For those who are wondering “Where is God in this pandemic?”

God is in the physicians and healthcare workers who are pouring out everything they’ve got to save as many of us as possible. God is in the truck drivers and grocery store staff and pharmacy personnel who are making sure we have the essentials that we need during this difficult time.

God is in the statisticians who are pointing out how grave and dire the circumstance of exponential spread really is. God is in that Target store manager who calmly and civilly prevented people from succumbing to their reptilian lower selves and buying more than their allotted purchases.

God is in the people who wipe down all of the door handles and light switches and grocery carts and all of the things to help reduce exposure to this virus. God is in corporations like Starbucks that are ensuring that all of their staff are paid during this difficult time.

God is in the experts who bravely correct the copious untruthitudes spewed by our denier in chief. God is in the growing number of citizens who get it and are choosing to hole up and isolate from society to help flatten the spread and protect the most vulnerable in our society. God is in the governors who are stepping up and providing the leadership that is needed that is lacking from further above.

God is in the musicians and artists who are providing videos and concerts online for people to enjoy. God is in the families experiencing some growth by having more time together. God is in those who are concerned about college students who are gay or trans and abused domestic partners who are in increasingly unsafe situations by coming back home.

God is in the churches, mosques, temples and synagogues that are offering their services online. God is in every one of us who is realizing that every precious moment every new now really does matter and who expresses that through making phone calls actual phone calls to the people they love reminding them that they matter.

And God is in this collective wake up call reminding us that there is a better way, that we have the ability to rise to occasions and meet demanding needs, that we can do what needs to be done to make this planet sustainable. Inviting us to a needed societal reset. Inviting us to the year of Jubilee.

~Rev. Roger Wolsey (an American minister)

(ed. submitted by a family member of Cheryl Perry’s)

Online Worship March 29 , 2020 First United Church

Worship Today 10am

Please join a worship service led by Bob Wallace and Cheryl Perry with music leadership from Frances Chiasson and Jessica Crawford. Technical assistance by Carol Drury, Graham Zell, and Kim Ducs.

PLEASE REMEMBER when you are joining us:

Frances Chiasson will be providing Prelude Music. Please keep your microphones muted.

Remember you are still visible to others while your camera is on.

Be aware that we are recording this service for posting on the website, and that by keeping your camera on you are agreeing to these images being posted.

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Meeting ID: 728 995 598

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Hishuk Ish Tsawalk (Everything is One and All is Interconnected)

Photo courtesy of Ralph Milton.

Being the last Sunday of the month, in regular times the Alleluia Ringers would be playing in church, as we love to do. In this time of “virtual church,” perhaps you’d like to watch this video of a performance from October 2016.

I’ve chosen this video, because the piece is titled “Hishuk Ish Tsawalk” which comes from the Aboriginal language of the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples who live on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It means “Everything is One and All is Interconnected.” This piece was commissioned by the BC Guild of English Handbell Ringers (of which the Alleluia Ringers are members) for the 2016 International Handbell Symposium in Vancouver, to represent BC. The composer is percussionist Bruce Henczel of Langley.

This piece felt particularly appropriate to me for these times, in both bad and good senses. Bad, because we are finding out how the interconnectiveness of the world is fueling the COVID-19 pandemic. And good, because despite that challenge, we are finding new ways to remain united, support each other, and get through this together.

~Nikki Attwell
Director, Alleluia Ringers

A Prayer during times of a Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between
preserving their health and making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for
our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancelled our trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money
in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no homes.
As fear grips our country,
Let us chose love.
During this time when we cannot physically
wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the living embrace
of God to our neighbours.
Amen.

~submitted by Rev. Sharon Wilson,
sent to her by Rev. Patrick Woodbeck at Windsor Park UC in Winnipeg

Hearts Around the Neighborhood

Hearts from the Chiasson family; Frances, Mike, Sophia and Noah.
When I look out the window of my office, while I’m working on First Word (!), I see these hearts of a nurse who lives across the street.
This heart was found on a walk by Peggy Bensler from a condo in the Lagoon. Sticky notes!

Where Are The First United Church Staff?

In case you are wondering, as I’m sure many of you are, here is an update on how to access the First United Church Team. Even though our Church building has been closed, our staff is available and accessible in a new and different way – they have moved to remote and virtual services. What does this mean? No more dropping in to do your Church business or connect with Team members in person.

Our Ministers, Bob and Cheryl, are working from their homes but can be reached on their cell phones or through email (as noted at the top of First Word). The only activity still happening at the Church building is a modified food shelf on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for an hour. Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, has stated that it’s important during this pandemic to continue feeding the people who need to be fed. She stated that this can only be done if the social distancing and sanitization requirements are adhered to. In this case, it is our understanding that our food shelf is considered an essential service. If you want to continue to donate food to the food shelf, please contact Cheryl; she will make the necessary arrangements to receive your donations in a safe manner.

Tanya continues her administration duties from her home. She is also publishing the First Word on a daily basis. She will be checking for phone messages, receiving emails, and all mail is being redirected to her home. If you have Church business that needs to be attended to and/or not sure who to contact, leave a message for Tanya at the Church number or email her at [email protected]

Frances and Jessica are both working from their homes. They provide a unique set of skills and access to technology which provides support and new ideas for our Ministers to conduct virtual worship and services. They’re finding creative ways to keep you connected to our music ministry while you stay at home.

Rachel’s assisting Cheryl from her home. Plans are underway to support and connect with the children and youth of our congregation while they’re self-isolated. Hopefully not exhausting their parents with their boundless energy!

Mahmut and Fikrije continue a daily routine of checking on the building to ensure things are safe and functioning. They’re also keeping things clean and sanitized since the staff occasionally need to come in for urgent matters.

Alison is predominately working from her home, attending to Church books/accounting and making necessary payments. Occasionally she may have to go into the office. If you have a request for a payment, you will need to email the requisition form (Tanya has an electronic copy of this form if needed) and a picture of the receipt to Alison at ([email protected]) or Tanya, or mail it to the Church address. Please do NOT drop anything off at the Church.

During this difficult and challenging time we continue to explore creative ways to keep you connected as a Church family. Our goal is to keep our Team in place in order to provide the support and spiritual care you need. Our priority is that everyone will be working and worshipping in a safe and healthy environment. Remember – be safe and be kind. You are not alone. We are in this together!!

~Tami McMurphy
Ministry & Personnel Chair

See You Sunday!

We’d like to give “virtual worship” a whorl this Sunday and the ministry staff will be leading it via Zoom. It won’t be perfect but it will be adventurous and we will be together in the name of God so what can go wrong?

Please note that this service will be recorded and posted to First United Church’s YouTube channel. By sharing your video image with the congregation, you consent to it being recorded and made publicly available. If you wish to participate and contribute your voice without your video image, you may do so by turning off your webcam in the Zoom app.

Rev. Bob Wallace is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom service.

Kelowna First United Church Sunday Worship
Time: Mar 29, 2020 10:00 AM Vancouver

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/728995598

Meeting ID: 728 995 598

Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE, License #A-712740

A Note From Frances

How much our world has change in just a couple of weeks! I started my spring break needing a rest from the busy-ness, but returned from our time away to a world where all my upcoming concerts, festivals, and conferences had been suspended or cancelled. I must admit that I haven’t felt bereft yet, but instead just feel like I’ve had a bit of a break from ‘the usual.’ I realize that this feeling probably won’t continue forever, and I am also so very aware that for so many people in our community and around our world, these weeks have been and will continue to be so, so much harder than what I am currently experiencing as small inconveniences.

In this time of doing things differently, I’m aware just how much the arts have been coming into view. From folks singing on their balconies in Italy, to many virtual choir videos, to online concerts, people are turning to the arts for entertainment and solace. I hope that we will remember this once the immediate crisis passes and especially when these organizations try to get going again. They will definitely need our help and support.

I was recently in touch with our Alleluia Singers members with a list of some internet links that I thought those with extra time on their hands might be interested in exploring over the coming days. I share them more widely here, in case others of you are also interested. There are, of course, many more available and as the days progress I will send others, but here are a few to get you started!

I look forward to leading you all in song again soon.

Take care,

~Frances Chiasson, Music Minister

PS If you have ‘must see’ suggestions, please send links to: [email protected]

Many performance arts groups are live streaming performances for you to watch from your home. Here is an article from ClassicFM in the UK, with a list of links to access concerts currently streaming.
ClassicFM article

A page listing where you can watch Broadway musicals and plays (they’re generally not free, but still cheaper than travelling to see them!!).
Broadways Musicals

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra joined forces to create a version of Elgar’s Nimrod from their living rooms:
Nimrod

Many choirs are trying to hold rehearsals online – with various levels of success! (Sorry – you can only view this one if you use Facebook).
Hallelujah Chorus

Here’s a group that obviously knows how to do it (and have the software making it possible!). Berklee College of Music students have put together this one:
What the World Needs Now

Scott Ross-Molyneaux in a Calgary based pedal harp player who came to Kelowna a few years ago to accompany our church choir in a Christmas Cantata. Here is one of his videos:
Scott

Cantus is a women’s choir from Norway and I heard them sing in Vancouver a few years ago. Here they are singing a composition called Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant us peace):
Dona Nobis Pacem

Wild Church Book Club

We have talked about starting a book club for a while and have decided this would be a good time to do so. And to practice safe social/physical distancing we will offer this book group via Zoom.

We hope that the idea of Zoom is not too terrifying for you. It really is relatively easy to access and if you want us to walk you through it, we are happy to do so. Just drop us a line and we’ll call you on that old fashioned telephone (well, modern old fashioned cell phone) and walk you through it.

The book we will study is Christ of the Celts: The Healing of Creation by J. Philip Newell. It is an 8 chapter book filled with excellent fodder for conversations. Chapters include:

  • The Memory of the Song
  • A Forgotten Tune
  • The Rhythm of the Earth
  • Empty Notes
  • The Sound of Love
  • Paying the Piper
  • The Hymn of the Universe (can’t wait for this one)
  • Broken Cadences

If you are interested in the book, it is available from Chapters or Amazon.

Christ of the Celts, is also available on Youtube, where the author reads it in chapters. This is a free way to gain access to the book: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_nSnE8Apa1T8vz_fG0J4tkfKAubsEyaZgA

Again, we are running a poll on our website to determine the days and times of our study groups. If you plan to join us it would really help if you would head over there to let us know which day/time you prefer.

We will offer a Wednesday evening group from 7:00 – 8:30 pm beginning April 15th. AND we will also offer an afternoon gathering on either Tuesday or Thursday afternoons at 2:00 pm beginning that week as well. If you wish to join the book group (which will be a combined group for Wild Church Kamloops and Wild Church Okanagan), please let us know. And help us choose the best time for our gatherings. You can do that HERE!

Survival in the wild takes adaptation! We’re doing our best!

Blessings,

The WILD Women
LeAnn, Lesly, Michele

Wild Church is a sacred nature-based experience to awaken deep love for self, earth and all living beings for the survival and healing of the planet.

Connect with us!
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Telephone: 250-851-1984