June 25 Mini-market

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 25th.

                                          LBS.           KGS.          EACH     

CARROTS                                     .72               1.60
CAULIFLOWER                                                                    2.58
ENGLISH CUCUMBERS                                                        .83
GREEN ONIONS                                                                    .56
SPANISH ONIONS                      .77               1.69
RED PEPPERS                          2.15              4.73
CHEF WHITE POTATOES          .58               1.27
TOMATO HYDRO                      1.29               2.85
WHITE  MUSHROOMS             2.84               6.25
GRANNY SMITH APPLES                                                    .55
BANANAS, TURBANA              .77             1.71
CLEMENTINES                                                                     .26

National Indigenous Peoples Day

Friday June 21st, is National Indigenous Peoples Day. As you know, the final report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women was issued earlier this month. It is a monster of a report, some 1200 pages. Out of that, unfortunately, some of us have heard only one word, “genocide”.

It is upsetting for us to hear our country – and ourselves, as Canadians – accused of such a crime. But we must try to remember that this report is not about us and our hurt feelings. It is about communities from coast to coast to coast living in intolerable poverty, lacking medical care, and still suffering the fallout from Residential Schools.

What does all of that have to do with Missing and Murdered women, you might ask; shouldn’t the report have stayed focused on them? I believe the writers of the report could not honour those women and girls without putting their stories into the larger context.

Instead of squabbling over a single word, can we take the opportunity of this Indigenous Peoples Day to simply acknowledge that we as a country need to do better? By the way, nobody is saying that Indigenous peoples have a monopoly on suffering, but they have had collective experiences that most non-Indigenous Canadians have not. If you don’t believe me, next time you meet a First Nations, Inuit or Metis person, ask them if their family has been touched by murder or violent death. I can almost guarantee you the answer will be yes.

Find out about the United Church of Canada’s commitment to Reconciliation and Justice as well as other social justice initiatives of the church here.

An Early History of our Building


In 1997, Crawford Park United put out a booklet titled, 50 Years of Memories. It is a treasure trove of photos, reminiscences and a poem or two. I may be sharing other bits and pieces from it in the coming weeks, but for today, here is a slightly edited text, author unknown, probably written in the 1950s, that recounts the origins of the congregation and the building we now occupy. Note that it was only the basement level of the church that was completed in 1947; the “superstructure” including what is now the sanctuary, was not completed until 1952. How interesting to learn that there was once a “little red schoolhouse” at the corner of Lloyd-George and Churchill, especially since the newly-built CSMB school, Annexe Crawford, now occupies the block of Churchill between Clemenceau and Lloyd-George!
It is important to note that what is now known as SouthWest United came about through the amalgamation of Verdun United and Crawford Park United churches, congregations which had earlier absorbed members from Chalmers and First Presbyterian. Thus, the text below is not a complete history of SouthWest, but it is a history of our building at 1445 Clemenceau in Verdun, and a glimpse of the Crawford Park community of days gone by. - Amy

The Early days

Although the structure that was to become Crawford Park United Church was not begun until 1947, the actual community of faith began to form much earlier. This small group of people who met in the little red schoolhouse would eventually form the nucleus of CPUC.

In the growing community of Crawford Park, a dozen or so faithful souls felt the need to gather together on Sundays to worship in some form of the Protestant faith. Permission was secured to use the two classrooms of the little red schoolhouse then standing on the corner of Lloyd George and Churchill Avenues. The Rev. Wilkinson came out to lead these services each Sunday beginning in the early 1940s and continuing until 1944. As time went on about 34 to 45 hardy citizens braved the pioneer conditions prevailing in the schoolhouse and supplied the enthusiasm and fellowship that more than made up for any lack of comfort.

As the word spread that a service was held each Sunday, the congregation sometimes filled all the desks and available chairs and those in charge at the door would hurriedly borrow kitchen chairs from the nearest homes to seat the overflow.

Begun as a joint community Church to serve the needs of the Protestant people of Crawford Park and neighbouring environs, the present building was begun in 1947. With such funds as could be given or pledged by members, adherents and friends and with the help of the Home Mission Board of the United Church of Canada, the group meeting in the little red schoolhouse planned and prepared the basement of what was later to be completed as the splendid Church which now stands on Clemenceau Avenue. A six-roomed manse was constructed as well, and in February of 1948 the congregation began to hold its meetings in the basement hall of its own building.

After Mr. Wilkinson gave up the charge in the fall of 1944, the Rev. Meech carried on. The Rev. J.K. Brown took overall responsibility for the Church and filled in when needed. During the period from 1944 to 1947 the Rev. O. Stevens, Rev. Starkey and Rev. Williams supplied leadership briefly. The Rev. Douglas Reed, the Rev. W. Morris and the Rev. R. Purvis Smith came for somewhat lengthier periods. In 1947 Rev. J.C. Downing came from Greenfield Park and continued services in the schoolhouse and then took charge of the Church congregation preaching there in the morning and travelling to St. Jerome in the afternoon to hold evening services there.

Sunday School sessions began simultaneously with the Church services and continued diligently through the years offering leadership and training in Christian living to all children in the vicinity. The first Sunday School party was held in 1942 in the schoolhouse, and these festivities became an annual event. In 1948 the party was held in the present Church basement hall.

in 1944, the Women’s Auxiliary (W.A.) was organized under the leadership of Mrs. Oke and Mrs. Hepworth and the group held regular monthly meetings in the homes. Soon the membership and popularity of this organization made a larger meeting place imperative, and in 1948 the basement hall made it possible to extend the hospitality and interest of this group.

Late in 1944, the Women’s Missionary Society (W.M.S.) was begun under the leadership of Mrs. Maud Hall, gradually assuming responsibility for the extension of spiritual welfare in missionary work and younger groups.

C.G.I.T., Explorer and Mission Band groups were formed to serve the needs of girls from ages 6 to 16. Cubs and Boy Scouts began to meet weekly in the hall.

Beginning with a piano and a small group to lead the singing in the schoolhouse, the choir met faithfully and unceasingly to prepare music to enhance the atmosphere of worship as the congregation moved on from the schoolhouse to the basement hall. It was very fortunate that upon completion of the Church and the gift of an electric organ from the Men’s Club, a gifted and willing organist Mr. W. Hindle arrived in the district. Under the leadership and training of Mr. Hindle the music of the services contributed much to the enjoyment of the congregation.

from: Crawford Park United Church, 1947-1997: 50 Years of Memories

Let This be the Last Inquiry

The following is a response from the United Church of Canada to the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

We renew our pledge to be good relations,
and we ask the whole of the church to pray.

On June 3, we witnessed a historic event with the release of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

In a letter to The United Church of Canada, Moderator the Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Bott and the Rev. Maggie Dieter, Executive Minister, Indigenous Ministries and Justice, urge non-Indigenous members and friends of the United Church to

  • read the final report of the Inquiry

  • advocate for the actions it demands of government

  • explore how each of us, individually and as communities of faith, will make the changes necessary to ensure the dignity and safety of Indigenous peoples in this country

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.