Palm/ Passion Sunday April 14

Worship this Sunday, led by Beryl Barraclough, will take us through the Passion story, from the Last Supper to the crucifixion and burial. Versions of the Passion can be found in all four Gospels, but this year we will be hearing readings from Luke.

 Volunteers are preparing a bake sale to take place directly after the service. There will also be sandwiches available to buy and raffle tickets for various prizes.

Beryl will also lead a Women’s Circle in the sanctuary at about 11:30.

Minister's Message: Learning How to Die

Holy Week begins this Monday and the darkest days of the Christian pilgrimage will begin. The Passion story is one of heaviness, betrayal, sacrifice and violence. The seven last words of Jesus spoken from the cross invite us into the intimacy of his last hours. They are a living testament to his life, faith, and the relationships that sustained him and speak to the complexity of believing even when senseless death makes a mockery of good people whose life was focused on selflessness and generosity. We cannot make sense of the senseless and need to accept that shadow, injustice and darkness are a part of living. Following Jesus into his last days and listening to his words from the cross may give us insight as to how we may both live and die.

The holy week hymn, Go to Dark Gethsemane (James Montgomery, 1820, VU 133) has this verse:

Calvary’s mournful mountain view;
there the Lord of glory see,
made a sacrifice for you,
 dying on the accursèd tree.
“It is finished,” hear his cry:
trust in Christ and learn to die.

 I have accompanied many people at their end of life. The idea that trusting Jesus helps me learn to die is one I like. As I hear his anguish, his letting go, his forgiveness and ultimate hope I want to both live and die in these values and faith Jesus inspires.

Read his last words in a moment of meditativeness.
Begin with a prayer:

Help me God to follow Jesus even to his death on a cross.
Teach me the meaning of living and dying in hope.
May I trust in Christ as I live into the darkness of death.

Pray for those who are experiencing violence, hatred and torture, for those who are dying alone and those who need hope and grace.

1. Luke 23:34: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
2. Luke 23:43: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.
3. John 19:26–27: Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother
4. Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34 My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
5. John 19:28: I thirst.
6. John 19:30: It is finished. (From the Greek "Tetelestai" which is also translated "It is accomplished", or "It is complete".)
7.    Luke 23:46: Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.

 Let us listen to Jesus in his dying words.

Let us follow him into darkness and learn how to die.

 Rev. David


Minister's message: Couch Surfing Like Jesus

Where did Jesus sleep during his three year nomadic, public and prophetic ministry? The Gospels tell of his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus where he would stay when near Jerusalem. Did their hospitality include a guest bedroom or did they share a straw-filled mattress on the ground? I am thinking of accommodations as I no longer have a home in Montreal. I spent a night on my son’s Verdun couch this week. Although a bonding moment, it was not my bed! I walked to and from the Mission, a healthy choice, and lived from a small knapsack. The couch was a step up from an air mattress.  

Listen to this story of Jesus’ sleeping habits.

As they were walking along the road, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Then He said to another man, “Follow Me.” The man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

(Luke 9: 57-59)

In another gospel, Jesus was sleeping in the hull of the boat when the storm came (Matthew 8: 23-27). He must have been tired and slept where, and as, able.

I imagine that Jesus knew what couch surfing was about as he had no place to call his own. Interesting to remember that when he responded to Spirit’s call, he gave up everything: home, address, carpentry career, family responsibilities… he became an itinerant preacher - staying where he was welcomed or under the open sky, living in the moment and with what he could carry. 

For someone who has a few thousand books this is a hard word to hear: How many books can I carry?

My mother and sister come to visit the new house today. Garden plans, the placing of quilts and the enjoying of this new space will be part of this weekend. My mother said that I am not downsizing but rather upsizing (like at McDonald’s?) and living in my dream house. It is true that I now enjoy an attached garage with an electric door opener and a central vac, just like my mom! (No competition there.) 

These are change-filled days with so much to do. 

Living the balance between Jesus’ call and the reality of our lives, in the preciousness of each moment life offers us, following as a disciple, willing to give up everything or at a minimum to not be consumed with possessions is our challenge. 

I enjoy the Iona Community song that says:

First-born of Mary, provocative preacher,
itinerant teacher, outsider’s choice;
Jesus inspires and disarms and confuses whoever he chooses to hear his voice.

 (John L. Bell, 1998, MV 110)

 I pray in this Lenten season to lessen my hold on things, to accept changes that, while challenging, are for my well-being.

I pray for those whose only option for sleeping is a couch, or under the open sky or in a refugee tent.

I pray to hear the call of Jesus to live life fully, to love deeply and to appreciate the travelling companions and hospitality offered along the way. 

I pray that Jesus inspires, disarms and confuses me.


 Rev. David


Mission memories

As the Mission winds down its activities over the next months, many of us are saddened, but also looking back on the last 12 years with fondness. If the Mission has been a part of your life at any point, we would love to hear from you. You might consider the following questions:

How has SouthWest Mission touched community?
How has it changed your life?
Is there a memory you would like to share?

Send you thoughts by e-mail to, or drop off a note during office hours. Rev. David is usually around Tuesdays and Wednesdays if you’d like to say goodbye.

Good Friday Gospel Concert Gospel du Vendredi Saint

A great SouthWest tradition is returning, and that’s something to celebrate!

Stewart Burrows & Friends
SouthWest United Church
April 19 at 7 pm

$20 donation at the door

We’re also inviting you to a pre-concert bonus:
Come for a delicious meal first!

Supper at 6 pm


La tradition continue : un concert à ne pas manquer!

Stewart Burrows & Amis
Église unie Sud-ouest
Le 19 avril à 19 heures

20 $ à la porte

ET vous avez l’option de venir pour un repas avant le concert :

Souper à 18 heures !



Stewart Burrows is a singer-songwriter from Quebec who writes and performs his own brand of Celtic-Canadian folk music in English and French.  He has performed at festivals and venues across North America and Europe, and is currently a regular on the Montreal Celtic music scene.

For this concert, he will play guitar, banjo and mandolin.  Stewart finds particular comfort in sitting on his farm, by the shore of Lake St Francis in Dundee, nursing a pint of stout, while trying to play Blackberry Blossom, in D-flat, at pub-speed, on his mandolin.

 Stewart Burrows est musicien-chansonnier Québécois ainsi que compositeur et performeur de son style personnel de musique celto-canadienne en français et en anglais.  Ses voyages musicaux l’ont mené à travers l’Amérique du Nord et en Europe.  On trouve Stewart souvent ces jours là parmis les musiciens celtiques montréalés.  Pour ce concert, il joue guitare, banjo et mandoline.  Il trouve un réconfort spécial assis sur sa ferme sur le bord de Lac Saint-François à Dundee, pint-o-Guinness en main, en pratiquant “Blackberry Blossom” en Re-bémol à la vitesse de ‘pub’ sur sa mandoline.

Easter flowers


Once again this year, you can purchase an Easter plant by seeing Shirley Stark at church until April 14th. The plants will decorate the sanctuary on Easter Sunday, April 21st, to be taken home after the service.  The cost is $ 7.00 each. This year each plant will have the donor’s name on it to avoid confusion.

SouthWest in the news

The article below appears in the local Metro newspaper dated April 1st. The information in the article is generally correct: The Wednesday community lunch and the Mini-market are relocating to Dawson Boys and Girls Club as of April 24th.
In case it is ambiguous from reading the article, SouthWest Mission will remain in the Verdun Elementary building until the end of our lease on June 30th. In terms of Bonhomme à lunettes and the Halte allaitement (not halte garderie), we are hopeful these services, as well as two weekly AA meetings, will continue in the Mission space after SouthWest leaves, but there have been no guarantees. We have encouraged these groups to communicate directly with the school board which will make all decisions about the use of the space.

Mission du Sud-Ouest ferme après 12 ans de services

Sophie Poisson

Le 17 avril sera le dernier repas communautaire partagé dans le sous-sol de l’école primaire Verdun Elementary. Confrontée à des contraintes financières et de personnel, la Mission du Sud-Ouest ferme après 12 années en fonction. Les services offerts devraient être repris par différents acteurs.

Le pasteur de l’église Unie du Sud-Ouest et leader communautaire David Lefneski est très heureux d’avoir lancé le projet. «Ces choses sont nées de sueur et un peu de sacrifice. Quelque part, on vit un deuil. Je suis en train d’écrire un rapport qui est quand même positif parce que si tu risques, tu ne perds rien. On ne le regrette pas, mais on ne peut pas le soutenir. On trouve de l’argent pour les programmes, mais on trouve difficilement de l’argent pour les salaires.»

La Mission du Sud-Ouest fonctionne sur une base de dons. «Au fond, ça nous fait vivre, mais à la base, on avait vendu [en 2007] sur Woodland la grande église [Verdun United Church], raconte le pasteur. L’argent qui était une somme importante, au lieu de l’investir dans notre église, on a décidé de le faire dans la communauté.»

Il ajoute que plusieurs partenariats lui ont permis d’assurer ses services, en commençant par la Commission scolaire Lester B. Pearson qui lui loue l’espace «à un prix modique». La paroisse pour laquelle il est révérend, Moisson Montréal, le CSLC et Verdun sans faim en fait également partie.