Refugee Outreach

Posted 7:23 PM by


Refugee Welcome Kits:  We have a very generous response and the welcome kit items (e.g., household necessities like linens, table ware, kitchen equipment, cleaning and toiletry items and baby supplies) are collecting in the foyer.  We hope to take the first wave of kits to Lutheran Social Services within the next week or ten days.  We will continue collecting Welcome Kits for several more weeks. (Flyers itemizing the kits are available near the Refugee Kits sign on the table).   Additional participation opportunities are on the horizon with Lutheran Social Services, St Columba's and International Rescue Committee.  

Also, thanks to all of our neighbors and friends (who don't attend St Dunstan's) who are participating and also spreading the words to their friends and congregations.  Good News is contagious!

For further information, contact Ray Donnelly (301-320-6146).




Posted 7:27 PM by
Many members of St Dunstan's and many of our neighbors have begun to collect "Welcome Kits" for refugee families coming to this area. You can help these families get started with their new lives by providing "welcome kit" items for their households. Kits of these types are needed: Toiletries, Cleaning supplies, kitchen set up, baby supplies, household linens and tableware. 
For details, see the "Sign-up Genius" at the website
and choose the items you can supply. There, you can see what has been pledged and what is still needed.  Remember, we will be making more than one of each kit, so duplicate kits are welcome. (Thanks to Jessica Ault for setting up this service.) 
Just bring your items to St Dunstan's and leave them under the table in our foyer, near the stairway.  We will be delivering accumulated items to the refugee agency (Lutheran Social Services) periodically. 
Join the mailing list for this project: Call or email Ray Donnelly at 43raydon@gmail.com or 301-320-6146.



Outreach: Thanksgiving Dinner Baskets

Posted 4:41 PM by



Outreach News

Posted 4:52 PM by

Education = Hope
St. Dunstan's is now sponsoring 4 children through this wonderful program! This is great news and even better news for the children that will be able to attend school this year because of the generosity of the people of this congregation. One of these scholarships is made possible through our Outreach budget and three through individuals giving through St. Dunstan's, either for an entire year or grouped together to support one child. Another parishioner is sponsoring a child directly through this organization. All moneys donated through St. Dunstan's or directly to E=H are given to the ministry sites and used exclusively for the children. The sponsorship of one child creates changes for the entire family.
Sandwich Making for Martha's Table
A new ministry endeavor is about to begin at St. Dunstan's! Once each month during our formation time all members of the congregation will be able to come together to learn about needs within our local community and make sandwiches to feed the hungry in DC. 
The Outreach Committee has authorized the money to begin this project and we will be making 200 sandwiches for the next four months. We hope to have so many hands that we can increase that number in the next calendar year. 
So mark your calendar now for the last Sunday of each month! Our first day is September 27 beginning at 9:50 a.m. We will also get to learn from Ryan Palmer, Director of Community Outreach at Martha's Table. 
To learn more about this outreach ministry to the DC area click here


Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington
In preparation of expanding the program hours in the near future, Samaritan ministry is anticipating some changes to their volunteer needs. Extended hours will require additional Volunteer Caseworkers, Front Office Coordinator (FOC), Computer Mentor, and Resume Writers. All of these positions can be performed at a minimum of one day a week, between the hours of 9 a.m.-1 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering with Samaritan Ministry, please contact Quinn Miller at 202.722.2280 x 307 or at volunteers@samaritanministry.org.
We are also looking to recruit a parish representative to Samaritan Ministry. If you are interested in representing St. Dunstan's with this wonderful organization, please contact Jeff.



Outreach Opportunities

Posted 5:17 PM by

Buen Pastor Scholarship

St. Dunstan's Outreach Committee has again decided to continue our sponsorship of 2 children at Buen Pastor, Quito, Ecuador. One student will be sponsored from the Outreach Budgeted Fund, and the second student will be sponsored by12 Parishioners, contributing $32 each. If any Parishioner would like to contribute $32 towards the student, please write your check to St. Dunstan's with Buen Pastor scholarship in the memo line and place it in the offering plate, or deliver to the office. For more information, please contact Elin Botha.



Outreach- Food Bags

Posted 5:43 PM by

In Jeff's Easter message to the children at both services; he encouraged us to help feed those who would not have a grand dinner with family or friends on this holiday.  All of us are encouraged to help fill the shelves and ultimately the bodies of those who are in need at this time of year.  Food shelves tend to run low as the weather gets better, yet those who are hungry and in need of the basic food items do not disappear.  Consider picking up a bag from the Service Ministry table in Founders' Hall and be sure to bring it back to the church the next time you attend.



February Outreach: St. Phillips Child Development Center

Posted 5:02 PM by


February Outreach:
St. Philips Child Development Center 

During the month of February, St. Dunstan's is collecting supplies for St. Philips Child Development Center, which offers quality pre-K and early childhood development for members of the Anacostia community in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.


More than 70 infants, toddlers and preschoolers are enrolled in the program. St. Philips is one of the few nurturing, safe, dependable infant care programs in Anacostia. They focus on educating the youngest and most vulnerable members of the community. In addition, the program serves the entire family by offering guidance in parenting skills, nutrition, child development and appropriate responsive behavior.


You are welcome to donate the following items to St. Philips Child Development Center:
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Mittens
  • Arts and Crafts Materials- Glue Sticks, Play Dough, Markers, Crayons
  • Pencils- "Large Writing Pencils"
  • New or lightly used manipulative toys appropriate for infants or toddlers

Please place items in the basket by the Service Ministry sign in Founder's Hall.



Advent Offerings for all ages

Posted 6:22 PM by
Here are some ways to engage and participate in the season:
Advent in a Bag is offered for families of all ages and sizes. Similar to our Lent to Go boxes last spring this give us another way to bring the season home. There will be a calendar to follow the season, prayers and scripture with a simple Advent wreath, and other activities to help us focus on the season. Pick one up in Founders' Hall beginning on December 3.

Coloring the Season will give all an opportunity to create some wonderful images that will decorate our parish hall and teach us about the weekly journey through the season. All ages are welcome to help create these wonderful posters. These will be available in the Parish Hall each Sunday. Stop by and color for a few minutes.
Living Well through Advent: Practicing Wonder With All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind
The seasons of Advent and Christmas are filled with the presence of wonder, if only we remember to pause and open ourselves to receiving this gift. This resource will assist us to take time to discover how the gifts of wonder might be born in us  again this year. Pick up your booklet in Founders' Hall beginning December 3.
Advent Giving Tree
Beginning on Sunday, December 3 and continuing throughout Advent, we will have the opportunity to support the work of Episcopal Relief & Development. This amazing outreach arm of our church provides aid and development around the world working with existing organizations on the ground. This year the focus will be on monetary donations because we have the chance to double our gifts. ERD has received their most generous matching gift in the history of their work - up to $760,000 will be matched. Just think of the possibilities!
Join this endeavor by taking an envelope from the Giving Tree in the Parish Hall, adding your check to the envelope, and placing it in the offering plate or handing it to Jeff or Sue. 
A couple of online ways to engage the season!
AdventWord - the Anglican Communion's Global Advent Calendar - begins on Sunday, 3 December, 2017, with images and meditations available via email, FaceBook, InstaGram and Twitter . During the 23 days of Advent, a daily email featuring the #AdventWord of the day will go out at 5 a.m. each day, and respondents are encouraged to share their responses to the meditations and images to the aggregated prayer walls within the advent calendar. To sign up click here.
Busted Halo, resources from the Roman Catholic Paulist Fathers, offers a simple on line calendar - click here each day to access the daily offering. Each day the link on the calendar will lead you to a daily jolt and a micro challenge.
L Sue von Rautenkranz
Children and Youth Formation Coordinator



Easter 7A- 05/28/2017

Posted 2:50 PM by
Sermon, Easter 7A, Sunday after Ascension                               Jeffrey B. MacKnight
28 May 2017                                                                             St. Dunstan’s, Bethesda

One day in the Garden of Eden, God comes to Adam and Eve and tells them God has two gifts — one for each of them. The first, God says, is, well, the ability to pee standing up. Adam starts jumping up and down excitedly and loudly declares that he wants it. Eve, listening to him jabbering on and on about it, rolls her eyes and asks God what God has in mind for her. "Brains," says God.

That’s the kind of story that would put a smile on our daughter Maggie’s face – she’s a strong young woman with views.  Just what we hoped she’d be. 

I still remember like it was yesterday the day my wife Leslie and I took Maggie to Dulles airport to fly to Edinburgh, Scotland to begin veterinary school there.  That was 4 years ago now.  I knew it was the right thing for Maggie – a wonderful opportunity for her to pursue her life-long dream.  That made it the right thing for Leslie and me, too.  But I still was overwhelmed by the sadness of so much separation in the coming years.  Standing in that soaring, iconic airport terminal, outside the security barrier, my eyes brimmed with tears – I was far from the strong, stoic father image that’s common in our culture.  I just didn’t want to let her go. 

Perhaps that’s how the disciples felt about Jesus when he set out for a different kind of ascension, when he had to end his time walking the earth with him.  Maybe they had some understanding of why this had to happen, why this was the best thing for the spread of Jesus’ good news; maybe not.  But I don’t doubt it was a sad, painful parting.

Jesus’ ascension from earth into heaven is a way of describing the end of Jesus’ appearances on earth, and his return to his Father God.  Jesus had prepared his disciples, his followers, as well as he could.  He had trained them to go out and preach, teach, and heal in his name.   They knew his vision for the Gospel to spread beyond Palestine into Asia Minor, Rome – to the ends of the earth.  But were they ready?  I’m sure they would have loved to stay with Jesus, listen to him teach, and enjoy the warm bonds of fellowship they had formed.  But that was not to be.  The times, they were a-changing. 

St. Dunstan’s congregation is in a similar place, I think.  Like the disciples – we are a scrappy band of folks, with lots of opinions, but a common bond of devotion to Christ and his ministry in this place.  We cherish the traditions we’ve enjoyed here, the good times of the past – and rightly so.  We have much to cherish and be thankful for. 

In particular, I sorely miss the band of founding members of our church, who worked and sacrificed for decades here.  When I arrived, they were elders, and they amazed me because their support was unwavering, but they did not try to control the parish.  They wanted it to change and flourish, not be shackled to some image of the past.  That was a remarkable combination: steadfast support and good humor, along with a willing “letting go” of the reins.  I think of them often, and give thanks for their faithfulness and friendship.  On this Memorial Day, I remember them. 

But – and there’s always a “but” – I’m not sure Jesus will let us stay the way we once were.  It’s a new world, and people are not flocking into the churches as they once did.  They still need to hear about the love and forgiveness of Jesus – that hasn’t changed.  But fewer folks are coming through these doors.  So Jesus is leading us out – out onto the sidewalks, the streets, the shops, the schools, the offices and workplaces – to be Christians in the world. 

Our “inner circle” as a congregation is smaller than it once was, but our impact in our neighborhood, in the city, and even in other parts of the world is as strong as ever!  Thousands of people encounter St. Dunstan’s through children’s programs, musical events here, and outreach projects, in addition to those in worship and fellowship and formation.  Many of those will never come to worship with us, but still we are offering a Gospel of hospitality, of open discussion and inquiry, of beauty and art.  Many of us are involved in refugee ministry now – I’m amazed how many are going to the Orthodox church this Saturday to support refugees in the camps.  Today we make sandwiches for hungry Washingtonians, as we do every month.  We are working more with neighboring congregations.  St. Dunstan’s is a small but mighty church!   

It’s hard to let go of the way things used to be…just as it was hard for the disciples to let go of Jesus’ physical presence with them.  But they had no choice…and frankly, we have no choice.  As a parish priest, I was much more comfortable when thoughtful worship, creative programs, and pastoral care was enough to build up a congregation.  I would love to go back to those days.  But we can’t.  The world moves on; the church moves on, into new forms that we probably can’t even imagine.  God will sustain God’s Church the way God chooses.  We cannot control what that Church will be like, no matter how hard we try to hold on. 

Over the last four years, Leslie and I have learned to let go. We’ve had to trust. Maggie has grown and changed, and she will become the young woman and dedicated vet that she needs to become.  The strain and stress of letting go, of change, will be worthwhile. 

And so it is with the Church.  After 33 years of ordained ministry, I understand Jesus more and more, and I can predict the future of the Church less and less.  But a future there will be.  We need to be like the wonderful founders of St. Dunstan’s, who supported this lovely community at every turn, yet set it free to become what God would make of it.  Each of us is a member of this body, the Body of Christ, which comes into being as Jesus’ human body ascends into the heavens.  Each of us has a call, a ministry to do.  Maybe you know what God is calling you to do, and you are firmly engaged.  If you are unsure, I’d be glad to talk with you about your call. 

What I know is this: together we can be the hands and feet of Christ.  Together, we are stronger than we are alone.  Together, we can navigate the uncertain road that lies ahead of us, certain only that God is with us and that God is love. 



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Prison Ministry

Posted 6:25 PM by

Prison Ministry & Welcoming Returning Citizens

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'  Matthew 25:35-40
Expanded Forum, March 26, 12:30-2:00 p.m.: We will welcome Free Minds Book Club and several Poet Ambassadors. Free Minds uses books, creative writing, and peer support to awaken DC youth incarcerated as adults to their own potential.  Through creative expression, job readiness training, and violence prevention outreach, these young poets achieve their education and career goals and become powerful voices for change in the community.  For details see the expanded write-up below.
Tour of Montgomery County Correctional Facility, April 19:00-11:00 a.m.:  The Montgomery County Correctional Facility is a state of the art detention facility in Boyds, Maryland and houses up to 1,028 men and women. We will have the opportunity to tour the facility and learn about their education, employment, religious, and pre-release services in addition to volunteer opportunities. The tour is limited to 15 individuals and names must be submitted a week prior to the tour for clearance purposes. Sign up sheet in Founders' Hall. 
Just Mercy Book Group: As a follow-up to the forums and the tour of MCCF, a book group will be offered on the national bestseller, Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson.  Just Mercy is the powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us and a call to address the brokenness of our criminal justice system.  Bryan Stevenson has been called "America's young Nelson Mandela" by Bishop Desmond Tutu. Book group will convene after Easter.
Julie Petersmeyer



Welcome Julie Petersmeyer

Posted 5:02 PM by
We are pleased to welcome Julie Petersmeyer to St. Dunstan's on January 15, for a 6 month ministry placement. Julie is part of the deacons' training program in our diocese. She will spend around 10 hours per week with us, sharing some of her outreach experience with prisoners, serving in liturgies, and leading formational activities. Julie is a long-time member of St. Columba's and lives in our neighborhood. Please welcome her warmly!
Movie Screening
Julie works with an organization called Reunion which works to dismantle mass incarceration thru relationships and commitment. Reunion and Church of Christ, Right Now invites the public to a free screening of "13th," an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.
Wednesday, January 11, 5:30 p.m.
The Festival Center
1640 Columbia Road NW



Trail Notes: 7/10/2016

Posted by

Listening and Learning from Neighbors

A man I’ve known for years, who struggles mightily to support his wife and children, last Tuesday asked me if St. Dunstan’s could help him purchase the insulin he needs for diabetes. He had been out for a few days, and his feet were going numb. He works hard, full time, but had lost three weeks of work – unpaid – because he was bitten by a dog. His bare-bones budget was ruined. It was my privilege, on behalf of St. Dunstan’s, to give him the $50 he needed for insulin. You became his good neighbor on Tuesday. 

Who is my neighbor?  Do we know our neighbors?  This parable is not actually about having good neighbors, it’s about being a good neighbor…. acting in a Christ-like way when we encounter somebody in need.  In Jesus’ story, he blows all assumptions out of the water when he tells of how the religious leaders avoided the injured man by the roadside, but the despised foreigner, the Samaritan, reached out to help. (This makes me, as a priest, squirm every time I read it!)

In our parish, we are making every effort to be good neighbors – to each other, and to the world around us. We have organized all parishioners into 5 neighborhood clusters with captains, to encourage getting together, and the sharing of stories, needs, and celebrations. 

Because being a neighbor begins with listening, I also held 7 different “listening sessions” in June, with every person in St. Dunstan’s congregation invited to attend one. All received evites, and if we got no response people were phoned to encourage participation. I enjoyed every session, and heard many helpful suggestions, hopes, dreams, and good constructive criticisms.  Thank you to the 41 parishioners who took time to attend, and to the seven who hosted the sessions. Those 41 persons represent households composing around half the active membership of our parish - not a bad cross-section. 

What have I learned?  10 highlights, with more to come:

  1. Our parishioners love St. Dunstan’s, value it, and want it to thrive.
  2. Both worship services are appreciated and treasured. We find God here.
  3. We love children, and we want children to be active and visible in our congregation, and grow in faith. We need to keep working on that. 
  4. Small groups are highly valued by those in them. How can we involve more people? 
  5. Adult formation is much appreciated by those who participate. 
  6. Outreach is important, and hands-on projects are popular (e.g. sandwiches). 
  7. Our youth/teens program needs a boost: we need critical mass, perhaps by teaming up with nearby churches. 
  8. Parents are key; they need to model commitment and behaviors for kids.
  9. We should experiment – with joint Sunday services, models for Christian formation, ways to communicate with our neighborhoods. 
  10. St. Dunstan’s is a safe, friendly, welcoming place to be, where we experience the love of God and keep learning how to love our neighbors as ourselves. 




Formation 4/7/2016

Posted 5:50 PM by
Children's Formation
This week, Sunday, April 10, the children will be playing outside (weather permitting) or watching a video in the youth room, having their own Spring Social, the youth will be supervising.
On Sunday, April 17 all will learn about the Lost Sheep. The fourth Sunday of Easter is commonly called sheep Sunday because the collect (prayer for the day) uses the phrase, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd and we usually hear one of the stories from scripture that focuses on that image of Jesus. 
Youth Formation
This Sunday, April 10 the youth will be supervising the children during the formation time - weather permitting out in the playground or watching videos in the youth room. Either way there will be treats and fun involved.
On Sunday, April 17 the youth will gather in the youth room to discuss some of the images used to describe Jesus - this week we will focus on Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
Summer is just around the corner!
Looking for a Camp or Mission Opportunity?
Camp EDOW is now open for registration!
Junior Camp - rising 4th through rising 6th graders. 
July 24-July 29, 2016.
Middle Camp - rising 7th through rising 9th graders. 
July 31- August 5, 2016.
For more information talk with Sue or visit the diocesan website here.
Youth Mission Experience
June 19-25, 2016  + + + Youth aged 14-19 
EDOW will send 70 adults and youth to rural Appalachia to work with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) to help make homes warmer, safer and drier. For more information talk with Sue or visit the diocesan website here
Adult Formation
April 10: Spring Social
Please mark your calendar for the upcoming Spring Social on Sunday, April 10, between the services. There will be coffee and juice, bagels and lox as well as pastries and other goodies.  It's a great chance to connect with old friends and make some new ones.  Hosted by your Vestry!
April 17: Five Talents
Hear about the work of this amazing outreach ministry which reaches to the farthest parts of our world with micro credit programs for women entrepreneurs. Learn how St. Dunstans supports this and how you can as well.
Formation through Service
Last Sunday of each Month - Sandwich Making for Martha's Table
All ages come together once a month to help feed the hungry in the DC metro area by making sandwiches for Martha's Table, one of our local outreach ministries.
Graduate Sunday  
Is anyone in your family graduating this year? That could be from high school, college,, or graduate school. Please let Sue know. We plan to honor all graduates on Sunday, June 5 at both services. 
L. Sue von Rautenkranz
Christian Formation Coordinator



Formation 3/13/16

Posted 7:17 PM by
Praying for Others: Intercessory Prayer
Sunday, March 13
Adult Formation Offering at 9:50 a.m.
Have you every wondered what to pray about or how to even begin a prayer? Maybe someone has asked you to pray for them because of an illness or family situation and you thought - "Will it make a difference?" And what about God hearing our prayers? If you have ever thought about any of these questions then this week's formation offering is for you. 
Sister Barbara Jean will return to St. Dunstan's to share her thoughts, wisdom and experience of praying for others. For over forty years she has lived in community and actively engaged in daily prayer practices.  She will also preach at the 10:45 liturgy. 

Adult Commitments of Faith
Is your faith in God developing?  Would you like to make a firm commitment to Christianity and our Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement?  
Please speak to Jeff or Sue soon.  We have a few adults who want to prepare for Confirmation by the Bishop on May 14 at the Cathedral.  We welcome more.  You may also reaffirm your faith if you've already been confirmed.  We'll meet several times to deepen our faith and understanding together. 
Children's Formation
Children will gather this Sunday, March 13 in the choir room for Music with Michael and others. This is a great time of singing, coloring, playing instruments and learning about the faith. Come and join in!
Youth Formation ... 4th - 12th grades
This Sunday, March 13 the youth will gather in the youth room to begin preparing for the Easter Day Egg Hunt. This year we are planning to open the hunt to the neighborhood, so we need to be ready with a much larger supply of eggs. Come and fill eggs for the church of St. Dunstan's and the larger community. 
Future Planning of Youth Programs at St. Dunstan's
Jeff and Sue will gather with parents of youth on Monday, March 14 to discuss and shape the plans for the youth program at St. Dunstan's. We will begin with a simple supper at 7:00 p.m. and conclude by 8:30 p.m. All parents of this year's 4th-12th graders are encouraged to attend. Youth group, events, confirmation, Sunday ministries and mission and outreach will be included in the conversation. Please speak with Jeff or Sue if you have questions.
Formation through Service
Next Sunday, March 20 we will be making sandwiches for Martha's Table. This is a week earlier than usual because Easter Day is the last Sunday of the month. Please join us for a few minutes or the whole time. We need as many hands as possible to complete our 300+ sandwiches. Help us feed the hungry in DC!
L. Sue von Rautenkranz
Christian Formation Coordinator



Formation 3/3/2016

Posted 7:57 PM by
The Painting Table with Roger Hutchison
This Sunday - March 6 
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Painting Table is an innovative group activity that blends the creation of art with mindful spiritual practice. At The Painting Table, participants gather and share a table and paper and art supplies. Participants are free to paint anything they want and use their hands as brushes. In Roger's own words, "The end result of The Painting Table is not the painting that is created. It is the conversation, sharing, and listening that takes place around the table. Come and share your story through art and ready yourself for the conversation that might take place between your heart and God."
We still have a few spots open at each session, so please check to see if we have room.
If you are unable to make our Sunday experience of The Painting Table, there is another offering on Saturday, March 5 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Dunstan's. This is being offered to other Episcopal congregations in the Diocese. Please email Sue if you would like to attend this event.
Praying for Others: Intercessory Prayer
Sunday, March 13
Adult Formation Offering at 9:50 a.m.
The act of prayer is the primary way that we communicate with God and grow in relationship with God and others. This Lent we have emphasized developing a rule of life. Reading and meditating on scripture, attending and actively participating in worship, and participating in acts of service and mission are all important to growing as disciples of Jesus. Prayer is what weaves and molds those acts, yet it is one of the most difficult practices to maintain in our Christian lives. 
Sister Barbara Jean will return to St. Dunstan's to share her thoughts, wisdom and experience of praying for others. For over forty years she has lived in community and actively engaged in daily prayer practices.  She will also preach at the 10:45 liturgy. 

Adult Commitments of Faith
Is your faith in God developing?  Would you like to make a firm commitment to Christianity and our Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement?  
Please speak to Jeff or Sue soon.  We have a few adults who want to prepare for Confirmation by the Bishop on May 14 at the Cathedral.  We welcome more.  You may also reaffirm your faith if you've already been confirmed.  We'll meet several times to deepen our faith and understanding together. 
Children's Formation
Children will gather on Sunday, March 13 in the choir room for Music with Michael and others. This is a great time of singing, coloring, playing instruments and learning about the faith. Come and join in!
Youth Formation ... 4th - 12th grades
On Sunday, March 13 the youth will gather in the youth room to begin preparing for the Easter Day Egg Hunt. This year we are planning to open the hunt to the neighborhood, so we need to be ready with a much larger supply of eggs. Come and fill eggs for the church of St. Dunstan's and the larger community. 
Future Planning of Youth Programs at St. Dunstan's
Jeff and Sue will gather with parents of youth on Monday, March 14 to discuss and shape the plans for the youth program at St. Dunstan's. We will begin with a simple supper at 7:00 p.m. and conclude by 8:30 p.m. All parents of this year's 4th-12th graders are encouraged to attend. Youth group, events, confirmation, Sunday ministries and mission and outreach will be included in the conversation. Please speak with Jeff or Sue if you have questions.
L. Sue von Rautenkranz
Christian Formation Coordinator



Annual Meeting Address 02.21.2016

Posted 4:43 PM by

Today we are talking about growth – growing our parish in ministry, in people, and in resources.  The life and health and future of St. Dunstan’s Parish depends on how we can grow as God’s people here.

We heard how Jesus called his disciples together, not to hang around the clubhouse of the Jesus Movement, but to go out into the world on a mission.  He preps them: he gives them his own power and authority to proclaim the kingdom and to heal.  But he tells them to carry no extra earthly provisions.  He makes a clear point about this mission: go and offer my message, my healing.  If people receive it, great!  If people refuse it, then move on to the next village. 

This is how the church grows – not by staying in our building, but by circulating in the world….  As fishermen know, the ones who bite, bite.  The ones who don’t, don’t. 

Speaking of fishing….

The Packers and the Vikings had an ice fishing tournament. The first day the Packers caught 100 fish and the Vikings didn't catch any. The second day the Packers caught 200 fish and the Vikings didn't catch any. The third day the Vikings were getting worried so they dressed their quarterback up like a Packer and sent him over to see why the Packers were catching so many fish. When he returned to the Vikings, they asked, "What's the deal, are they cheating?" The quarterback said "You bet they are. They are drilling holes in the ice!" 

When Jesus called his disciples, he said, “I will make you fishers of people!”  Our beloved church is at a real pivotal juncture right now.  We can no longer chill out like the Vikings, waiting for the fish to jump magically into our bucket.  We’re going to have to go out, drill through some ice, and go after the fish ourselves.  We’ll have to experiment with different kinds of bait, to see what people are hungry for here in Bethesda. 

We heard good news at our Annual Meeting, where Fred Bentley and Praveen Jeyarajah presented our plans to strengthen our membership and work for growth.  We’re blessed to have great leaders.  But leaders can’t do it alone….

We’ve stood up two new teams – one for membership and one for growth.  If you are on membership, please stand.  And growth… 

Will you actively support these good people in our mission?  Will you say yes when they ask for your help? 

We have much to celebrate here at St. Dunstan’s; much to be proud of:

Huge service in our community…SOME and MoW for decades

$140,000 in outreach from our capital campaign - $50K to Bishop Walker School, $25K to Samaritan Ministry for their building

Our building is more and more a community center here – many children every day, school events, concerts, neighborhood meetings, kids using our playground and our Trail entrance

Why do we do this?  Why is this so important?  Because these are ways to spread the love of Christ…build up God’s people…welcome the stranger…teach compassion.  St. Francis said, Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary use words.  That’s what we’re doing…

We’ve built a fellowship where all people are welcome and respected.  We accept people as children of God.  We honor Christ in all people  That’s not nothing in a world where presidential candidates freely demonize Muslims, Mexicans, and gay people.  What we have here is precious – so precious we need to share it. 

One of our guest teachers asks us to think about how we recommend a great new restaurant we have found.  Can we do the same with our church?  Can we say, “You should try our church…why don’t you come with me this Sunday, or to the cabaret, or to the picnic, or a concert….”?

Years ago, my mother invited many people to church with us.  One woman was a coworker of my mom’s at the county welfare department.  They were both caseworkers. Her name was Linda.  She came and stayed at our church…and ended up marrying the priest!  (Don’t expect that to happen here….) 

One last thought.  I’ve always liked the joke: How many California psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb?  Only one, but the lightbulb has to want to change. 

Nobody can change us if we don’t want to.  I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do.  Our growth teams can’t change this parish on their own.  We as a congregation have to want to change.  We have to be brave enough to change, to speak up, to reach out to people we know.  We have so much to offer – such a great message that God loves every person and wants us to live lives of love and service.  People need to hear this!  People are hurting out there.  People are lonely out there.  People are hungry for a message that endures, that affirms, that calls us to be our best selves. 

But if we don’t want to change, it won’t happen.  I’ve been with you 16 years and I hope to journey with you to St. Dunstan’s next peak, our next heyday.  Please walk with me to proclaim the kingdom of God and bring healing in this broken world.  AMEN. JBM



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Formation: 01/10/2016

Posted 2:51 PM by
Children's Formation
This week our children will gather with Michael to learn music during our formation time. Next Thursday, our children's choir begins again. If you haven't joined in before now, this is a perfect time to start. All children K-3rd Grade are welcome to sing. This choir time begins at 5:45 p.m. and is followed by a wonderful community dinner at 6:30.
Children are always welcome to join the formation offerings on any day, even if they have not been present in the past. The new year is a great time to make this a regular practice for your family to participate in these formation offerings.
Youth Formation
The Coffee House will be open for the first three Sundays of January and  we will be exploring the stories of the flight to Egypt, Jesus' baptism by John, and the first miracle of Jesus at the wedding in Cana. 
Our next youth event will be Ice Skating at the Rockville City Center rink on Sunday, January 24
from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. We will leave and return to St. Dunstan's. Friends are welcome. Cost is $7. Please let Sue know if you'll be participating no later than 1-17 so plans can be made for transportation and adult leaders. 
Adult Formation
During the formation offerings in the first three Sundays of January we will be learning and discussing the topics of race, justice and reconciliation. Many of the news items over the last year have centered on our country's inability to face the underlying realities of the systems of oppression that exist for most people of color. 
This Sunday, January 10, we welcome The Rev. Canon Paula Clark as our formation leader, preacher and celebrant at 10:45 a.m. She will be present and assist at the Family Eucharist at 9:00 a.m.Paula serves as the Canon for Clergy Development and Multicultural Ministries on the diocesan staff. Her ministry includes working with multi-cultural congregations, training in cultural awareness and race relations.   
Martha's Table Sandwich Making
The Outreach Committee has made the decision to continue the monthly practice of making sandwiches for the hungry in DC and is increasing the number to 300 each time. Please plan to be with us on Sunday, January 31 for Formation through Service. Be there to help make sandwiches and be in fellowship with one another.
L. Sue von Rautenkranz
Christian Formation Coordinator



Formation 12/20/2015

Posted 8:00 PM by
Sunday, December 20
Cookies and Blankets!
9:50 to 10:35 a.m.
We will have a time of fun and service as we make three more blankets for the Syrian refugees and decorate cookies to take home.  
Sunday, December 27
Sandwiches for Martha's Table
9:50 to 10:35 a.m.
Being formed by serving others will be the focus of our time together on the Sunday after Christmas Day. This is a wonderful time for ALL members of the congregation to come together and be in fellowship while we help to feed the hungry in our community. Martha's Table feeds over 500 people each day.
We will need a family to deliver our sandwiches, so be in touch with Sue if you are willing. The Outreach Committee has increased our offerings for next year to 300 sandwiches per month. following the 
L. Sue von Rautenkranz
Christian Formation Coordinator



Formation 9/27/2015

Posted 6:54 PM by
Forming faith in non-traditional ways ...
This Sunday and next we will be formation faith in an intergenerational way and we hope that you will partake in these opportunities.
Being Christ's Hands and Feet!
Sunday, September 27 from 9:50 to 10:35 a.m.
This week we begin a new venture between formation and outreach as we gather to make sandwiches for those who are served by Martha's Table. This organization will serve over 700,000 meals in this year in 15 different locations across the D.C. metro area.


They are open every day of the year and have been serving for over 35 years. Come and help us to feed those who are hungry!
Caring for those who depend on us!
PET BLESSING - Sunday, October 4 during the 9:00 Service! On this feast of St. Francis we will bless animals and stuffed critters as well. Please be sure that they are properly leashed or caged for their comfort and safety. 
We will have a special presentation during our formation time in the parish hall, complete with special treats for our furry friends. Allan Cohen, Chair of the Board of Directors  for MCPAW will give a special presentation to our community. He is a founding member of the organization and has a great love and care for the well-being of animals in our county. MCPAW serves as a partner to the Mont. Co. Animal Services & Adoption Center. They work to identify and correct the causes that make shelters necessary and provide programs and advocate for change so that animals are cared for properly. 
If you have any old towels or blankets or wish to send treat to the dogs and cats, 
please bring these on Sunday morning!
Children's Formation ...
Music will be the offering for children on Sunday, October 11 as they gather in the choir room with Michael to sing and play instruments. The choir room is assessed by walking through the youth room.
Children are back in their classrooms on the lower level on Sunday, October 18
Teachers this year include Meghan Jarvis (younger children) and Peter & Rose Sather (older room). We still need two more to join them so that we have a teaching pair for each age group. Christine Tatelbaum and Anne Taylor will be serving as formation guides (helping teachers with supplies, aiding children in need, and guiding parents). Clint Chamberlin, Nastya McNally, Alex Berger and Jessica Ault will be assisting Michael on our music days.
Youth Formation ... 4th-7th Grade
We are reforming our youth formation program this year and changing the grade levels. We hope that this will build a stronger program in the years to come.
The Coffee House will again be open in the youth room on all Sundays - other than those where there is an intergenerational event. This program will be focused on developing community and building faith of those in 4th through 7th grade. Older youth (8th through 12th grade) are being invited to serve as mentors to this younger group, assist with the children's program, or join the adult formation program on Sunday morning. Lacy Douglas and Austin Fodrie will join Sue in leading and developing this group.
Once each month we will also offer a special event for young people to come together for fun, service, community building and of course food. We will kick off this year with an event at Sandy Springs Adventure Park on Sunday, October 4!
Upcoming Adult Sunday Formation:
October 11: Presentation from the Economic Justice small group will share information about resolutions on economic inequality . 
October 18Mr. Paul Cooney, Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Washington is our featured speaker and preacher to kick off our stewardship season.
October 25Martha's Table - Intergenerational Formation through Service. On the last Sunday of each month our formation will be intergenerational and experiential as we gather to make sandwiches for the hungry in our community.
L. Sue von Rautenkranz
Christian Formation Coordinator



Fred Smoak's Epic Ride

Posted 4:46 PM by


Over the past few weeks we have announced the epic ride that Fred Smoak is going to undertake this summer during service. St. Dunstan's is donating up to $500 in Matching Funds from the Outreach Budgeted Fund for 2015 towards the Fuller Center for Housing, the purpose of the ride. Fred is covering his own expenses but he needs to raise $4,000 for the Fuller Center before he departs in late May. While on the ride, the riders will be working on Fuller Center projects across the country.

If anyone would like to make a donation to The Fuller Center for Housing through St. Dunstan's, please make your donations as soon as possible as Fred needs to have the funds that he has raised before he leaves in late May. Please write 'The Fuller Center for Housing/Fred' in the memo line. You may put your donation in the offering plate, bring it into the church office, or hand it to Fred. More information on the Fuller Center for Housing is available in Founder's Hall.



Looking and Seeing

Posted by

We continue our Easter season with a new resurrection story each week, and todays just might be my favorite: The Road to Emmaus. What a fabulous tale – filled to the brim with symbolism: the journey, the conversation, and finally the broken bread. This is yet another resurrection story centered on seeing – and it helps us connect the dots in many ways. As Tricia Lyons, our preacher last Sunday, mentioned, it’s also all about recognizing Jesus…and how difficult that is for us. 

Most of us can identify with Cleopas and his wife (whom I call Anna), trudging home after a tragic and demoralizing experience, the death of Jesus. They had heard the rumors during that Easter Sunday that Jesus had been raised…but they could not believe it. There was no resurrection for them…yet. We’ve been there too, in that place of disappointment, dejection, even hopelessness. 

Then a stranger appears and walks with them along the road…and things start to happen. They still aren’t seeing clearly (they can’t recognize that this is Jesus himself!). But gradually, this stranger “opens for them the scriptures” and they do begin to see the grand arc of God’s saving acts through history. Could God act again – in their own day, in their own lives? Can we see it?

The answer for Cleopas and Anna, and the answer for us and all Christians, must be yes: yes God still acts in our lives, yes we can see God’s resurrection power all around us, and yes the risen Christ in fact takes up residence in us – we become his instruments of hope and help in this world. 

I thank God I am seeing resurrection everywhere I look: in the late-blooming cherry trees in our yard; in the utter joy and delight of the Cabaret at Paddy’s Pub; in the loving care of this congregation when folks are experience illness, death of a loved one, or other crises; in the life of many small groups and the spiritual sharing and growth that is happening; in increased attendance and interest at Holy Week services this year; in the faithful, generous giving of our congregation for our own needs and for outreach; in the laughter and fun of Tricia Lyons, who enthralled us with her exploration of Harry Potter as a resurrection story par excellence.    

Dwelling on resurrection stories does not mean we ignore the bad stuff in life – the hurts and illness and poverty and war.  Resurrection in itself acknowledges that death has occurred…but declares a higher power – the power of Life, the power of God.  This is hard stuff to get, and to hold onto – that’s why we need all the gatherings, the reminders, the conversations, all the meals and celebrations we can muster.  Come and meet Jesus for yourself…in the breaking of the bread.  JBM



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