Stewardship

Stewardship

New Deacon in Training

Posted 7:36 PM by
Meet Eugene Wright!

 
St. Dunstan's welcomes our new deacon candidate, Eugene
 Wright, to our worship and ministries beginning January 7 through June 2018.  Eugene is in the final stages of his training to be ordained a vocational deacon in the Diocese of Washington.  A parish placement is part of the training.  
 
Eugene is a longtime member of St. John's Church in Mt. Rainier.  He has served in many capacities, including as Warden and vestry member there.  He also served as chair of their stewardship and evangelism committee, and is interested in working with us at St. Dunstan's in those areas.  We welcome his help and expertise.  Eugene has also served in various liturgical capacities, and as a pastoral visitor.
 
We hope to provide a good training experience to Eugene as he moves toward diaconal ministry.  Please say hello and welcome him starting this Sunday.  JBM  


 

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Creation Season 2017

Posted 6:30 PM by
 
Every October, St. Dunstan's celebrates God's creation in our worship services, and this year's theme is The Seasons. Each of the first four weeks of October will be dedicated to a season of the year - Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. Music in both services will focus on nature, creation, and stewardship of our world. We'll supplement our liturgy with readings of seasonal prayers and poetry by Joyce Rupp. Our worship space will also be transformed each week with art and flowers that reflect each season. 

Also, mark your calendars - on Oct. 29, we'll commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. 
Michael Austin
Director of Music
 


 

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Practicing Love Sermon 3- Practicing Love Sermon Series 9/18/2016

Posted 1:09 PM by
Sermon, Proper 20c                                                                    Jeffrey B. MacKnight
18 Sept 2016                                                                           St. Dunstan’s, Bethesda

My part time job in high school was working in a grocery store as a checker, or cashier. No bar codes then; every price was entered by hand. There was a great chance for error. I was a steward, responsible to both the customer, and the grocery store. We handled a lot of cash, and I remember the dressing-down I got a few times when my cash drawer was short at the end of my shift. 

Since then, now and then I notice a store cashier has made a mistake in my favor, or given me too much change, and I know his cash drawer will be short as a result. He’ll get in trouble, as I did. So I point out the error. People suffer when we are not honest. 

That’s kind of what today’s parable is about: a steward, or property manager, has to give an account of his management, his stewardship, to the owner.  We’re told he had “squandered” his master’s goods. He was at best sloppy, and at worst, a thief.   

So he makes a plan – not to amend his ways, but to cover his derriere.  Remember Andrew Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People?  This property manager must have taken the course!  He was a pro…but not in a good way. He decided to swindle his master even as he curried favor with the master’s debtors, writing off their debts so they’d be kind to him in the future.  Not a very admirable guy.

But strangely, Jesus finds one thing to admire: the steward’s cleverness, shrewdness, resourcefulness. He told his disciples they would need to be every bit as shrewd and resourceful, if they wanted to make any progress for the Kingdom of God in this world. Preaching God’s Word is countercultural; it requires care and street smarts to be effective. 

Our sermon series is on “Practicing Love,” and today we’re looking at how to practice love with our money. Both Jesus’ parable, and our reading from Amos, lead the way here. Throughout the Bible, wealth and money are part of our relationship with God, part of our spiritual and religious life. There's no separation between what we earn and own, and how we practice love in the world. 

There are several levels of interpretation here in this story. 

  1. The literal – doesn’t take us very far: how can Jesus commend a dishonest man?  That’s certainly not the meaning here. 
  2. The underlying point – shrewd, smart, effective actions are required to reach a goal.  We can’t be lazy or naïve and expect to make progress.
  3. The deepest truth – God wants God’s stewards to be faithful and careful, whether we are given a little or a great amount of wealth.  Wealth is a seductive force in our lives; it’s easy to end up worshipping our possessions instead of our God. 

We are stewards in the same way as this manager: what we have is not really our own, it is God’s – it is what God gives us to do good in the world. And in some way, God will make an accounting of us in the end. This is a call to all of us to take care of what we have been given, and to use it as God intends. Your leaders here at St. Dunstan’s work very hard not to squander what God gives us through you – your pledges and offerings…. We are thankful for your gifts, because they allow God’s work to be done here. 

Here at St. Dunstan’s, we are also frugal – a good word, in my book.  “Economical in use or expenditure…not wasteful.” Frugality is not about denying ourselves all pleasures or even extravagances. It is a thoughtful approach to what acquisitions will bring us true joy over time, rather than a short burst of pleasure that fades quickly. This usually means buying less, but buying carefully, buying quality that will last.

The prophet Amos cries out against people who build their own fortunes as they exploit poor people, who “trample on the needy…” He rails against the selfish and greedy behaviors in his own day. The old words may be confusing. But Amos is denouncing the rich who are rushing through the sabbath so they can get back to selling their goods, who are shortchanging the measures they sell (“make the ephah small”) and overcharging their helpless customers (“and the shekel great”); making slaves of poor people because they owe small amounts (“buying the poor for silver…[or] a pair of sandals”). Yes, this kind of debt slavery really did exist.  Not the kind of management that the Lord God wants!  Amos is one of the greatest prophets against greed and exploitation of poor and weak people. He hated it when people kept up religious practices, but exploited the poor around them. You may recognize Amos’s most famous words: “I hate, I despise your feasts… [and] your solemn assemblies! But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5)

When it comes to our relationship to money, there are two areas for Christians to watch out for. One is practical: how we handle the money that we steward in this life? Are we careful, honest, not wasteful, frugal even? Do we exploit other people’s weakness or ignorance in financial dealings? 

This leads to the spiritual side of things. Do we love money and what it can give us, more than we love our neighbors, or more than we love our God? Do we see our wealth as gift from God, to be used for God’s will? Do we use our money to practice love, or do we gather and hoard our money, building ever bigger barns to house our wealth?

If you survey all of Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels, I believe you will find that Jesus hated two things most of all: greed, and hypocrisy. (I think he got this from his spiritual grandfather, Amos!) Greed, and hypocrisy – these are the two greatest spiritual diseases that afflict us. Why? Greed, because it offend against God’s generous creation, which is meant to be share by all creatures.  Hypocrisy, because it prevents us from spiritual honesty – seeing ourselves as we really are – as God sees us – which must be the first step towards becoming what God calls us to be: generous, honest, humble people, who seek to practice love every way we can. 

Breaking free of our love of money allows us to worry less, and share more.  Becoming spiritually honest about ourselves allows God to work in us, to bring more grace, more serenity, and more integrity to our lives. God doesn’t seek to guilt us, or punish us, but to transform us into new people. Are we ready to let God work his miracles in us?

 

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Formation: 10/4/2015

Posted 4:22 PM by
Forming faith in non-traditional ways ...
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 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 treats 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 accessed by walking through the youth room (bean bag room).Children are back in their classrooms on the lower level on Sunday, October 18

 

Youth Formation ... 4th-7th Grade
We have a great group planning to climb the trees at Sandy Springs Adventure Park this Sunday, October 4! We hope that the weather cooperates! Youth will meet at the church for lunch beginning at 12:30 p.m. Don't forget your year-long permission form or guest form. Cost is $50 made payable to St. Dunstan's. We will be monitoring the storm and update all participants on Saturday afternoon. If we have to cancel for this week, we will find another time to go later in the year.

 

 
Upcoming Adult Sunday
Formation: October 11
What's Wrong with Economic Inequality? 
Why you should care about growing disparities of income and wealth?

Come join the St. Dunstan's Economic Justice Working Group for a timely and lively conversation on a topic that is front and center in today's political debates - what to do about economic inequality? We will discuss what our Christian faith says about economic inequality; how we experience it in our own lives; how and why it has worsened and what will happen if current trends continue, including how it might affect our children and grandchildren. We've put together two resolutions for the January Diocesan convention on what we can do individually, as a parish, in the diocese, and as a country to address the problem. You can find the resolutions and a wealth of supporting material on this page of our website and scroll down to Sunday Formation.  Please come and share this important conversation.
 
October 18Mr. Paul Cooney, Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Washington will be our featured speaker and preacher to kick off our stewardship season.
October 25: Martha'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 people in our community.
 
L. Sue von Rautenkranz
Christian Formation Coordinator
 


 

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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
 


 

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