June 18 Mini-Market

SouthWest Mission is gone, but the Mini-market lives on at Dawson Boys and Girls Club! Same friendly faces, same great deals on fresh fruit and veg! Here’s what will be on offer next Tuesday between 12:30 and 5PM at 666 Woodland avenue.

La Mission n’est plus mais le Mini-marché est encore en vie chez Dawson. Vous y verrez les mêmes visages souriants, et vous profiterez des mêmes aubaines. Voici la liste de fruits et légumes qui seront offerts mardi prochain de 12H30 à 17H au Repaire Jeunesse Dawson, 666 av. Woodland.

PRODUCE                                      LBS.          KGS.          EACH

BABY BOKCHOY                        3.05           6.71

BROCCOLI                                                                          2.61 

CARROTS       .72           1.60    

ENGLISH CUCUMBER                                                        .83

SPANISH ONIONS                         .77           1.69

TOMATO, VINE RED                    1.89           4.16

POTATOES                                     .50           1.10

QUEBEC GARLIC                                                              TBA

BANANAS              .77             1.71

CORTLAND APPLES                  1.18             2.60

CLEMENTINES                                                                  .30

LEMONS                                                                            .35

Father's Day, 2019

Two of the most poignant moments of my pilgrimage to Israel in 2018 were:
- standing to pray at the Western Wall of Lamentations in Jerusalem beside a Jewish man whose young son (4-5 years old) approached his father, put his hand on the wall, rocked back and forth, and prayed just like dad.
- a Palestinian boy (8 years old) approaching me to sell a candy bar in a public square in Bethlehem in Occupied Palestinian territory. No words were exchanged, just his eyes catching mine. We were on the other side of the humongous Israeli-built wall that excluded him and his family from the advantages of Israeli citizenship. I bought the candy.

One wall was a sacred place of prayer, the other a separation between neighbours. I wonder how fathers explain these differences to their sons?

There was so much prayer being raised across the Holy Land, by pilgrims in Christian sites and churches, Muslims at the Dome of the Rock and in mosques, Jews in synagogues and at the Wailing Wall. Children learn from the adults around them in their formative years. Are they being taught that all prayer is helpful no matter the difference of ritual or language that names the Creator? That human needs expressed from human hearts are reaching the one heart of God, Yahweh, Allah? I love the expression as it relates to God and diverse faiths: One River, many wells. I was humbled by the presence of the Holy at all the sacred sites in Israel.

My father was a five year veteran who could not handle the noise of family parties. Even at the table, when all ten of us were there, he asked for silence while eating. In his later years at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the ending of WW II he began telling the stories of his artillery division and regiment, the ear damaging noise of the guns and the many horrible experiences he lived. I began to understand his need for silence, and his stories brought us closer.
I have my father’s bible, well-marked and used. He read it every day. Although it is precious, the greater gift is the faith he shared through his work ethic, prayers and example. I inherited my Christian faith from him but made it mine when I confessed as a youth that I too would follow Jesus in my words and actions. I confirmed his faith and made it mine.

As a seeker after truth I do not pretend to possess it, I am ever reaching for it and discovering so many names for the mystery of God along the journey.

A living faith in God is a powerful thing: it liberates, converts the spirit and mind to right living and seeks to make the world better. It ignites revolutions that resist evil wherever it is found, even in the religiousness of piety and orthodoxy.

As the Spirit engulfed the disciples at Pentecost and gave them the courage to witness their faith in the Risen Christ, I too pray for Spirit to free me from fears holding me back from giving witness to my faith, in words, actions, prayers and a generous love.

I hope that children raised in different faiths share the heart of their beliefs with others so that all God believers can seek justice together in the world for every human being. I pray that all fathers will share their faith so there will be yet another generation of sons and daughters loving and serving God. 
Blessings on all fathers!

Faith of our fathers, living still
in spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy,
whene’er we hear that glorious word:
faith of our fathers, holy faith,
we will be true to you till death.
(Frederick Faber, 1849, VU 580)

Rev. David

Opinion: Let's give the new bike lanes a chance

You’ve probably heard, or seen, that the borough of Verdun added bike lanes to Verdun Avenue this spring. It’s a two-year pilot project to last from May to the end of October and - here’s the part that has people upset - it has meant the elimination of some parking spots on the street. This is understandably worrying to some residents and merchants.

As with any pilot project, there will certainly be glitches to work out, but at least this is happening in summer! The borough is encouraging residents who have parking spots behind their properties to use them instead of the street. Sounds reasonable. For those who come to the street to shop or eat, the borough is promising more free parking on side streets adjacent to Verdun avenue.

I understand that some people have limited mobility and no choice but to drive places. What if those of us who are able-bodied made an effort to leave the available parking spaces for them? Personally, the knowledge that there will be less parking on Verdun avenue is making me ask myself whether I really need to take my car. At least for the summer months, before reaching for the keys, I’m definitely going to ask myself,  “Can I walk, can I ride?” With any luck I’ll be in better shape when the summer’s over than I am now.

The most common complaint I hear is, “There are already two bike paths, along Champlain and along Lasalle boulevard. Why do we need another?”

The assumption behind this question seems to be that people just ride bikes for recreation or exercise and so they should be happy to stick to the picturesque paths along the river and the aqueduct. It ignores the fact that a lot of people use their bikes the same way you use your car. If a cyclist needs to get to the bank and the pharmacy on Verdun avenue, the Champlain bike path is of limited use to them. Many Verduners use bikes, especially in nice weather, to get to work, or take their kids to daycare; others ride their bikes to the metro and leave them there while they use public transit to go to work or do errands. Shouldn’t we be encouraging this kind of environmentally responsible behaviour? These cyclists are not the enemy of cars, they are people who otherwise might be fighting you for a parking spot!

It’s not like people didn’t already ride bikes on Verdun avenue. It’s much safer for all concerned to give them their own lane than to have everyone trying to share the same lane. The grisly truth – and one of the reasons for creating these lanes - is that there are on average two serious accidents per year involving cyclists on that street. Designated bike lanes are intended to make the street safer for everyone.

To those who say that cyclists don’t respect the rules of the road, I say, you’re right: there are as many reckless drivers on two wheels as there are on four. We all – including pedestrians – need to be reminded that we share the road, and that everybody just wants to get where they’re going in one piece. The borough is adding several new stop signs along Verdun avenue this month. All drivers and riders will be expected to observe them.

Even if you hate them, remember, the bike lanes will only be there for the summer and fall, the months when bicycle use is at its highest; by winter, the eliminated parking spaces will be restored. The borough of Verdun didn’t add these bike lanes without a lot of consultation. They will be evaluating the pilot project over the course of this first summer, and listening to legitimate criticisms and suggestions. In the meantime, let’s give it a chance.


Banner illustration is from a painting by Carole Spandau.

Words of love and gratitude

Dear SouthWest,

There are so many things I experienced in my time as your minister.
Many deeply emotional times.
Many celebrations of life for loved ones and friends.
Many newborn babies welcomed into the Christian family.
Many couples speaking their promises in our presence.
Many prayers seeking strength, courage, healing.
Many prayer shawls sending love to those in need.
Many meals, conversations, sharing our lives, needs and challenges.
Many transitions and changes.
Many worship services and hymns of praise.
In the midst of all of this is a generous love you gave me and my deep love and commitment towards each of you.

Last Sunday was a goodbye service at both SouthWest, honouring 20 years of ministry, and later that afternoon at St. Andrew’s, Delson, where I served 15 years as supervising minister. A lot of goodbyes, cards, words, hymns and profound joy.
The scripture I have carried these last few weeks are words that Paul wrote from prison to the Christian Community at Phillippi in Macedonia. (Philippians 1: 3-11, The Message). They speak of my feelings for you. 

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.

The service last Sunday ended with the lighting of the Christ Candle, and used these words that grew out of our experience of loss and faith over many years.

In darkness, there is light.
In sadness, there is hope.
And even at death there is light, love, and life everlasting

Dans les ténèbres, il y a de la lumière.
Dans la tristesse, il y a de l’espoir.
Dans la mort, il y a de la lumière, de l’amour, et la vie éternelle.

To these oft cited words and to those of Paul I say, we say:
Thanks be to God.

Rev. David

Thank you, Darlene McKenzie!

Darlene McKenzie came in to the Mission as a volunteer last November and has stuck around through all the weird changes of the last few months. That should tell you what an unflappable soul she is!

While I tried to keep up with day-to-day things, Darlene took on a couple of ongoing projects, most significantly, the archives. As we streamlined the office in preparation for the move to the church, it was decided that anything dating from before amalgamation (2007) should go to the UCC archives.

We got in touch with the archivist for our region, to get guidelines for what was actually wanted: things like registers, annual reports, meeting minutes etc. We had documents going back to 1899 in no particular order. I remember looking through them a few years ago with Shirley Mitchell and doing a bit of sorting and labeling, but basically we now had to go looking for the wheat to separate it from the chaff.

Darlene M. was the ideal person for the task. She chipped away at it for weeks until there were a dozen or so neatly labeled boxes ready to go.

There are some things we kept that aren’t going to Archives, either because they don’t fall under the guidelines, or because they’re not quite ready to go. Archives is interested in historical photographs, but they want them labeled with names if possible. We have a LOT of photographs, mostly without identification. We will be asking some church folk to look through them over the next months in hopes of filling in some blanks.

There are also a few documents and artifacts, found either at church or Mission, that I would like to share with you all at some point. In the fall, once Pastor Beryl has settled in, I’m hoping to have a small exhibit, probably in the church basement.


One of those artifacts is the cup pictured here. It reads: U.C.P. Annual Contest, 1926. There is no further explanation as to what the “P” in UCP stands for. Was this a contest in a specific sport? Ping-pong? Pétanque? More likely it stands for “United Church Picnic.” Anyway, on the other side of the cup, you can see that Centenary won the mystery contest in 1926, and then Verdun United - one of SouthWest’s predecessors - has been added as winner for 1927 and 1928 (Woot woot!). There was room for more years and winners to be added but unfortunately, further United Church exploits in the three-legged race and ring toss failed to be recorded for posterity.

But I digress. What I really want to say is Thank you to Darlene M. - for accomplishing this important work, sure - but also for being such good company while she did it.



SouthWest Annual BBQ June 22!

The Saturday of the St-Jean Baptiste weekend has long been an excuse for SouthWest congregation and friends to gather for a barbecue. Cooking is done outside, obviously, but there will be seating inside so this event is on, rain or shine! Of course we will pray for sun and encourage you to bring a lawn chair if you want to eat al fresco.

$5 suggested donation. Starts at noon, Saturday June 22nd.

Anyone interested in donating food should contact Dorothy at 514-366-6071.


Mini-market and June food calendars

Calendars showing where to enjoy community meals and other food programs are available to download below.

Tuesdays between 12:30 and 5PM, drop by and say hello to Sheila and Maurice at Dawson Boys and Girls Club (666 Woodland ave.). Here’s what the Mini-market will have for sale next week, June 11th.

                                          LBS.           KGS.          EACH     

APPLES,MACINTOSH                        .89             1.96

BANANAS                                           .70             1.54

CARROTS                                           .72              1.59

CAULIFLOWER                                                                       2.59

ENGLISH CUCUMBERS                                                          .83

GARLIC,QUEBEC                                                                    TBA

GRAPES                                          2.87              6.33

GREEN ONIONS                                                                     .54

MUSHROOMS,WHITE                  2.84              6.26

POTATOES                                       .50               1.10

TOMATOES, VINE RED                 2.07               4.79

Mini-Market May 28th @ Dawson

Drop by and say hello to Sheila and Maurice at Dawson Boys and Girls Club (666 Woodland ave.), on Tuesdays between 12 and 5PM. Here’s what they will be selling next week.

PRODUCE                                       LBS.            KGS.                  EACH

CARROTS                                      .68 LB.         1.50 KGS

POTATOES                                    .46 LB.         1.02 KGS

TOMATOES, ON VINES             1.89 LB.         4.16 KGS

ENGLISH CUCUMBERS                                                                  .83

SPANISH ONIONS                       .46 LB.         1.01 KGS

GREEN CABBAGE                       .81 LB.          1.78 KGS

MIXED PEPPERS                       2.05 LB.         4.52 KGS

WHITE MUSHROOMS              2.83 LB.         6.25 KGS

ICEBERG LETTUCE                                                                        1.47

APPLES, CORTLAND               1.18 LB.           2.60 KGS

CLEMENTINES                                                                                 .30

BANANAS, DOLE                        .76 LB.          1.68 KGS

CANTALOUPES                                                                              2.33

PEARS, BARTLETT                                                                        TBA

June 2nd, Mark your Calendar!

This is a reminder that June 2nd is Rev. David’s last service at SouthWest so it would be nice to see a lot of friendly faces in the pews. June 2nd is also the Tour de l’ile bicycle race and once again they are coming along Lasalle boulevard. If you’re driving to church, plan on coming via Champlain. If you take the bus, routes may be disrupted. We will have taxi chits available at church this Sunday (May 26) for anyone who wants to use one next Sunday. Taxi chits can also be picked up at the Mission, but please call ahead to make sure someone is there!

The service is at 10am, Sunday June 2nd, and farewell potluck begins around 11:30.

Minister's Message: The Way of Love

The Way of Love

Powerful, poetic and life changing words...

They were read last Saturday at Mystic United by Frances Jones at the celebration for her brother Stan Black, and the next day at the wedding of Cara and Yves at SouthWest. They are one of the most exquisite definitions of what love is and are based on how God in Jesus has loved us: with focus, assertiveness and sacrifice.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

(The Message, 1 Corinthians 13: 1,2,3-7.)

"Keeps going to the end.”
I like that. 

As I end 20 years of ministry with SouthWest (I am very conscious that I arrived when I was 39) the message Paul wrote to the congregation at Corinth resonates deeply. It roots me in the incarnation of love, of giving and receiving, of blessing and being blessed, of celebrating life and mourning deeply. It carries us from endings into new beginnings.

This poem invites each of us to be better than our natural inclinations. It models how Jesus lived, died and rose again : Love as I have loved you. (John 15: 12-15).

My role is to incarnate love in words and deeds, in prayers and celebration. There has been community, worship and ministry before me and there will be after.

Emmanuel is celebrating 175 years of ministry with an afternoon service and Gospel concert June 9th. A long history of love in action.

Beryl Barraclough, a Designated Lay Minister, will begin her ministry July 1st at SouthWest and will be a wonderful pastor. I will preach every Sunday in July and August at Emmanuel and root myself slowly in this new context. I am also determined to start a new garden and anticipate many hours toiling the soil.

In all our endings and new beginnings we live this ideal of love.

 In the following chapter (14:1) Paul begins with these words: Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does!

What a great exhortation for each of us.
The quality of our lives is measured by how we love.

Rev. David