliWorks Restaurant and our team from First who will help put all the dinners together: Lynne Blake-Dickson, Edith Coyle, Shirley Irish, Deborah Jones, Muriel Omand-Naylor and Joan Westcott.
Thanks also to the distribution crew: Kirk and Lynne Blake-Dickson, John Lindsay, Lynda McDowell, Joan Westcott.
Muriel Omand-Naylor
As discussed at Sunday’s coffee time, Marg Leask has suggested the following carol for sharing, whenever you enjoy your turkey dinner.
                 Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere
                 Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.
1              While shepherds kept their watching o'er silent flocks by night,
                behold, throughout the heavens there shone a holy light.  R
2             The shepherds feared and trembled when lo, above the earth
               rang out the angel chorus that hailed our Saviour's birth!  R
 3            Down in a lonely manger the humble Christ was born,
              and God sent our salvation that blessed Christmas morn.  R
New COVID-19 Screening process
Effective Monday, December 14, 2020, the Region of Waterloo Public Health & Emergency Services provided new instructions with regards to Workplace and Business Screening.
As a result, all Staff and Essential Visitors will be required to complete COVID-19 Screening on or before entering the Church. Therefore, if you need to drop anything off for the Church, please use the mailbox at the William street Entrance. If you need to come in person, we request that you call the office ahead to arrange a time and complete the screening process.
Thank you all in advance for your patience and understanding throughout this process.
Christmas Services
The Christmas Eve Service at 5 p.m. is "Sounds Like Christmas - A (very) Non-Traditional Christmas Eve Service".
There will be a "scavenger hunt" secretly hidden in the 5:00 PM service on Christmas Eve. More information at the introduction of the service.
"Come one, come all to this special church service!"
It tells the story of Christmas through sounds that we hear - sounds of people, animals and nature. You'll even find out why crickets have a part to play. The best thing is that you have an important part in the story too!
Christmas Eve – 5 p.m.   – “Sounds Like Christmas
                            A (very) Non-Traditional Christmas Eve Service”
Christmas Eve – 8 p.m.   –  Carols “All I want for Christmas is...”
Christmas Day – 10 a.m. – “Questions Around a Manger”
                                                    (virtual Coffee Time after service)

Bidding at First
Thanks to all who donated items for the auction and thanks to the following businesses for their donations: Artline Salon, Cameron’s Flower Shop, Erb & Good Family Funeral Home, Erban Corner, Herrle’s Country Farm Market, House of Bamboo, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Monica Getty RMT, Martin’s Family Fruit Farm, T&J Seafood, TD Canada Trust (15 King St W), Warren Greenhouses, and Wordsworth Books. They will be receiving a written thanks but when you visit them please add your personal thanks.

Thanks also to all successful bidders who in addition to paying their bills chose to make an additional donation to the cause.
I am pleased to report that the outcome from this online auction is $4504 for First United Church.
Joan Westcott
Deadline for next week's letter
Please submit your article or message, no later than noon on Tuesday, December 22nd.
Lynne Blake-Dickson and Sheena Curwood
Longest Night Service
The Longest Night Service is a new addition to church traditions during Advent/Christmas time.   The focus is on being supportive and somehow hopeful to people who have lost loved ones or suffered other forms of loss during the year; and for whom the Christmas season may not have as much festive feeling or joyfulness in it this time around.  It is usually held in the evening, often uses memorial candles, and is more meditative, quieter than most worship services on a Sunday morning tend to be.  Many who take part in a Longest Night Service do find it comforting and helpful.
Below is the info for people to join the Longest Night Service on ZOOM.  Please do not share the link on your websites or social media.  When you announce this service please ask people not to share the link on their social media.  Feel free to put it in your bulletins or share it via e-mail.  This is just so we make it less easy for the service to be “ZOOM bombed”.  The service will also be live streamed on Facebook so people can join that way.
Time: Dec 21, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
We at First, give many thanks to the folks at Parkminster United for sharing this important, supportive service with other congregations in Waterloo.
Join Zoom Meeting
If you have trouble with video and/or audio because of your internet connection call any of these numbers:
        +1 587 328 1099 Canada
        +1 647 374 4685 Canada
        +1 647 558 0588 Canada
        +1 778 907 2071 Canada
        +1 204 272 7920 Canada
        +1 438 809 7799 Canada
You will hear a prompt asking you to enter the Meeting ID which is 834 1665 6862 followed by the # key.
You will then hear a prompt asking for your Personal ID. Simply press the # key and you will be entered into the meeting.
Do not be concerned if you don’t hear anything right away, just stay on the line.
Online Ministry Support
Thank you to all those who have contributed to the Online Ministry Fund. Currently we have raised $17,985 of approximately $24 000 needed.
These initial funds will allow us to purchase the equipment to record our online services now and livestream when we are back to in-person worship.
The equipment can also be used to enhance our music programs and concerts by allowing us to stream events such as Noon Hour Concerts, even if we can't meet in person. In fact, First United has been given the opportunity to facilitate a sponsorship from the Musicians' Union to cover the cost of a technician and musicians for the 2021 Noon Hour Concert season if we can livestream these concerts.
I encourage you to give to the Online Ministry Fund to allow this growth of our worship and music programs.
Please send a cheque to the church office or an e-transfer to indicating it is for the Online Ministry Fund.  
Worship in Coming Weeks
Sunday, December 20   at 10:30 am – Advent IV – Love
Thursday, December 24 - Christmas Eve - 5 p.m.
Thursday, December 24 - Christmas Eve – 8 p.m.
Friday, December 25 - Christmas Day – 10 a.m.*****
Sunday, December 27 – 10:30 a.m.
The ways you can join:
You can go to for the service, First United Facebook page, or First United Youtube Channel.
If you would be interested in leading a worship service or in participating in some way please let me know at
Let's get together after church this week on Zoom! This is a chance to have friendly "coffee time" with others in our church and check in with one another. The Zoom will start at 11:15 (or so). Thanks to Muriel for hosting us.
Join Zoom Meeting
+1 647 374 4685 Canada
+1 647 558 0588 Canada
Meeting ID: 894 2610 0259

For Pastoral Care needs please call the church office (519-745-8487) or email at  For our Minister of Pastoral Care, Bruce Sweet call 519-579-8483 (home) or 519-580-3899 (cell) or email at

Stewardship/Finance Update
Stewardship reminders:  The Christmas Offering will be sent to World Development and Relief, the last day for drop off to the church for 2020 offerings and Stewardship Challenge forms is December 29. 
There will be a drop off box available to receive all of these at the Turkey Trot pick up on Saturday, December19 for your convenience. 
Thank you and hoping you all have a safe and healthy Christmas!! November was a very positive month for us, and we are hoping the same for December.
  November Year to Date
General Fund Local                   $18,594.68 $175,794.54
Wage Subsidy Grant  10%   4224.62
Wage Subsidy Grant  75% 4,954.82 25,240.05
Other Operations                           11,112.14 64,747.67
Mission & Outreach                       3,961.00 43,501.00
TOTAL INCOME                          38,622.84 313,507.88
TOTAL EXPENSES                     30,842.51 340,121.50
EXCESS INCOME\EXPENSES                   $7,780.33 ($26,613.62)
Capital Income                              560.00 51,153.22
Capital Expenses                                4,238.41 58,800.48
CAPITAL EXCESS INC\EXP          ($3,678.41) ($7,647.26)

To get your offering to the office you can use PAR, e transfer to, website donation or send a cheque. Cheques can be dropped off at the church mailbox which is located at the Entrance on the William Street side of the building.
Also you may send your cheque to
First United Church
16 William St. West
Waterloo ON
N2L 1J3
Reminder, credit card companies have a fee of around 3-5%.  If you wish First to get the full amount, then please add that percentage to your contribution.
Church Offering Envelopes for 2021
In preparation for the coming year.  Please contact the office 519-745-8487 Ext201 or as soon as possible, if you would like 2021 Offering Envelopes.
Thank you
We made a list.  Please check it twice!
Donations to First United that are to be included in your 2020 tax receipt must be received in the office on or before close of Business on December 29.
Preparation of the Annual Report
All groups and committees preparing information for the Annual Meeting on February 21, 2021, are reminded of the following timelines:  
Tuesday January 12, 2021   All written reports are to be sent electronically to the church office.
Please submit Financial reports to treasurer, Andy Yuan
Church Office Christmas Hours
The Church Office will be CLOSED:
      Thursday, Dec 24 – closed at noon
      Friday, Dec 25
      Monday, Dec. 28
      Thursday, December 31 – closed at noon
      Friday, January 1, 2021

The Church Office will be OPEN:
      Thursday, Dec 24    9 am – 12 noon 
      Tuesday, December 29     Regular Hours
      Wednesday, December 30   Regular Hours
      Thursday, December 31    9 am – 12 pm
The Staff of First Untied Church
wishes to take this opportunity
To extend the blessings of Christmas to you all.
    - Harry, Bruce, Kathleen, Sheena, Jay and Craig
Together We Stand, but Apart