First United and COVID-19

To do our part to help counter the spread of COVID-19, First United has adjusted our worship and outreach practices to promote physical distancing while maintaining social contact and community support as best we can.

The church building is closed to the public for the foreseeable future. We are awaiting the advice of the BC Government before reopening the building and resuming normal worship, outreach, and community services, which will fall under Phase 4 of BC’s Response to COVID-19.

We are maintaining social contact and community support by hosting online meetings every Tuesday and Friday, and online worship services every Sunday. Please subscribe to our First Word newsletter to receive the weekly links to these online gatherings.

Grace and peace to you all.

Online Worship April 5 , 2020

Please Join Us For Worship on Palm Sunday

Some of you may have heard that there are strange things happening on the internet these days called Zoom-bombing. Basically, this are bored and/or angry people having too little to do and just determined to “upset others.”

But it can be disturbing, or frightening, or disgusting to have someone break in to what you think is a private event and disrupt it. (Remember this can also happen if we are meeting in a building—someone comes in and acts inappropriately!). SO, to try and reduce the chance that this will happen we are making a few changes, as recommended by Zoom specialists.

To join the worship service, click this link: https://zoom.us/j/586245135 and put int he 6-digit password distributed in the First Word email newsletter on Saturday.

When you click on the link (or phone in) you will be put into a welcome/waiting room. This is the new feature for security. I will be able to see your “ID/Name” and will click a button on my computer that will let you “in” to the service – just like our greeters make you welcome to worship at church! Microphone

Microphone: Please have your microphone MUTED once you enter the “worship service” – this will keep the confusion to a minimum.

Video: Keep your video ON as you enter the “worship service” – this will allow us to wave at one another, and to see each other – a great joy.

Other Changes: We learned so much last week. Here are a few changes you will discover:

Prayer Requests: We are going to use the Chat feature to gather prayer requests. Just before the prayers of the people we will send out a typed message asking for names and concerns to be included in the prayers for today. Please type in your requests.
If you cannot type, wave your hand and we will unmute your microphone so you can speak your requests.

Coffee Hour: There were a lot of people frustrated with the chatter last Sunday cutting off what they wanted to say—it was a little like listening to all of us talk at once. We have learned that we can cut down on that, and give you a chance to have coffee/tea/juice and conversation with just a few people—like being at a table in coffee hour. To have this happen, my program will put you into a breakout group of no more that 5 or 6 people and you can each chat to one another. BUT – I do not have control over whom you get to talk with, so be prepared to meet one another, to share your name, etc. as if you were first-time friends – or be surprised to meet someone you have seen but never talked with.

I know this is a lot to take in – and we will all be a little confused – but for safety and more effective time together, let’s try it and make this work! And remember, God is also present in the electrons and even the internet – always, God is with us, we are not alone.

Grace and peace,

~Bob Wallace

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!

Sunday Worship, 27th 2021

Sunday Worship, June 20th 2021

Sunday Worship, June 13th 2021

Message from the ministers

As one of the ministers of the communities of faith of The United Church of Canada here in Kelowna. I come here with a heavy heart to join in this vigil. I come to add our local voices to the growing chorus of outrage and dismay crying out across this land in the aftermath of the senseless deaths in London, Ontario just 7 days ago. This attack is but the latest in a long string of violent discriminatory attacks nurtured by a system of embedded racism and hatred.

The United Church of Canada decries a white supremacist system and culture that allows feelings of racial, cultural, and religious superiority to flourish and that enables such heinous hate crimes to occur. The church’s anti-racism policy declares that “we believe that we are all equal before God.” The United Church therefore reaffirms its commitment to anti-racism, to engaging in interfaith dialogue, and to speaking out against violence and discrimination rooted in racial superiority, including Islamophobia. [1]

As local ministers, we join you in your grieving, share in your tears, for you are our siblings in faith. We lament the unnecessary loss of innocent lives, lives cut short by ignorance, hate and phobia. There is no room for this in our world; no room for this in God’s world. 

As people of faith, as members of the human community, we are called to love one another, to show compassion for one another and to always seek for God’s justice. This world in which we live continually displays the diversity of Creator-God in how we look, how we dress, how we worship; such diversity is representative of a God who knows no boundaries and cannot be placed in any box of human construct, no matter how large or how small that box may be. God is diversity. God is the goodness in every one of us and so, today, we stand with you, the Muslim Community, grieving the senseless loss of lives, supporting you in love and compassion and seeking God’s justice for this world, today and always.

May it be so!


[1]     https://united-church.ca/news/united-church-condemns-attack-muslim-family-london

Sunday Worship, June 6th 2021

Sunday Worship, May 30th 2021

Pentecost Sunday Worship, May 23rd 2021

Sunday Worship, May 16th 2021