March 19, 2021
Dear First Friends
Reaching for hope and new possibilities, reaching near and far, reaching to learn, reaching into comfort and discomfort, reaching for fun and challenge, reaching because you feel called, reaching into the unknown, reaching deeper, reaching to exercise your body, heart and soul, reaching to love others, reaching to share your gifts, reaching to help build a new world, .....

PS.  Maybe you'll reach out to join one of the new small groups at church when they are developed. Hopefully you'll Zoom with others to Sing Fires of Justice this Sunday night. The information is later in the newsletter.
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

Your Safe Start Team: Ken Arnett, Jay Brooker, Sheena Curwood, Harry Disher, Joe Hipperson, Kathleen King Martin, John Lindsay, Cathie Stewart Savage, Ron Taylor
10:30 am sharp -Church Service- livestreaming to, Facebook, YouTube. It will then be available in all three locations to watch at another time.
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). Many thanks to Muriel for hosting us! Join Zoom meeting here
On Wednesday Evenings in April, we'll prepare for Earth Day by praying through nature. As a preview, check out the special exhibit at the McMichael (Uprising: The Power of Mother Earth) available as a free virtual tour. Click Here.

Wednesday, March 24, at 7 PM Lenten Series
 on Seeing as God Sees. Click Here.
Hopeful Words & Help: Click Here for a reflection on spring that offers insight on facing grief. Contact

Rose Ann if you would like to know about Circles of Healing (for those struggling with loss) hosted online by Sydenham-Heritage United Church.

If you haven't sent me your March birthday yet, please do!
The Rev. Rose Ann Vita ( or 647 763 0101)
Celebrating HOPE Dinner
Our latest tasty fundraising event for only $23 per serving.
Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Roll & Butter, Peach Melba Trifle
Prepared for you to pick up on Saturday April 3, in time for your Easter Dinner
Deadline for ordering is 12:00 Noon next Thursday March 25!!
Please call now: Lynda at 519-885-4534 or Muriel at 519-746-2566
Gallery Choir
We continue to rehearse virtually on Thursday evenings (7pm-8pm) and have several pieces of worship music in the works. Members have been able to pick up hymnals and sheet music at the church, observing current COVID-19 protocols.

Our recordings of Long Ago and Far Away (communion), and Lead Me Lord (anthem), were included in the past two Sunday worship services and more are planned for Easter.

A few individuals have rejoined the choir and some are going on temporary leave, moving to Nova Scotia or retiring at this time. We appreciate those individuals "on call" who are supplementing the choir with their wonderful voices too.

For anyone that may wish to join, even if only for a short time, please send me an E-Mail, as we would be happy to have you.

News from the Board
It has been a long time practice at First United to post outside Hilliard Hall the approved Board Minutes for all to read. Since the church has been closed, this is no longer practical, so we have now posted them on our website. Please visit this link to see the 2021 minutes.
Cathie Stewart Savage, Acting Board Chair
Refugee Family Update:
One of our families has sent us a video. While it is long, it is well worth watching. These people are so grateful for the little bit we have been able to do and I hope that we will be able to meet them in person soon! The video is posted here

Cathie Stewart Savage
Noon Hour Concerts at First - Live streamed from 12:00 – 1:00
The Gallery Chamber Players delivered a luscious and vibrant concert this past Tuesday, so we hope that you enjoyed it. Here is a more direct link to the live streaming at our Noon Hour Concerts. You do not need to open your Facebook Account.

As the Board mentioned in last week’s newsletter, we may be able to allow for a very small audience if Waterloo Region’s COVID designation improves. If this is the case, we will post a notice on the First United Church website. Spots will be limited so potential audience members must register at as soon as possible once notice has been posted on the website, and no later than 4:00 pm on the Saturday before each Tuesday concert. In the event that the Government’s announcement happens on a Monday, registration would need to be made by Monday evening. Audience members must register in this way for each concert that they wish to attend.

Registration is necessary for contact tracing in case of an outbreak and to ensure that we stay within the allowable number of people in the sanctuary. Once you register, you will receive an email if there is a spot for you at the next concert. Information will be provided about how to submit the Church’s Liability Waiver, as well as the self-health checklist to be completed before arrival at the church. Once you are at the church, you will be asked to sign in on the audience list for that concert. So, keep an eye on the First United Church website for updates!
Here are the remaining concerts:
March 23 - Penderecki String Quartet - Jeremy Bell & Jerzy Kaplanek (violins), Christine Vlajk (viola) & Katie Schlaikjer (cello)
March 30 - Larry Larson (trumpet) & Lori Gemmell (harp)
April 6 - Springdale Trio - Wendy Wagler (flute), Ben Bolt Martin (cello) & Boyd McDonald (piano)
April 13 - Ian Sadler (pipe organ)

Lori Gemmell has sent this info regarding a piece that she'll be playing at our NH Concert on March 30th.  She'll be involved with this panel discussion of the Canadian Composer Marjan Mozetich Click here
For additional FREE concerts Click here
Cheers!  Sharon Gowland
Conversations That Matter
A big thank-you to everyone who participated in the Conversations That Matter session on March 7. Summaries from the break-out rooms have been compiled into a sizeable list of small group ideas and possibilities (with thanks to Debora Smith).

For those still wishing to provide input, please send an e-mail to Rev. Harry by the end of today.

The Small Group Animators (Harry Disher, John Lindsay, Joan Westcott)
First United Book Club
The next book club meeting is March 27 at 9:00 a.m.  the Book selection is The Nightingale—by Kristen Hannah. With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.
Gordon Wray
Worship in Coming Weeks
          10:30am - Sunday, March 21- Rev. Harry Disher
          10:30am - Sunday, March 28 - Rev. Rose Ann Vita (Palm Sunday)
Pastoral Care
For Pastoral Care needs please email the church (  For our Minister of Pastoral Care call Rose Ann Vita 647-763-0101 (cell) or (email). 
Stewardship / Finance
Easter is early this year and you may already be thinking about your special givings at Easter.  The special Easter givings at First will be shared among Skylight, Rainbow Camp and SHOW (Supportive Housing of Waterloo).  A mailing will be going out to congregation members before Easter with the special envelope for your Easter givings.
Sing Fires of Justice
On Sunday March 21st, Sing Fires of Justice presents: still@home with Kay Brown, Janelle Lightborne, Dawud Wharnsby, Gerard Yun, Sebastian Meadows- Helmer and more.
Sing Fires of Justice is a program of the Laurier Centre for Music in the Community and the Kanata Centre for Worship and Global Song at @lutherwaterloo. Their program features: Rev Toby Collins and Nadine Green presenting: "Lot 42: A Better Tent City". Join Zoom Meeting here 
Together We Stand, but Apart