From the Rector

Being the Body of Christ in an Anxious Time
Throughout both Hebrew and Christian Scripture, one command is repeated more frequently than any other: Do not be afraid. This counsel is uttered by angels, prophets, and the Psalmist, as well as by God the Father and Jesus. It has been calculated that these words appear, in one form or another, 365 times in the Bible! Clearly, we are meant to take this message to heart.
Over the past few weeks, and escalating in recent days, concern about the unpredictable spread of the Coronavirus has led many people to be anxious, if not (yet) fully afraid. That anxiety is understandable, especially given "real time" reports in the media that tend to exacerbate our sense of vulnerability. It is human nature to panic in the face of what we don't know and what we can't control, and I suspect that most of us are experiencing some measure of stress and tension right now. 
I want you to know that your parish is here to support and care for you as you navigate these uncharted waters. 
It is such a blessing to belong to a community of faith at the best of times - and even more so, I think, during periods of uncertainty. Knowing that we are not alone, and that there are people on the journey with us, can be a source of real strength and comfort. I encourage you to lean in to your faith community, the Body of Christ here at St. Dunstan's, right now. There is power in coming together to pray, to steep ourselves in Scripture, and to share our worries and our hopes with our brothers and sisters. This is one of the things that the Church, when it is functioning properly, does best: it can be a source of strength and renewal to equip us for the journey.
All of this said, I also recognize that for some the idea of gathering for worship is, in and of itself, anxiety-producing. This, too, is understandable, and I trust that you will make whatever decision is best for yourself and your family. Please take a moment to read further about what St. Dunstan's is doing, proactively, to be as safe as possible (see separate article, below). As well, I urge you to remember that you are, in fact, part of something bigger than yourself, and you never need to suffer alone or in silence. What do I mean by this?
  • For one thing, if you feel as though you cannot or should not make it to St. Dunstan's on a Sunday out of concern about infection, please consider letting me bring the Sacrament to you at home . If I am healthy, I will be delighted to visit you with Communion. It need not take long, and it would give me a chance to connect with you, pastorally.
  • Also, in the event that we are asked to close the church for a Sunday or two, I will be in touch electronically with resources for worshipping at home. Even if we cannot be together in person, we still can pray with and for one another!
  • And finally, this is a moment for us to be the Body of Christ at St. Dunstan's. This is a great opportunity to reach out to one another (by phone, preferably) to check in. In the next couple of weeks we hope to put together a parish phone tree to enable us to get in touch with and care for each other. If you have reason to believe that we do not have your phone number here in the parish office, please contact  Kim Matthews with that information as soon as possible. We only have email addresses for some folks, and while that's better than nothing, it's not the same as human contact.
This is an anxious time for many of us, but I pray that none of us will be overwhelmed by a spirit of fear. Together, we can be the hands and feet of Christ and care for one another. 

     Taking Precautions Against the Coronavirus during Worship

Your lay leadership and I are committed to exercising an abundance of caution in the face of the Coronavirus, guided by the wisdom of our own Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde, and of the Episcopal Church as a whole. (If you have not yet had a chance to read Bishop Mariann's recent pastoral letter to the Diocese, it may be found here ). In order to keep parishioners as safe as possible - and to help the congregation feel as comfortable as possible in worship - we are taking a few precautionary steps for the time being:

  • Please do not come to church if you are feeling ill. As much as we will miss you - and we will! - it is in everyone's best interest to stay home if you are unwell. I promise to do the same.
  • We ask that folks refrain from shaking hands, bumping fists, or hugging during the exchange of the Peace. This will be challenging, given how much we like each other (!), but for now let's just greet each other verbally - perhaps with a simple wave or bow of the head.
  • We also ask that everyone refrain from intincting (dipping the bread into the wine). Again, this is not a permanent change, but the Episcopal Church advises that sipping from the silver chalice is far safer than risking contamination from fingers. I encourage you to read this brief article for further information on sharing the common cup. If you do not feel comfortable sipping from the chalice, it is perfectly fine to receive the bread only: the Episcopal Church teaches that Christ is fully present in both bread and wine, so to receive one is to receive the other. 
  • The building will be cleaned even more thoroughly than usual, and don't be surprised if you are greeted with the smell of Lysol or bleach upon entering! Please help us keep the building as healthy as possible by letting us know if you find areas that have not been cleaned sufficiently. Please also be mindful not to leave used tissues in the pews.
  • Finally, as we know, the best preventative is to wash our hands thoroughly and frequently. The CDC advocates washing with soap and water, making sure to lather the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and under the nails. The recommended "scrub time" is at least 20 seconds - or the time it takes to hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice. (Try it - it works!) Please make sure that paper towels are disposed of properly after drying.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this exceptional time! ~ PPA+

     This Sunday: March 8, 2020

Coffee Hour
Thank you to Donna Alvarez for hosting Coffee Hour this week! If you would be willing to help provide coffee, tea, and goodies on an upcoming Sunday, please visit  this link or see the clipboard on the table in Founders' Hall. We  are in immediate need of a Coffee Hour host for next Sunday, March 15 . Thank you, in advance, for your hospitality!

"Practicing Our Faith":  Adult Inquirers' Class 
Our Adult Inquirers' Class continues this week during Sunday Formation Hour (11:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall). This week's session will look at  Sacraments and Sacramental Rites. For more information about the Inquirers' Class, including a schedule of class topics, please see the Christian Formation section, below.  We have a few copies of the recommended companion text for this course, Walk in Love: Episcopal Beliefs and Practices, available for purchase during the class; the cost is $16.96. We would be grateful if you would pay by check, as we cannot make change; please make it payable to St. Dunstan's, with "Walk in Love" on the memo line.

     Outreach and Social Justice

PBS Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor to Emcee Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington's 2020 Next Step Breakfast!
Mark your calendars! Samaritan Ministry's annual Next Step Breakfast at the historic National Press Club (529 14th St NW, Washington) is set for Thursday, March 12, beginning at 7:30 a.m. The event is over promptly at 9 a.m.
This year's event highlights the essence of Samaritan Ministry: Participant Antoinette Green, whose life has been turned around since she first encountered Samaritan Ministry, will share her story. And, like so many who volunteer with the Next Step program, Gloria Ducker will share the impact of Samaritan Ministry on her life.
If you've never been to a Samaritan Ministry Next Step Breakfast before, this is the perfect opportunity to learn about its transformational work. The Breakfast is complimentary, and reservations are required to guarantee seats.
St. Dunstan's has been a longtime supporter of Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington, and we would like to have good representation at this important event. Please contact   Peta Leitermann-Long or Patty Alexander as soon as possible to sign up. If there is sufficient interest we can organize a carpool from St. Dunstan's. Please come out and support the mission and ministry of Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington!
Helping our Neighbors in Need: Scotland AME Zion Church, Potomac
We learned recently that the historic AME Zion Church, located on Seven Locks Road in the Scotland neighborhood of Potomac, suffered devastating damage to their building during heavy rains last July. Since that time, their congregation has been worshipping in Gaithersburg, which clearly is not optimal for this neighborhood parish. The pastor and parishioners of Scotland AME Zion Church are raising funds to repair the building and make it safe for occupancy, but the estimated cost is over $600,000. 

The Outreach Committee, under the leadership of Elin Botha , would like to reach out on behalf of St. Dunstan's with a show of financial support for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our goal is to donate $2,000.00 to their fundraising campaign. If you would like to make a contribution to help Scotland AME Zion Church, please make your check payable to St. Dunstan's, with "Scotland AME" on the Memo line. For more information, please see this recent news report . Thank you, in advance, for your generosity.


Discerning our Social Justice Priorities
Please plan to join us for a special social justice "Deep Dive" during Formation Hour on Sunday, March 22 to learn more about how you and your family might become further involved in these ministries at St. Dunstan's. Bring your heart for service and your ideas and energy! For more information about the ministry of the Justice League, please contact Mark MacCarthy .

     Worship and Music

Offering Our Creative Gifts to God: The Flower Guild
Every week, worshippers at St. Dunstan's  are blessed by the creativity and faithfulness of the Flower Guild,a small group of dedicated artists who offer their talents to decorating the church every Sunday and on special occasions throughout the liturgical year. As has been advertised previously, the Flower Guild would love to host a Flower Arranging Workshop for current and prospective members, as well as for anyone interested in learning more about this important ministry in the life of our parish. 

Because this is a busy time of year, and because such an offering takes a great deal of planning and preparation, it is essential to gauge interest ahead of time. The tentative date for the next workshop is Saturday, March 14, here at the church; there will be a small fee to cover materials. If you are planning to attend, please let Rosemarie Barrett know as soon as possible. If there is not sufficient registration yet, the workshop will be postponed until later in the year.

Flower Dedications
Thank you to those who already have signed up to sponsor Altar arrangements on one or more Sundays this year! If you have not yet had an opportunity to do so, please visit the chart on the bulletin board in the hallway to sign up. 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 the attention of our Parish Administrator, Kimberly Matthews, in the Parish Office. Please also be sure to let Kim 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. 

Midweek Eucharist  Resumes this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.
Looking for ways to deepen your relationship with God this Lent? Consider joining us for Holy Eucharist on Wednesday mornings at 11:30 a.m. in the church. This "come as you are" service (without music) lasts approximately 30 minutes and includes optional prayers for healing. Come for Bible Study and 10:30 and stay, or just pop in for worship at 11:30. All are welcome!

     Christian Formation 

Adult Inquirers' Class: "Practicing Our Faith"
The Adult Inquirers' Class, "Practicing Our Faith," continues this Sunday, March 8, with subsequent sessions on March 15 and 29 and April 19 and 26. "Practicing Our Faith" is designed as preparation for anyone who would like to be Confirmed or Received into the Episcopal Church at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, May 9, 2020, but everyone is welcome to dip in for any sessions that interest you. The schedule of specific class sessions follows, below

(The expectation is that those preparing for Confirmation or Reception will attend most, if not all, of the classes.) 

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. Baptism and a sincere desire to make such an affirmation are the only prerequisites for Confirmation. 

For further information about the Adult Inquirers' Class, please be in touch with Patty Alexander directly at or 301.229.2960, ext. 11. 

Bible Study: The Gospel of John
 Our midweek Bible Study meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. in the Parlor, and we would love for you to join us! We are studying the Gospel of John, and no preparation or previous knowledge is required. Come and see!

     Spiritual Life

Men's Group- March 7
The St. Dunstan's Men's Group will meet this coming Saturday, March 7, 2020.  Bagels and coffee will be available in the kitchen starting at 9:00 a.m. We will start our discussion at around 9:30 a.m. in the Parlor.
This week's topic is:  "How are we are shaped by events and persons who went before us, whom we may have met or not, but who, nonetheless were important characters/elements in shaping our world view, our relationships and more?  How did we learn about these personages, directly or indirectly, and how will our own stories be passed down to another generation?"
We look forward to seeing everyone who can make it this Saturday. For more information, please be in touch with John Wyss .

Soul Sisters - March 14
The St. Dunstan's Soul Sisters - our discussion group for women - will meet on Saturday, March 14th from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. in the Parlor.  With fears of the coronavirus swirling around us, we'll talk about what it takes to make us feel safe.  This can range from the practical (hand-washing) to the logistical (stocking up on food & prescriptions) to, of course, the spiritual.  What kinds of prayers help? What kinds of practices? We'll share concerns and advice and (as always) whatever needs to be discussed that morning.  If you have any questions, please contact   Sue Carroll.

St. Dunstan's Book Group
Do you like to read? If so, you are invited to join the St. Dunstan's Book Group. Book Group meets monthly on the second Thursday at 2:30 p.m in the Parlor at St. Dunstan's. All are welcome! Interested? Check out the following title for the upcoming meeting on March 12:   Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. If you have any questions, please contact Donna Alvarez . See you there!

Hopes and Prayers on our Journey 

In Need of Healing:

Gene Anderson,   fighting cancer, family of Julie Anderson
Sydney Betz,  ill, sister of Bob Betz
Phil Carroll,   ill, brother of Sue Carroll
Nene De Roos,  ill, family friend of Joseph Arkfeld
Ken Farnsworth,   at home
Connie Gau , in hospice, aunt of Joseph Arkfeld
Warren Green,   recovering from surgery, son-in-law of Trudy Surut
Katie Hemmer,  ill, mother of Sidney Clark-Lequrique
Julie Petersmeyer ,   ill
Pam Plaisance,   fighting cancer, cousin of Sue von Rautenkranz
Ed Rice,   recovering from surgery
Curt Shively, in nursing care, husband of Susan Burkhalter
Don Wasseman, fighting pancreatic cancer, friend of Sue Newman

The flowers at the Altar  today are given to the glory of the Lord by Joanne Comstock and John Wyss in loving memory of Jennifer Mooney Greene.

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.

This Sunday ...

The Second Sunday in Lent

March 8, 2020

10:00 a.m. Eucharist  for All
11:30 a.m. Annual Meeting of the Parish

The readings for this Sunday are:
Genesis 12:1-4a, Psalm 121,
and John 3:1-17

Sunday Schedule of Ministries ...

Serving this Sunday
Trail Guide: Joanne Comstock
Eucharistic Minister:  Carl Adams 
and Sam Leitermann- Long
Liturgical Coordinator: Robin Reed 
Lector: Carl Adams
Prayer Minister: Sue Newman
Crucifer: Sam Leitermann-Long
Flower Guild: Rosemarie Barrett
Altar Guild: Marsha Barnes
Tellers: Donna Alvarez and  Trudy Surut