Greetings from Patty Alexander

August 2019
To my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ at St. Dunstan's:
It is my great honor and privilege to write to introduce myself, officially, as your new Rector. Over the past several months of prayer and conversation with members of the Search Committee and Vestry, as well as with Bishop Mariann Budde, I have discerned a strong sense of call to minister to and with the people of St. Dunstan's - a call that at once humbles me and brings me deep joy. I see God's fingerprints all over our new relationship, for which I am so very thankful.
My acquaintance with St. Dunstan's actually began over twenty years ago, when I was a first-year student at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. At that time my classmates and I were charged with visiting a number of parishes in the greater DC area, with an eye toward finding Field Education placements for our second and third years. I worshipped with many local congregations over that fall and winter, but I found myself returning, time and again, to St. Dunstan's. I was drawn back by the warmth and welcome of the congregation, by the beauty of the liturgy and music, and by the preaching and teaching of the Rector, the Rev. John McDuffie. It took little time for me to realize that St. Dunstan's was where I felt called to serve and to learn for the next two years.
However, it seems as though God had other plans: over that summer, John responded to his own strong sense of call to another parish, and he invited me to join him there. And so it was that I wound up serving not at my beloved St. Dunstan's, after all, but at a church of which I had never even heard, much less visited, before. (This is but one of the many ways that God has surprised me over the course of my walk with Christ...)
That decision proved to be the right one for me at the time; nevertheless, St. Dunstan's always has remained in my heart. It has felt like "home" to me from the very beginning - which is why I have been so happy to fill in for Jeff McKnight as supply priest a few times in recent years. On those occasions I have been delighted to witness, first-hand, the myriad ways in which God has sustained and nurtured the parish since I first crossed the threshold in 1997. Specifically, I have been inspired by the ongoing commitment to worship, welcome, pastoral care, formation, and outreach. Having said that, I also know that St. Dunstan's is not the same place that I experienced twenty years ago - which is a Very Good Thing. As the Body of Christ, churches are dynamic, living entities that are meant to grow and change; may God help the parish that clings so assiduously to the past that it cannot lean in to the promise and challenge of the future.
So here we are, you and I. After serving in parishes and schools in New York, Virginia, and - most recently - up the road in Potomac, my journey in faith now has led me back "home," to St. Dunstan's. And as I'm sure you will hear me say more than once in the weeks and months ahead, I firmly believe that God has brought us together in this beautiful place at this time for a reason. We may not yet perceive, fully, what God has in mind for us, and that is okay. Actually, it's more than okay: it's exciting, it's life-giving, and, I will admit, it's a bit scary. That is as it should be. Stepping out in faith always brings a measure of fear and trembling...but we do not lose heart, because we know that we do not step out alone.
As you may be aware, with the Vestry's blessing I am taking a few weeks off this summer to prepare for this new call. I am grateful beyond measure for the incomparable gift of time, as I only just concluded my ministry at St. Andrew's Episcopal School days ago. I look forward to this unofficial sabbatical to rest and refresh, as well as to enjoy some much-needed vacation with my husband, sons, and dogs at our "happy place," the Outer Banks. And mine is not the only impending transition in our family: in late August our eldest son, Will, begins his freshman year at Elon University in North Carolina. I ask your prayers for all of the Alexanders as we navigate these uncharted waters. Likewise, please be assured of my prayers for St. Dunstan's as you take some essential transition time of your own.
I wish you all deep peace and every blessing for the remainder of the summer. I can't wait to join you on the Trail beginning on September 1st!
Yours faithfully and joyfully,
The Rev. Patricia Phaneuf Alexander
Rector, St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, Bethesda
Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

   Welcome Bike Riders!

The Fuller Center cross country bike riders will spend Friday, August 9 at the Church.  All are invited to an informal dinner on August 9 at around 6:30 to meet the riders.  Fred Smoak is on a different ride.  

If you want to come or help with dinner on August 9, email Louise Smoak.  The Fuller Center is a faith-based group committed to affordable housing. We have hosted them in the church in past years and have supported Fred Smoak in his work with this organization. We hope to see you on Friday!

Preaching This Week ...  

The Rev. Richard Kukowski

The Rev. Richard "Rich" Kukowski is originally a native of Minnesota where he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest where he served for five year. He has been an Episcopal priest for the past 44 years. After a year as an affirmative action officer in Manhattan, he has served parishes in New Jersey, Massachusetts and was rector of Transfiguration Church in Silver Spring for 27 years. Since retirement, he has been Chaplain to the retired clergy and their families, adjunct clergy at Washington Cathedral, and team priest at two parishes in Southern Maryland. He also serves as Provincial Coordinator for the health and Wellness Office of the Church Pension Group in New York City.

    2019 Back to School Drive ...

SHC is an organization started by three women in Maryland with the assistance of a number of Churches and Synagogues in the area.  It is now an interdenominational non profit organization working hard to assist Refugees settled in the greater Washington, DC area.  After a visit from one of the founders to St. Dunstan's a while back  Donna Alvarez and I started tutoring home-bound Refugee women in their homes in Prince George's County.  We have now been tutoring for nearly two years and feel blessed to have the many friendships we have developed with our ladies.

SHC has an annual drive to collect backpacks, school supplies and school uniforms.  [PG County has school uniforms].  We have attended the distribution of these and seen how appreciative the families are for a helping hand.  The backpack drive is simple, just fill it with the list of items on the handout (available in Founder's Hall) and bring it to St. Dunstan's by August 25th and we will see that they are given to SHC for distribution.

Many thanks, 
Elin Botha, Outreach


    Homecoming Sunday... Save the Date!

     Formation this Sunday ...

Please join us after the service for an
"Experiment in Formation."  Get your coffee and gather with Sue and Ray to discuss today's sermon - What ideas struck you?  What questions do you have?  What more would you like to know?  Our guest preacher will be invited to participate as well.  Children welcome!

 Save the Date ...


Saturday, December 7, 2019
                                            11:00 a.m.

     Parish Notice ...

Upcoming Parish Administrator Vacation
St. Dunstan's Parish Administrator, Kimberly Matthews will be on vacation and unreachable from  August 15-September 2, 2019. The office will be closed during this time. Pastoral care issues should be directed to Sue Carroll, finance issues to Cliff White, and all other church related issues to Carl Adams. The office will reopen on Tuesday, September 3.

Tending Our Sheep
One of our regular attendees, Hailey Dart, usually comes to worship Sunday mornings on the bus from Brighton Gardens.  Last week, she became confused and accepted a ride home from a kind individual who did not realize that the bus was coming for her. There were a few moments of alarm when the bus did come & we couldn't find her. Everything turned out fine, but it was upsetting. SO, Hailey's daughter Lindsay is asking if anyone might volunteer to pick Hailey up personally & bring her to and from St. Dunstan's on Sunday mornings.  If you are willing, please contact Kim in the office,  and she will put you in touch with the family to make arrangements.  Thanks!

 Kim Matthews
Parish Administrator

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
Pam Plaisance , fighting cancer, cousin of Sue von
Samantha Barnes, ill,  sister of Muriel Croston
DJ Crane , family friend of Trudy Surut, fighting cancer
Jessie McCardell, recovering from a fall
Joan (Penny) Denny , ill
Eleanor London , ill, mother of Ellen McCormick
Warren Green , ill, son-in-law of Trudy Surut
Patrick Smoak , fighting cancer, brother of Fred Smoak
Katie Hemmer , ill, mother of Sidney Clark-Lequrique
Brian Ply, former parishioner of St. Dunstan's, ill
Joseph Alexander , father in law of Patricia Alexander, ill
Sara Strattan , mother of Joseph Arkfeld, ill
Nene De Roos , family friend of Joseph Arkfeld, ill

The flowers  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 Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

August 11, 2019

10:00 a.m. Eucharist  for All

The readings for this Sunday are:
Genesis 15:1-6, Psalm 33:12-22,
and Luke 12:32-40

Sunday Schedule of Ministries ...

Serving this Sunday
Trail Guide: Rosemarie Barrett
Liturgical Coordinator:  Rosi Sweeney
Eucharistic Minister: Carl Adams
Lector: Rosi Sweeney
Prayer Minister: Sue Newman
Flower Guild:  Rosemarie Barrett
Altar Guild:   Rosi Sweeney
Tellers: Donna Alvarez and Chuck Cash