Heat Wave and Remembrance

As the vulnerable succumbed to the extreme high heat this week across Quebec, we pause to remember them, some 33 who died.
We light our candle at worship and hold them, their friends and families in our hearts and prayers.
We ask that neighbours and community show concern for those who are alone, and that our remembrance be a commitment to love our neighbour as we love God and ourselves.

A Heat Wave Prayer:
God of creation,
may the glistening beads of sweat upon our brow, remind us of our baptismal promises;
may the slowing of our paces and practices,
remind us of the sacredness of each moment;
and may the sweltering waves of heated air,
remind us of your Spirit which moves amongst us. 
Keep safe those who work and those who play this day, as we tend to our neighbours in need. Amen.
(Diocese of Niagara, 2013)

Rev. David

We're still in for some more hot days. For tips on how to protect yourself during a heat wave, see this pamphlet from the government of Quebec:

Countdown to General Council

The 43rd General Council of the United Church of Canada takes place July 21st to 27th 2018 in Oshawa, Ontario. This is where many decisions will be made about the future of the church, including the election of a new Moderator. There are 10 candidates from nine different Conferences right across the country. Eight are ordained ministers; two are laypersons. You can read their bios on the General Council website:

The first two days of GC43 are devoted to the Festival of Faith, described as "a celebration of our work and witness through the arts".

What’s happening at the Festival?

  • Music: Experience inspiring performers at multiple stages. Enjoy a DJ, silent dance party and lip-sync competition.

  • Interactive art: Explore amazing art displays, including stories and images of over 80 projects supported by Embracing the Spirit, a new United Church learning network that you can get involved in. Join a Messy Fiesta and paint a pew!

  • Workshops: Be inspired by 25 workshops with leaders from across Canada.
  • Spirituality: Discover different ways to express your faith.
  • Coffee house: Enjoy the open mic experience, spoken word, poems, songs and more. Everyone is welcome to contribute.
  • Artisan market: Explore the market sprinkled with local artisans and social enterprises.
  • The Alvin Dixon Memorial Run/Walk: Start your second day of festival on the right foot at 8am with this 5km run / 2km walk event.

Follow the Festival of Faith on Facebook for details and

Minister's Message: Renovations and Changes

The SouthWest Office has physically closed for two months and the Mission for two weeks, until July 16. The office will adapt with the help of internet and function as best as it is able during this period. Be supportive during this change to our office administrator, Amy. Messages will be reviewed daily but there may not be a real live person answering your calls. I am available throughout the summer and include my cell below to facilitate communication during this time. These are significant renovations that will improve the fire safety of the former Woodland School and secure the Mission space more efficiently. As in all renovations there will be a mess! And the hope of getting to the other side one day.
I brought home six boxes of papers, files, and work that needs attention and sorting. I have a terrible habit of putting papers under my desk and losing files. So this is an opportunity to organize myself better I hope.
Shirley Mitchell has been our “office angel” some eleven years now, coming in at least two days a week. She has helped create the office filing system, has maintained our historic registers impeccably, and kept Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals on track. “Officially” Shirley “retires” as of this week. Unofficially she will remain an off-site consultant! She merits the deep, heartfelt gratitude of the SouthWest family for her commitment and dedication that have sustained us. We are grateful for the time and energy she devoted over the years to our Mission project. Your quiet efficiency, caring discretion and thoughtful opinions will be missed. Thank-you, Shirley.
Check out the summer schedule for SouthWest on this Blog (What’s open and closed/ Ce qui est ouvert) and invite friends to sign up to our newsletter to be kept informed of activities and changes.
When we know the start date of construction on Clémenceau you will be notified of our plan. Thank-you Keith and Darlene for attending the Verdun Borough's information session on our behalf.
My Bible inspiration comes from Proverbs 14: 23. 
Hard work always pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table!
For now,I return to the piles of papers needing attention.
And imagine the cleared desk when we return into the office at the end of the summer. 

Rev. David
514 567-7756


For National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21st)

In Canada, June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day. In the spirit of Reconciliation, we offer the following two prayers.

Let us Give Thanks to Our Creator

Let us give thanks to our Creator
for the Creator is always with us.

God is with us in the call of a loon
and in the flight of an eagle.

Our Creator is with us in the changing of the seasons.

God is with us when we gather together
and when we are alone.

Our Creator is with us in our giftedness
and in our search for new understandings of ourselves,
new visions of our communities.

Let us give thanks to God, our Creator.

—A prayer from The Dancing Sun (United Church of Canada/Anglican Church of Canada).

We Praise You for the Sacred Fires

God, Creator and Great Mystery, we praise you for the Sacred Fires that burn today and for the prayer-filled smoke that you receive and bless. We offer our deep gratitude that the Fire’s light informs and guides our journey. We pray, just as the Elders prayed, for renewal and for the restoration of beauty to the land and its people.

We acknowledge the diverse and abundant gifts of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. We recognize that their knowledge and wisdom have benefited generations past and present, and that this blessing will continue for generations to come. We remember the many who are committed to the healing of family, community, and nations.

We pray for Mother Earth, the waters, the winds, for our siblings the animals, birds, and fish, and all of life that surrounds us. We pray that we will walk the good Red Road of life, and that we will walk with courage, honesty, humility, love, respect, truth and wisdom.

We offer this prayer in humility and hope, and in the name, of our brother Jesus, the one who lights our path to wholeness, justice and peace. Amen.

—A prayer for Indigenous Day of Prayer by the Rev. Maggie Dieter, Executive Minister, Aboriginal Ministries and Indigenous Justice; and Bill Snow, Stoney Nakoda First Nation, Alberta, member of the Indigenous Justice and Residential School Committee.


Minister's Message: Fathers and Sons

Two of my most poignant moments on my recent pilgrimage to Israel 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 Dad, put his hand on the wall and prayed;
A Palestinian boy (8 years old) approaching me to sell a candy bar in a public square in Bethlehem, 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.
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 synagogue 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? To these three traditional Monotheistic faiths I would add the Sikh religion which also believes in One God.
On Sunday, June 24 there is a Mobile Brunch at SouthWest and the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, both in Crawford Park. We will break bread together at both locations and neighbours can visit our places of worship and prayer. This St. Jean Baptiste Mobile Brunch celebrates the diversity of religious traditions, communities of faith and a common humanity.
It is neighbour sharing with neighbour, breaking down walls so all children can see from our example that there is a place for everyone. This gathering resonates in the story of the Good Samaritan which asks, "who is my neighbour?"
You are. They are. We are.
May our small effort to meet our neighbours be about breaking down walls and opening dialogue.
May our efforts build kind and respectful community.
May we be open to share prayers together wherever we find ourselves.
May love of neighbour root us in the core message of inclusion that we teach our children.

In our repertory of hymns there is this one that affirms:

Though ancient walls may still stand proud and racial strife be fact,
Though boundaries may be lines of hate, proclaim God's saving act!
Walls that divide are broken down, Christ is our unity!
Chains that enslave are thrown aside, Christ is our liberty! 

                                                                                         (Walter Farquharson, 1974, VU 691)

May all fathers on this year’s Father’s Day 2018 teach this truth by example.

Rev. David

 Part of the wall that separates neighbours.

Part of the wall that separates neighbours.

Minister's message/ message du pasteur



I loved the idea when our choir director Sarah Fraser would include soup before concerts; I loved that a recent SouthWest conversation led by the worship ad hoc group began with home-made soup. Accompanied by fresh bread, hospitality and human exchange, soup can be a simple and delicious way to feed the body, mind and spirit.

Soup(e) + is an invitation to our francophone neighbours (and anyone who speaks French) to a soup “plus “ conversation with questions, songs and informal prayers. It is a link to the many who come to us and would appreciate a gathering in a spirit of welcome and non- judgment. It is experienced in the radical hospitality of Jesus, where “All are welcome, tous sont les bienvenues”. Sunday June 17th 12:30 at the Mission.

I leave today on a pilgrimage to the land of the faith of my ancestors. I go to taste and experience the Holy Land with my Bible in hand, an open heart and excitement.
I will carry you in my prayers at the many places of pilgrimage I will visit. 
Vous êtres tous dans mes prières pendant ce pèlerinage en Terre Sainte.

Rev. David


Un moment d’échange informel autour d’un bol de soupe maison.
Une rencontre pour nourrir le corps, l’âme et l'esprit par une conversation honnête et franche. Toute question est permise. Nous cherchons à cheminer dans la foi, l'amour et l’espérance.
Au programme : un chant, une prière du cœur, de l’écoute et du soutien.
Et on se quittera avec la connaissance d'autres personnes qui cherchent, elles aussi, la justice en résistant au mal à la manière de Jésus.

Bienvenue à tous et toutes : dimanche le 17 juin 2018, à 12h30
Mission du Sud-Ouest, 631 Melrose, Verdun. 
Contact: Judith


Minister's Message: Happy Birthday Church

At Meli-Melo this Sunday, we will be celebrating the birth of the church at Pentecost  (see below). The coming of the Spirit onto the rag-tag group of early disciples, facing fear and reprisal from established Religion and Empire, was a turbulent and chaotic time. Jesus their Leader was gone and they were alone. As people from many nations gathered in Jerusalem the Spirit descended with 'fire', imbuing Jesus' disciples with the courage and ability to communicate good news to all assembled. They spoke words of gospel and continued Jesus' ministry by healing the sick and building a vibrant community of faith which met in homes. Pentecost 'fire' ignited a movement that continues into our time.

How appropriate that, as we celebrate the birthday of the Christian Church at Pentecost, we also have the opportunity this Saturday to be part of the ministry celebration of Montreal & Ottawa Conference and participate in the ordination of Joëlle Leduc. She will be ordained into the ministry of preaching, sacrament and pastoral care. Her journey of many years is one of growing in faith, learning, leading worship, being an elder and a student. Much work, many joys, great challenges.

Joëlle is 'homegrown': over the years she led our breakfast club, organized our office, was our youth group leader and moved into places of youth ministry in Presbytery, Conference and with the wider United Church. When Joëlle joined us we were still Verdun and Crawford Park. Her arrival coincided with our amalgamation and mission plan. SouthWest, through transition and transformation, birthed vocation and ministry. When she is ordained Saturday there will be great shouts of joy, I anticipate your shouts being added to mine: Alléluia! Alleluia!! Alléluia!!!

The Christian Church is alive and well all around the world as a witness to a living faith; we too are followers of Jesus' way. The apostle Paul writes that while there are many members of the body there is but one Body of Christ. In another passage he says Christ is the Head of the Church.

Wherever God is leading SouthWest we have the assurance of Spirit present in our midst:

Spirit who imbues with courage to face all challenges.
Spirit who calls into ministry Joëlle, Beryl, Marco and so many more.
Spirit who helps us to be a vibrant ministry and church amid transitions and change.

Thanks be to God!

Rev. David

Join us Sunday May 27th at 12:30 at the Mission, 631 Melrose. All are welcome!


Félicitations/ Congratulations Joëlle!

We are so proud of Joëlle, whom we have watched grow in faith and ministry these last eleven years. For those who don`t know her, a short bio is printed below. Hear her testimony about the transformation of the church on the Conference website by clicking the button below.

On est tellement fier de Joëlle. Nous avons été témoins de sa croissance en foi et ministère depuis onze ans. Écoutez son témoignage sur la transformation de l'église sur le site web du Synode Montréal et Ottawa en cliquant le bouton. Pour ceux qui ne la connaissent pas, vous pouvez lire une courte biographie en bas de cette page.

I am a francophone Québecoise from a non-practicing Catholic family.  I discovered the United Church in my mid-twenties when I was looking for an open and welcoming milieu to explore my faith.  I rapidly felt home at South-West United (in Verdun).  I became involved first in the choir, and then in the youth group where I discovered my vocation.  My partner and I met at a United Church Youth Forum, when we were both animators for our respective churches.  We are now married and mothers of a one and a half year-old little girl.

Je suis une Québécoise francophone issue d’une famille catholique non pratiquante. J’ai découvert l’Église Unie à la mi-vingtaine alors que je recherchais un milieu ouvert et accueillant pour explorer ma foi. Je me suis rapidement sentie chez moi à l’Église Unie du Sud-Ouest (à Verdun). Je m’y suis impliquée d’abord dans la chorale, puis dans le groupe de jeunes où j’ai découvert ma vocation. Ma conjointe et moi nous sommes rencontrées dans un Forum jeunesse de l’Église Unie, alors que nous étions toutes deux animatrices jeunesse pour nos églises respectives. Nous sommes maintenant mariées et mères d’une petite fille d’un an et demi.

Minister's Message: Mother's Day 2018

 Rev. David (right), his son Luke and mother Joy.

Rev. David (right), his son Luke and mother Joy.

Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 13th.

Mom and I are going to Boston for the May long weekend, a mini adventure. I am grateful to still have my 90-years-young mother, who is going to experience my garden this weekend, attend the Spring Fling at the Mission and be part of worship this Sunday.
My Grandmothers and Mom are relationships that taught me much about life and faith, they are a precious inheritance.
I found this prayer that blesses all mothers, including mine, and share it with you.
Rev. David

Gracious God,We thank you for adopting us into your family through the miracle of your grace, and for calling us to be brothers and sisters to each other.

Today, loving God, we pray for our mothers:
• who cared for us when we were helpless
• who comforted us when we were hurt
• whose love and care we often took for granted.

Today, mothering God, we pray for:
• those who are grieving the loss of their mother,
• those who never knew their biological mother, and now yearn for her
• those who have experienced the wonder of an adopted mother's love
• those mothers and families separated by war or conflict.
Lord, give them all a special blessing this Mother’s Day!


Prière pour la fête des mères


La prière qui suit est une ressource de l'Église Unie du Canada.



Dieu, nous nommons avec amour ces mères de notre foi :

Agar, à la peau noire, servante de Sara, assise confiante sous le soleil du désert.
Nous nous souvenons de son oppression.

Léa, à la vision défaillante, celle qu’on ne désire pas.
Nous nous souvenons de sa souffrance d’être rejetée.

Anne, qui a offert son fils à Élie, le prêtre, pour être élevé au Temple.
Nous nous souvenons de son sacrifice.

La prostituée sans nom, en marge de la société.
Nous nous souvenons de son grand amour pour son enfant.

Marie, la mère de Jésus, qui regarda son fils mourir sur la croix.
Nous nous souvenons de sa douleur, et de la tienne…

Dieu, qui aime tant, qui a permis à ton fils, Jésus, de mourir afin que nous vivions.
Nous te rendons grâces et louanges.

Nous nous souvenons de celles qui voient souffrir leurs enfants, de celles qui perdent leurs enfants dans des accidents ou à cause d’une maladie.

Nous nous souvenons de celles dont les enfants sont torturés et tués par les autorités au pouvoir. Nous nous souvenons des femmes du Chili rassemblées sur la place publique en protestation face à la disparition de leurs fils et de leurs maris.

Nous pensons aux femmes du Vénézuéla qui prient pour que leurs enfants aient suffisamment de nourriture et d’eau potable.

Nous pensons aux mères d’Afrique du Sud qui se réjouissent pour leurs enfants.

Nous pensons aux mères du Mali qui pleurent pour leurs enfants.

Nous nous souvenons de tous ceux et celles, partout dans le monde, qui s’efforcent de laisser en héritage à leurs enfants un environnement sain.

Nous célébrons les mères et les pères, qu’ils soient en couple ou monoparentaux, qui font chaque jour de leur mieux pour répondre au défi d’élever des enfants.

Nous célébrons celles qui sont pour nous des mères en esprit, qui nous ont nourris, et celles qui continuent à soutenir notre croissance par leur amour et leur don de soi.

En silence, nommons et rendons grâces pour nos mères et toutes celles qui ont contribué à notre croissance. (silence)

Dans le Christ, nous prions : Notre Père et Mère…

[C.A.-Byers, 2002, Traduction: Denis Fortin]