Toast Talks: July 2023

Date 17 Jul, 2023

Toast Talks are a series of information sessions during which members of the FIRST UNITED team offer updates, insights, and information about our work to our communities of faith, volunteers, donors, stakeholders, and friends. To make sure you never miss out on invitations to Toast Talks, subscribe to our emails.

For our July 2023 Toast Talks, we dedicate time to honour our old building at 320 East Hastings. Interim Executive Director Amanda Burrows shares the latest FIRST UNITED news and redevelopment updates. We’re also joined by Dr. Sarah Marsden, Director of Systems Change and Legal, who shares findings from our BC Eviction Map.

Thank you to everyone who shared their memories of the building with us! Read some below:

From Linda M. Ervin:

In the early 80s First did a needle exchange and provided free feminine hygiene products. The reception staff were the ones who provided those items.

Bob St. John Graham, myself (Linda) with others had a Christmas Eve service where we served and agape meal every Christmas Eve. Coffee would brew while the service was on. One of the people that I assisted gave me $100 every year to buy smoked salmon and John Graham purchased the bagels. Folks lit candles and decorated the tree. It was a great night.

1983 the year BC citizens and workers fought back. First supported the strike and workers, provided meals. We lost and gained donors.

From Lorraine Powell

I attended First United when I started at VST with Rev. Garry Patterson there in 1989. I soon became involved with some of the serving lunch after church. Later I volunteered at WiSH once a week in the evening, and the ladies watched to make sure I was safe in the downtown to catch my bus back to VST. What a special time in ministry that helped me all through ministry.

From Susan DuMoulin

As a member of Canadian Memorial United Church, I enjoyed being part of our In From the Cold Ministry. Congregants would make beef stew which would be taken to the kitchen at First United where, along with vegetables, buttered bread, tea and coffee and ice cream for dessert. On our designated monthly Friday evening, a team of CMUC volunteers would serve people from the DTES community a hot meal during 2 seatings. Often, once people had finished their meals the table servers would sit at their table and visit with the guests. One member of our congregation played the piano during the meals. Those were good times.

From Heather Ross

Well I grew up in the First United Church, but it was the previous building. It was my Dad and his staff with lots of support from many people and agencies who built this last building so I am somewhat sad to see it go. But it served its purpose for a long time. So I have gone through this “unbuilding” and rebuilding process already so know that good things come out of the rubble and the future is filled with hope!

We’ve also included the digital version of the fall edition of our First Things First newsletter below:

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