Trail Notes ...

Are you an "SBNR" ?   I recently read a book about folks who self-identify as "spiritual but not religious."   As fewer people profess an affiliation with a particular
worshiping community, this category is growing in surveys. Some say that's because the church has disappointed them in some way.  But what does it mean - what does it look like - to be an SBNR?  How are these folks living out their spirituality? 
Today's scripture gives us a clue.  In Exodus, we read the wonderful story of Moses, who was shepherding sheep near Mt. Horeb - the "mountain of God."  There, he had a "spiritual experience."  An angel appeared in a flame out of a bush, but the bush never burned up.  Moses was intrigued! 
When Moses stopped to look, God spoke to him by name:  "Moses! Moses! ... Come no closer!  Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." 
Moses encountered God - a being or power infinitely greater than he was. It would change his perspective, and the course of his life - forever. I think that's what SBNRs, and also we religious folk, are longing for.  We may look for it in different places, but it is the same longing for connection, for meaning, for transcendence.  I prefer to seek that encounter with God (or whatever one calls God) through a community with a tradition from which to learn.  Others believe that just nature, or friends, or family, or art are sufficient for discovering God and experiencing that uplift and larger perspective.  What do you think?  Where do you experience the divine?  Are you an SBNR, or a person who longs to make the journey with a community of like-minded friends and neighbors?  JBM  

Homecoming Sunday 9/10 ...

Hurricane Harvey Relief ... from our neighbors in the Diocese of Maryland

Hurricane Harvey Relief
What Can I Do?

At this time all agencies are asking people not to head to Texas or Louisiana if you are not already part of a group such as the Red Cross or other relief agencies on the ground. Right now in Maryland the BEST thing we can do is donate money to the relief agency of your choice. Episcopal Relief & Development, Red Cross, Salvation Army, whoever you are comfortable with. The recovery from Harvey will take years to complete and there will be many opportunities for people from our area to go and help -- well after the cameras, feeding trucks and others have gone home. The only request we are making at this time is to donate money. That is distributed locally to those who are in the impacted areas and is used by the relief agencies to cover the immediate costs of housing, feeding and helping those in need. You could plan a fundraiser at home and send the proceeds. You could even sign up with a relief agency for future events. But for now, please donate and know that you are doing the best for those in need.

Please follow Disaster Emergency Response Team Maryland on Facebook for news, information and future calls for help.

Here are 6 ways to support the work of Episcopal Relief & Development and to support post disaster response. 
  1. Donate to the Hurricane Harvey Response Fund to support impacted dioceses as they meet the needs of their most vulnerable neighbors after this event.
  2. Please don't send food, clothing or other items! Donations such as these can actually become more of a burden on the local diocesan leaders than a benefit. The most efficient option is supporting the local economy to respond.
  3. Sign-up on the Ready to Serve page to register as a possible volunteer in the future. These are the lists Episcopal Relief & Development staff share with dioceses when they are ready to recruit external volunteers.
  4. Read Rob's Blog on best response practices.
  5. Pray! for all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and get the latest program updates on Facebook and Twitter and
  6. Share the bulletin insert
We all want to DO something and the best we can do right now is donate money. You may contact me at or 410-467-1399 Ext. 6383

Blessings and thank you!

Sharon Tillman
Diocesan Disaster Relief Coordinator
Diocese of Maryland

      Children's Formation ...
Children's Formation
We need you to help us get ready to welcome our children. If you have children who are infants through 4th grade please fill out this Children's Form

Passing on the faith is an important aspect of mature Christian life. Are you ready to step into a leadership role and guide the children of St. Dunstan's on their faith journey? This is a shared ministry, an opportunity to learn faith stories in new ways, and to be inspired and uplifted by faith professed from children. We have fun with lots of different ways to learn and be creative. Let Sue know if you're interested in joining the children's team.

Sunday Morning Children's Formation Begins

Join us for stories from the Old Testament beginning on Sunday, September 17 from 9:50 a.m. until 10:35 a.m. Children will have the opportunity to learn the core stories of the Judeo-Christian faith and get to know some of the great characters of those stories. We will listen and explore and create.  
Youth Formation
Our youth programs happen three ways within our parish, with our collaboration partners in P.R.A.Y. programs, and with youth in our diocese and beyond.  If you have youth in 5th through 12th grade, please fill out this  Youth Form  to update information.

Have you weighed in on the best weeknight for our DYG activities this year? If you haven't, please email Sue or go to this Doodle poll to let us know which night is preferable for our twice-a-month evening youth programs. We want to hear from you!

We're also seeking adults who want to be a part of the team to guide our youth. Maybe that's you? This is also a shared ministry, with leadership and guidance from Jeff and Sue. We meet twice a month for learning, community building  and fun. Join us!

Opening P.R.A.Y. Event

POOL PARTY  to begin our year with a SPLASH!
Sunday, September 10 
2:00 to 4:00 p.m. 
Hosted by the Evans family

Please sign up for this event HEREInvite a friend to come with you!  Bring ideas for fun, learning and ways to serve for our monthly events. Share in the leadership of planning and organizing what we do each month. 

L Sue von Rautenkranz
Children and Youth Formation Coordinator

      Should we have a $15 minimum wage? ...

Join the discussion Monday, Sept. 11, 7:00 p.m. 

That's the question to be debated at St. Dunstan's community forum Monday, September 11, 7 p.m.  This issue has come again before our Montgomery County Council.  Our parish's Justice League studied the issue of increasing income a be a living wage - a full time worker should be able to support him/her self.  In a high cost area such as ours, $15/hour is an appropriate rate of pay. 
In my opinion, lessening income inequality is a moral imperative, because Jesus taught us that poverty is a stain on human society.  (He also said that wealth is fraught with dangers.)  Income inequality lessened in the U.S. from WWII until 1970.  From the 70's until now it has increased dramatically.  We have seen median income fall in the U.S. since the peak in 1999.  U.S. tax policy is advantageous to the wealthy.  The middle and working classes are at increased risk and fear of economic collapse. 
A $15 minimum wage means that a full time worker earns $31,200 per year.  Most of us would not consider working full time for that, and would find it extremely difficult to get by on that income.  Loving our neighbors means striving for a just distribution of the world's wealth.  That's what I think. 
What do you think? Come, and bring interested friends and neighbors to our forum on the $15 minimum wage for Montgomery County.  JBM 

 Bibles, Books, and Option B ...

Small Group Opportunities at St. Dunstan's
Fall is a good time to choose a small group at St. Dunstan's to feed your soul, expand your understanding of the world, and find some peace and serenity.  Small groups are a good way to go beyond acquaintance to real friendship.  Consider these possibilities:
  • Women's Group - discuss life issues and spirituality with Soul Sisters. Second Saturdays starting September 9th @ 9:30 a.m.
  • Men's Group - join other men to discuss spiritual and practical matters that are particular to men's experience - Saturday mornings at 9 a.m., usually the first Saturday of the month.  Begins September 9.
  • Bible Study - engage a book of Scripture in detail with a small group on Wednesday mornings, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. with Jeff Mac Knight leading.  In the parlor starting September 13th.
  • Sunday Morning Parables - Between services at 9:50 a.m. we'll study one parable of Jesus each Sunday (usually first and third Sundays of the month). 
  • Book of the Month Club - A new group will gather at 12:15 p.m. the first Sunday of the month, starting October 1, to discuss a book of interest.  October's selection is the bestseller by Cheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. 
  • Ministry Groups - St. Dunstan's depends on a number of groups to sustain our worship, programs, community outreach, and community life.  Consider giving your time and talent to a group focused on worship, Christian Formation, social justice, outreach, altar preparation, or flower arranging. Talk to Jeff!  

      Music ...
Choir Kickoff- New Rehearsal Time on Sunday Mornings!
Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 9:45 a.m.

Have you been looking for a reason to join the choir? This week's reason: 

Singing with a choir is good for our church! 
Need proof? Click here . 

The choir will begin rehearsals on Sunday, September 10 at 9:45 a.m. 

Everyone in high school or above is welcome to join us; no auditions, ability to read music, or long-term commitments necessary! Join us in September and give choir a try! We sing a wide variety of music, ranging from classical Anglican church anthems to contemporary gospel music. Our season runs from September - late May/early June. 

Michael Austin
Music Director

      Outreach Happenings

28 Backpacks for Kids!

This week we delivered 28 backpacks to the National Center for Children and Families. They were so grateful for our contributions to making children begin their school year with all the tools they need for success. Thank you all who contributed to this effort.

An Update on our Missionaries

Just this week I spent three days visiting with Cameron and Roberto and their three beautiful children - Graham, Liam and Francis. The kids are growing fast. Graham begins first grade in the next week, Liam is talking up a storm and little Francis is trying hard to keep up with her brothers. 

The family has just finished the first half of their home ministry assignment; this year focusing on their supporting communities in North and South Carolina. Next summer we will receive a visit from the family when they do the second half of their home ministry assignment. 

Cameron and I talked significantly about Education Equals Hope and the scholarship program. She expressed much gratitude for the scholarships provided by St. Dunstan's and the reality of what this means. One story she shared about a child (now in his first year in college) expresses how huge the $1 a day donation is for families in Quito. This particular family lives in a very bad area of town and their home was targeted by gangs. When the gang broke into their home the children were hidden by their parents, but the parents were severely beaten; leaving the father paralyzed  and unable to work. The scholarship needed for their son provided bus transportation to and from school each day - $0.30 - without the fare he could not get to and from school. This young man has just received a full 4 year scholarship to the university because he made a perfect score on the SAT. 

Amazing what a $1 a day can do! Thank you for making a difference.

L Sue von Rautenkranz
Children and Youth Formation Coordinator

      Parish Notice ...

Memorial for Don Larrabee
When:  Saturday, September 23, 2017
Time:  12:30 PM
Place:  National Press Club
529 14th St NW,
Washington, DC 20045

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 and Karen Keegan , friends 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
Vicky Karpathy , friend of Jay and Jackie Karlin

The flowers are given to the glory of God in thanksgiving for all who labor to serve humanity.

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 Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 3, 2017

9:00 a.m. Family Service
9:50 a.m. Bible Study
10:45 a.m. Traditional Holy Eucharist
12:00 noon Fellowship

The readings for this Sunday are:
Exodus 3:1-15, Romans 12:9-21,
  and Matthew 16:21-28 

Sunday Schedule of Ministries ...

Serving this Sunday

Host Family: Hemphill
Trail Guide: Julie Anderson 
and Tony Gomez
Liturgical Coordinator: Rosi Sweeney
Eucharistic Minister: Sue Carroll
Prayer Minister: Sue Carroll
Lector: Mark McCarthy
Flower Guild: Ann Boyd
  Tellers: Donna Alvarez  
and Donna Courtney