Trail Notes

Rolling Up Our Sleeves

The crèches have been packed away, the beautiful decorations that adorned the church during Christmas have been taken down, and we have entered once again into what the Church calls "Ordinary Time." We are in a transitional period - no longer "the holidays" and not yet Lent - and, on the one hand, it is a time replete with promise and hope for the year ahead. Yet it also can be a challenging time for those who struggle with the cold weather and with the shorter (albeit lengthening!) days. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real phenomenon, and I find that many folks have difficulty during these winter months mustering the energy and motivation to do more than the absolute essentials. The temptation to hunker down and hibernate at home is strong - which is why we must resist inertia!

I like to call this time of year in the Church the "roll up our sleeves" season, a perfect time to explore the ways in which God is calling each of us uniquely to minister in the world. This week we will observe the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, which in Matthew's Gospel takes place at the outset of Jesus's public ministry. In His baptism, Jesus is affirmed in His identity as Beloved Son of God, which seems a necessary prerequisite as He sets out to teach and preach and heal. At this time of year we, too, are reminded of our primary identities as God's beloved children, and we are equipped to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ according to the gifts God has given us. This is an exciting season in the life of the Church, and it is a perfect time for each of us to reflect on how we might live out our discipleship in new ways.

This coming Sunday, January 12, your Vestry and I will host an all-parish "Town Meeting" immediately after worship to reflect on where we are as a congregation during this transitional period in our life together. We envision this as a timely opportunity to pray and think and talk about where we see God moving in our midst and how we might be called - both individually and collectively - to live in response. I hope that you will plan to join us for this important gathering.

Your Sister in Christ,

This Sunday: January 12, 2020 All Parish "Town Meeting" and Potluck Brunch

Is anyone else's head spinning?  2019 was an incredibly eventful year at St. Dunstan's. As the New Year begins, we are still in the midst of a huge transition. Let us break bread together and reflect on where we are as a congregation! We will hear from Patty some reflections about her first four months as our Rector, in the context of the issues that are commonly faced by congregations going through clergy transitions.   
We will begin to discuss the results of the Stewardship Campaign to date, the way the budget for 2020 is shaping up, and the strategies the Vestry is beginning to formulate for going forward. There will be time for questions and answers and ideas to be shared. 
Thank you to those who have volunteered to bring food and to help set up and clean up. Many hands make light work!

     Help Wanted! Coffee Hour Host

One of the many blessings of our common life here at St. Dunstan's is our sense of fellowship and community: this is a parish that genuinely likes to be together! Coffee Hour, which takes place in the Parish Hall immediately following our worship each week, is an important part of that fellowship, as it gives us an opportunity to catch up with longstanding friends and meet new ones while enjoying coffee, tea, and assorted goodies. For many of us, this is the only opportunity we have to be together each week, so Coffee Hour truly is sacred time.
But, as with so many things in the Church, it takes the participation of many people to ensure that the coffee and tea are made and the goodies are provided. Would you please consider hosting Coffee Hour on an upcoming Sunday (or two...or three...)? To sign up, please see the clipboard on the table in Founders' Hall; we are happy to talk you through the hosting process, if you have never done it before.
Thank you, in advance, for your hospitality!


Ministry to Episcopal/Anglican Students at American University

Chaplain Carolyn Seaton at American University has once again invited members of St. Dunstan's to join her and Patty Alexander next Tuesday evening, January 14 , for a time of worship and fellowship with AU students. We will gather for Holy Eucharist at 6:30 p.m. , followed by a simple meal and discussion. In the past St. Dunstan's parishioners have attended and have provided a simple meal for about 12 people. If this ministry of hospitality interests you, please let Patty Alexander know as soon as possible. The more, the merrier!

Diocesan Food Drive for Capital Area Food Bank - January 12 and 19

This month, every parish in the Diocese of Washington has been asked to collect non-perishable items on behalf of Capital Area Food Bank. These items will be taken to Diocesan Convention on Saturday, January 25 by your Convention Delegates, Mark MacCarthy and the Rev. Patty Alexander. Capital Area Food Bank requests donations of canned or dry beans; peanut butter; canned vegetables; grains; hot and cold cereals; canned tuna, salmon, or chicken; canned fruits; healthy snacks; and 100% juice.
We will be collecting food on two Sundays, January 12 and 19. Thank you, in advance, for your generosity!

Help for Australia

As you know, Australia has been besieged by devastating and widespread brush fires in recent weeks, affecting thousands of people and millions of animals. For guidance as to how best to help, I suggest visiting this link, shared by the Orford family. Please do continue to hold Australia in prayer during this hot, dry Australian summer.

Final Disbursement of Outreach Donations for the 2019 Fiscal Year
Thanks to the generosity of St. Dunstan's parishioners past and present, the Outreach Committee was able to make end-of-year gifts to the following organizations, each of which received $500:
  • Five Talents (faith-based international development organization that helps the poor save, invest, and develop small businesses)
  • Solutions in Hometown Connections (local organization whose mission is to welcome refugees and immigrants to our community)
  • Education + Hope (support for the Vivancos, missionaries serving in Quito, Ecuador)
  • Education = Hope (support for the Buen Pastor School in Ecuador)
  • MAHOBAC* (organization that provides assistance to AIDS orphans in South Africa)
For further information about Outreach at St. Dunstan's, or to get involved with the ministry of the Outreach Committee, please be in touch with Elin Botha , who leads our Outreach initiatives, or the Rector,   Patty Alexander .
  *As MAHOBAC is a new Outreach recipient for St. Dunstan's, we thought that some background information would be helpful. Through Elin Botha's connections in South Africa, we learned about Mafakathini Home Base Care (MAHOBAC), a nonprofit that assists with feeding 55 children who have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic and are living in the community of Mafakathini.

MAHOBAC's main aim is to help provide nourishment to feed the orphans in a rural township of Kwa Zulu Natal Midlands. Once a month the congregation of Upper Umgeni Presbyterian Church provide nonperishable food items (along with money for fresh fruits and vegetables), as well as gently used clothing, linen, and household items to help with the care and keeping of the orphans.

St. Dunstan's is happy to extend our outreach to help support the important work being done by Upper Umgeni Presbyterian and MAHOBAC on behalf of these most vulnerable children.
Photo caption: A little girl feeds her sibling with food that Upper Umgeni Presbyterian Church provide four days a week

     COMING SOON: Diocese of Washington Revival Service with
the Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

There are still a few tickets available for the upcoming Revival Service with our Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Curry, on Sunday, January 26. Please see Patty as soon as possible if you would like to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event. If transportation is a concern, we do have folks who have volunteered to drive; please let Patty know if you are interested in carpooling.

I hope to see you there!
~ Patty+


     Looking Ahead: Youth Confirmation 2020

Is your son or daughter interested in Confirmation in the Episcopal Church?

This spring I will be offering a Youth Confirmation Class for any students (age 13 and up) interested in being Confirmed in the Episcopal Church at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, May 9, 2020. In the Episcopal tradition, Confirmation marks the mature public affirmation of faith and involves both the reaffirmation of baptismal vows and the laying on of hands by a Bishop. Confirmation preparation will begin in February (exact dates and times TBD) and will include sessions on Scripture, Church history, the Sacraments, prayer, and what it means to live one's faith in today's world.

Baptism and a sincere desire to be Confirmed are the prerequisites for participation in this class. If your family is interested in exploring the possibility of Confirmation this spring, please be in touch with me at or 301.229.2960, ext. 11 by February 1.
I also will be offering an Inquirers' Class during Sunday Formation Hour beginning in February for any adults who would like to prepare for Confirmation or Reception into the Episcopal Church. Please let me know if you are interested and stay tuned for more details! 

~ Patty+

     Spiritual Life

Upcoming Retreats at the Claggett Center

Are you feeling the need to "get away from it all," rest your body and soul, and deepen your relationship with God? If so, then you might want to consider participating in a weekend spiritual retreat at the Claggett Conference and Retreat Center up the road in Adamstown, Maryland (3035 Buckeystown Pike). The Claggett Center is offering separate weekend programming for women and men over the next several weeks: The Women's Retreat is coming up on January 17-19, and the Men's Retreat will take place over the weekend of February 7-9.
For further information, please speak with Patty Alexander or visit the Claggett website to register.

     Mark Your Calendars: Special Music in February!

Sunday, February 2: The Bokamoso Youth from Winterveldt, South Africa
Please plan to join us on Sunday, February 2, when we will have a special visit from the Bokamoso Youth, a group of dynamic, college-aged men and women from South Africa who will help lead our worship with song and dance and stories from their tradition. Every winter the Bokamoso Youth visit the Washington area and are in residence at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac and at George Washington University, where they bring their gifts to classrooms, Chapel services, and concerts. We are so blessed to be on their touring schedule this year...You won't want to miss this lively, joyful service!

Sunday, February 23: "Mardi Gras" Jazz Mass
On February 23rd, the Joseph Arkfeld Quintet will be returning to St. Dunstan's to perform a jazz mass in celebration of Mardis Gras. Don't miss this opportunity to worship with the help of some incredible musicians! Playing that day will be bassist Steve Arnold, percussionist Keith Butler, saxophonist Sarah Marie Hughes, French horn player Abe Mamet, and yours truly at the keyboards. We will be performing a number of my original liturgical jazz pieces, as well as a healthy dose of some great Gospel hymns. I hope to see you there!

     Midweek Offerings

Our midweek Bible Study meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. in the Parlor, and you are warmly welcomed! No preparation or previous knowledge is required: just bring an "inquiring and discerning heart" and a willingness to engage the Word. We are studying the Gospel of John, and we would be better for your presence. Bring a Bible if you have one, but if not, one will be provided.
Following Bible Study, join us for a quiet, casual service of Holy Eucharist, in the church, followed by (optional) prayers for healing.
Come for Bible Study and stay, or just pop in for will be exactly "on time," whenever you arrive. (Please feel free to bring infants and young children, too.)

     Art Exhibit at the Strathmore: "Home"

Mark your calendars for an upcoming art exhibit at the Mansion at Strathmore (10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda) organized around the theme of "home" -- and including work by St. Dunstan's parishioner Mimi Betz!
According to Strathmore, "Home may be interpreted as a physical place such as a house, dwelling, locale, or country. It may exist in the past or present, be inspired by a sentimental object or the sentiment itself, or inhabit a space in the intangible. Home may explore family, community, or lack thereof. Home may be held in high regard or may require aspirations for change."
Come support Mimi and be inspired by local artists' interpretation of what it is to be "home." (For hours and directions, please visit the Strathmore website .)


     Flower Dedications

Here at St. Dunstan's, we are blessed week in and week out by the beautiful flowers that adorn our Altar. Lovingly and expertly arranged by the faithful members of our Flower Guild, the Altar flowers are a visible reminder of God's abundant beauty and bounty in our lives. The flowers also have a pastoral ministry of their own, as volunteers frequently deliver them to homebound or ill parish members.
You can help support this important ministry by sponsoring the Altar arrangements on any Sunday of the year! Many people enjoy remembering, honoring, or giving thanks for loved ones, particularly around anniversaries, birthdays, or significant occasions in the life of their family. Flowers also may be offered to mark a special occasion in our parish life or on the Church calendar.
Sponsoring Altar flowers is easy: Simply write your name and phone number (legibly, please!) on the chart on the bulletin board in the hallway. Also be sure to let our Parish Administrator, Kimberly Matthews, know the names of those whom you wish to celebrate or remember and we will include them in the bulletin and in the Prayers of the People. We kindly ask for a donation of sixty dollars ($60.00) for each week for which you would like to sponsor Altar flowers: please write a check payable to St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church (memo: "Flowers") and place it in the Sunday offering or send it to Kim's attention in the Parish Office.

     Small Groups 

Soul Sisters
The St. Dunstan's Soul Sisters - our women's discussion group - will meet this Saturday from 10:00-11:30 in the parlor.  With so much to worry about in the world today, the starter topic will be WORRY.   Does worrying ever help? If it doesn't, how can we stop? Since so many of us have been practicing our worrier skills for years, there should be lots of expert advice to swap...

Men's Group 
Join us for men's group! We will gather in the Parlor on 
Saturday, February 1, 2020  @ 9:00 a.m . Some of our topics for this season are how the Men's Group can help support our new rector and expand the "Men's" ministry at St. Dunstan  's.  Join us, bring friends, share in the fellowship. If you have questions, please contact,  John Wyss.

     Parish Notice 

Photos Wanted
Do you have fabulous photos from any of this season's Sundays or events? If so, please share them with the parish. Send all photos to the parish administrator at

Kimberly Matthews
Parish Administrator

Hopes and Prayers on our Journey 

n Need of Healing:

Curt Shively , in nursing care husband of Susan Burkhalter
Ken Farnsworth , at home 
Pam Plaisance , fighting cancer, cousin of Sue von
DJ Crane , fighting cancer, family friend of Trudy Surut
Samantha Barnes, ill,  sister of Muriel Croston
Eleanor London , ill, mother of Ellen McCormick
Warren Green , ill, son-in-law of Trudy Surut
Katie Hemmer , ill, mother of Sidney Clark-Lequrique
Nene De Roos , ill, family friend of Joseph Arkfeld
David Greco , ill, son-in-law of Ann Johnson
Sydney Betz,  ill, sister of Bob Betz
Julie Petersmeyer , ill
Hilda Cruz , grieving, friend of  Trudy Surut
Phil Carroll , ill, brother of Sue Carroll
Sue Philip, recovering from a fall
Matt, Lauren, Tyson, and Lillian Bleby and their community, family of Hannah Orford, affected by brush fires in Australia.

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

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
The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ

January 12, 2020

10:00 a.m. Eucharist  for All
11:30 a.m. Christian Formation

The readings for this Sunday are:
Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 29,
and Matthews 3:13-17

Sunday Schedule of Ministries ...

Serving this Sunday
Trail Guide: Mark MacCarthy
Liturgical Coordinator:  Robin Reed
Eucharistic Minister: Sue Newman 
a nd Carl Adams
Prayer Minister:  Rosi Sweeney
Crucifer:  Carl Adams
Flower Guild:   Trudy Surut
Altar Guild:  Marsha Barnes
Tellers: Donna Alvarez and Tom Barrett