Dear friends,

In this strange world in which we have lived the past six months we have had to rethink how we do almost every aspect of church life. Stewardship is no exception. In a “normal” year today would have been the kickoff for our annual stewardship campaign. Our stewardship chair, Gwen McAlpine Zimmer, would have come to both services to speak to you.

Well, this is not a normal year. We thought about having Gwen and others in the next few weeks, come be part of the live-stream service, but that raised safety concerns. We thought about having Gwen and others record a video and posting it online, but that got complicated technologically.

And so we are going old school. Today, Gwen has written her “testimonial” about what St. Dunstan’s means to her. The next few Sunday afternoons you’ll receive written testimonies from other parishioners.

As always, thank you for your support of St. Dunstan’s. I’ll let Gwen take it from here.

Greetings to you all. My name is Gwen McAlpine Zimmer. I am the new Chair of Stewardship. This week church members will receive both an email and a letter in the US Post with a request for your support. Members may simply complete the pledge card and put it in the US Post, using the stamped envelope included, which is addressed to the church treasurer. We hope to receive pledges by October 1st.

St. Dunstan’s needs our support to run both the church and our many outreach programs, such as RIP Medical Debt and Family Promise. Bishop Wright has recently praised our church for our outreach to the community and the work we do within the congregation.

My Personal Testimonial for the 2021 Pledge Year 

Before finally discovering St. Dunstan’s, my family and I searched for a welcoming church for 10 years. Here are a few of our experiences at other churches. For years we attended a small church where we felt happy and spiritually nourished. Then the pastor became embroiled in a dispute with the council treasurer, a fight that ended with the pastor resigning two weeks before Easter—via an email note. The church was left to carry on with parishioners developing services. My family left that church. 

Then we tried a new church every Sunday. One neighbor asked us to her church, but that church had just fired their organist for being gay. My family was seeking a welcoming church. We tried a few churches with rock band music, which we hated. Some churches mingled right-wing politics with the Gospel, an approach that did not work for us. 

Finally, I prayed about the situation. On an impulse, I typed into Google the words sanctuary church Atlanta. The top entry that appeared was St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church. My family felt welcomed from our first day here. Tricia delivered sermons that were both wise and current to our time. No one has pressured us to return to church, but we always have. The congregation has been friendly and kind. Thus, my family will remain at St. Dunstan’s, which sets a high bar for spiritual learning and for being open to everyone, regardless of whom they love or how they vote.

I hope we will all be back in our church soon, face to face. And please let me know your ideas for stewardship and bringing us all closer together, especially in this time when COVID-19 is pulling us apart.

Thank you for your support.

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