The first celebration of Holy Eucharist by St. Dunstan’s congregation took place on St. Dunstan’s Day in May of 1957. In its first months, the congregation, which began as a mission of the Diocese of Milwaukee, met in a conference room in the local Coca-Cola bottling plant. The Reverend Robert S. Childs was called to be priest-in-charge and continued as rector until his retirement in 1985.
A parish building, largely built by members of the congregation, was erected in 1958. It still stands at the end of the parking lot, and is currently rented out to our neighbors and friends at Madison Vineyard Church. The congregation here worshipped until 1964, when the present church was completed. The new addition of a chapel and education center was completed in 1994. Over the years, members of the parish have actively engaged in developing and carrying out many programs of education, faith and service.
Reverend Childs was instrumental in creating our beautiful arboretum setting. The arboretum includes over 600 trees, including 126 conifers. Our location on a hill above Lake Mendota is also home to the parish Rectory, a handsome remodeled brick farmhouse that dates back to 1859. More than 200 of the plantings on the grounds have been dedicated to the memory of individuals and beloved pets. This tradition continues each St. Dunstan’s Day.
Today we’re getting to know our grounds anew and thinking in some fresh ways about how to engage with them. We established a public trailhead on Old Middleton Road in 2012, to welcome neighbors to walk in our woods. We’ve also been planting perennial fruit- , berry- , and nut-bearing trees on our grounds, inspired by a new (and ancient) approach known as permaculture. Read more here!