The End of an Era
The year 2017 began on a sad note at St. Dunstan’s, with the New Year’s Day death of Ann Reece, the last of our founders who was still a member of St. Dunstan’s.
Ann’s health prevented her from coming to church the last few years, but she still was very much an active part of St. Dunstan’s, always reading newsletters and emails, keeping in touch with friends, and regularly hosting communion in her apartment for others who lived in her community.
Ann’s death is in many ways the end of an era for us. When I came to St. Dunstan’s in 2004, three of our founders were still active members – Ann and Roy Reece and Helen Branch.
Like adult children who feel a bit like an orphan when their parents die, there is a similar feeling of loss not to have any of our founders among us anymore.
There has been a lot of talk in the news recently about legacies as we get ready to change presidential administrations later this month.
How will those in the outgoing administration be remembered? What differences have they made in the world? What is their legacy?
For Ann and our other founders, their legacy is the continuing life of St. Dunstan’s.
I liken the founders to the disciples who were present at the first Pentecost. Those followers of Jesus were huddled together in a locked room after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension.
Jesus had promised them that the Holy Spirit would come and be with them. But they had no idea what that promise meant or when it would be fulfilled.
The Day of Pentecost was the answer to those questions. The Holy Spirit blew into that room with a rushing wind, propelling the disciples into the world to spread the Gospel of Jesus.
In a similar way the Holy Spirit was at work more than 50 years ago, when a small group of parishioners of St. Anne’s (some of whom had been involved in the founding of that parish) felt compelled to leave the comfort and safety of a church they loved to begin a new congregation.
Like the first followers of Jesus, these modern-day disciples were not sure where the Spirit would lead them. But they trusted God would guide them to where they were needed.
We are here today because of their courage.
Over the last five-plus decades, the Holy Spirit has led hundreds of people to this place. Some of us have been here for decades; some have only recently walked through the doors. Some make this their lifelong community of faith; for others it is a brief stop on their spiritual journey.
Some come here to raise a family, some come to have a place from which to die and be buried. Some come here seeking help or refuge.
Just as Pentecost was not a one-time event, so the founding of a church is a continuous process.
The church is always in motion. The Holy Spirit is always moving among us, bringing new life and transformation.
That is the legacy of our founders, a legacy from which we all benefit, a legacy that we pray will continue for decades to come.
Thanks be to God for the life of Ann Reece, and for the lives of all our founders.
The Names of the Messiah
Because there were so many other things going on during the Sunday School hour during Advent, we postponed the planned series until January. On Sunday, January 22, we will begin a four-week series on the Names of the Messiah, drawn from the famous Isaiah text:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”
Joe Monti will be leading the discussion. Come join us at 9:30 a.m. in the Founders’ Room.
Hotel St. Dunstan’s will open January 22 to provide shelter for four homeless families for the week. We expect four mothers and nine children (ages 2 to 18) to be our guests that week. We need people to set up and take down rooms, provide dinner, and spend the night. Sign up to help on our website, www.stdunstan.net. (scroll down to the bottom of any page)
Come join us for a Dixieland Jazz Eucharist and pancake breakfast on Sunday, February 26, the last Sunday before Lent begins. ONE service this day at 10 a.m., with music provided by Frank Bock and his Dixieland Band, followed by a pancake breakfast. Come join the fun!
Ash Wednesday Services
Ash Wednesday, the first day of the penitential season of Lent, is Wednesday, March 1. We will have services at noon and 7 p.m.
Atlanta Chamber Players at St. Dunstan’s
St. Dunstan’s will host a concert by the Atlanta Chamber Players on Tuesday, March 7, featuring the music of Norway. This is a ticketed event, and if you want to attend it is not too early to purchase tickets. Call 866-811-4111, or purchase online at www.atlantachamberplayers.com. Events like this one showcase our beautiful natural setting, the intimacy of our church space, and our fine acoustics.
Our condolences to Sarah and Bill Hancock and Grace and Emma, on the death of Sarah’s father, Corbett Turner, on December 24.
Our condolences to Bill and Deborah Reece and Lindsey and Roy, on the death of parishioner Ann Reece, Bill’s mother.
Thanks to everyone who made the Christmas services so beautiful – the altar and flower guilds, the choir and musicians, ushers, lectors and lay readers. It truly takes a village!
The staff thanks all of you for the generous and much appreciated Christmas bonuses.
A Prayer for Refugees
Almighty and merciful God,
whose Son became a refugee
and had no place to call his own;
look with mercy on those who today
are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day
when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace.