First United Church is a downtown church in Kelowna British Columbia. In 2009 we celebrated our 100th anniversary in this community. We have a congregation of about 350 people. Our mission is; “To seek, know and express God’s love in an open community which embraces diversity.”
During our last Visioning Process our Outreach Core Ministry established three areas of focus. Our sister relationship with El Triunfo was adapted as our ‘Greater World Project’. Our ‘Environmental Program focus’s on local food sustainability. Our community project was working towards declaring our church an “Affirming Congregation” within the United Church of Canada which was achieved in Sept. 2012.
Our Sister Relationship with El Triunfo was confirmed in 2008!
Pat and Greig were introduced to Fundahmer and the sister community arrangement through our friends in Crescent United Church who partner with Tierra Nueva. We experienced the great value this relationship had with both communities. On that first trip to El Salvador in 2003, the late Father Dean Brackley encouraged us to take the lessons we learned and apply them to poverty and social justice issues in our own country.
In 2007 we moved to Kelowna and were inspired to create a new relationship with another community in El Salvador. After meeting three wonderful communities we decided to partner with El Triunfo in La Libertad. Subsequently, we approached our church community and encouraged them to embrace this project. To look for opportunities to use this rich experience to enhance understanding and awareness of life in a less developed country through our youth, our women’s groups and our congregation in general. The Church Board officially recognized this relationship in 2010.
The eventuality of World Peace necessitates divergent people working together to share ideas and resources and to create better understanding and acceptance of our differences. Our sister community relationships, in a modest way, take us in that direction.
Projects in the community (and when began):
1. The committee in El Triunfo decided to initially focus on high school and university scholarships for their youth. The scholarship program began in 2010.
2. In 2012 we have begun supporting Fundahmer’s, “Food Sustainability & Silo Project.”