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The Trailblazer

The Best Medicine: Today's Message from St. Dunstan's: July 29, 2020

Posted 12:23 PM by
Today's Message from
St. Dunstan's
July 29, 2020
From the Rector
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
~ Proverbs 17:22
Dear friends,
When I was a little girl, I loved going to stay with my grandmother for a week every summer. I have such wonderful memories of her taking me to a matinee movie and then to Friendly's for grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate milk. (To this day, grilled cheese still tastes to me like my grandmother's love!) My grandmother also had a delightful sense of humor, and she never missed an opportunity to share a corny joke. She usually left at least one Reader's Digest magazine for me on the bedside table in her guest room, opened to her favorite feature, "Laughter, the Best Medicine." As an RN my grandmother took laughter very seriously: She fervently believed in the importance of humor to one's physical, mental, and spiritual health. I've rarely laughed as hard with anyone as I did with her during those precious summer visits, and I will cherish those memories always.
It wasn't until I became an adult that I realized that my grandmother's "laughter prescription" had a biblical basis. Scripture is full of moments of mirth - from Sarah chuckling at the idea of becoming a mother in her old age (Genesis 21:6), to Jesus promising His followers that those who weep will one day laugh (Luke 6:21). Too often, people of faith are depicted in the media and entertainment industry as dour and without humor, but that is such a misrepresentation. Throughout the Bible, genuine joy (which is intimately related to laughter) is held up as the most appropriate response to the goodness and grace of God. St. Paul urges believers to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4, emphasis mine), and the point, I think, is clear: God means for us to find delight in the midst of our daily lives.
In a time marked by anxiety and tragedy, it may feel difficult - perhaps even disrespectful - to laugh when so many are suffering. But to refrain from laughter is to reject God's gift of joy. Joy is not the same as happiness, which is situational and can be all-too fleeting. Joy is the ability to experience light and love and levity, knowing that in God's economy suffering does not get the last word. We deprive ourselves of joy and laughter at our own peril.
I learned at an early age that I would be well-served to listen to my grandmother's wisdom, and I can attest that laughter really is good medicine. I encourage you to look for moments of mirth in the day ahead, even if your heart doesn't feel particularly cheerful right now. How might God be trying to lift your spirits, inviting you to experience joy and delight even in the face of hardship? We humans are such silly creatures, after all; there is no shortage of material for humor.
(If you are hard-pressed to find a chuckle today, I suggest taking a few minutes to watch the video below, a Hamilton-based parody of church in a time of pandemic. Thank you, Sue Carroll, for sharing!)
Tonight at 8:30
Come and Pray!
Please join us this evening at 8:30 p.m. for our weekly service of Compline, sometimes referred to as the "Goodnight Prayer of the Church." This is a lovely way to end the day and connect with beloved friends in a short (~ 15 minutes) time of quiet prayer for ourselves, for one another, and for our world. The Zoom link for Compline may be accessed here (Meeting ID: 570 537 096).
Worship Leaders Needed
It's that time again! As we look toward the start of a new month this coming weekend, we need volunteers to serve as Lectors, Psalm Readers, and/or Intercessors (Prayer Leaders) in Sunday worship during August. No previous experience is necessary...anyone (of any age) who can read can volunteer!  
At this point we plan for services on August 2, August 16, August 23, and August 30 to take place via Zoom, as has been our practice in recent months. All you need is to be able to access Zoom app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer in order to take part. God willing, our August 9 service will be held in-person, outdoors at St. Dunstan's: If you plan to join us that day, I would be very grateful if you would considering participating actively in worship; just click on the blue button below to volunteer. Thank you, in advance! ~ Patty+
Reaching Out
In the past, St. Dunstan's has contributed the cost of schooling and feeding one child for a year at Buen Pastor, an Episcopal School in Quito, Ecuador where our missionaries, the Vivancos, oversee the school and the use of our funds. For the past 29 years, Buen Pastor has served a vulnerable community, including orphans and those living with addiction, by providing a range of community development programs.
The cost of feeding and educating one child at Buen Pastor is $39 per month, or $468 a year. At Coffee Hour on Sunday, those present agreed that we as a parish should continue to support Buen Pastor with a gift for one year of $468 from our Outreach budget. (All contributions are approved by our parishioners before being dispersed; if you have any objection to this grant, please contact Elin Botha, Outreach Coordinator, directly at elin.botha@gmail.com.)
In addition to supporting Buen Pastor from the Outreach budget, we hope to be able to support a second child for the year by collecting donations from St. Dunstan's parishioners. If 12 individuals or households each contributed $39, we would have enough to feed and educate an additional child.
If you would like to help support a child at Buen Pastor, please make your check for $39 (or more, if you'd like!) payable to St. Dunstan's, with "Buen Pastor, e=h" in the memo line. You may mail your donation to the church (5450 Massachusetts Avenue, Bethesda, 20816); the mailbox is secure and is cleared regularly.  
Thank you to those parishioners who already sponsor a child for one year. We appreciate everyone's contribution to this project!
Masks for S.O.M.E.
So Others Might Eat is an interfaith, community-based organization dedicated to helping those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity in the metro DC area. St. Dunstan's regularly supports S.O.M.E. both through grants from the Outreach Committee and by preparing casseroles for their feeding program. 
While we can't deliver home-cooked meals right now, we still can support the people served by S.O.M.E. by helping to provide them with much-needed masks. We reached our initial goal of providing 100 masks, and now we're aiming for 100 more. Can you help?
Click on the image above to be taken to a dedicated page to order masks for S.O.M.E. made by parishioner Peta Leitermann-Long. Shipping is free. Thank you for helping to keep S.O.M.E.'s clients safe!

Vestry News
Click the image below to read the minutes 
of the June 22, 2020 St. Dunstan's Vestry Meeting:
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
The Hamilton Family
Anja Hein
Barbara and John Hocker
The Rev. Deacon Fergie Horvath
Barbara and Felton "Mac" Johnston
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
This Week at St. Dunstan's
Beginning soon! Wednesday Morning Bible Study
Join us this morning, July 29, at 10:30 a.m., as we continue our study of the Acts of the Apostles. We meet via Zoom: if you would like to participate, please click on this link; the Meeting ID is 326 468 549. Today we will begin at Acts 6:1.
This Afternoon: "Kid Zoom" 
Children - and their parents! - are invited to join our Intern, Robin Reed, and the Rector for our weekly Children's Message this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. In order for your children to participate, please use this Zoom link. We will share a brief time of conversation, story, and prayer, which is a great way for them to stay connected to St. Dunstan's and experience God's love in community.
This Evening: Weekly Compline
Compline, sometimes referred to as the "Goodnight Prayer of the Church," will be said Wednesday, July 29, 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 31, 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 31, 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, August 2, 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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