Do you remember “random acts of kindness”? The movement that started in the 1980s that encouraged spontaneous kindness. Out of the COVID19 health crisis a new term has been coined, and a movement has started on social media, called “caremongering.”

The goal of caremongering is to spread the opposite of panic in people, to bring out community and camaraderie. We invite you to send us examples of caring acts, friendship and community-building you are part of and we will provide a weekly summary to inspire and lighten our collective spirit.

This week we heard from…

Gerry Hewitt & Rob Riddle. Rob has been visiting Gerry, who returned early from Australia (where her son lives) and has gone into quarantine, by walking over to her condo and waving to her up on her balcony while they talk on the phone! A modern day Romeo & Juliet!…

Linda Gilmour started a “Besties” email group of friends from the church, many who have travelled together over the years; she seeds the discussion each morning with a positive thought and others join in the electronic conversation throughout the day helping them all feel connected to each other…

John Whitehead says he and Nikki have been cheered while out on walks by chalk messages written on driveways and sidewalks by children in their neighbourhood, and they’ve also spotted a few hearts in windows …

Bev Milton, who is a retired United Church minister, and Ralph, have been asked to lead worship for residents at The Dorchester where they live; normally an Anglican clergyperson conducts those services but as visitors are not allowed at this time, this is something they have been approached to lead. A modern day house church!

Please send your random acts of caremongering to Tanya at [email protected] for future publication.THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Fancy a wee blether?

Mug with "Fancy a wee blether?"

Here’s how it works:
I put a link to a “virtual meeting” giving you a time and day. (see below) — the link is the underlined part starting with “https:”

  • You click on that link in your computer, tablet or (wifi-equipped) phone. Make sure you are connected to wifi if you are using a tablet or phone!
  • You will be asked to install a free application. Once you have downloaded the application, you should be able to click on the “link” I sent and have the program open.
  • I recommend that you test your computer’s microphone and speakers… the program will prompt you, and then use them for the blether.
  • That should bring you pictures and sound from everyone on the chat.
  • Make sure you have your favourite beverage! Blethering sometimes needs lubrication.

If you have any questions, give me a call and I can walk you through the process. So…here’s your invitation to have a “virtual” blether! – by Zoom – come, see how it works! Friday Morning (March 27) at 10:00am
Bob Wallace is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Friday Morning Blether
Join Zoom Meeting by clicking this link:
Meeting ID: 898 360 769

First’s Got Talent

We will be hosting a potluck dinner and talent show on Saturday February 8 at 5:30pm. Everyone is invited to join in on the potluck and watch some of the fabulous talent our church has to show.

We are looking for anyone with talent to be a part of our talent show. If you sing, dances, play an instrument, are a comedian or anything else you think is a talent, then we want to hear from you! If you would like to sign up with a talent, please see us at the welcome table after church or contact Judy Valks at [email protected] or at 250-862-0712.
~Rachel Anweiler

Congregational Knowledge Exchange!

The Education Core Ministry would like to invite you to an all ages event – a Congregational Knowledge Exchange – on February 9 after church in the hall.

If you are interested, please see Suki Vernet to fill out a questionnaire of knowledge you can share (for example – how to write in cursive, speak in another language, play checkers, all the words to “twinkle twinkle,” etc. ) and knowledge you would like to learn (for example, how to play cat’s cradle, tie a tie, canning advice, etc. ).

You will be matched with another member of the congregation and will meet on February 9 to connect and exchange your knowledge. Please contact Suki Vernet with any questions. [email protected]

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:

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.