First United needs your help at Christmas


Dear friends,

Christmas is soon upon us, and we’re including some special requests for support for our Christmas programming. While many of us await the Christmas season with anticipation and good memories, it can be a challenging time of year for many people, particularly those facing health, addiction, family or economic issues. Our goal is to make Christmas a peaceful, loving, abundant and joyful time for as many people as possible, and for that we need your help.

Please consider the requests below and let us know if you can help us make this Christmas special for our folks.

First United Church
Community Ministry Society
320 East Hastings St Vancouver, BC V6A 1P4
T: 604.681.8365 ext. 104
F: 604.681.8928
W: | @FirstUnitedDTES on Twitter

Bringing Christmas Cheer to First United Church

Christmas Dinner

On Christmas Day, 350 people will come to First United to spend their time with us.  We will be providing a beautiful turkey dinner with all of the fixings.  It costs us $1,600 to make this a reality.

You can help us by funding part or all of the meal or donating entire parts of the meal.

Here is what we need;



Total Cost

Turkeys (20lbs or more)



Yams/Sweet Potatoes

150 lbs



50 lbs


Cranberry Sauce

12 Litres


Dinner Rolls

30 dozen









Christmas Treats

After enjoying their Christmas meal, each diner receives a goodie bag with treats that bring comfort andChristmas-Stocking---Blank_81525651 joy. It will cost us $4,700 to make this happen.

You can help by funding part or all of the treat bags, or donating the full quantity needed of one or more of the items.

Here is what we need;



Total Cost




$10 gift card*



Candy canes



Chocolate bars



$1 scratch tickets



Mandarin oranges



            *Timmy’s or McD’s




Christmas Cheer

In the days leading up to Christmas, trees go up in the Sanctuary, Women’s Area, and Thrift Store. Staff have extra treats on hand to lift spirits and bring people together. It will cost us $420 to make this happen.

You can help by funding part or all of our Christmas treats & decorations, or donating the full quantity needed of one or more of the items.

 Here is what we need;



Total Cost

1 large & 2 small real trees, stands & decorations



Candy canes







Christmas for Families

We want Christmas at our Social Housing buildings to be welcoming and meaningful for our residents, many of whom are families with dependent children. Staff have extra treats on hand to lift spirits and bring people together. It will cost us $260 to make this a reality.

You can help by funding part or all of our Christmas treats & decorations, or donating the full quantity needed of one or more of the items.

Here is what we need;



Total Cost

2 small real trees, stands & decorations



Candy canes



Mandarin oranges








GUEST BLOGGER: Marjorie M. Gibson

2014 Mother's Day flowers

Born on a farm near Standard AB, east of Calgary, Marjorie graduated from the University of Alberta in 1943 and married a fellow alumnus, Sheldon Gibson, in 1945. They raised four children, and moved more than a dozen times for Sheldon’s work in the oil industry, ending up in Calgary.  Marjorie worked in numerous volunteer positions and taught continuing education courses on the Hebrew scriptures in her local church(es) over the years, and at Mount Royal College in Calgary.  In retirement, she and Sheldon travelled widely and undertook genealogical research, culminating in the publication of a book on one branch of her family: “Grandma was a Davis.”  After Sheldon’s death in 2010, Marjorie moved to Vancouver to be closer to family support, and started blogging: “Marjorie Remembers.” 

Here is her piece: The Memories Life Triggers

The Memories Life Triggers

Sunday morning. I’m on my way to church on a warm, sunny, spring day. David, the owner/driver of the “Driving Miss Daisy” service, and I have been chatting. We come to 16th Ave, and turn onto it. My sentence ends mid-stream and I gasp in wonder. Ahead stretches blocks of cherry trees in full blossom. Last week there was only an occasional flower. People were saying then, “This is far too early for spring. If it turns cool again the trees will be damaged!”


These comments run through my mind, as we drive past tree after tree, all dressed in their spring best. Apparently nature has its own schedule and doesn’t consult the weather forecast! My spirits soar. Joy and happiness fill my heart. I shake my head and say, “I’m new to Vancouver, David. Perhaps one day I will take all of Vancouver’s beauty for granted, but I’m not there yet.”


“Better than the prairie, in your opinion?”


I ponder his question. An answer does not come quickly. As we turn into the church parking lot the matter is dropped. My mind does not leave the topic immediately. I still feel the joy and happiness roused in me by the sight of those trees.


The days roll by. Periodically my mind, jogged by the question, pulls up many memories of the prairies. The meadowlarks singing from their perch on the fence, the endless rolling lands, wild sunflowers in the ditches, sweeping blue skies with puffy white clouds. I was born, raised, and grew up on the lovely, open lands we call prairies. Are they beautiful? Yes. Better than Vancouver? Not necessarily. Can you equate apples and oranges? My reactions to the beauty offered in Vancouver, and on the prairies, are the same – joy, excitement, bursts of energy, and appreciation for all nature spread before me.


Memories of past beauties are vital to how I handle the present. Beauty is beauty. Regardless of time or place or kind, it enriches my life forever. And so I strive to be aware, to see what exists. The gifts are mine for the taking.

Sanctuary Q&A with Minister Beth

Beth HaywardWant to know a bit more information about our Sanctuary Enhancements? Minister Beth Hayward takes some time out to answer a few questions for us.

Q: What are the new sanctuary improvements?

The sanctuary enhancements comprise a full spectrum of structural and technological improvements growing out of our desire to create within our stunning historic building a sense of increased openness. The enhancements will ensure that all who come into the sanctuary can hear and see what is happening. They will bring a feeling of openness to the chancel area and essentially bring the congregation closer to the worship leaders.

Q: What are some of the features that will really improve upon the current space?

The biggest change here is the removal of the altar rail and repurposing it as a decorative piece. A chancel extension will extend the chancel toward the congregation. An accessible ramp will be built to access the chancel extension and washrooms. This openness and closeness will be a reflection of our evolving values, our commitment to respond to God’s call to be open-hearted and open-minded.

Q: Why now?

Our congregation is strong and vibrant, we have a sense of our mission and vision and we want to share this with others. This is simply the right moment to infuse our already strong congregation with this burst of energy. We want to build on our strengths and feel proud to open our doors to seekers, guests and the community at large.

Q: How long will the construction and improvements take before they are done?

The work has already begun. We have met with all of the contractors and everyone is doing the prep work for their contribution. All fabrication will happen off site and then put in place and finished within a very short time frame. The behind the scenes work of running cables and wires, installing fixtures, sound and media equipment will begin in June. All work should be completed by the end of the summer in anticipation of our “Welcome Back Sunday” on September 20th.

Q: Will we lose any heritage elements with the new improvements?

The church building is absolutely stunning and we are tremendously proud of our heritage as a testament to peace. The designs have paid special attention to our architectural details with the lines of the chancel extension mirroring the lines of the stunning pillars. Finishes will be tasteful and reflective of the heritage of the building. The lectern and pulpit will be made movable but will maintain their current beauty. Even the removed altar rail will be reincorporated as a decorative piece.

Q: How much will it cost?

The cost is $230,000. Most of these monies have already been raised through the generous donations of our members to the 2010 Capital Campaign. These monies were allocated within the vision of the Capital Campaign for initiatives related to Enhancing our Sacred Space. We are seeking an additional $30,000 from the congregation to cover the difference. We are already half way to our goal!

Q: Why is this a good thing for CMUC?

These enhancements are an investment in our future and a testament to our past. They will open to us possibilities for more creative worship experiences, they will allow us to sing together with our heads up, use of paper will be dramatically reduced, and those with mobility issues will be more able to participate in leadership. The sound and lighting enhancements will make a world of difference to our worship experience as well.