By the end of this month school will be over and vacations will be beginning. Summer’s relaxed pace seems meant for reading – on the beach, by the pool, on planes, or long, lazy summer evenings. Here are a few of the books I’ve enjoyed over the past year. I’d love to hear what you are reading.
Beartown by Frederick Backman. Beartown is a small Swedish town on the decline. But it has one glimmer of hope – the junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals and they have an excellent chance to win. The hopes and dreams of the entire town rest on the shoulders of this group of teenage boys. Then a violent act tears the team and the town apart. Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes to stand up for what is right. You don’t have to know anything about hockey to appreciate and love this book.
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. When Rosie and Penn are expecting their fifth child they hope it will be a sister to their four older boys. The hopes come true in an unusual way. The baby is a boy. But as Claude grows older he insists on wearing dresses and dreams of being a princess, When he grows up, he says, he wants to be a girl. The family moves across the country to allow Claude to realize that dream. The whole family keeps that closely-guarded secret. And then one day it explodes. This is a beautifully written book about families, transformations, parenting, and love.
The Alice Network by Kate Quin. This historical novel flashes back and forth between two eras. It begins in 1947, in the aftermath of World War II, with Charlie St. Clair, an American college girl pregnant out of wedlock. Her parents send her to Europe to take care of her “little problem.” Charlie instead takes the opportunity to search for her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France. The second era is 1915, a year into the first World War. Eve Gardiner, fluent in English, German, and French, is recruited as a spy for the Alice Network, a vast organization of spies, mostly women, working in occupied France. Charlie’s search for her cousin connects her with Eve, and together they take on a mission to find the truth. A stay-up-all-night thriller.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Starr Carter is a black teenager straddling two worlds – the poor neighborhood in which she lives with her family, and the affluent, mostly white, prep school she attends. Those worlds collide when she witnesses the fatal police shooting of her childhood friend Khalil, who was unarmed. Soon Khalil’s death is national news. Starr is the only witness to what really happened that night. What she says and does can send both of her worlds into chaos and endanger her own life. If I were going to only recommend one book this year, this would be it. A side note: The Hate U Give has been made into a movie, which was filmed in Atlanta. Our parking lot and the parish hall were used for catering for the cast and crew for several days. I look forward to seeing the film adaptation of this powerful novel.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced by a Russian tribunal to life-long house arrest at the Metropol, a grand Moscow hotel. Rostov, a man of the world, accustomed to a grand life, now must live in a musty attic room and within the confines of the hotel. But surprisingly, within that confined life he finds love, friendship, and a view of unfolding history. A gentle, often funny, moving book.
We have been faced with a happy challenge lately – more children in the nursery than nursery worker can handle alone. The vestry has approved hiring a second nursery worker. Dolores Galgo Waye will be joining our long-time nursery worker Lindsey Reece the first Sunday of May.
Some of you may already know Dolores. She was the nanny for Sue Martz’ granddaughter for many years, and now is the nanny for former St. Dunstan members Colin and Christie Brown. We are delighted to have her join us.
The Rev. Monica Mainwaring, the vicar of Church of the Common Ground, will be our guest preacher and Sunday School teacher on May 6. The Church of the Common Ground is a worshipping community on the streets of downtown Atlanta. Before moving to Atlanta, Monica was assistant rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Coronado, California. She has 20 years of lay and ordained ministry experience in church, school, hospital, and camp settings in California, Virginia, Massachusetts, and abroad. Monica moved to Atlanta last summer with her husband Simon, the rector of All Saints’. They and their three children live in midtown. She will be preaching at both services,
- Greer Blount graduates from The Galloway School. She will attend George Washington University in Washington DC this fall.
- Whit Blount graduates from The Galloway School. He will attend George Washington University in Washington DC this fall.
- Tega Ewubare graduates from North Atlanta High School. He will attend Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California this fall.
- Olivia Koenig graduates from Riverwood High School. She will attend the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia
- James Robertson graduates from Roswell High School. He will attend Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville this fall. James lettered in cross
country, chorus, and academics this year.
- Caspar Sullivan graduates from Marist High School. He will be attending Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
- Will Vesey graduates from North Springs High School. After taking a gap year, Will will attend Johnson and Wales University in Denver, where he has signed
to play lacrosse.
- Emma Hancock graduates from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. She is in the process of choosing among three law school offers for the fall.
- Former St. Dunstan’s member Josie Summerville graduates from Adairsville High School. Josie will be attending North Park University in Chicago, where she has signed to play basketball.
- Congratulations to Jessie Leydon, who was named Teacher of the Year at Hayes Elementary School.
- Congratulations to Grace Hauser, who will be attending law school at the University of Virginia in the fall. Grace has been working as a paralegal for a
law firm in New York City since graduating from Davidson College two years ago.
- Congratulations to Bob Wolfson, who was baptized at the Easter Vigil on March 31.
- Congratulations to Adam Steinke, who was confirmed at the Cathedral on April 29.
- Congratulations to Mary Hunter Rouse and George Maxwell, who were married at St. Dunstan’s on April 7.
- Our condolences to Elizabeth Wong Mark and Connor Mark on the death of Elizabeth’s sister, Edie Wong, on April 1.
Thank you to Gilda Morris for teaching our children’s Sunday School class for the past year.
Thank you to Joe Monti for bringing seminary-level classes to adult Sunday School for much of the year, including the fall series on the religious roots of white supremacy, and the Lenten series on pilgrimage.
Thank you to Susan Hauser for leading the midweek Bible study of Luke.
Thanks to Tom Gibbs for our Sunday School series on the history of hymns.
Thanks to everyone who helped with Family Promise in April, making St. Dunstan’s home for a week for two families. Volunteers included Harriett Smith, Jackie O’Connell, Misty Bentz, Shirley Morgan, Peggy Rogers, Debbie Jones, John Morgan, Bob Longino, Martha O’Brien, Nancy Dillon, Keith Latimore, Deborah Reece, Gilda Morris, Sue Martz, Charis Bowling, Jace Kaltenbach, Wallis Kaltenbach, John Kaltenbach, Lucy Kaltenbach, Tommy Hannah, Mary Jane Hannah, Sherri Crawford, Jeanne Taylor, Pam Weed, Bob Wolfson, Mary Kathryn Wolfson, Jill Knight, Jane Goetz, Spencer Goetz, Sonya Larrea, Ana Maria Cevallos, Suzanne Van De Mark, Lori Westphal, Cathy Leake, Audrey Czapp, Elise McIntyre, Mimi Gold, Vivian Siggers, and Ellen Taratus.
A huge thank you to our outgoing vestry members – Shirley Morgan, who has served as senior warden for the past two years; and Nancy Dillon, who has been our junior warden for the past three years. Well done, good and faithful servants!
We switch to our summer schedule on Sunday, May 27. Worship services will be at 8:30 and 10 a.m. No Sunday School until the fall.
Meet the Vestry
Our new vestry takes office this month. Here are bios of all our vestry members.
Misty Bentz is an astrophysicist and associate professor at Georgia State University. She is passionate about fundamental research, science literacy, and equal rights and respect for women, issues that she believes can help create a more just and equitable society for everyone. Misty grew up in Spokane, WA and came to Atlanta in 2010 with her husband, James Tran. Shortly after the January 2017 inauguration, she decided to commiserate with the neighbors across the street who still had a Hillary sign in their yard, and so met the Rev. Patricia Templeton. She came to St. Dunstan’s the next day, and was confirmed last fall. After growing up immersed in evangelicalism and living through increased tensions with loved ones simply because of who she is and the truths she holds, Misty is thankful to have found a welcoming and supportive home at St. Dunstan’s.
Deborah Dee has been a member of St. Dunstan’s for several years, and coordinates the ministry schedule. As a Navy brat, Deb has lived in a number of states, and has lived in Atlanta since 2007, when she began her job with CDC. Deb’s educational training includes master’s and doctoral degrees in maternal and child health, with a minor in epidemiology, all of which were earned at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Go Tar Heels!) Outside of work, Deb enjoys spending time with her family (husband Eric and daughter Liv), traveling, and being at coffee hour at St. Dunstan’s!
Jessy Briton Hamilton and his partner Adam Steinke have been parishioners at St. Dunstan’s since August 2017. Jessy serves as our Social Media Director, a layreader, and volunteer for Family Promise. He is a teacher at Chamblee Charter High School and works as an occasional consultant for progressive faith communities and political candidates. Jessy moved to Atlanta from Denver in 2016. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida, and is working toward an Educational Specialist Degree in Instructional Technology at the University of West Georgia. His interests include travel, social media, church history, Braves baseball, and taking his dachshund, Lord Russell to the park. In 2019, Jessy will enter the discernment process for the vocational diaconate.
Susan Howard is semi-retired, working three days a week with Nadler Biernath, LLC, specializing in trusts, elder law, and estate planning. She is also a lucky grandmother, whose grandsons Cas and Gabe live with her. Susan has a voice performance degree from Furman University and has performed opera and oratorio in various chorales and choirs. She relishes every moment with Tom Gibbs and the St. Dunstan’s choir. Susan “stumbled” upon St. Dunstan’s by attending Helen Branch’s funeral. “I’ve loved it here ever since,” she says. “The opportunities for spiritual growth, prayer, inspiriting sermons on social justice, meaningful volunteerism, Bible study, and music are wonderfully rich. It is a marvelous experience to serve on our vestry.”
Bruce Lafitte, junior warden, is an Atlanta native and cradle Episcopalian. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s in Engineering Science from Georgia Tech. He has worked for Georgia Tech, Scientific-Atlanta, and Nordson Corporation, from which he will retire in November after 23 years. Bruce and Daria Jones have been married for 40 years, and have two sons, two daughters-in-law, and two grandchildren. He enjoys gardening, Scouting, and traveling, especially cruises. Bruce grew up at St. Philip’s Cathedral, where he and Daria were married. They have been members of St. Dunstan’s for 24 years. Bruce sings in the choir, is active with the bridge group, is the coordinator of the layreaders and lectors, and has served on previous vestries as junior warden.
Mark O’Connell was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management. He works in Enterprise Logistics for Westrock in Sandy Springs. He has lived in Atlanta since 2014 after living in Knoxville for seven years. He and his wife Jackie have been married since 2012 and have a four-year-old daughter, Reese. Mark enjoys spending time with his family (including cats Luca and Daisy) and traveling, especially vacationing in Northern Michigan.
Harriet Smith, senior warden, is a lifelong Episcopalian – having been a member of nine parishes in nine states. A fifty-three year marriage, two children and five grandchildren have lit the fires within her, and a lifelong involvement with women in the political process has made life interesting.
Ellen Taratus started coming to St. Dunstan’s in 2012 after she and a friend happened to pass by the church on a walk and decided (for various reasons) to see what a service was like. She liked the service, the people, and the outreach programs, attended confirmation classes, and was received into the Episcopal Church in 2014. She has helped to coordinate the Family Promise program for the past three years, and is entering her third year of vestry service. She grew up in New Jersey, met my husband, Ken, in New York, and came to Atlanta, where Ken grew up, in 1991 to raise a family. They have three sons, ages 23, 26, and 28. Ellen is an editor at a journal at the CDC, and in her spare time, enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, and needlepoint.
Lori Westphal found St. Dunstan’s by way of a chance encounter with Tricia, who happened to be on the same private school tour for prospective parents. Instead of finding a new school that day, she found a new church. Lori grew up in Boca Raton, FL, home of the lead-footed retiree and the early bird special. She has a BA from Smith College, MPH from Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, and a PhD from Vanderbilt University. She is married to Max Changus with whom she has two children, Quinn and Alexander.
- There is wonderful news from members of St. Dunstan’s Youth Ensemble. Quinn Changus has been admitted to the New York University Classical Voice Intensive summer program for two weeks of study in July. She is also a semi- finalist in voice in the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program.
- Alexander Changus will attend a week-long intensive oboe study program at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
- Sean Robertson has won the Junior High Division of the National Federation of Music Clubs Festival (piano) for Roswell and Alpharetta. His prize is a
scholarship which he will use to pay for a one week summer intensive piano music camp at Florida State University.
- Joseph Henry Monti and Sean Robertson took part in the highly competitive All-State Chorus in February.
- Joseph Henry, Greer Blount and Whit Blount, all chorus members at The Galloway School, sang with nine other high school choruses from across the country as part of the National Youth Chorus concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall in March.
We welcome Carey Sipp to our choir. Carey comes to our alto section (maybe sometimes even our tenor section) from St. Benedict’s, and she is a fine addition. Welcome, Carey!
We have a very special musical experience in store for May 20, the Feast of Pentecost. Kerren Berz, violinist, will be with us to play some remarkable music. In addition to playing with the choir anthem and the hymns, she will offer music before and after the service that will be selected from the unaccompanied violin
music of J. S. Bach. These works are variously described as “miraculous,” “some of the most remarkable musical discourses ever written,” and so difficult and
spiritually exalted that “no one ever conquers them.”
Kerren is concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and director of
the orchestra at the Galloway School. She is a good friend of St. Dunstan’s, having played here regularly over the past several years. You don’t want to miss hearing her play this music. The Holy Spirit is going to be present for sure.
A Summer Prayer
who breathed this world into being,
who is discernible within
the harmony of nature,
the perfection of a butterfly’s wing,
the grandeur of a mountain range,
the soaring eagle and humming bird,
thank you for this world
which you have created.
Thank you for summer sun,
which reminds us
that your creative breath
is still alive and active.
Thank you for the warmth of your love,
sustaining this world,
your garden. Amen.