Observing a Holy Lent
During the Ash Wednesday service each year we are invited to the observation of a holy Lent, marked by self-examination and repentance; prayers, fasting, and self-denial; and reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. At St. Dunstan’s we offer a variety of ways to help us enter into this holy season.
Worship – Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which this year is February 14. We will have services at noon and 7 p.m.
During Lent we are also adding an informal Wednesday evening Eucharist. Join us in the parish hall for the service at 6 p.m., followed by a potluck supper. The “Wednesdays in Lent” begin on February 21. Come be nourished by the Eucharist, share a simple meal, and get to know your fellow parishioners.
Study – The Pilgrim’s Way. The theme of adult Sunday school in Lent will be “pilgrimage.” Pilgrimages are practiced by most of the world’s major religions and have been a common Christian practice since the fourth century. Pilgrims may take external physical journeys to particular places of religious or moral significance, or internal spiritual journeys of the soul. Some of us have taken or are taking such journeys. Join us on Sundays at 9:30 a.m for discussions of this way of practicing our faith.
A new Bible study on the Gospel of Luke begins on Tuesday, February 20, at 7 p.m. (see separate article).
Author Diana Butler Bass will be at St. Dunstan’s to speak, teach, and preach on March 10-11. (see separate article).
Service – As in previous years, we will be collecting money during Lent to replenish the St. Dunstan’s Medical Fund at the Msalata Theological School in Tanzania. The money we spend buys mosquito nets for anyone in the school community who needs them. It also stocks medical supplies, such as medicine for malaria and other illnesses, buys prescription eyeglasses, and pays for a nurse to come to the school an hour a day. In other words, the money we send goes a long way and is much needed and appreciated. Please take a “Hope Chest” from the narthex and save money during Lent for this worthy mission.
Lenten Meditations – Episcopal Relief and Development has published a booklet of meditations for each day in Lent. The theme this year is children around the world. You make pick up a copy in the narthex.
Lent Madness – For something silly, fun, and educational, check out Lent Madness at lentmadness.org. A slate of 64 saints face off to see who wins the Golden Halo. Sign up to get biographies of each day’s match up in your inbox each morning, then vote on your favorite. You can even get a spread sheet with the brackets. Have a little fun with your Lent.
Let the Good Times Roll!
The solemn season of Lent begins February 14, but before that we will let the good times roll! Come join us on Sunday, February 11 for Eucharist featuring a Dixieland Jazz Band, followed by a pancake brunch.
We will have ONE service that day at 10 a.m. Our guest preacher will be the Rev. Dr. Sandy McCann, who for many years served at Msalata Theological School in Tanzania, where we provide funding each year for the community’s medical needs. Music for the service will be provided by Frank Bock’s Dixieland Jazz Band.
After the service is our annual “Fat Sunday” pancake brunch. John Gimson is our chief pancake flipper. If you’d like to help, contact him at john@sogoodpasta,com. Tickets are $5. Side dishes are welcome.
And after the pancakes join us in the Beech Grove for the burning of last year’s palms from Palm Sunday to make ashes for Ash Wednesday.
I am delighted to announce that one of my favorite authors, Diana Butler Bass, will be at St. Dunstan’s for a weekend series of lectures in March.
Grounded and Grateful: A Spiritual Path for Difficult Times is the weekend’s theme. We will begin Saturday, March 10, from 9 a.m.- Noon, with coffee and registration at 8:30. The Cathedral Bookstore will be present with copies of Diana’s books for sale.
Diana will then teach Sunday School the following day and preach at the 10:45 service (No 8:30 service this day).
Diana is a noted scholar and author, specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a PhD in religious studies from Duke University. Her 10th book, Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks, will be published on April 3. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and The Washington Post on issues of religion, politics, and culture.
The weekend is open to the wider community. We encourage you to invite your friends to what promises to be a thought-provoking and stimulating event.
Tuesday Night Bible Study
Join us on Tuesday evenings for an in-depth study of the Gospel of Luke. The study will be led by parishioner Susan Hauser, who has a masters of divinity from Emory, and who is a fabulous teacher. Classes begin at 7 p.m. on February 20. Bring your Bible. A study guide will be recommended at the first class, but is not required.
Many area churches and groups are sponsoring special Lenten events, which are open to everyone. I encourage you to take advantage of as many of these as you can (in addition to our offering of Diana Butler Bass, of course). Here are a few things you might want to check out:
A Case for Life: Justice, Mercy, and the Death Penalty. An evening featuring Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, who has devoted her life to ministry to death row inmates and advocating against the death penalty. Her talk will be followed by a panel discussion, which will include Bishop Rob Wright.
The event is Thursday, February 15 at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church. Registration begins at 6, the event at 7 p.m. The talk is free, but registration is requested. Register at connecting.episcopalatlanta.org/events/
The Prophetic Imagination in the 21st Century featuring Dr. Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, and one of the most influential Biblical scholars of our day. Brueggemann asks: Are there still prophets among us? What is the prophet’s vision for our world today?
This event will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 16, and continue at 10 a.m. Saturday, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3003 Howell Mill Road (across the street from St. Anne’s Episcopal). The lectures are free, but reservations are requested at trinityatlanta.org/
A Tale of Two Postures: Grasping and Yielding. This half-day Lenten retreat is offered by Mary and Martha’s Place at St. Dunstan’s. We live daily in the tension between grasping and yielding, clinging and emptying, control and vulnerability, certainty and curiosity. The retreat will explore those dynamics and learn how the Christian contemplative tradition supports our inner transformation toward greater spiritual complexity.
The retreat. on Saturday, February 24 from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., will be led by the Rev. Stuart Higginbotham, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville. The cost is $45. Register online at maryandmarthasplace.com/februaryconference.
New Social Media Director
Parishioner Jessy Hamilton has agreed to become St. Dunstan’s new social media director. He will be administering our Facebook page, setting up an Instagram account and looking for new ways to spread the word about St. Dunstan’s through social media. Jessy teaches AP American History at Chamblee High School. He was also social media director for the state of Colorado for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, has managed other social media accounts and has done consulting work for progressive faith communities. Thanks for coming on board with us, Jessy. And if you’re on Facebook, please like St. Dunstan’s page. When our Instagram account is up we will let everyone know.
Last year we switched our parish directory to an online version. There is an option to post photos with each entry. Some parishioners have done so, but most have not. We can help you with that. During Lent Billy DuBose will be in the parish hall with his camera after services, available to take pictures of individuals or families. We will get them posted for you. Please send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having pictures with your information is a good way for new members to put faces with names, and for those who have been here a while to get to know who our newer members are. It truly is an act of hospitality.
The next time you go down the hall toward the Choir and Founders’ Rooms make sure you stop to admire the beautiful needlework “Mythical Songbird,” stitched by Priscilla Davis and given “in thanksgiving for the life and music of Steve Wai Seng Mark and in honor of all the ‘songbirds’ who deepen our experience of God through their lives and music.”
It was clear from weather reports that our January Family Promise week could be an adventure full of ice and snow. The first three days were welcoming and peaceful with a near full house of 11 people. We never dreamed the weather would cause three days of school closings with dangerous icy roads that meant the families needed to stay for three full days. However, they were cozy, warm, well fed and cared for all week long due to the dedication of 32 St. Dunstan volunteer angels.
By the end of the week we had added another family for a total of 14 people. Even with horrible road conditions, volunteers got there with food and support all week long. We were excited to learn that a dear family of mom and dad with six children were moving to their own new home. We (Mimi, Vivian, Ellen and Lucy) are forever grateful for all the volunteers support and ongoing offers to do more.
These are our St Dunstan volunteer angels: Gwen Barnett, Alice Bealer, Misty Bentz, Alexander Changus, Audrey Czapp, Priscilla Davis, Billy DuBose, Claudia Gimson, Deborah Gimson, Debbie Jones, Jessy Hamilton, Julia Koenig, Keith Latimore, Nancy Knight Latimore, Connor Mark, Elizabeth Wong Mark, Susen Martz, John Morgan, Shirley Morgan, Gilda Morris, Peggy Rogers, Harriett Smith, Adam Steinke, Fair Sutherlin, Ken Taratus, Jeanne Taylor, Joseph Henry Monti, Pam Weed, Mary Kathryn Wolfson, Lori Westphal.
Mimi Gold, Family Promise coordinator
The folks at Holy Comforter struggle with life; most live in group homes and cope with mental challenges. Serving or cooking and buying food for the Holy Comforter folks can fill us with joy as we fill their tummies. It is an opportunity to serve the “least of these”, as Jesus instructs us in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters, you did for me.” Outreach is part of being an active Christian; attending worship and talking the love of God out into the world. It takes a village. Our next time to serve dinner at Holy Comforter is February 28th. Please come join us!
Gilda Morris, Holy Comforter coordinator
Dallou Family update – the October Bellows (available on the stdunstan.net website) had several wonderful articles contributed by volunteers that have been involved with the Syrian family that St. Dunstan’s has been sponsoring. The relationships that have formed epitomize the efforts of this ministry. If you’d like more information, speak with any of the regular volunteers: Mary Alice Armstrong, Charis Bowling, Nancy Dillon, Susan Glenz-Pearce, Tom Harney, Susan Howard, and Suzanne Van de Mark.
Dad, Ibrahim works at Thrift Town and is hoping to attend college so he can continue teaching Arabic as he did in Syria. He enjoys interacting with other men as most visitors are women.
Mom, Sanaa just passed the driver’s exam – on the first try – last week! Even with just one car in the family, being able to drive will give her so much more flexibility in taking care of the family’s needs – and her own. Sanaa likes to serve Turkish coffee to visitors along with other goodies. Mary Alice says she drops by to get some love and cheer from this family when she is a little draggy. They have definitely done that for me every visit. Their hospitality is “radical.”
Aesheh is grandma, Ibrahim’s mom, and is about the sweetest, happiest lady ever. She never wants friends to leave and kisses hello and goodbye many times with the brightest smile.
Mohammed, 10, is in a special class at Idlewood in DeKalb County and is getting speech/language therapy for social skills on Mondays. He rides the bus with his siblings. They all like school very much and are doing great. All the kids’English is proficient and they are quite bright. Raneem, 13, attends middle school and is a lovely young lady.
Rama, 7, just celebrated her birthday on January 7 and Munther will turn 2 on February 26. If you’d like to send birthday cards their address is 3817 Brocket Trail, Clarkston, GA 30021.
Suzanne Van de Mark,volunteer
Honoring the Faithful
Have you ever wondered what St. Dunstan’s was like in its earliest days? How it has changed over the years? On Sunday, January 21, we honored those who have been at St. Dunstan’s for 25 years or longer. Next time you see these people ask them to tell you a St. Dunstan’s story, and thank them for their faithfulness.
Those who have been here 25 years or longer are Bill and Deborah Reece, Josh and Jeanne Taylor, Betty Whittier, Gilda and Lee Morris, Sheila Woodard, Cathy and Toby Raper, Nancy Dillon, Christine Bird, Geoff and Cinda Walker, Claudia Gimson, John Gimson, Priscilla Davis, Renee Kastanakis and Rick Bent, Greg and Jane Blount, Tom and Gwen Barnett, Sallie Smith, and Maggie and Tom Harney.
February is Black History Month, reminding us of the contributions of African-Americans to our cultural and religious life. During the month at St. Dunstan’s, we will sing at least four hymns with words, music, or both, written by African- American composers.
Stand By Me has music and words by Charles Albert Tindley (1851-1933), an African-American preacher and hymn writer. The son of slave parents, Tindley taught himself to read and write. While working as a janitor for a Methodist Episcopal church in Philadelphia, he went to night school and took correspondence courses in theology. He became ordained as a Methodist minister, and after serving several churches, he returned to the one where he was janitor. The church grew to 7,000 members and was renamed Tindley Temple Methodist Church. When Tindley writes, “When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea, Thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me!” we can be sure he does so authentically and from the heart.
Take My Hand, Precious Lord was written by Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993), an African-American musician and composer (not Tommy Dorsey, the jazz musician from the Big Band Era). Dorsey wrote more than 200 sacred songs, many of which were popularized by Mahalia Jackson. He wrote “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand…” following the death of his first wife and child.
In Christ There Is No East or West first appeared in the Episcopal Hymnal 1940, where it was paired with a tune that is one of the first works coming from African-American culture to be sung by a major Protestant denomination. The tune was a popular song in the latter part of the 19th century, and was adapted by the African-American musician H. T. Burleigh for use as a hymn tune.
When Jesus Died to Save Us, hymn 322 in our Hymnal 1982, is one of a number of hymn tunes by David Hurd. A noted composer, concert organist, and church musician, and formerly professor of Sacred Music and director of Chapel Music at General Theological Seminary in New York, Dr. Hurd is now director of music at New York’s Church of St. Mary the Virgin. He is one of the world’s most prominent classical musicians and composers who is African-American.
On Sunday, January 14, we paid tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, singing Lift Every Voice and Sing, the hymn commonly known as the African-American national anthem. The St. Dunstan’s Choir also sang All That I Am, an anthem with music by William Grant Still (1895-1978) and words by his wife, Verna Arvey. Still, often referred to as “the dean” of African-American composers, was the ffirst African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony of his own (his first symphony) performed by a leading orchestra, and the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company.
A Prayer for Lent
Fast from judgment, feast on compassion.
Fast from greed, feast on sharing.
Fast from scarcity, feast on abundance.
Fast from fear, feast on peace.
Fast from lies, feast on truth.
Fast from gossip, feast on praise.
Fast from anxiety, feast on patience. Fast from evil, feast on kindness.
Fast from apathy, feast on engagement.