Love Your Neighbor, No Exceptions
When Jesus was asked what were the most important commandments for his disciples to follow, he did not hesitate in his response: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all you soul and all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
By neighbor, of course, Jesus wasn’t just talking about the people who live next door. All of God’s children are our neighbors. Whether we like them or not, we are commanded to love them, to treat them with dignity and respect, recognizing they, too, are created in God’s image. We show our love for God in the way we treat our neighbors.
It initially sounds so easy, but the reality is much more difficult. If we could all just follow these commands most of the problems in our nation and the world would disappear, or at least be lessened.
A new banner hanging at the street in front of the church is a reminder to us, and to all who pass by, of the importance of these commandments. The banner originated at All Souls Episcopal Church in Washington DC. I saw a photo of it online and contacted the rector there to see if it was available for other churches to use. It was. The vestry approved having one made for St. Dunstan’s, and Wayne Hood oversaw the making of it and hung it this week.
What a great reminder of how we are to act as people of faith as we begin a new year.
Walking the Mourner’s Path Transforming Grief into Joyful Living
We are excited to offer this new ministry program at St. Dunstan’s. Walking the Mourner’s Path is an eight-week workshop for those who mourn. The death can be as recent as six months ago, or many decades ago.
This program was begun by an Episcopal Church in Arizona out of the need to answer the question “Where is God in my pain?”
It consists of eight weekly workshops which are:
- Centered in prayer – acknowledging God’s healing presence
- Carefully crafted – the group works on one concept each week so that participants can work on their grief without feeling overwhelmed.
- Workbook guided – providing a framework for the discussions and explorations.
- Intentionally small – allowing everyone the opportunity to share.
Last fall, St. Dunstan’s sponsored a three-day training session for facilitators for this program. Tricia, Harriett Smith, and Martha O’Brien attended, along with others from St. Anne’s, All Saints, and Church of Our Savior in Atlanta, and participants from churches in Texas and Florida.
We will begin our first session of Walking the Mourner’s Path on Thursday, February 7, at 7 p.m. Sessions will be held weekly, ending March 28th.
Participants are not limited to our parishioners. If you know others who might benefit from this program please feel free to share it with them. Note, however, it is a Christian program.
The size of the group is limited, so contacting Tricia first is required. If you are interested in participating please contact Tricia.
Adult Sunday School
MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Our adult class will spend the next weeks reading and discussing Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, one of the most important documents of the last century. If there were ever a move to expand the Bible to include more contemporary writings, this letter would surely be included.
King was arrested in Birmingham on Good Friday 1963 for leading protests in the city. His letter was written in response to a letter for leading local clergymen (and they were all men), which was printed as a full page ad in the Birmingham newspaper, urging “Negroes” to have patience in racial matters and criticizing King as an outsider with no business in Birmingham. The Episcopal bishop of Alabama and the assistant bishop were among the eight clergy who signed the letter.
Joe Monti will be leading the class (some of you might not know that Joe was professor of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at the seminary in Sewanee for 25 years). If you’d like to read the letter, or bring a copy of it to class, here’s a link: https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Letter_Birmingham_Jail.pdf
And here is the clergy letter that prompted King’s response.
Please come join the discussions at 9:30 a.m. Sunday in the Founders’ Room.
Bidding Farewell to the Dallous
The Dallous, the Syrian refugee family we have sponsored and become friends with over the past 18 months have an eventful year ahead. Sanaa, the mother, is pregnant with a baby boy due in March. And at the end of this month, the family will move to Pittsburgh, which has a large Syrian community.
Sunday afternoon, January 6 at 2 p.m. we will have a baby shower/goodbye party for the family. Everyone is invited.
The church will give them a car seat and diaper bag. If you’d like to give them a gift, the best thing is gift cards from Walmart or Target, so they can get what they need for the new baby and their new life in Pittsburgh. We also welcome any finger foods for the party.
Please join us at 9:30 a.m. on January 26th in the parish hall where Chris Campbell of the Sandy Springs Fire Department will be teaching CPR, trauma pack training, and defibrillator training. (Some of you have had the pleasure of meeting Chris during our recent leadership safety seminar and know what a great teacher he is!) Coffee and donuts will be served at 9, and the training will begin promptly at 9:30 and last a little over two hours. Please come dressed to “roll around on the floor.”
January / February Dates
Make sure to mark your calendar for these January dates.
January 6 – 2 p.m. A baby shower and going away party for our Syrian family, the Dallous.
January 26 – 9:30 a.m. – noon. CPR training in the parish hall.
January 27 – 2 p.m. – Joseph Henry Monti’s voice recital in the church, reception following.
February 3-10 – Family Promise at St. Dunstan’s
SOAP UP Atlanta
Next month the national spotlight will be on Atlanta as the Super Bowl is played here at Mercedes Benz stadium. But there is a dark side to all the festivities that will occur around the game – an increase in sex trafficking. Last year in Minneapolis, the site of that year’s Super Bowl, police arrested 94 men in a sex trafficking sting in the days surrounding the big game.
The Diocese of Atlanta is participating in a simple way to reach victims of sex trafficking. “SOAP UP Atlanta” is a move to place bars of soap with the number for the National Trafficking Hotline in all area hotel rooms.
On January 26 from 9:30-2:30 people from across the diocese are invited to All Saints Episcopal Church, 634 W. Peachtree St., to label the soaps and begin delivering them to hotels around the stadium. Theresa Flores, the founder of the SOAP UP movement, will speak about her own experience of being trafficked at age 15.
You can learn more and register for the event here.
Our first week of hosting Family Promise in 2019 begins February 3, when homeless families will arrive to spend the week at St. Dunstan’s. We will need people to spend the night, cook and serve dinner, stock the kitchen, set up and take down rooms, and do laundry. You can sign up to volunteer here.
Our condolences to Geoff and Cinda Walker on the death of Geoff’s mother, Phoebe Nelson.
- Thank you to all our parish musicians for exceptional efforts and contributions to Advent and Christmas music – singers, hand bell ringers, and instrumentalists – Anil Weerakoon (congas), Alexander Changus (oboe), and Connor Mark (marimba).
- On Christmas Eve we used our newly rebuilt Steinway M piano for the first time. It is now better than new and a perfect instrument for our acoustic space. Sometime soon we will have a Sunday afternoon musical program where we showcase the piano and express our gratitude to the generous donors who have made this possible.
- The liturgical season of Epiphany is long this year, and Ash Wednesday is not until March 6. That means that on March 3, the last Sunday before Lent, we will have a festive Eucharistic celebration with Frank Bock and his Dixieland Jazz Band.
- Coming up first, however, is an event in which I hope you will have a special interest. I had not been at St. Dunstan’s very long, less than a year, I think, when one day Joseph Henry Monti, then one of our very young choristers, came running into the choir room saying, “Mr. Tom, listen to what I can do with my voice!”. Now, almost 10 years later, as a high school senior, Joseph Henry will present a solo voice recital at St. Dunstan’s, on Sunday, January 27 at 2 p.m. There will be a reception following the recital and all are invited.
The Flower Guild Wants You!
Does the beauty of the flowers each week add to your sense of worship at St. Dunstan’s? The flowers are arranged each week by members of the Flower Guild. If you enjoy arranging flowers, please consider joining this group. If you’ve never arranged flowers but would like to learn they will teach you! Contact Flower Guild chair Gilda Morris at email@example.com if you are interested.
And if you’d like to donate flowers to the glory of God, and in memory or honor of someone, the sign up for 2019 is in the narthex.
Angel Yoga on Mondays
Join us on Monday evenings at six for Angel Yoga, a gentle, spiritual yoga using chairs. Classes are led by Gilda Morris. A $10 donation to the rector’s discretionary fund is suggested.
Time & Talent – Want to be more involved?
Sundays at St. Dunstan’s are not possible without a large number of volunteers. There are plenty of opportunities to lend a hand. Feel free to contact the following people to get more information on ways you can help.
Coffee / Hospitality
Lay Readers / Lectors
Vestry 2018 – 2019
Harriett S. Smith, Sr. Warden; Bruce Lafitte, Jr. Warden; Deborah Dee; Mark O’Connell; Ellen Taratus; Susan Howard; Lori Westphal; Misty Bentz; Jessy Briton Hamilton
The Reverend Patricia Templeton, Rector
The Reverend Maggie Harney, Priest Associate
Dr. Thomas Gibbs, Parish Musician
Claudia Gimson, Parish Administrator
Billy DuBose, Seminarian
A Prayer for the New Year
After Gerard Manley Hopkins For St. Dunstan’s.
Glory be to God for radiant things—
For luminous song of rock and rain;
For sylvan paths with shadows sharp that pierce the yellow noise of day;
Nickel-color, rain-slickened clouds; cardinal’s wings; Amphibious calls—discordant echoes, pulsing refrain;
And all that moves: footfall, flight, splash, or spray. All things spiraled, vectored, arced, perceived;
Whatever is surprising, splendid; released, contained;
With glittered, glazed; reflected, refracted; ancient or may;
To the One whose radiance is love, life received: Give praise!
– Susan Lee Hauser Easter 2015