January 29, 2021

Hi on a chilly day with beautiful light shining on us and in us!
Back a couple of weeks ago I mentioned being surprised and blessed by finding a can of soup and a handknit toque in one of the Little Libraries. This past week the blessings of warm hats and scarves have multiplied, been picked up to give warmth and now multiplied again. ( It's too cold for canned food for the next while.) One of First's neighbours sent the office an email saying she had put  3 handknit hats in our Little library, hoping that was OK. I received another email after I thanked her, saying she had more hats and offered some new masks too! My heart is warmed as well as the people receiving the blessings. Hats, scarves, mitts and socks are all welcome. I'm wondering how many we might be able to collect and hang out on the railing of the ramp going into church from William St. as heart gifts around Valentine's Day. Cosy is most important- handmade or store bought is great!  Have a bunch to give - drop them off on my porch. The challenge is on!

First’s Friday Announcement –for January 29, 2021
Comfort Food Dinner-Saturday, Feb 6
Thanks to your collective efforts sales are going very well.
Remember the deadline for ordering is Saturday January 30, 12:00 midnight.
Thank you for paying promptly. All money must be received before Feb 6.
Pick up plans.  Please read and follow carefully.
Please contact me as soon as possible, about any extra pick-ups you have arranged to make, to help reduce the total number of vehicles involved.
Next week I will contact those who are picking up orders to book a mutually agreed time, beginning at 3:00 pm on Saturday.
Please arrive wearing a mask, watch for directions from the traffic manager, stay in your vehicle, identify who you are and the orders you are picking up and open your trunk so the restaurant staff can place those orders safely and directly. You may want to have a container to hold the dinners in place so they don’t slide.
Thanks everyone,
Muriel Omand-Naylor
Last week, a request went out for you to share your January and February birth dates, as well as other celebrations and joys, with us.  During Sunday's worship, your names will be lifted in prayer. If your name isn't listed here, please send it directly to Rose Ann today (rose.ann.vita2@gmail.com). This is what we have received to date:
January February
27 John Lindsay    
28 Helen Koepke    
    23 Rev. Harry Disher
30 Edith Coyle    
John Lindsay is happy to share that in December he started a new job at Shoppers Drug store
Now, take hold of this opportunity to make someone's day by writing them a note or picking up the phone to say, "Happy Birthday." As you know, the pandemic is taking a toll on our well-being. The "Stay Home!" order has created either too much closeness or terrible aloneness. Many suffer from the danger of being an essential worker or the paucity of being non-essential. Fear rises over loss of financial resources, loved ones, health, and hugs. One in ten Canadians have considered suicide. During times like these, your simple act of kindness can make all the difference in someone's world. Go ahead, let someone know that they matter and that you care.

Rev. Rose Ann Vita / 647 763 0101
 First United Book Club
The book club will be conducted by Zoom February 20, 2021 beginning at 9 AM. The book for the February 2021 discussion is The Farm by Joanne Ramos.
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. 
The book is available from Wordsworth Books. Tell them that the book is for our book club and receive 20% off.  As of this writing, they have books in stock, which are available by curbside pick up.  Give them a call.
The book is also available from the local public libraries.
Gordon Wray
Online Ministry Support - We are getting so close ...

We are getting so close to reaching our goal for the online ministry fund! We are currently at $20,770 of approximately $24 000 needed to reach our goal.
Getting these funds allows us to purchase the equipment needed to record our online services now, or livestream them when we are back to in-person worship. It will also allow us to live stream noon hour concerts starting in February, so even if you can't be there in person you can be a part of it online.

Let's try to make a final push in January to complete this goal and provide this enhancement to our worship and music programs.
Please send a cheque to the church office or an e-transfer to firstunitedchurch@rogers.com indicating it is for the Online Ministry Fund.    

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 31, 2021   – 10:30 a.m.  Rev. Rose Ann Vita
Sunday, February 7, 2021   – 10:30 a.m.  Rev. Harry Disher  

You will need to register in advance for this service by 10:00 a.m. on Jan 31:
Register here:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Service and Coffee time.

 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).
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
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
Remember how I mentioned one of our church’s neighbours in the Intro to today’s Friday letter?
Well, yesterday I was fortunate to meet these two neighbours kitty-corner to First. Very approachable and eager to tell their story!

“We were brought to life by the steady hands of snow sculptor, Matt Morris who lives up William St.. We feel lucky that Matt made us as two of the sculptures he designed and made for Waterloo as part of Winterloo. Keep your eyes open for others around town and "on his front lawn".

Thanks, Matt and Very Tall and Very Small gnomes for lightening our moods!
Together We Stand, but Apart