Meet Carolyn Ruda, LLWL

Carolyn Ruda is the Montreal and Ottawa Conference Mission and Service Support at The United Church of Canada. She is also a Licensed Lay Worship Leader who will be leading worship at SouthWest on Sunday, November 25th. Here she is, in her own words:


“I grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick where I learned to be friendly, positive, helpful, if a little talkative some times. If you have ever been to the east coast you will understand where I get it from. I grew up in my grandparent’s house where everyone was very actively involved in all aspects of church life. “Love thy neighbour” was the thread that wove through everything we did.

 My ex husband was in the Air Force so my three children, (April, Sheri and Robert,) were raised to have pride of country on military bases across Canada. Despite the constant moves, and times of separation due to military exercises we valued the opportunity to live in different locations and experience life from diverse outlooks in Canada. When my children were in their teens my ex and I divorced, this meant spending ten challenging years as a single parent with three jobs, one of them being a Church Administrator at a United Church in Ottawa. By reading the Mission and Service resources I became really impressed by the work being done here and around the world. As a strong Mission and Service believer, I jumped at the chance to be the Mission and Service Support person for the Conference. In 1999 I married Gordon, my encourager, support person, proof reader, and driver. Gordon has three children, (Howard, Stephen and Emily.) Between us we are blessed with fifteen grandchildren, and one great granddaughter. They give us such joy.  

 These days I keep myself and Gordon busy with my roles as Chair, Conference Stewardship, Mission and Service Support, and Licensed Lay Worship Leader. In all my roles my desire is that the lectionary readings come alive to those listening. Whether I am composing a message about Mission and Service or Stewardship I want those listening to feel God’s presence in the world they are living in right now. It is the incredibly rewarding part of my life; I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”

 We can’t wait to meet you, Carolyn!

Hometown heroes

Our Hometown Hero Bill Buchanan, a WW2 vet, is 103 years old and still going.


Here is his early enlistment photo into RCO (Royal Canadian Ordnance). When overseas he would be in the Royal Canadian Electrical/Mechanical Engineers. No wonder Myrtle feel in love with this handsome young man!


The second picture shows Bill with is brother Donald overseas. Location unknown.


Finally, here’s Bill with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Remembrance Ceremonies in Ottawa in 2017.

Do you have a Hometown Hero we should know about (from Verdun, LaSalle, surrounding communities)? Send us a picture and a few words and we will share it here!

Minister's Message: The Ritual of Remembrance

There are many rituals that help express remembrance. A visit to the cemetery, the lighting of a candle, familiar music, a prayer, standing in silence.

In the history of the Jewish people is the story of the crossing of the Jordan river. The priests carried the Covenant Box and, as they put their feet into the river, its flow stopped, letting the people cross into the promised land. Joshua, Moses’ successor, ordered the placing of a monument: 12 rocks taken from the middle of the Jordan, one for each tribe, as a sign of this miracle.

These stones will remind you what the Lord has done. In the future, when your children ask what these stones mean to you, you will tell them what happened here. (Joshua 4: 6-7)

When your children ask: Why these stones? What does it mean to die? Where are my grandparents? Who are these soldiers? What is a Cenotaph? You tell what these symbols mean, who these photographs are, and talk about the connection we have to our past. You talk about the flow of the River of Life, from millennia past into years to come. You tell the story of faith.

Creating rituals of remembrance tells the stories of those we have known and loved. They root each generation in the history of those who have gone before. They remind us of the River’s constant flow and the vulnerability of our lives. And in the remembrance, its silence and symbolism is the security of knowing we are not alone. As God led our ancestors, God meets us today in the ebb and flow of our lives. As love carried them, it carries us.

When our children ask, Why these poppies? We tell of those lives remembered, of grandfathers, fathers, sisters, neighbours dying in far off places. We tell their stories through poetry, photos, personal memories, and we ritualize that remembrance by wearing a poppy and laying wreaths.

It was my honour to pray the following prayer at the Cenotaph in Verdun last Sunday and will be my privilege to participate at the Cenotaph service on Remembrance Day in Cowansville. This prayer comes from my experiences of pilgrimage to war cemeteries and memorials in Italy, France, Belgium and Germany and the 100th anniversary at Vimy Ridge in 2017. It honours my father, Ernest Lefneski (a WW2 five year veteran) Uncle Bill (killed when his plane was shot down over the English Channel) and grandfather, William Geddes (WW1). In the rituals of remembrance we keep alive the stories of those whose courage, faith and love are celebrated for each new generation.


Into this Remembrance we gather as citizens, neighbours and friends.
En ce moment de souvenirs nous nous rassemblons en tant citoyens, voisins et amis.

Each of us speaks in the prayer language of our hearts and within our human and faith traditions.
Chacun de nous parle le langue de prière de nos cœurs, et selon nos traditions humaines et de foi.

God, on this day, in our remembrance, listening and gratitude,
we determine for these now voiceless:

Dieu, en ce jour, dans le souvenir collectif, l'écoute et la gratitude,
nous nous engageons pour ceux qui n'ont plus de voix:

To speak for truth and justice,
to resist evil wherever it is found,
to seek peace always, in our words and in our deeds!

À parler pour la vérité et la justice,
à résister au mal, la où il se trouve,
à toujours rechercher la paix, en actes et en paroles!

Hear our prayer for all here remembered.
Entend notre prière pour tous ceux dont nous faisons mémoire.

Hear our prayer of peace for all peoples of our earth.
Écoute notre prière de paix pour tous les peuples de notre terre.


Lest we forget.


Rev. David


Rev. David prays at the Cenotaph in front of Verdun Borough hall last Sunday. 

Church Notes


Clemenceau has been paved. Work crews finished paving in the dark Thursday night at 6:30pm Thank-you roving reporter Vernon for the update!!!

As the days grow shorter, as the nights become longer and colder, the heart knows that this begins a time of turning inward, a time of rest, a time to conserve energy for the new growth, the new life which will burst forward, once again, with the turning of the season to spring. 
- DLM Beryl.

This season lets look at our personal commitments and energy as a faith community. Set some time aside to reflect individually and collectively on the resources we have and how we might offer them to our faith community.  It is time when we think about how we will commit our time, experience, insight and financial resources towards our ministry and leadership .
- Darlene Chair of Council

The next women's circle will be on Sunday November 11 following fellowship at the church at around 11:30 . It will be led by Beryl. With Hope and Remembrance within the circle.

Thank-you for all those contributing to our soup lunch last week following our Welcome Back Musical Sunday $96.00 was raised for Breakfast Club. Thank-you clean-up crew/AKA worship team for coordinating the return to the sanctuary.

Mini-marché 7 nov. / Mini-market Nov. 7

Many harvest goodies on sale next Wednesday at the Mission. Come by between 10:30 and 3:30. Welcome Wednesday lunch is served at 12:30. Your donations allow it to continue!

De la bonté de la récolte en vente mercredi prochain à la Mission. Passez entre 10h30 et 15h30. N’oubliez pas que le dîner est servi à 12h30. Vos dons généreux nous permettent de continuer à offrir ces repas.

SouthWest Music: Remembrance and Hope

For the important service on Sunday November 11, SouthWest Music has planned some special music involving the choir - with friends and guests well-known to our community. Octavio, Katherine, Roman and Justin will all be with us, and someone I look  forward to introducing to you: Jenna Dennison. She is a young composer, pianist, and bagpiper and she lives in Verdun. She has arranged In Flanders Fields to a celebrated piece of music by Purcell for our singers, violin and tuba, and it really is very beautiful.

The service will blend traditional music with thoughtful contrasts, and we hope you come to listen, remember and reflect with us.

Minister's Message: We Remember

I heard a voice saying,

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord for they rest from their labours.”  (Revelation 14:13)

 I have always found the most challenging of seasons the transition of the summer to fall. The darkening days, more layers of clothing, no more sandals. I am particularly sad to put my garden to bed for the coming winter, this year more than ever as it is my last winter in my house. Is it true that with endings there are new beginnings?

This is a season of remembering, of living transitions, of letting go. I have enjoyed the incredible colours of the fall foliage as I travel through the hills near Cowansville. Spectacular vistas. Leaves are at their most vibrant just before they die and fall to the earth to compost into the soil that will nurture future growth.

We remember that on the night of October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany, beginning what became known as the Protestant Reformation. Luther chose this night knowing that people would be attending church the next day – All Saints Day – and would read his statements that would disturb the religious status quo.

We remember the saints with Christians from around the world at All Saints (November 1). This term as used in the New Testament refers to Christians collectively, as well as those people of special significance who have been set apart by the church or canonized. Many cemeteries have special memorials, as do hospitals and residences around this time of year.

We remember the ending of two great wars and the millions who died in these and other conflicts, both military and civilian. On November 11 ceremonies, wreaths and poppies are a part of our gratitude and solemn gatherings.

In the midst of these is All Hallows’ Eve, the eve of All Saints that over time became shortened to Halloween. Tracing its roots to an ancient Celtic day of the dead known as Samhain this more commercial North American costuming is for most simply an enjoyable relief to the darkening days and changing season.

The fall colours, so beautiful and so fleeting, mirror the cycle of our lives and the challenge of our grief, which is to remember, to treasure, and also to let go. As Christians we know this cycle of endings and new beginnings. We celebrate a hope rooted in Christian faith where death does not have the final word, where there is a rest from labours for those who have died. God holds them close in grace and we in a holy remembrance in our hearts.

Remembrance roots us with gratitude in the past but gives us courage to change the world as peace makers who follow Jesus’ vision of inclusion and love.

Sylvia Dunstan wrote a lovely hymn of remembrance in Voices United 494, Those Hearts We Have Treasured (often sung to the tune of Stand Up! Stand Up for Jesus!):

Those hearts that we have treasured,
those lives that we have shared,
those loves that walked beside us,|
those friends for whom we've cared,
              their blessing rests upon us,
              their life is memory,
              their suffering is over,
              their spirits are set free.

They still give hope and comfort,
they did not lose the fight,
they showed us truth and goodness,
they shine into our night.

                Remember days of gladness;
                remember times of joy;
                remember all the moments
                that grief can not destroy.

 In this season of remembrance we give thanks and trust in God.

Rev. David