2017 Garage Sale


Once again, our Annual garage sale held Friday and Saturday, September 8th and 9th was a tremendous success.   This major re-use and recycle event is a large fundraiser for Riverbend United Church and raised over $8,000, our most successful year ever.

Your generosity and that of the broader community continues to have a positive ripple effect as all leftover items were donated to the Bissell Centre.  Many thanks to the Garage Sale Coordinator, Bev Sawyer and her army of volunteers, including those who donated, picked up and delivered furniture, sorted, priced and set-up all items, manned the cash desk, watched over both the upper and lower level sales tables, packed up everything, loaded a 26′ UHaul truck with the balance of donations for Bissell and cleaned & tidied the Church!



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Awesome Wednesday Evenings

The end of August is upon us and we had some AWEsome Wednesday evenings!

Awesome Wednesday Evenings’ began August 2nd and continued all summer with community building events for all ages. It was a great chance to meet our new minister, Rev. Valerie Oden.  The evenings were hosted by the Little/Schoenhofer family, the Severson/Ens family, and the Miller and Spaner families and included outdoor games and a photo scavenger hunt, a campfire in the parking lot with sing-along, a board game night and a drama night!

Thank you to everyone who joined us!

Spiritual Formation Committee


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Rev. Valerie Oden

Riverbend United Church is pleased to welcome Reverend Valerie Oden.  Valerie celebrated her first service with us on Sunday, August 6th, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.  
Valerie had served Arvada United Methodist Church in Colorado for the last 9 years and is returning to Edmonton where she once served Grace United Church.  She has a heart for walking with people in exploring the questions of faith and meaning. She believes that Christian discipleship is a life of response:  “… [It] is fundamentally about growing ever more deeply and broadly in love of God — with all that we are — and love of neighbour. I see this growth as a two-way flow: inward toward our roots in the source and outward in our relationship with others and the world.”  She also believes that faith communities have a vital role in this particular cultural milieu in honoring diverse traditions and including the marginalized.  Valerie is accompanied by a 9 year old Mini Australian Shepherd and 2 weird cats.

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Weekly Announcements

October 2017

Announcements October 22nd

Announcements October 15th

Announcements October 8th

Announcements October 1st

September 2017

Announcements September 24th

Announcements September 17th

Announcements September 10th

Announcements September 3rd

August 2017

Announcements August 27th

Announcements August 20th

Announcements August 13th

Announcements August 6th

July 2017

Announcements July 30th

Announcements July 23rd

Announcements July 16th

Announcements July 9th

Announcements July 2nd

June 2017

Announcements June 25th

Announcements June 18th

Announcements June 11th

Announcements June 4th

May 2017

Announcements May 28th

Announcements May 21st

Announcements May 14th

Announcements May 7th

April 2017

Announcements April 30th

Announcements April 23rd

Announcements April 16th

Announcements April 9th

Announcements April 2nd





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Summer employment

Riverbend United Church was grateful to receive a Government of Canada “Canada Summer Jobs” grant to hire two students in 2017.  Gen Enriquez was the Church’s Office Assistant and Adam Hawrelak helped David Galbraith with outdoor yardwork & maintenance.  Thank you to both of them for their help and assistance and good luck to them as they continue their studies!




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HAPPY NEWS! Syrian family welcomes new Canadian baby!

Heba and Mohammed Al Omari welcomed their baby daughter on May 7th, a new Canadian addition to their family.  Mom is doing very well, but baby was born five weeks premature and will need to stay in the hospital for another month or so.

Thanks to many generous contributions from Riverbend United Church members many items for the baby were received, picked up and delivered to the family on Saturday, March 18th, however we are still looking for a crib that meets current Canadian safety standards.  Do you have an unused crib that you would be willing to donate?  Please call the office by May 31st if you are able to donate one and we will arrange for pick-up and delivery.

Thank you




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Annual Congregational Meeting: March 19th, 2017

An Annual Congregational Meeting was held on March 19th, 2017 following the 10:30 a.m. service.

At this meeting the 2016 Annual Report for Riverbend United Church as well as the 2016 Financial Statements and the proposed budget for 2017 were presented & accepted by the Congregation.

Click here for all relevant material:     2016 Annual Report & Financials

In addition, the Children’s Ministry Report was mistakenly omitted from the 2016 Annual Report, please find it here:  Children’s Ministry 2016

Thank you.

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Guess Who’s Coming to …





Saturday, March 11th

This is a combined fund-raiser and social event. The first part takes place at members’ homes; then we gather at the church to complete the evening with dessert, entertainment, and a silent auction.  How does it work?

  • Sign up to indicate your interest in participating. We’ll need your name, phone number, and preference for hosting or being a guest (or perhaps you’d be willing to do either, depending on our “matching” needs). Signing up will take place at a table in the narthex between services and after the 10:30 service.  Then someone will call you toward the end of February to discuss the number of people in your group and any dietary or other concerns.
  • Cost for guests: $40 each, payable prior to March 11 (dessert part only, $10). Guests will be given an address where they should arrive by 6:00 p.m.
  • Cost for hosts: hosts will be told the number of guests to expect and will be advised of any dietary or other concerns. They will offer a 2-course meal, providing a first course  and a main course. Wine will be provided to the host.
  • Everyone should arrive at the church by 8:00 for dessert, entertainment, silent auction and our famous wine game. We’re looking for 3 or 4 dessert hosts, providing desserts for those who have had the first part of the meal at people’s homes, setting up tables and coffee, etc.
  • Can you provide an item for our silent auction? Donations of items such as tickets, time at a condo, or a service of some kind would be particularly appreciated.
  • Would you share a talent of some kind (sing, dance, or …?)

Watch for details at the table in the Narthex and on this webpage and plan to join in this event on Saturday, March 11th.

Get to know others in our congregation, and help raise some funds toward our mortgage!

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The Front Pew 2017

06 June Front Pew

05 May Front Pew

04 April Front Pew

03 March Front Pew

02 February Front Pew

01 January Front Pew

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Honouring the ministry of Rev. Don Koots

Celebrate v3We were pleased to honour and celebrate the ministry of Rev. Don Koots on Sunday, January 29th at a special service and luncheon.  Board Chair, Christine Ens, wrote an article that summarized the events of the day.

“On Sunday January 28 we said farewell to Reverend Don Koots and paid tribute to his almost ten year ministry among us.  The focus of the farewell event was a tribute service with input from many voices – a summary of which I will share here.  

Carolyn Miller sketched an overall plan for the service and penned a fitting Call to Worship as well as an Opening Prayer that perfectly set the stage for what was to follow:

“God of Mystery and Grace, we come before you today with so many mixed emotions; our hearts are filled with gratitude for the ministry of Don, tinged with sadness as he leaves us to explore new faith adventures. We acknowledge his leadership and guidance as we embarked on the expansion of Your House and as we strengthened our relationship with our neighbours in Brander Gardens. Yet we also have feelings of anticipation, as we know that You have hopes and dreams and visions for this congregation that are so much greater than we can ever imagine. May it be that we strive to follow Don’s example and live out our faith, helping and supporting those in need; that we continue the dialogue with other faith communities, to work together, to make our city, and indeed our world, a better place for all. We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus, the Light of the World, AMEN.”

Our handells, choir and congregational singing wove beautiful musical messages throughout the service.  Emily shared a children’s story likening Jesus to a Teacher, and pointing out that Don himself was once a school teacher and in ministry he continues to teach, but without a classroom.  In addition to confirmation of five members and communion, three reflections offered different perspectives on Don’s contributions to RUC and its people.

Heather Dettman wove her personal story as a fairy tale – Once upon a time there was a scientist who had many questions about God and Christianity – and this led to a one-on-one book study with Don.  Enriching conversation continued in Don’s biannual group book studies. The fairy tale concluded in typical fashion: “Don, may you live happily ever after!”

David Faber led the service as well as shared his own story.  Don played a significant role in David answering his own call to the ministry and David reflected that time spent with Don was deeply spiritual and deeply meaningful.  David suggested that Don take some time to “just be” before he moves on to new ventures.

Joanne Olson’s prayers of the people, as always, had a beautiful theme – a few of her words were as follows:

Almighty God, through seasons of constancy and especially during time of change, you are with us, calling us into deeper waters, calling us together in your spirit of unity, calling us out of ourselves into the world to serve others. Grant that as Reverend Don Koots enters a new phase of his ministry and as we, the congregation of Riverbend United enter new waters, we might all hold fast to your unending love and mercy, a love that promised to hold onto us as we go where your Spirit leads us.

Doug Spaner shared the final of the three reflections. One of Don’s strengths was to lead from within; to encourage voices from the congregation that we may not have realized we had. When Don called, Doug responded – sharing sermons, leading worship and taking on leadership of the confirmation program. These roles were not initially met with a quick affirmative response, but Doug shared that with Don’s guidance and encouragement in all of these roles, he experienced a deepening of his journey into the ‘cloud of unknowing’, and for that he is thankful. To conclude, Doug shared a poem from his favourite poet, Rumi:

          “Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.”

In Don’s final words to us, he noted that one of the key elements of his decision to move to Edmonton and serve us here at Riverbend United was our mission statement, in particular the last line: “to welcome and befriend one another in the name of Christ”.  This phrase spoke to Don at the time, and after over nine years at RUC, he concluded by stating that this is what we have done to him.  May we continue to live out our mission statement as Riverbend continues on its own faith journey.

If you are interested in seeing the video recording (in 4 parts) of the special service please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VAICAv1FZE  or search YouTube for “Riverbend United Church Rev. Koots farewell”

Thank you,

Christine Ens


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