Sunday Service Schedule:

9:00 a.m. Family Service
9:50 a.m. Life Long Christian Formation
10:45 a.m. Holy Eucharist 
12:00 a.m. Fellowship

Trail Notes ...  

Finally, Mary.

After a few weeks of the rough-edged John the Baptist, it's a welcome change to ponder Mary, the teen-aged girl who came to be pregnant in an unorthodox way. Instead of reacting with anxiety and fear, Mary praises God for the gift of this child, and for the honor of serving as his mother. I wonder if I would have been so gracious, so sure of the promise of the angel.
Someone said, "Life is what happens while you were making other plans ." As a planner, this thought has always bothered me; I like to know what's coming. But I acknowledge the truth, that much of our experience in this life is unplanned, unexpected. How we manage those experiences makes a huge difference.
I remember my older brother, when his daughter became pregnant in high school, not much older than Mary would have been. I immediately thought of all the difficulties this new situation would pose for her future. I'm sure my brother thought of those too. But his main response was this: "It's new life. You've got to celebrate it!" And he did - he and his wife made room for a new little family in their basement. All these years later, that grandson is one of the chief joys in my brother's life. Now that boy has a younger brother - another love of his grandpa's life. Much to celebrate.
A human infant contains the great paradox of our existence. On the one hand, a tiny package filled with life and possibility and hope. On the other, the most vulnerable and fragile little being, utterly dependent on the care of others to survive. We have seen at the southern border of the U.S. just how fragile a child is. We as a nation have not celebrated and valued human life as we ought. A baby is a sign from God: a call to compassion.
As Advent draws to a close, find a moment to sit in silence and ponder this gift of an infant, sent to be a sign to the human race: a sign of hope, a sign of fragility, a sign of love from God. Will you make a place for this gift in your own heart? JBM

MacKnight Family's Open House ... 
Music ... 
Music on Sunday, December 30
Our new interim music director Joey Arkfeld will be with us starting Sunday, December 30. He'll be leading music at both services, and making the slides for the screens at 9 a.m. Please introduce yourself and get acquainted. We're happy to have him.

Colin MacKnight  will be our guest organist at 10:45 a.m. on December 30. Colin is home after Christmas from his job as Assistant Music Director for the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, Long Island. He is also writing his dissertation for the DMA degree at The Juilliard School, on Bach's Art of Fugue. Colin grew up at St. Dunstan's since he was 6 years old.

Transition Updates from Jeff ... 
  As you all know, I will retire in May 2019, after 19 years as rector of St. Dunstan's. I have treasured my time with you all, but after much thought I decided to retire, having 35 years in parish priesthood. I want to emphasize that this was my own choice and decision. I am looking forward to having time to pursue other interests - music, cultural opportunities in Washington, occasional travel, and more exercise! I feel fortunate that the Episcopal Church has a good clergy retirement program that allows me to do this now.
As St. Dunstan's moves through the transition to a new rector in 2019, we want to keep you informed and clarify any misconceptions that may arise. Your Vestry leaders are doing an excellent job of staying on top of the process, and managing the needs of the parish. They welcome your comments and questions.
Staff Changes - Music and Christian Formation
We have had two unexpected staff resignations, from Sue von and Michael Austin - both of whom received outstanding job offers that are right for them to accept. This is a lot of change! An interim music director, Joey Arkfeld, is already in place. The Vestry has discussed how best to sustain Sue von's work with children and youth, and we are making plans to cover this with volunteers and myself working together until summer. Your input and help are very welcome.
Your new rector will have the opportunity in Fall 2019 to evaluate parish staffing needs and make her/his own decisions, given the budget available. This flexibility for a new rector is a good thing.
Partnership with Redeemer Parish
We have had a number of excellent events with our close neighbors at the Church of the Redeemer on MacArthur Blvd. This growing connection benefits both parishes.
Last Saturday we shared a wonderful Christmas pageant and Chili Supper with Redeemer, held here at St. Dunstan's. It was a full house, with a warm spirit. We have a joint youth group which provides us with a stronger community of teenagers - and it's more fun. Our Vestries have met for dinner 3 times for conversation.
On Sunday, December 30, Redeemer has a clergy scheduling challenge, and will be coming as a congregation to worship with us at St. Dunstan's. We welcome them! To be clear, this sharing of worship on occasion does not mean that our two congregations are "merging," or that either one is closing. Rather, we can benefit from our different strengths and assets by sharing ministries where that makes sense.
Questions? Please Ask
If you have questions or input at any point over the next year, please ask your leaders: Wardens Julie Anderson and Carl Adams; Vestry members; Search Committee Chair Chuck Cash; or other search committee members. And talk to me about anything that concerns you. I am not part of the search process, of course, but I'm happy to visit with you about parish life and what's ahead.
Peace, Jeff
P.S. Please stop by during the MacKnight Family's Open House on Saturday, December 29, 2-5 p.m. at 14 Meadowcroft Court in Montgomery Village. Colin and Maggie will be there, as well as Leslie's mother Nancy Hay...and of course Leslie and I.

Formation ... 
Faith Formation continues!  We greatly appreciate Deacon Sue's huge contributions to faith formation at St. Dunstan's, and she will be missed! Jeff and Cricket will be covering many of Deacon Sue's youth formation activities for the near future.  And the Faith Formation committee will be meeting in early January to ensure that faith formation for youth and adults continues  after Deacon Sue moves to her new position with the Diocese .  

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please don't hesitate to contact Frank McCormick or Sue Carroll .

Christian Formation for Children and Youth ... 

Children's  Ministry

Coloring the Christmas Banner & Decorating the Tree

On Sunday, December 23 during our formation time from 9:45 a.m. to 10:35 a.m. the children are invited to continue the coloring of the Christmas Banner and to add ornaments to the tree in the parish hall.


Youth Ministry

January Youth Nights 
6:00 p.m. Dinner
6:30-7:30 p.m. Program for youth in grades 5-12

Wednesday, January 9 at Redeemer
Wednesday, January 23 at St. Dunstan's

In the new year we will be moving our evenings to the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays.

Our conversations in January will turn to an exploration of what it means to be a Child of God and what our church believes and teaches about humanity. How we understand what we believe about ourselves and the rest of humanity - guides our choices, responses, and reactions to the situations in our world. Come for dinner and stay for games, community building, and conversation.

P.R.A.Y Youth Events - Grades 5-12

MONDAY, January 21, 2018

9:30 a.m to 1:00 p.m.
Washington Hebrew Congregation
We will participate in a large, interfaith day of service at Washington Hebrew Congregation for those in need. The day will offer different ways to serve - from sorting clothes, to making family gift bags, to preparing food, packing fresh produce bags, creating blankets, and assembling meal packages. All of this is donated to local groups and programs that serve the hungry, homeless, and others throughout the DC metro area.
Our group will meet at the main doors of the Temple at 9:30 a.m. for a brief check-in and make up work teams. We will then gather with all the other volunteers for a welcome and pray with the rabbi before heading off to work stations. There will be opportunities to work in different areas throughout the time. If all the work is finished before 1 p.m. we will assist with clean-up. We will gather again at the end to share our experiences and for concluding prayers.
Parents should drop off and pick up youth at the front door of the Temple at 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. respectively.  There is no cost for this event - however, all are encouraged to do a closet purge after Christmas and donate your clothing in good condition to the event.   
Friends are welcome.  All those participating on this day should sign up no later than Wednesday, January 16.

Our next PRAY Event - Fun Day at ZavaZone - Sunday, February 24
L. Sue von Rautenkranz
Children and Youth Formation Coordinator
Celebrating Sue von ... 
     Parish Notice ...

The church office will be closed from Monday, December 24- Tuesday, January 1, 2019. The office will reopen on Wednesday, January 2. Happy Holidays!

Due to a mandate from our auditors, we will no longer be able to accept pledge balances paid for the fiscal year 2018 in 2019. With this in mind, we are asking that you please fulfill your pledges by December 31, 2018 in order to receive proper credit for the year. All pledges receive and dated in the new year will be marked accordingly.

St. Dunstan's Columbarium is an attractive site for interment of ashes.  The Vestry has determined that the cost for each niche will be rising to $2,500 each, effective January 1, 2019.  If you would like to purchase a niche, you may do so in 2018 for the old cost of $2,000.  Each niche can hold one or two urns of cremated remains.  Please contact Carl Adams or the church office. 

 Kim Matthews
Parish Administrator

Rector Search News ... 

Below is a list of the members of the Rector Search Committee. If at any time your have questions or concerns, please reach out to one of the members of the committee or its chair, Chuck Cash. You can email us at

Chuck Cash, Chair; Donna Alvarez; Fred Bentley; Clint Chamberlin; 
Lynn Adduci Leonard; Sue Newman; John Wyss

Committee Chair

Happening @ Redeemer ... 
Blue Christmas Service at Redeemer Church
Our neighbors, the Church of the Redeemer, will offer a special service for all who are dealing with grief and sadness around the Christmas holiday. For many, this time of year is difficult to get through, while the world seems to be all giddy with happiness. God is with us when we are sad and blue, too. The service is Monday, December 24, 2018, at noon, 6201 Dunrobbin Drive Bethesda.
Hopes and Prayers on our Journey ...

n Need of Healing:

Curt Shively , husband of Susan Burkhalter in nursing care
Ken Farnsworth , at home in Westwood Towers
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
Phyllis Sweeney, mother of Rosi Sweeney

The flowers at the altar  are given to the glory of the Lord.

As we seek a new rector, we pray: Lord Christ, we ask that you surround us with your love during this time of transition and renewal at St. Dunstan's. Let us view this moment of change as an invitation to build upon that which has been given to us so generously by the gifts of our founders. May we possess an open heart to all the possibilities that lie ahead. We hope these months of preparation will further unite us as one faith community, and that we will continue to cherish the strengths and gifts of one another. May we find new leaders who will unite us in our mission and shared values. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

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 ...

Advent IV

December 23, 2018

9:00 a.m. Family Service
9:50 a.m. Life Long Christian Formation
10:45 a.m. Traditional Holy Eucharist

The readings for this Sunday are:
Micah 5:2-5a, Canticle 3, 
and Luke 1:39-55

Sunday Schedule of Ministries ...

Serving this Sunday
Trail Guide: Karen Edwards
Liturgical Coordinator: Rosi Sweeney
Crucifer:  Sue Newman
Lector: Carl Adams
Prayer Minister: Sue Carroll
Flower Guild:   Sue Newman
Altar Guild:   Ann Johnson 
and Kiska Williams
Tellers: Donna Alvarez