January 22, 2021

Hi, Folks at First!
Lots of positive possibilities coming your way in our Friday letter-  taking chances to get involved, being enticed by comfort food,  Zoom Get-Togethers, reading about a special part of First's history, helping restart the Book Club, clapping for good financial numbers for December, sharing the warmth by adding a new scarf, hat, mitts or socks to our Little Libraries (too cold for canned food), marking your calendars for virtual Noon Hour Concerts, keeping updated on health news, experiencing worship in a new way on Sun. morning, celebrating each other, yourselves and community......... WOW! 
First United’s Latest Fundraiser - Comfort Food Dinner

Did you receive your notice on Tuesday about our Comfort Food Dinner on Saturday February 6?
IF YES -Are you one of the many who has already ordered?   That’s Wonderful! Thanks!   Do you plan to order? That’s good too!
If you didn’t get the notice please check your SPAM.  If it’s not there please call Muriel 519-746-2566. I am happy to send you all the details.
We are glad some of those who were too late to get in on the Turkey Trot have already placed their orders this time.
We ask you to let your friends and neighbours know, as they too may be feeling those winter blahs and needing a little Comfort Food.
I hope you also noticed the important change from the last dinner.
  • That the Health Department and Restaurant are working together to help this happen safely and within the guidelines by having the pick-up location moved from the church to the restaurant.(Details coming)
If you are planning to order please avoid being disappointed, by calling sooner rather than later.
Lynda (519-885-4534) and Muriel (519-746-2566) are waiting to receive your calls.
 We are happy to assist if you need help getting your payment made or with the pick-up.
Thanks for your strong support for this latest venture.
Muriel Omand-Naylor
Where's Waldo? Remember this children's game? Well, if you are wondering where you can find me during the Stay-at-Home phase of the pandemic; know that I attend the Tuesday 9 AM Praying with Scripture ZOOM gatherings and I respond to your phone calls. (If I don't answer when you call 647-763-0101, leave me a message and I will return your call.) I also will be visiting you by phone to just to say hello . . . so "expect a visit."
"Reach Out and Touch Someone" with Your Heart-felt Written Words: Let's send one another cards and handwritten notes to share our joyful moments. Such little acts of kindness can make all the difference during times of isolation. So please (PLEASE!) send Sheena your January or February birthday, anniversary, or other celebrations and it will appear in next week's newsletter to give us all an opportunity to let you know that we are still physically in touch with one another. (Sheena's email: office@firstunitedchurch.ca)
Rose Ann Vita
Gallery Choir Virtual Get-Together
You are invited to a "virtual choir get-together" (via Zoom) on Thursday, January 28 at 7pm, where we will catch up, enjoy coffee/tea and a sweet treat (socially distanced, of course) and discuss choir matters.
Please RSVP your planned attendance (or regrets) to john.lindsay67@rogers.com by Monday January 25.
Assistance will be available in advance and during the meeting, for those new to Zoom.
John Lindsay
Nominating Committee Request
The Nominating Committee is preparing a report for the Annual Meeting on February 21. If you would like to join a committee or the Church Board, please let us know. Starting out as a congregational representative on the Board is a good way to learn more about the Board and gain experience.
Committees welcome new members as well: Affirming, Archives, Property, Outreach, Worship, Pastoral Care, Faith Development, Ministry and Personnel, Fundraising, Trustees.
For information contact the Nominating Committee: Mary Joan Brooker mj@kw.igs.net or 519-888-7141.
Short-term possibilities will be coming up too as we continue to adapt: helping with our online ministry or the next version of the Turkey Trot or making phone calls for pastoral care or reading scripture or providing prayers for a Sunday service.
Mary Joan Brooker
Press Restart - First United Book Club
In the interests of restarting the book club, which has languished during the COVID epidemic, I have taken the initiative to plan an initial meeting.  It will be conducted by Zoom February 20, 2021 beginning at 9 AM.  The purpose of this meeting will be twofold: to have a book discussion; and to establish a procedure going forward for selecting books and determining a discussion leader.
The book that I have selected for the February 2021 discussion is The Farm by Joanne Ramos.
Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money—more than you've ever dreamed of—to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your über-wealthy clients.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter's well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she'll receive on delivery—or worse.

Heartbreaking, suspenseful, provocative, The Farm pushes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit to the extremes, and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love. 
For more information and to sign up, please be in touch with Gordon Wray – 519-745-1922.
Safe Start Team                 
This week our focus is the vaccination efforts in Ontario and Waterloo Region, which give us hope as many more of us become vaccinated over the coming months.
Ontario COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
Waterloo Region COVID-19 Task Force
Our team continues to monitor and implement Federal, Provincial and Regional COVID-19 safety directives and protocols and communicate with the Board and congregation.
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. 
The Choir Auxiliary is happy to announce that its 8 Noon Hour Concerts will be live streamed on Facebook at https://musicpf.org/mptf-live-streams/.

Due to the extended lockdown, the Noon Hour Concert series will now begin on Tuesday Feb. 23rd as follows and take place 12 Noon – 1:00 p.m.:
We hope to have the first 2 concerts (Feb 9 and Feb 16) after Easter.
Feb. 23 - Paul Mitchell Jazz Trio - Paul Mitchell (trumpet), Clark Johnston (double bass), Rob Fekete (piano)
March 2 - Wendy Wagler (flute) & Beth Ann de Sousa (piano)
March 9 - Peter Shackleton (clarinet) & Stephanie Mara (piano)
March 16 - Gallery Chamber Players (Quintet) - James Mason (oboe), 
Julie Baumgartel (violin), Margaret Gay (cello) & Anna Ronai (piano)
March 23 - Penderecki String Quartet - Jeremy Bell  & Jerzy Kaplanek (violins), Christine Vljak (viola) & Katie Schlaikjer (cello)
March 30 - Larry Larson (trumpet) & Lori Gemmell (harp)
To enjoy these concerts, you need to have a Facebook account and simply google   https://musicpf.org/mptf-live-streams/.  Please feel free to share this information with family and friends. 
Just a reminder that in-person attendance at these concerts is not allowed.
Worship in Coming Weeks

Sunday, January 24, 2021   – 10:30 a.m.  Rev. Harry Disher  
Sunday, January 31, 2021   – 10:30 a.m.  Rev. Rose Ann Vita
“Who Is Our Church?”
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”  (I Corinthians 12:12)
And so it is with the church, who in Paul’s imagery is that “body of Christ”.  We will explore this image further in worship and conversation on Sunday, January 24th using a Zoom format.  It will be different as there will be time for break-out rooms for small group sharing and imagining within the context of the service.  Prepare to allow for about an hour and half of engagement time if you choose to be present for this offering. 
As “the body of Christ”, how would we describe the church as a person?  That is the invitation for this forthcoming service of worship.  If you could imagine First United Church at present as a person, what would your profile be like.  There will be ten questions to help you create that profile such as:  “What does First United look like (general appearance, clothes, style)?”;  “What are First United’s favourite TV shows, music?”  
Note:  For security reasons, you will need to pre-register to participate in this Zoom worship service using the link provided in this Friday newsletter.
You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Jan 24, 2021 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

You will need to register in advance for this meeting by 10:00 a.m. on Jan 24:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 
If you want to come to coffee time after the service, just stay on Zoom.

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 Update
  December Year to Date
General Fund Local                   $31,354.24 $207,148.78
Wage Subsidy Grant $1,225.47 30,690.14
Other Operations                           32,651.25 97,398.92
Mission & Outreach                       5,376.00 48,877.00
TOTAL INCOME                          70,606.96 384,114.84
TOTAL EXPENSES                     38,877.19 378,998.69
EXCESS INCOME\EXPENSES                   $31,729.77 $5,116.15
The Stewardship/Finance Committee is smiling even as we deal with the challenge of the 2021 Budget.  Coming through this year on a positive note is truly great!! We are very proud that we were able to keep our staff working for us, with the help of the Federal Government's wage subsidies program, and your continued support helped weather other expenses along the way. We were able to accommodate a few rentals that also helped us out.  All in all we were blessed with a good year.  Thanks!
Nancy Lennox


To get your offering to the office you can use PAR, e transfer to firstunitedchurch@rogers.com, website donation www.firstunitedchurch.ca 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 office@firstunitedchurch.ca as soon as possible if you would like 2021 Offering Envelopes.
Thank you, Sheena

A Letter of Farewell to my Steam Boiler

When I was little, my grandmother read me the story of Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel Maryanne. When the new diesel diggers that were faster and bigger took all the new jobs away Mike struggled to find work. So he promised the mayor of a small town that he and Maryanne could dig the foundation for their new church faster and better for half the price. A little boy cheered them on as Mike and Maryanne worked tirelessly to complete the job.
Soon a crowd gathered as the deadline grew close. Four days later, as the dust cleared, the crowd looked down into a perfect square pit and Mike and Maryanne exhausted.  We won’t pay you”, said the mayor, You are stuck down there with no way out”.  In his hurry Mike had forgotten to leave a ramp to drive Maryanne out.
It was the little boy who had the answer.
Maryanne can be the new steam boiler and she can give us heat for the new church!”  So the town built the church over top of them and Mike Mulligan lived out his days as their custodian with his beloved Maryanne.
So long, Maryanne,
You have kept us warm in the deep midwinters these last 58 years.
When you grew weary, you told me and we patched you up as well as we could.  Still, you chugged along. When you were tired and rusted, I tried to bandage your wounds and in this bleakest of winters you got us through. There is not a late night or an early morning when you needed me that I wasn’t honoured to answer your call for help.
Sleep well and thank you for your service.
Your custodian, Jay
Together We Stand, but Apart