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

You “Can” and We Did!

Thank you to your generous response to the food shelf campaign in October! We asked the congregation: “Can you help us fill this cart?” and you did! Each week the cart was in the Hall for people to drop off canned and non-perishable goods. In all we collected 34 cans of vegetables/fruit and beans, pasta, toilet paper, boxed macaroni and cheese, 20 cans of ravioli/chilli, peanut butter, tea, 20 cans of tuna, granola bars, rice, oatmeal and more!

In October Kelowna was ranked the 17th most expensive city to rent an apartment in Canada according to a national rental report. Kelowna was one of five BC cities, ranked only behind Vancouver, Burnaby, Westminster and Victoria. For many on meagre incomes or assistance this means 80% or more is spent on housing. Our Food Shelf helps those who can not afford groceries.

Handbell Boot Camp

Are you interested in trying out handbells? Have you rung in the past, are interested in joining the Alleluia Ringers or the Grace Notes, but it’s been a while and you need a refresher?

?Handbell Boot Camp is a one-day program for learning the basics of ringing, and preparing one piece for the service the next morning. If you have basic music reading skills and are interested in taking part, mark Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1 on your calendar and contact Nikki Attwell at 250-707-3375 or [email protected] to sign up.

Decorate the Church

The season of Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for Christmas. To begin we invite you to join us to “make the house ready”—to help decorate the sanctuary, trim the tree, and enjoy a time of fellowship—on the first Sunday of Advent, December 1st.

Stay after church for a sandwich. Lend a hand decorating, enjoy a cup of warm apple cider or making a craft. This is a great way to meet others in the congregation of all ages!

Congregation Finance Meeting

There will be a short meeting after the service on Sunday, November 10, in the sanctuary. The finance committee will update the congregation on the church’s finances and the congregation will be asked to approve the financial direction of the church for the next year.

Stewardship Campaign

As we near the finish line of First United’s 2020 Stewardship Campaign, thank you for your volunteer and financial commitments.

Join us for a Celebration Luncheon after Sunday service on November 3. Take some time to enjoy the fellowship of First United congregants and celebrate all the life and work of our church. While the campaign lasted four weeks, remember First United needs your volunteer help and financial commitment all year long. If you discover you have some free time and can provide additional help, contact the office or the core ministry of your choice.

2020 Stewardship Campaign

What does “stewardship campaign” mean?

Once a year, usually in October, First United Church launches a Stewardship Campaign. While the Finance Committee has worked on many campaigns and understands what it means and what is involved, not everybody knows what is meant by the term “stewardship campaign”.

“Stewardship” is defined as “the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property. The Biblical meaning of stewardship involves a theological belief that we are responsible for the world and must take care of it – through our time, labour and financial resources. At First United Church, we believe stewardship means formally committing to giving gifts of time, labour and financial resources to support the work of our church – both for the congregants and the wider community.

So as our campaign approaches we ask that you seriously consider what you can give. May we offer a couple of suggestions for gifts of time – Pastoral Care and Christian Education badly need your help. If you are a snowbird, commit to help either of these core ministries for the time that you are here. All gifts gratefully received.

First United needs your help!

Adult Study

Come be part of this lively 12-part study of Christianity in the 21st century. Contributors include: Brian McLaren, Diana Butler Bass, Robin Meyers, Marcus Borg, Walter Brueggemann, John Dominic Crossan, Matthew Fox, Amy-Jill Levine, and a host of others for a conversation around the relevance of Jesus for today.

This video-based series will begin on Wednesday October 16 at 7:00 pm in room 14 and run to November 20. Facilitated by Sharon Wilson.

Welcome Potluck

The Affirm Committee encourages everyone to join in a welcome meal in the church hall on Saturday, October 5 at 5pm to come and meet our new supply minister, Rev. Bob Wallace. You are encouraged to bring a dish to share that reflects your heritage.