December 4, 2020

Welcome to December, Everyone!
This week I came across a devotions for Advent book, Celebrating Abundance by Walter Brueggemann that a small group studied at First a couple of years ago. It begged to be opened! At the front was a note by the compiler, Richard Floyd. Here's his opening sentence. "Advent is a time for telling the truth --- the truth of our weariness and our anxiety, yes, but also the truth of the relentless generosity of God, which opens up futures that seem to be shut down." I wonder how that speaks to us as individuals and as community.
Bidding closes Sunday at 8:00 p.m.
Have you been on the site?
Or are you waiting to get into the frenzy as the closing approaches?
Did you notice that new items were added on Tuesday and again last night?
Successful bidders are asked to pay by Friday, Dec. 11
There are options for paying:
  1. Payment can be made through PayPal or by credit card through the auction site.  These payments go to the auction account.
  2. The preferred way would be by e-transfer, cheque or cash.  There is no processing fee charged for these methods.
  1. We are using the First on Stage account for this fundraiser so make your cheque to First on Stage and deliver it to the church mailbox on the west side of the former entrance on William Street or contact Joan for pickup.
  2. Send e-transfers to where the payment will go directly into the First on Stage account. 
  3. Contact Joan Westcott about cash payments.
Then once all accounting for the auction has been processed the net proceeds will be transferred to the church account.
I am confident that we are going to exceed my expectations for this fundraiser.
Keep bidding!
With tremendous thanks for your support of this fundraiser,
Joan Westcott
Turkey Trot – Muriel
Turkey Trot Update-Thank you thank you thank you!!
Our sales went quickly. We sold out in just over one week!
Your payments are arriving daily.
We have only 9 unpaid orders, so we are anticipating that all orders will be prepaid by Dec 7.  Make cheques payable to First United Church-Turkey Trot, 16 William St. W., Waterloo, ON.  N2L 1J3
On Saturday, December 19 we will be distributing the orders by verifying the name and number for each order received, according to the time you chose to pick-up.     More details to come. 
Wow, that 's a real feather in the cap for First to partner with DeliWorks.... to bring you a Christmas Turkey dinner with all the fixings.
Hearing about the Turkey Trot dinner got me curious. What is a Turkey Trot, where does the name come from? Thanks to the internet, I got some answers. While our Turkey Trot may be a delicious meal, it was also a song and long before that, a dance.
Gobididdy Gobih-gobih-diddy
Come on let's Turkey Trot
Let's get it while it's hot ...
Those are the opening lines to a 1963 song written by American lyricist Gerry Goffin and his wife Carole King (yes, THAT Carole King) and recorded by Little Eva. You can watch a 1965 video of Little Eva performing the song on the television show 'Shindig' at this link;
It all started in Buffalo, New York in 1896 when six competitors left the starting line for the YMCA Buffalo Turkey Trot 8-kilometre American Thanksgiving foot race, the longest consecutively run race in the world. In Cuero, Texas, the Turkey Trot (now known as Turkeyfest) began in 1912 when a traveling salesman showed an interest in watching droves of turkeys being herded on foot from outlying farms to the Cuero market each November.
As for the dance, the history is a little more ruffled. While many historians apparently agree the Turkey Trot was invented in 1909 in San Francisco, there are others who say it comes from the 1860s in Central America. It was also not without controversy, being one of a now forgotten craze of “animal dances” that scandalized the nation. The dances embraced a menagerie of animals, often borrowing the most distinctive moves of the creatures. While the Turkey Trot was the most popular, other examples included the grizzly bear, the kangaroo dip, the horse trot and the bunny hug. Doctors warned against it, it was banned in multiple cities and even denounced by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.
As noted in the lyrics of the song;
Come on let's Turkey Trot
Let's give it all we've got ..
Tom Turkey.
Christmas Eve 5 p.m. Service
The Christmas Eve Service at 5 p.m. is  "Sounds Like Christmas - A (very) Non-Traditional Christmas Eve Service".
This is a great opportunity for congregational participation - WE NEED YOU!!!
We will need a "noise choir", no singing just the ability to make (certain) noises. Instructions will be given!
We need a barnyard. You just need to be able to make a noise of a certain animal for one minute or so. I'll let you know what animal and how to do it - just let me know that you are willing!
Invite your children, your grandchildren, near and far all can take part in this Church Service from home extravaganza.
We also will need storytellers and readers! Room for all in the Virtual Inn!
You will just need to record yourself on phone, video camera, or computer 
Contact Greg Case at or as soon as possible if you are interested.
Online Ministry Support
Thank you to all those who have contributed to the Online Ministry Fund. Currently we have raised $13,760 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.  
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.
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.
Please see teh Friday e-mail for details. 

Adapting and Reimagining
Let's check in with Godly Play and Sunday Cafe this week!
In November, Sarah Snyder, Lynne Blake Dickson, Harry Disher and Heather Galt organized a care package drop off and a Zoom call for the kids who usually participate in our Sunday Cafe and Godly Play programs. 
The care packages included some colouring sheets, some treats for the kids, and wooden crosses to paint or colour. 
Five families joined us for our Zoom call last Sunday. We held a virtual scavenger hunt and challenges. We made paper airplanes while wearing oven mitts; solved some riddles and found items in our homes; tried to get cookies from our foreheads into our mouths without using our hands; and more. There were a lot of giggles and happy smiles! It was great to see one another and share some time together.  
We're planning another care package drop-off and Zoom call for the kids in December, and will be doing monthly Zoom calls together starting in January. If you're interested in helping to lead one of these Zoom calls, please contact Sarah, Lynne or Heather.

Heather Galt
White Gift Offerings
This year is very different. We will not be gathering for worship and therefore cannot collect your gifts in person, however, there are those in our community that need our support more than ever.
The Outreach committee would like to suggest that for your white gift, you make a financial donation to one of the following:
House of Friendship Family Outreach Program – helps families with children aged 17 and under to prevent and reduce the effects of poverty.
Food Bank of Waterloo Region – Collects and distributes food for many community agencies that distribute it to those in need. Last year, 33,355 individuals were served by the Community Food Assistance Network
Thank you all for your continued generosity to each other and our community!
Your Outreach Committee,
Marilyn Gerriet, Eric and Kathy Saunders, Mike Savage and Cathie Stewart Savage
Worship in Coming Weeks

Sunday, December 6   at 10:30 am – Advent II White Gift
Sunday, December 13 at 10:30 am – Advent III

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

Midweek Advent Prayer and Reflection will be offered by Rev. Disher in the chapel Wednesday, December 9, and December 16 at 11 a.m.  If you choose to come, you need to contact the office to register (only 5 spots available) and provide your contact information. 

On the morning of the study you will be asked to respond to a COVID-19 questionnaire and sign a one-time waiver at the church.  Sanitizing your hands, wearing a mask and staying at least 2 metres apart are all required as part of the COVID-19 protocols in place for Waterloo Region.

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
Caring Community by Zoom - December 17
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.
We send congratulations and many blessings to Isabella (Bella) Giuliano and Nathan Martin on their marriage on Wednesday, December 2.
We feel fortunate and happy to have been able to offer our beautiful chapel and courtyard as the location for this service.