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Saving Jesus Redux

You don’t have to spend much time watching the news or trolling social media to encounter people who use Jesus to justify their words or actions. Sports figures, celebrities and politicians talk about Jesus like he’s a best buddy or mascot or secret power. The Jesus they know is always on “their side”. But how can this be? How can Jesus be pro- and anti- such trigger issues as abortion, gender rights, war and the like? Is Jesus a weapon of the Christian Right or a tool of the ‘spiritual but not religious’ Left?

“We’re having a culture war and Jesus happens to be one of the weapons tossed
about by both sides.” — Amy-Jill Levine

“Saving Jesus Redux” will be offered on Tuesdays from 1:00pm to 2:30pm starting January 7, and on Wednesdays from 7:00pm to 8:30pm starting January 8, and finishing on February 19. Even if you missed the first five episodes, come anyway!

Christmas Season Services & Events

Join us this Christmas Season for services celebrating the birth of Christ and the coming of the new year! There will be services every Sunday in December, a time of reflection for the winter solstice, two services on Christmas Eve, and a community dinner to welcome the new year!

December 21, 3pm: The Longest Night: a time of quiet reflection walking the labyrinth.

December 22, 8:30am and 10am: Regular Sunday worship services.

December 24, 7pm: Christmas Eve Family Service.

December 24, 11pm: Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion.

December 29, 8:30am and 10am: Regular Sunday worship services.

January 1: New Year’s Day Dinner. All are welcome, volunteers are needed! Check the events page for details!

Sparkle Tour

“It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas”. One of the things that gets me in the Christmas spirit is to drive around and look at the wonderful Christmas light displays.

The Pastoral Care Core Ministry is pleased to once again organize the “Sparkle Tour”. People are picked up between 4:30 and 5pm, driven around the city for about an hour and then taken back to the church for hot spiced apple juice and shortbread cookies. Thank you to the congregants that have volunteered to be the “Drivers”.

Now we need to identify the “Riders”. If you would like a go for a drive at night and see the lights, whether you have mobility issues or you just don’t drive at night anymore, please sign up at the Welcome Table after church or call the church office during business hours at 250-762-3311.

~ Pat Totton

Profile: Laura Alvarado

Detention at the U.S. border touches our sister community, El Triunfo

Over 166,000 Salvadorans are in the U.S. awaiting deportation hearings. One of them is Laura Alvarado, a young woman from a tiny rural community in El Salvador. Laura graduated from university with support from a sister community in Italy and for the past two years, she accompanied our delegations as part of her work with FUNDAHMER, the organization that facilitates First United’s sister community relationship with El Triunfo.

In early June, Laura journeyed to the U.S. seeking asylum on the grounds of ‘credible fear’ for her safety. For several weeks there was no news of her whereabouts. We have now learned that Laura was first apprehended crossing the border into the U.S. and was held for 18 days in detention in McAllen, Texas. The facility was called the ‘heilera’ (ice-box) and they had no showers, no change of clothing and insufficient food and water. One hundred people were being held in a small enclosure, having to take turns sleeping on the floor; the guards would line them up and count them 6-10 times each day.

Laura is now in a facility in Taylor, Texas. Fortunately, an immigration lawyer in Boston has taken her case and is working on getting her released on bail. Laura has asked that we keep her companions who are in detention in our prayers and continue to be informed about the staggering numbers of Mexican and Central American migrants who are caught up in the asylum crisis at the U.S. border.

Thank you for your support and ongoing prayers.

~Pat & Greig McPhee

Film Screening: The Doctrine of Discovery

The Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen lands, Strong Hearts is a film about a devastating decision, made over 500 years ago, which continues to profoundly impact Indigenous and Settler people worldwide. Pope Alexander VI ruled that the lands being discovered by European explorers at the time were “empty” land and its millions of Indigenous inhabitants were “non-human”.

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 Calls to Action in 2015, with many of them referring to the Doctrine of Discovery and calling for its repudiation. This film will be very informative for anyone wanting to move on the 94 Calls to Action.

Thursday, December 12, 2019
6:30pm to 8:30pm
First Mennonite Church, 1305 Gordon Drive, Kelowna

Admission is free but donations will be accepted at the door. Registration is not mandatory but to help us plan for seating and refreshments it would help if you could register on Eventbrite: https://doctrineofdiscovery-stolenlands-stronghearts.eventbrite.ca

Outreach

Contribute

First United Church is sustained by donations from its congregation. Both our work of ministry in the community and the operation of the church building rely on donations of time, talent, and funds from individuals like you. Please consider what talents you can contribute to furthering the work of  God in the world around us, and click the button below to donate to the church coffers.

The button takes you to Tithely, an app that makes it easy to make single donations or set up recurring donations. Recurring weekly or monthly donations are valuable because they help with long-term planning.

New to First United Church?

At First United we strive to be an open and inclusive community. We are people of all ages – young families, children and seniors. We worship on Sunday mornings and we have midweek programs for children, teens and adults. We are located in the heart of downtown Kelowna, at the intersection of Bernard & Richter streets. Click here to find out more about who we are and what we do.

What’s Happening at First United

First United Church in downtown Kelowna is a hub for community activities. Some of the groups that meet in our building:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Alanon
  • Amnesty International
  • Compassionate Friends offers friendship, understanding and hope to bereaved parents who have experienced the death of a child at any age and from any cause. They meet on the second Thursday of each month.
  • Grandparents Raising Grandchildren supports grandparents and other relatives raising a family member’s child.
  • Kelowna Scottish Country Dancers
  • Narcotics Anonymous is a nonprofit fellowship of men and women for whom drug use has become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. There is only one requirement for membership: the desire to stop using.
  • Okanagan Children’s Choir aims to provide young people with a positive and nurturing environment where they can strive for musical excellence surrounded by friends and supporters.
  • TOPS is a nonprofit, noncommercial network of weight-loss support groups and wellness education organization. TOPS offers tools and programs for healthy living and weight management, with exceptional group fellowship and recognition.
  • PFLAG is a longstanding national organization of allies, friends, and family of people coming out as LGBTQ2; it aims to provide a supportive, affirming, and safe space for anyone struggling to accept the LGBTQ2 identity of someone close to them. It meets on the second Tuesday of every month; contact Wendy at 250-317-2902 for details.
  • The Samurai Brotherhood provides a space where men can come together to grow in their masculinity and become self-aware, awake men. It aims to help men to access and embody their masculine essence in a balanced way and support them in becoming stronger and more confident, focused, balanced and grounded. It meets on Tuesday evenings; contact Brandon at 250-803-3720 for details.
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