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The Trailblazer

Free to start over: Daily Message from St. Dunstan's: July 21, 2020

Posted 4:29 PM by
Today's Message from
St. Dunstan's
July 21, 2020
From the Rector
Dear friends,
This morning I hit a wall.
I had been doing pretty well recently, all things considered: My family and I enjoyed a lovely vacation together earlier this month; we made some good progress at this week's Regathering Team meeting (see below); and it finally rained last night. Hallelujah! I woke up this morning feeling optimistic about the day ahead, and I was delighted to have a few minutes for coffee on the front porch with my husband before heading up to shower. I practically whistled on my way out the door.
And then it happened: No sooner did I sit down and rest my mug on the table next to me when, much to my horror, I looked up to see that my big, beautiful hibiscus plant - the same plant that I lovingly nurture inside all fall and winter and that just yesterday was full and lush and studded with buds about to pop - had been attacked. Stripped down. Decimated. Immediately the words from last Sunday's Gospel leapt to mind: "An enemy has done this!" I was devastated. At first I wanted to cry, but I pretty quickly got angry - irrationally, completely out of proportion to the crime, angry.
I stormed back into the house and began Googling frantically to see if there was any hope of salvaging my poor plant. Sadly, it doesn't look good - at least for this summer. I most likely won't see hibiscus blooms again until next year, if at all. I did also consider taking out a contract on the perpetrator. (I am not much of a gardener, and this once-beautiful hibiscus was my singular horticultural achievement, so this was war.) But how could I possibly be mad at Bambi? I needed to get a grip.
I decided to check email to distract myself, and that's when I was reminded of God's spectacular timing (not to mention impish sense of humor). There in my Inbox, with the subject line "Your Daily Reminder," was a message from one of the many spiritual writers I follow. Here's what it said:
You are free to start over,
even though you are waiting.
Even though you have uncertainty.
It doesn't matter how long you have been here.
It doesn't matter how many times you feel like you have failed.
Today is brand new, and so are you,
and it is filled with a thousand opportunities
to let the Light pour through.
~ Morgan Harper Nichols
At that moment all I could do was laugh: I laughed at myself, for my extreme reaction; I laughed at the hungry deer who saw an opportunity for a banquet and seized it; and I laughed at this pandemic, which has caused so much loss and heartache (and which probably was the real source of my misdirected anger in the first place).
Don't get me wrong: I was still really frustrated that my woodland friend helped him- or herself to my prized plant (and continue to be...), but I also got the message. I heard God inviting me, in God's gentle-yet-clear way, to let go of the things I can't control. I was free to start over, if I chose. It was up to me.
Once I could identify what was really bothering me, it didn't have power over me any more - at least not for the time being. (I have no delusions that I won't work myself up into a state again sometime soon.) And guess what? I had a pretty good day - despite myself, despite Bambi, and despite this pandemic.
I hope that you were able to laugh a little today, too, and I wish you a peaceful, restful night ahead.
Update from the Regathering Team
The St. Dunstan's Regathering Team is hard at work preparing for the time - hopefully in the not-too-distant future - when we will be able to worship together again in person. During our weekly meeting last night we finished drafting a proposal for outdoor worship, which we will submit to the Diocese for approval later this week. Assuming that the Bishop and review committee give us the green light, we will hope to offer a simple service of Morning Prayer in the upper parking lot on Sunday, August 9 - weather permitting, of course. The Vestry and I will be in touch with more specifics about the service and our regathering protocol as that date draws closer.
In the meantime, there is much work to be done to ready our campus for safe onsite worship. Even if you don't (yet) feel comfortable participating in an in-person service, might you be able to volunteer some time helping us to prepare (while maintaining physical distance)? There will be many jobs to do, from making signs to helping to plan services to measuring and marking the parking lot, to...you name it. If you are willing to help, we'll find just the right task for you!
Please consider prayerfully what you might like to do to help with our regathering effort; you can let me know at rector@stdunstansbethesda.org.
Thank you to Carl Adams, Karen Edwards, Frenchie Gogos, Vince Leonard, and Rosi Sweeney for your faithful ministry on the Regathering Team...Your fellow parishioners and I are very grateful!
Last Call!
Please send photos and videos of life at St. Dunstan's

Thanks to the Rev. Maryetta Anschutz, Founder of My Blueprint, LLC, we have an opportunity to refresh our website so that it both welcomes visitors and newcomers and provides more useful information to current parishioners. (Blueprint describes itself as "a creative agency that focuses on innovative media and fundraising strategies.") Building on the good preliminary work done by parishioner Chuck Cash and Parish Administrator Kim Matthews earlier this year, Blueprint now is creating a design board to help us reimagine how we communicate our life together in this parish.
This is where you come in: Last month Maryetta brought in her professional photographer to take some shots of the church and grounds, but now she needs recent photos of our church community - preferably with smiling faces! Unfortunately, we only had about six months together before the pandemic made us close our doors, but a lot happened during that time: regular weekly worship, the Blessing of the Animals, the Haunted House and Oktoberfest, Jazz Masses, our Celebration of New Ministry, Christmas services, Bokamoso's visit, the Annual Parish Meeting, etc. What have you got? We'll take it!
Please send your photos - and videos, if you have them - directly to me at rector@stdunstansbethesda.org by tomorrow, July 22, if possible. I would like to forward them to Maryetta on Thursday so that the Blueprint design team can get to work.
Thank you so much!
Parish Prayer List
For healing, strength, and protection:
Donna Almon
Nancy Bancroft
Richard and Florence Banks
Angie Blake-Moore
Phil Carroll
Bill Darnell
Kenny Farnsworth 
Warren Green
Anja Hein
Barbara and John Hocker
The Rev. Deacon Fergie Horvath
Jason and Amy Krill and their family
The Rev. Deacon Julie Petersmeyer
Pam Plaisance
Curt Shively
Allison Spaulding
Lina Verville
Pat von Rautenkranz
Don Wasseman
May she rest in peace, and rise in glory:
Jane Beach,
friend of Frenchie Gogos

This Week at St. Dunstan's
Tomorrow Morning: Bible Study
On Wednesday, July 22, at 10:30 a.m., we continue our study of the Acts of the Apostles, and we hope you will join us! We meet via Zoom: if you would like to participate, please just click on this link; the Meeting ID is 326 468 549. 
Tomorrow Evening: Weekly Compline
Compline, sometimes referred to as the "Goodnight Prayer of the Church," will be said Wednesday, July 22, at 8:30 p.m., and we hope you will join us! The Zoom link for Compline may be found here (Meeting ID:570 537 096)
Friday Morning: Morning Prayer
Join Robin for Morning Prayer at 7 a.m. on Friday, July 24, via Zoom. To participate in the service, simply click here
Friday Afternoon: Community Fellowship Time
Come join your St. Dunstan's friends for an hour or so of connection and conversation! Use this Zoom link on Friday, July 24, at 5 p.m.  (Meeting ID: 842 3801 8662)
Sunday Morning: Sunday Worship with St. Dunstan's
Please plan to join your sisters and brothers in Christ for worship via Zoom and Facebook Live next Sunday, July 26, 2020 at 10 a.m. To participate in the Zoom meeting, please use this link, which will go live beginning at 9:50 a.m.; the Meeting ID is 826 4027 2649.  Immediately following worship, stay online for Coffee Hour to connect with your St. Dunstan's friends!
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