Trail Notes ... 

Fast Forward Thirty Years
We leave the warm light of the manger and the Holy Family, and move to Jesus' baptism this Sunday.  But Jesus was not baptized as an infant; 30 years have passed, and Jesus is an adult, having worked with his father Joseph for a good 15 years or so as a carpenter, we assume.  But something changes in him, and he feels led - compelled? - to redirect his life.  He walks several days' journey south into Judea, and joins the group around a fiery young prophet named John.  John is preaching a message of repentance to Jews, and he is offering a sign of washing and renewal: baptism in the river Jordan. 
We don't know how long Jesus spent listening to John, perhaps joining John around a campfire in the evenings, asking questions about John's view of God, and John's understanding of what would happen in the not-to-distant future.  (I'd give a lot to have tapes of those conversations!)  At some point, Jesus decides to commit: to undergo baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  Jesus becomes a disciple of John.  (The meaning of John's baptism is well-described in the Advent hymn "On Jordan's Bank," so we shall sing it on Sunday.) 
But John has attracted negative attention from the Roman governors; he has criticized Herod for improperly marrying Herodias, the former wife of his half-brother. He was a troublemaker to Herod.  Soon John was imprisoned, and subsequently executed.  This created a void into which Jesus stepped.  The story picks up there in the Gospels.  Jesus began to preach and gather his own disciples around him.  Jesus' message is not identical to John's, however.  Jesus preaches not just repentance, but a completely new mode of relating to God, based on love and grace, rather than on law and sacrifice.  The question for us is, how do we live based on God's love and grace, when the world turns on the basis of power and transactional relationships?  JBM  
A New Year's Challenge from your Rector ... 

Sing, Unburied, Sing
In seeking a book for our next parish book discussion, I happened onto a new novel that's received raves in the press:  Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.  This novel of black American experience in Mississippi around the year 2000 is beautifully written and poignant.  It says much about America's original sin of racism in our day, and also the amazing resilience of the human spirit.  The characters are real and compelling.  Ward won the National Book Award for her previous novel.
I propose we read this book in observance of Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month in Jan-Feb.  We'll meet on Sunday, February 4 at 12:15 p.m.  Please let me know if you will read the book and discuss it with us!  

      Christian Formation for Children and Youth ...

Children's Formation

This  Sunday January 7 the children begin learning stories of  Abraham and Sarah.  The three great faiths begin with a man saying yes to God, picking up his family, and journeying to unknown places. Along the way there are visits by messengers from God, an improbably birth, and the beginning of the story of the Hebrew people.

Youth Formation
2nd and 4th Mondays - January 8 and 22 Only
6:30 p.m. Simple Supper
7:00-8:00 p.m. Program

DYG returns in the new year but to different weeks because of the holidays of New Year's Day and Martin Luther King Day.
Our focus this month turns from the relationships we have with each other - family and friends - to our relationship with God. 

December P.R.A.Y. Event

MLK Day of Service
Monday, January 15
9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Washington Hebrew Congregation
Address: 3935 Macomb Street, NW

Please sign up here or in Founders' Hall no later than January 10 so that we can pre-register with the leaders at the temple. 

This is a wonderful interfaith day of service - there will be hundreds of people gathered that day to pack food, prepare meals, sort clothing, and create family gifts bags.

Did you get any new clothes for Christmas? This event provides a way to clean your closet to make room for those new ones. All are encouraged to bring a bag of clothes in good condition to donate to those in need. 

Youth should be dropped off and pick up at the main door of the temple.

February P.R.A.Y. Event
The Museum of the Bible
Sunday, February 10
Time TBD 

L Sue von Rautenkranz
Children and Youth Formation Coordinator

New Deacon in Training ... 

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  

      Parish Notice

Finance News: A Strong Year-end
Thanks to all of you for your support and year-end contributions to our parish.  Our pledges for 2017 ended very strong, and we are close to our goal of $330,000 for pledges in 2018.  This means we anticipate no significant changes or cuts in our 2018 budget, which the Vestry will approve on  January 22 .  Exact figures will be available from Cliff White, our Treasurer, later in the month as our books are closed for 2017.  

If you have not yet pledged for 2018, please do, and help put us over the top for a balanced budget!  JBM  

Vestry Meets with Redeemer Parish Vestry
St. Dunstan's Vestry will have a joint dinner on  January 31 with the Vestry of our closest neighbor, Church of the Redeemer, off MacArthur near Goldsboro.  We look forward to getting acquainted and exploring possible areas of collaboration to benefit both parishes.  

St. Dunstan's had its beginning as a "daughter" of Redeemer in 1958, when Mass. Avenue was being developed in Bethesda.  Both parishes draw primarily from the same local area.  Redeemer is known for its very fine traditional music ministry.  

Hopes and Prayers on our Journey ...

n Need of Healing:

Curt Shively , husband of Susan Burkhalter in nursing care
Ken Farnsworth , ill at home in Wheaton
David Keegan , friend of Tom and Rosemarie Barrett, fighting cancer
Pam Plaisance , fighting cancer, cousin of Sue von
Samantha Barnes, ill,  sister of Muriel Croston
Ray Bridson , friend of the MacKnights, fighting cancer
DJ Crane , family friend of Trudy Surut, fighting cancer
Jay Karlin , in nursing care

The flowers are given to the glory of God.

We pray for St. Dunstan's Missionaries, Cameron and Roberto Vivanco, who serve in Quito, Ecuador, and the parish of Buen Pastor.  

If you or someone you know is in need of prayer, please complete our prayer request form by clicking here.

Trail Map ...

The First Sunday after the Epiphany

January 7, 2018

9:00 a.m. Family Eucharist
9:50 a.m. Life-Long Christian Formation
10:45 a.m. Traditional Family Eucharist
12:00 p.m. Fellowship

The readings for this Sunday are:
Genesis 1:1-5, Psalm 29, 
and Mark 1:4-11

Sunday Schedule of Ministries ...

Serving this Sunday

Liturgical Coordinator:  
Eucharistic Minister: 
Flower Guild:  Sue Newman
Altar Guild: 
  Tellers:  Donna Alvarez