Category Archives: Annual Meeting

Sermon, Jan. 19

I have been experimenting with preaching from an outline in this season. Apologies to those who read online – I know this is harder to read than a complete sermon text!

  1. Annual Meeting Sunday
    1. Happens every January (though some churches do it in the late fall) 
    2. Business – presenting budget, electing representatives, ministry updates
    3. I usually take invitation to do a “State of the Parish” sermon, to best of my ability
    4. Last year: Jesus at the Wedding at Cana, & anxiety about whether there will be enough. & being in the “stretch zone” as the parish changes and as my role changes too. 
      1. Helpful to me to re-read, because honestly, dealing with the renovation last year sucked up a lot of my capacity to think and pray and practice my way into those changes… if you want to re-read it too, I have some copies in the sermon basket!
    5. Year before that: Preached on an Epistle about holding the present lightly, so that we’re more able to welcome God’s future. That was an easy one!
  1. THIS YEAR… 
    1. Ask myself: What’s the word that needs speaking? Where am I catching a glimpse of God’s next work among us, that I can name and hold up? 
    2. Coming up blank.
    3. Not a bad blank. Not lost, lonely, anxious blank.
    4. Blank page in an artist’s pad, with colored pencils and markers and paints at hand…  
    5. Which makes a lot of sense, when I think about where we are in our common life at St. D’s… 
    1. I came to St. D’s in Jan 2011. First document that mentions preparing for a cap cam dates from March 2011. 
    2. Not because I came here itching to do one, but because folks here had some things they felt could be better. 
    3. Budget issues – put it off; good thing! 
    4. We began in earnest in 2015. Five years ago. 
    5. Open Door Project – make bldgs more accessible, flexible, comfortable and beautiful. 
    6. And here we are.
    7. ODP is NOT OVER. 
      1. More on that in a bit! 
      2. But: Over the hump. 
      3. Renovation was the largest part, both financially and logistically; and it’s more or less over. 
      4. Still collecting pledge payments for the next couple of years; still some interesting and important pieces to undertake.
      5. And still a lot of closets and cabinets and corners with stuff that doesn’t belong there… I’m telling myself it will be OK if some of the sorting and settling waits till the summer! 
      6. But I find there’s also starting to be room to breathe… and wonder, what now? 
      7. Back to that blank page…! 
  1. Lectionary readings for today frame this wondering space. 
    1. Sunday readings come from 3-year calendar used by many churches
    2. Epiph: dropped one lesson, extended another, but still working with assigned texts
    3. Lots of kinds of churches where preachers choose texts; I like the discipline & challenge of hearing what the Spirit is saying to the church though the texts that the lectionary places before us. 
    4. Today: Prophetic text from Isaiah; portion of early part of John’s Gospel. 
    1. Prophet. Godly Play: “a prophet is someone who comes so close to God, and God comes so close to them, that they know what is most important.”
    2. First 39 chaps attrib to OG Isaiah. Later, another prophet’s voice continues and extends Isaiah’s prophecies. Different, but also consistent – it IS one book. 
    3. This is Second Isaiah – chap 49. 
    4. People of Judea conquered, many killed, others taken away to live in exile. 
    5. Prophetic text points towards return to homeland, and restoration of what they have lost, for God’s people. 
    6. Israel not forgotten or abandoned; God remembers; God has a future for them. 
    7. BUT NOT JUST return and rebuilding: a new mission.
    8. You’ll be honored by foreign kings; you’ll set captives free; your cities will be so full you’ll be saying, “Where did all these children come from?” 
    9. MOST OF ALL: Sign of God’s power and redeeming love to the whole world. “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
    10. Echoes – Song of Praise this season – Isaiah 60: “Nations will stream to your light, kings to the brightness of your dawning…” A city of peace and plenty and light for the whole world. 
    11. Import msg for people in exile: temptation to just want what they had before. God says: OK – but I have bigger plans for you. 
    1. Now, all that speaks to me pretty directly.
    2. Renovation is not conquest and exile. But there was chaos and confusion and dislocation, and some struggle, and some grief. 
    3. And now we can settle in to renewed spaces & return to normal. It would be easy to let that be enough. 
      1. Since Xmas: I’ve been able to notice & enjoy. Hearing that from others, too. Things look nice and feel good! 
    4. BUT: God through Isaiah: It’s too light a thing to just move back in, tidy up, get back to how things were before all the mess. 
      1. God says to God’s people: I have work for you that extends beyond the gates of your city, the doors of your church. 
      2. Your renewal has a purpose beyond yourselves. 
    5. Return, rebuilding and restoring is not just for our comfort or convenience, but for God’s glory and God’s work in the world.
      1. I don’t know yet what that will look like. 
      2. But I believe that’s what we’ll be discerning in the months and years ahead. 
      3. What’s waiting to be drawn or painted on that blank page … or maybe several blank pages.
      4. If this makes you uncomfortable – if you were enjoying getting back to normal, and the idea that our new “normal” includes opening our hearts and minds to God’s unfolding purpose for our parish, sounds like more than you’re up for at the moment – then you are not alone. 
      5. That’s where our Gospel today comes in – and it is good news. 
    1. We are back and forth between the Gospels of Matthew and John a lot in this season, for some reason. 
    2. We’re back in John this Sunday, soon after Jesus’ baptism (which we had in Matthew last week), and John the Baptist is telling people about Jesus: “That man over there? He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God!” 
    3. John had his own disciples – followers and students – from among the many, many seekers who came to him to hear his preaching & perhaps be baptized.
    4. Here he is pointing away from himself, towards Jesus: That’s who this is all about. That’s who you really need to follow.
    5. Just a few verses before this passage, a verse I treasure:
    6. V. 19-20: “This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ John confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’”
    7. Something I read a few years ago called this the Confession of John the Baptist – as in, his confession of faith. Only half a joke. 
    8. I AM NOT THE MESSIAH. Not the One Sent by God to Save and Restore. I just point at him. Look, there he is!
  1. VIII. Putting the Confession of John in conversation with Isaiah….
    1. It is too light a thing for God’s people to simply have what they had before, restored to them; God intends them to be a light to all peoples, so that God’s saving power can reach to the ends of the earth.
    2. But – and – We are not the Messiah.
    3. Reassurance: Whatever comes next for us does not have to be Messiah-scale. 
      1. Nobody, least of all God, expects St. Dunstan’s to fix what ails the world or our nation or even just Madison or Middleton. 
    4. Offering ourselves to God’s purposes not the same as being the SAVIOR of the WORLD. That’s a relief!
    5. But just as important: We are not called to be the Savior; but we are called to point towards him. 
    6. That IS our job, individually and together – to live lives that point in word and deed towards a loving and redeeming God, made known to us in Jesus Christ. 
  1. Picture that blank page. Close your eyes if it helps. 
    1. A nice chunky notebook; good brushes; cup of clean water; the colored pencils are sharp and ready… 
    2. If art stuff makes you anxious, feel free to pick another image. Wood and tools? An empty garden plot? An image of joyous potential. 
    3. We have some praying and wondering and discerning to do, in this season. 
    4. I am looking for some prayer partners to pray with me about the next chapter in our common life here at St. Dunstan’s. I don’t know exactly what that looks like either but I know I need it. If you think that might be you, talk to me. 
    5. There’s no hurry in all this; we’re still unpacking, and still recovering, from the renovation. 
    6. But I think the time is right to begin patient, prayerful preparation for the next thing – remembering that it won’t be OUR thing, but God’s.
      1. The purpose, the plan, and the power – all God’s. 
    7. If we listen with open minds and hearts, God will show us the way. I really believe that. 
    8. Let us pray.

      O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world
      see and know that things which were being cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by the One through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Annual Meeting 2020: Financial Documents

Our Annual Parish Meeting will be on Sunday, January 19, at 9am. The 2020 parish budget will be presented. To look at the budget and other financial reports, click the link below. You may want to download or print the document to look at it in detail.

Annual Meeting Financials 2020

Some notes on reading these materials…  The middle pages of this document, headed “St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church 2019 Income and Expense Report – 2020 Proposed Budget,” are the annual budget materials and are the most important to review. Here’s a little about how to read them. The column labeled “YTD” is the total actual income or expense for 2019, while the column labeled “Annual Budget” tells you the 2019 budget for each budget line item. Comparing those two columns will give you an idea of how the actual finances of the year played out relative to the budget we adopted last January. The final column, “Proposed 2020 Budget,” is what the Vestry has approved for our 2020 annual parish budget.

Overall, there are three sections to this document:

  1. The balance sheet, an overview of parish assets, funds, and liabilities
  2. The 2019 Income & Expense Report & 2020 Budget
  3. The Designated Funds Report, an overview of some special set-aside and pass-through funds committed for certain purposes. These are separate from the annual budget. This report contains some of the same information as the balance sheet.

Annual Meeting Packet: Agenda & Bios

Our 2020 Annual Parish Meeting will be at 9am on Sunday, January 19. Below is the agenda for our time together.

Click below to access the packet containing the Agenda, last year’s Annual Meeting Minutes, and Candidate Bios:



1. Opening Prayer

2. Approval of Minutes of the 2019 Annual Meeting

3. Introduction & Election of Officers

Senior Warden

Junior Warden

Vestry (two 3-year terms; one 1-year term)

Deputies to Diocesan Convention (4)

Alternate Deputies to Diocesan Convention (4)

4. Recognition of Outgoing Officers

5. Open Door Project Report

6. Treasurer’s Report on 2019 Finances

7.  Presentation of 2020 Budget

8.  Outreach Report

9.   Election Results & Other Items

10. Questions

11. Closing Prayer

Annual Ministry Reports, January 2020

As part of the preparation for our Annual Parish Meeting, many ministries prepare reports about their activities in the past year. Here are this year’s Ministry Reports! 

Please Note: No contact information is included in the online version of this document. The print version available at church does have contact information. If you want to get in touch and learn more about any of these ministries, just contact the church office at or 608-238-2781 and we will put you in touch! 

Ministers of Ceremony : A Minister of Ceremony (MC) assists the clergy with the details of the service. He or she leads the Prayers of the People and usually acts as Lay Eucharistic Minister for the Eucharist at which he or she serves. If there is not an acolyte for the service, the MC also performs the duties of acolyte.  For the 8:00 a.m. service, MCs are Sharon Bloodgood, Eric Brown, Sharon Henes, Barbara Karst, Mike Miller, David Segura and Joanne Reis.  At 10:00 a.m., MCs are Judi Janowski, Peter Hewson, Claudia Miran, John Laedlein and Heidi Anderson. Joanne Reis acts as the coordinator/scheduler for the 8:00 a.m. ministers. Claudia Berry Miran serves as coordinator/scheduler for the 10:00 a.m. ministers. If you are interested in this ministry, talk to any of the MCs listed for more information. Written by Joanne Reis and Claudia Berry Miran

Lay Eucharistic Ministry: Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) at St Dunstan’s support the Celebrant and MC at all Sunday 10:00 AM services, and at Holy Week and Christmas Eve services.  Lynn Bybee, John Ertl, Evy Gildrie-Voyles, Sharon Henes, Peter Hewson, Judi Janowski, Bonnie Magnuson, Mark Rooney, Jess Viste, Tracy Wentz, and Gail Wickman served as LEMs in 2019. Peter Hewson  serves as the LEM coordinator. Please speak to him or any LEM if you’d like to know more about the ministry, and/or are interested in serving. – Submitted by Peter Hewson

Altar Guild: The members of the Altar Guild are responsible for preparing the altar for worship services, cleaning up after worship and caring for the vessels, linens, candles, frontals and banners used to make worship beautiful and appropriate for the season. At St. Dunstan’s we have one person assigned per week to be responsible for services during that week, setting up for Sunday morning and cleaning up after the 10 AM service, plus any midweek services.  We also have a dedicated group from the 8 AM service who clean up after that service and set up for 10 AM every week.  Our 10 AM group includes Evy Gildrie-Voyles, Gretchen Caballero, Betty Enters, Shirley Laedlein and Helen Lackore.  The 8 AM group consists of Susan Trudell, Laura Norby and Gail Jordan.  Gail also coordinates our flowers through a locally owned floral service.

We are always happy to welcome new people who are interested in learning about this ministry, and need not commit to serving more than one weekend a month. We especially could use more help at our 8AM service.   Feel free to talk to any of the members for more information.

This year we again are especially inviting families with children to join us for a single Sunday, or a monthly rotation.  It is a great way to learn about the seasons of the church and for kids to have a chance to handle the items used in worship.  If your family would be interested in this, please contact Shirley Laedlein. – Submitted by Shirley Laedlein, Altar Guild chair

Prayer Ministry at St. Dunstan’s: The St. Dunstan’s prayer ministry is an active group of about 50 individuals who include prayer requests and concerns from our community in their own private prayers.  Sometimes requests come directly from the Rector as well. The prayer requests are shared via email with the prayer group unless a person asks for the details to be private. We also regularly monitor the St. Dunstan’s prayer box on Old Middleton Road where neighbors can share their own concerns. Those requests are put on the St. Dunstan’s Mad City Facebook site.

Only what a person wishes to include will be shared in the prayers. If you are submitting a request for a person other than yourself, we ask you to be sensitive to what that individual would want to have known.

The names appear each week in the Prayers of the People, and they stay on the list for a reasonable length of time. If a name comes off the list and you want it to go back on, please make that known via the email address above. 

And if you would like to participate in this ministry, please be in touch! This usually amounts to a couple of prayer request emails per week. – Submitted by Celia Fine

Evening Church Camp, August 2019: This year we decided to have our Evening Church Camp be for all ages again – and since the building was in the process of renovation, we decided to take it outside! We came up with no-kitchen dinners, and ate at tables in the Nave. Every night we had a different Scripture reading – ranging from Genesis to Revelation – exploring the relationships among God, humanity, and Creation. Father Tom, Father John, and Cecilie Ballard helped adults, middle kids, and little kids engage with the stories and themes in age-appropriate ways. Our outside actives were amazing and lots of people helped out! Some favorites were meeting chickens, making giant bubbles, helping build a beautiful wood structure behind the Parish Center, and Predator Tag on the pine island. Thanks to all who helped out and participated! 

Sunday School: This past spring we decided it was finally time to shift from a curriculum we’ve been using for many years for our Elementary classes and design our own curriculum, based on the activities our kids most enjoy and that seem most fruitful for encouraging understanding of and reflection on the day’s Scripture text or theme. (For example, we have learned that many of our kids really enjoy acting out a Scripture story & then talking about it, and the curriculum we used to use only offered that option occasionally. 

Over the summer, Rev. Miranda mapped out focus texts for the Sundays of the coming year, based on the Revised Common Lectionary, and interested folks met to talk about how best to engage with those texts. Those notes were turned into simple lesson plans. We have been using our homegrown curriculum since September and it seems to be going well! We are still learning and adjusting, but the teachers say the materials are easy to use and the kids are responding well.  Several of our youth help out in the Sunday school classrooms regularly, assisting with Bible study and drama.  Our youngest classroom continues to use the Godly Play curriculum, sometimes enriched with other materials. That story-based curriculum works well for the preschool and kindergarten age group. 

Thanks so much to all our Sunday school teachers! If you’d like to help out sometime as a helper or guest, talk to Rev. Miranda or Sharon Henes.  – Submitted by Rev. Miranda

Cookie Church

Below is the text of a display about Cookie Church that Rev. Miranda prepared for the Church Innovation Summit in St. Paul last summer. It explains what it is and the ideas behind it. So far we have done three “seasons” of Cookie Church. Look for another to come early in 2020. Rev. Miranda will survey parents of young children who might like to participate for the best time to gather, and we are thinking about how to structure the next season to meet some of our young kids’ enthusiasm about making music! 

What is Cookie Church?  Here’s our announcement text: “Cookie Church is simple bedtime church. It is child-centered but not just for kids; we find that youth and grownups like it too! We will share singing, story, Eucharist, and a snack. (Yes, there will be cookies.) We end with bedtime prayers and it’s OK to come in your pajamas!”

Here’s the welcome script:  “Welcome to Cookie Church! What will we do? There will be singing. There will be a story. There will be Eucharist. And there will be cookies! At Cookie Church we make church together, and one of the ways we do that is by singing together….”

Parents of Cookie Church:

  • St. Gregory of Nyssa, San Francisco. St. Gregory’s is very intentional about supporting liturgical participation. We take special inspiration from the especially the Supper Service that the Rev. Sylvia Mutia-Miller led during her tenure there, to explore kids’ interest in and capacity for liturgical leadership in various roles.
  • Waffle Church, St. Lydia’s Dinner Church, Brooklyn: Waffle Church is a monthly child-centered liturgy featuring Eucharist, waffles, and shared clean-up.
  • Music that Makes Community: Music that Makes Community is an organization committed to renewing the practice and spirituality of shared song, especially paperless song. Singing without books or screens is a relational and human way to sing that builds community and helps us listen and enjoy each other.

Why Cookie Church? St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Madison, WI, is enthusiastically welcoming of children, but our Sunday worship doesn’t have a lot of different jobs for kids. So we needed a space to explore what kids could do, and liked to do, in liturgy. Thus was born Cookie Church. Cookie Church is a child-centered-but-not-just-for-kids, mostly child-led evening liturgy. Its purpose is not to shift kids out of the Sunday morning worship of the whole assembly. Instead, we want to invite kids deeper into our shared worship by discovering together their capacity for liturgical leadership in a rage of tasks and roles.

Core Principles: Sunday Morning Doesn’t Work For Everybody. We’re a pastoral-sized church with one clergy person on staff, and we’re committed to intergenerational worship and community. We are not seeking to create a separate worshiping community for young children and their parents.  At the same time, it’s simply true that Sunday morning is hard for some people, such as toddlers with midmorning naps, teenagers with sporting events, and some older adults who may move slowly in the morning. One goal of Cookie Church is to offer an alternative time and type of worship, to meet some of these needs. As we continue to experiment, we’ll be thinking about how to keep Cookie Church sustainable in terms of clergy/staff time and energy; and how to keep it in living relationship with Sunday morning worship. 

Core Principles: Kids Need Jobs. In the fall of 2018, I went on sabbatical to learn from Episcopal churches that include kids in worship well. I came back with some core principles. One core principle is: Kids need jobs – and not just acolyting. There is dignity and delight in choosing a job you want, that fits your capacities and interests. We let adults chose roles they enjoy; why not do the same for kids and youth?  At Cookie Church, kids can do everything except celebrate the Eucharist. When folks arrive, laminated slips naming the jobs are laid out on a table: Leader, Bell Ringer, Bread Minister, Lector, Crucifer, Song Leader, Candle Lighter, and more. The jobs represent a range of responsibility and skill, and suggested ages are on the cards. Arriving, kids immediately start choosing the job they want, recruiting friends, and inviting newcomers. When we held a feedback session after our first five-week run of Cookie Church, the kids told us unanimously and clearly: We like the jobs! 

Core Principles: Paperless Worship Includes Everybod.  At Cookie Church, the only people with something in their hands are the Presider and Leader. We use paperless music, including a call-and-response sung Eucharist. This equalizes participation for people of all ages, and for “regulars” and newcomers. 

Core Principles: Experiment & Get Feedback. We started Cookie Church with a five-week run on Sunday nights in Lent, to see how it went and what we could learn. I asked for feedback at the end of worship every night, and we made tweaks as we went along. Some tweaks were small, like switching in an easier song; some were larger, like adding the Leader role when it became clear there were kids ready to help lead worship. After Easter, we held a feedback session to ask people who’d come to Cookie Church, What did you like? (The jobs! The stories! The cookies!) What would we do differently next time? (More interactive prayers! Easier song at the Peace!) And should we do it again? (YES!) That feedback fed plans for Cookie Church in July. 

What Next for Cookie Church?  Cookie Church will probably come back as a regular offering in the fall; a core group really enjoys it, and we’re interested to advertise it beyond our regular members. Our two short runs of Cookie Church, in March and July, helped us test and improve the liturgy, and learn who it serves. We’re also beginning to explore how we can extend some of this approach into Sunday mornings, to offer more ways kids and youth can participate and lead in regular Sunday worship. 

Creation Care Task Force: Caring for God’s Creation has long been a part of St. Dunstan’s identity, and is reflected in our parish’s Mission Statement, which includes a call for “care for the environment.” In connection with this aspect of our parish’s mission, in 2016 a group of interested parishioners formed a Creation Care Task Force to explore what the Bible says about the importance of respecting and caring for God’s Creation, and to identify ways to help us live out this theme in our lives as individuals and as a parish. In 2017 and 2018 we held Creation Care Open Meetings in which interested members of the parish identified and elaborated on ways to advance the four goals of St. Dunstan’s Creation Care Mission Statement: 

  1. Cultivate love of Creation
  2. Pattern our daily lives as stewards of Creation
  3. Manage the environmental footprint of our parish, and 
  4. Broaden our perspective and participation. 

Although the Task Force is not a permanent Committee of St. Dunstan’s and does not meet on a regular schedule, members remain interested in engaging with the congregation from time to time.

In 2019, we held a series of brief (15-20 minute) “Bite Sized” Climate Change intergenerational learning opportunities after 10am services, with grownups, kids and youth invited and welcome. During each session, we watched a short video together examining an aspect of the climate conversation, discussed the video briefly, and then closed in prayer. 

St. Dunstan’s Summer 2019 Green Habits Challenge invited parishioners, individually or as a household, to try out various green habits during the summer months – small but significant actions as ways to pattern our daily lives as caretakers of God’s creation (e.g., reduce use of disposables; participate in a Spirituality in Nature gathering at St. Dunstan’s; reduce the impact of your diet). Members completing at least 5 of the 11 Challenges were awarded badges in early October.

In 2020, St. Dunstan’s has been invited to join a year-long pilot program called Churchlands, which is an opportunity to explore how Episcopal churches that own land can begin to relate to land holdings in a way that is more faithful to the Gospel: integrating discipleship, ecology, justice, and health. Rev. Miranda and Carrie Tolejano will attend a kickoff retreat in late January, then there will be monthly online meetings for much of the year. If you’re interested in attending a meeting, talk with Rev. Miranda!  Submitted by John Laedlein. 

Ladies’ Night Out: Ladies of St. Dunstan’s and some friends have been eating dinner together one Friday evening each month at restaurants of their choice. During 2019 we have had up to eight people enjoying dinner and companionship each time. Kathy Whitt coordinated the details during the year, and Marian Barnes has taken charge since December.  Women are welcome to take part by contacting the person in charge, and she makes the reservations.   Submitted by Kathy Whitt

Coffee Hour: The weekly Coffee Hour following our Sunday 10:00 a.m. service is a wonderful way to extend the ministry of fellowship to everyone.  This time provides an opportunity to visit with friends, greet visitors, and enjoy coffee, juice, and treats.  Coffee Hour hosts can sign up to host on specific Sundays during each month. Tablecloths and napkins can be found in storage bins in the Gathering Space, and serving items are located in the kitchen cabinets.  

During the summer months of 2019 while the kitchen was undergoing renovation and water wasn’t readily accessible, we had what I like to call, “The Mobile Coffee Hour”.  Everyone seemed to accept the fact that the main beverage typically served (COFFEE) wasn’t available!  Coffee Hour hosts now have the advantage of working in our beautifully enlarged kitchen space with convenient storage, more prep area, new appliances, and awesome lighting.  It’s amazing!

In our spacious gathering area, Coffee Hour also gives us a chance to observe some special celebrations throughout the year, such as cakes to honor the newly baptized and those with birthdays and anniversaries.   In November we celebrated the intake of our yearly pledges with a delicious “Piece Be With You” coffee hour, featuring pies of all types.

Many families host Coffee Hour regularly, and we are thankful for their dedicated service to this ministry of fellowship.  Volunteers are always needed and very welcome – the monthly sign-up sheets are located in the Gathering Space. If you have questions or would like more information about volunteering for Coffee Hour, please contact Janet Bybee.

Greeters Ministry: This is a fun ministry if you like to meet people. We use one Greeter each Sunday which means you only have to serve once a month. We are always in need of substitutes or replacements. So, if this interests you, please see me, Bernice Mason, the lady with the hat, and I’ll sign you up. See you in Church.  Submitted by Bernice Mason

St. Dunstan’s Church Library: Our church library now is located where people can see and use it. Prior to the renovations it was shelved in the lower level. The books were in storage during construction, and now they are in the first floor classroom. We have books about the church and the faith, as well as some fiction and some about our outdoor environment. They are arranged alphabetically by author’s last name for easy browsing. To check one out, put your name and the name of the book on the checkout paper, and cross your name off when you return it.  This library is not the same as the Little Free Library outside in the woods.  Submitted by Kathy Whitt, church librarian.

Wednesday Book Group: The Book Group continues to meet each Wednesday morning, having coffee, discussing the various subjects evoked by the books we read and sharing some of our life stories. This year we have read together: Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver; Almost Everything, Notes on Hope, by Anne Lamott; Why Religion, by Elaine Pagels; The Second Mountain, by David Brooks; and The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, by Margareta Magnusson. (It’s not as dreary as it sounds!)  The current book is Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. Come have a cup of coffee, a little bite of something sweet and discuss the book. Actually reading the book is not a prerequisite. For more information please contact Valerie McAuliffe.  Peace.

Saturday Book Club: Formerly known as the Men’s Book Club, we are now the Saturday Book Group; all are welcome! The Saturday Book Group meets on Saturday mornings at St Dunstan’s every 6-8 weeks except during the summer. We generally alternate between fiction and non-fiction books. For the January session, we each brought a favorite short story. Conversation about books and other things that come to mind flow freely, depending on who is there.

Books we read in 2019 were: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life after Warming by David Wallace-Wells, A Good American Family by David, Maraniss, and Manhattan Beach by Jenifer Egan.

Some things have changed.  Jim Hindle served as the coordinator of the club for many years, but stepped down in the spring. Thanks, Jim, for keeping us informed!  Please speak to Peter Hewson if you’d like to know more. We welcome new members.

Music Ministries: St. Dunstan’s music ministries includes the choirs (children’s and adult’s); the musician’s collective (a loose conglomeration of both vocalists and instrumentalists) and all those who do help us do everything that goes into doing music together. This work includes singing and playing music for service; writing special hymn lyrics; composing, arranging, and engraving psalms, hymns, and original music; providing special music on- and off-site in collaboration with wider church events; handling music library, technological, and licensing logistics; providing second-adult presences for children’s choir rehearsals; organizing fellowship and planning events; publicizing off-site music events; and providing financial and material resources.

This year involved learning to use the new space we have from the much appreciated work for the Open Door Project (the elevator is awesome!); honoring beloved fellow musicians who have gone before us into the great cloud of witnesses; and experimenting with ways to make music more nimbly and inclusively together. To all the members of our regular ensembles; guest musicians; folks who manage the library and technology behind-the-scenes; donors; and the congregation: thank you for your continued support! – Submitted by Deanna Clement

Monday Art Group: Monday Art Group meets from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  It’s a great way to start the work week, especially if you don’t work Monday mornings!  We gather in the Meeting Room which has wonderful natural light throughout the year.  We are an informal group that enjoys friendship and conversation.  We work on our own individual projects that have included acrylic and watercolor painting, drawing, colored pencil blending, card making, needle felting, and Zentangle.  We often listen to classical or jazz music as we work.  We welcome any artists, would-be artists and crafters who would like to join us but request that your choice of projects have minimal fumes. Hope to see you soon! Submitted by Judy Kellner

Acolytes: St. Dunstan’s has approximately 15 young people who serve at the altar.  Our acolytes display a high level of teamwork with the more experienced acolytes taking the initiative to help and mentor our less experienced acolytes.  Their ministry is greatly appreciated. Submitted by Sharon Henes

Youth Group: The first half of 2019, our youth group consisted of 6th – 9th graders and average weekly attendance was approximately 10 kids (our “membership” consisted of 16 youth).  Our highlights from the end of Season 4 included a middle school retreat based upon the Way of Love.  Our retreat service project was researching and providing loans through KIVA.

During the summer of 2019, 15 youth and 4 adults went on a mission trip in southern Wisconsin. Each day consisted of prayer, travel to the next site, Bible study, service project, swimming, games and worship.  We began the trip by going to Oconomowoc where we did landscaping.  Our next day we went to Racine where we got to know guests of The Hospitality Center, served food and learned more about the neighborhood surrounding the church.  Our last location was Watertown where we sorted clothes in Mary’s Room, painted a garage, landscaped and sorted props for their drama program.  The last day was a fun day consisting of a mini-golf tournament (we had the place to ourselves), a painting lesson and a water park.  The mission trip provides an opportunity to provide service, grow in faith and strengthen our community.

In addition, we sent one adult and one youth member on the last Mishpack trip.  This mission trip consisted of working with Habitat for Humanity in Bozeman, Montana followed by hiking in the mountains.

The fall of 2019 highlights include:

  • We now have both a high school and middle school youth groups!
  • Our middle school youth group (consisting of 5th – 8th graders) started Season 5 and meets every Friday night from 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for fellowship, games and worship.  They also come together once a month on the weekend for an activity.
  • Our high school youth group (consisting of 9th and 10th graders) started Season 1 and meets every Friday night from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. for fellowship, games and worship.  They also come together about every other month for an activity.
  • We have 24 youth (5th – 10th graders) who have come to at least one youth group meeting or activity this fall.  (One Friday night we had 19 youth attend youth group!) Looking around on a Sunday morning you may notice that we don’t have that many middle schoolers and high schoolers and you would be right.  About a third of our youth group members attend other churches or no church at all!  
  • We have a new home – the lower level of the parish center!  This space is greatly appreciated by all as we were really crowded in our old space.  We are planning an event which will allow everyone to come and see the space!
  • In October, 4 youth and 3 adults attended the Revival in Appleton and met the Presiding Bishop!
  • Our youth groups walked in the GSAFE Trick or Trot and sent out care packages to college students and military members.

Looking ahead in 2020…

  • Our middle school youth group will have a retreat in March.
  • Our high school youth group will be participating in the Province V Youth Event.
  • We have two youth members attending the national Episcopal Church Event in the Washington DC area in the beginning of July.
  • Our high school youth group will be joining a youth group from Hudson to go on a 9 day mission trip to do urban ministry in Denver, Colorado.
  • Our middle school youth group will be going on a 5 day mission trip in southern Wisconsin.

We would like to thank our team of adults who serve as a “third adult” at our middle school youth group weekly gatherings.  These individuals join us for a Friday night approximately 6-8 times during the program year.  Thank you to those who surprise us by leaving homemade treats!  Also thank you to the Outreach Committee for allocating funds to ensure our mission trip could take place!

Finally thank you to the parish for supporting this growing ministry!  We appreciate the prayers, our new space, and financial support this year!

UTO and Episcopal Church Women: United Thank Offering and Episcopal Church Women (UTO and ECW). Things have been quiet this year for several reasons. Regarding UTO, because we have been in the throes of the capital campaign this year I felt like there was no good time or way to add another fundraising effort to the women of the parish. I’m hoping to set a date for an ingathering preceded by some conversation regarding UTO  – it’s history and it’s philosophy.

In regards to ECW, I have had some conversations with women in the parish and some ideas have been shared as to things we might provide from a program point of view for women of the parish. They have included the day away which we have had in the past in the fall with trips to nearby communities that have interesting shopping venues. There has also been discussion of going to a movie every once in a while (monthly?) that would be of interest to women with coffee and discussion following in the restaurant at Point Cinema. There has also been discussion regarding a birthday lunch every couple of months to celebrate the birthdays of those 2 months with cards to share. (This was an activity we had a long time ago).Please contact me if any of this appeals to you and also if you would like to be part of a small group to plan any activities of interest. In the same vein – women are always welcome to join the Wednesday Morning Book Group either as an ongoing participant or because the book being read appeals to you – see Val McAuliffe for more info on this.

Blessings for all that you do as the women of the church, both within the parish and in your work outside the parish. May the start of the decade bring you blessings, joy and peace in your life and for those whom you love. – Submitted by Connie Ott

Outreach Ministries Report

St. Dunstan’s Outreach Ministries are many and varied, including gifts of time, service, and monetary donations.  We gratefully acknowledge the many gifts of human and financial resources in support of Outreach from other individuals and ministries within the St. Dunstan’s family.

Outreach Vision Statement: We seek to act in response to Christ’s words, “Whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me.” 

Outreach Mission Statement: We act as the steward of the human and financial parish resources for Outreach, to serve those in need who work and live beyond the physical borders of the church and its grounds.

In 2020, the Outreach Committee used monetary donations and in person volunteer hours to address the following concerns: Disaster Relief, Support for victims of Domestic Violence, Eviction Prevention/Housing, Refugees/Immigrant’s Rights/Safety, LGBTQ+ Rights/Safety, Criminal Justice Reform, and Hunger/Poverty.

The Outreach Ministries Committee holds meetings on the last Saturday of the Month.  We welcome new voices and new concerns; please consider joining us! Contact Evy Gildrie-Voyles  if you would like to be added to the Outreach e-mail distribution list we use to keep members informed about upcoming Outreach meetings and related activities. 

St. Dunstan’s Outreach Allocations in 2019

Every year, St. Dunstan’s sets aside a percentage of the budgeted pledged income to be allocated to organizations locally and internationality that serve those in need.  In 2018 St. Dunstan’s Outreach Committee allocated  $17954 to the following organizations and projects:

  • Episcopal Relief and Development Community Immigration Law Center
  • Bread for the World MOSES (Criminal Justice Reform)
  • Middleton Outreach Ministry Dane Sanctuary Coalition
  • Agrace Hospice Care Episcopal Migration Ministry
  • KIVA Micro Loans Episcopal Network for Economic Justice
  • Falk School Domestic Abuse Intervention Services
  • Bus Passes for Homeless Students Joining Forces For Families 
  • GSAFE (Creating Safe Schools for LGBTQ+ youth) Middleton Youth Center
  • St. Duntan’s Youth Outreach Mission Trip RISE (Respite Care For Families)
  • Briar Patch (Services for Homeless Youth)
  • St. Dunstan’s Outreach Endowment 2019

Each year the Outreach Committee solicits grant requests from the “endowment” portion of the investments at the diocesan Trustees of Funds and Endowments. This year the amount to be distributed was $5000.  Grants of $2,500 each were given to Hope Haven North Bay Lodge, a residential addiction treatment facility and Madison Urban Ministry for emergency needs of members of their Family Connections program, a program for families with at least one incarcerated parent.

As always, we are looking for other locations and programs to support with our endowment grant money. Please contact Evy Gildrie-Voyles or Connie Ott with suggestions. 

Core Ministries: There are several core ministries that St. Dunstan’s invests volunteer time and resources in on a continual basis.  These are just a few of them.

Falk Pantry & Falk Grant: Our outreach efforts for the Falk Elementary School Pantry have continued to provide much needed support of non-food items not covered by food stamps. Our annual budget for these items is $1000 and we make sure to shop wisely to stretch it far! During the winter and spring, the Owls youth group collaborated on monthly packs of feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, and diapers. The outreach committee also provided $400 last spring to be used for some greatly needed teaching materials and supplies for the sensory room.  In the fall, we were asked to focus on full sized items like lotion, deodorants, dish soap & laundry detergent while still supplying diapers and toilet paper. We finished off the year by providing 16 Wal-Mart gift cards in small denominations for the social worker to distribute to families with emergencies. They are also extremely grateful for the Falk Grant St Dunstan’s provides to assist families facing a housing crisis. The social worker shared one recent story of how a small portion of the grant was used to help a family realize their dream of buying their first home after they came up a little short on the earnest money.  Submitted by Krissy Mayer

MIDDLETON OUTREACH MINISTRY: This past year MOM has been focusing on increasing the capacity of its Housing Stability Program to serve a growing need in the community it serves.  MOM strives to emphasize eviction prevention to help individuals and families with evictions on their records to find stable housing in the future. The Food Pantry continues to assist thousands in the community to access nourishing food.  Around 100,000 pounds of food continue to be distributed each month with offerings of nutritious foods and produce. The Clothing Closet offers high quality clothing, helping clients extend their budgets as the seasons change.  In any given month, more than 10,000 pounds of clothing are provided. The Seniors Program assists with rides to and from appointments as well as providing light household indoor and outdoor chores. 

St. Dunstan’s continues to be a generous contributor to the success of the MOM organization.  Consistently we donate monetarily to the MOM Second Harvest account and provide in-kind donations of food, household items, and clothing. The congregation contributed generously to the Back to School program as well as providing gifts for four families through the Winter Wishes program.  Most significantly, the Outreach Committee has generously allocated monies from its Operating Budget for MOM to use as needed.  Also, several members of the congregation volunteer time at the Pantry, Clothing Closet, and as drivers for seniors.  

Thank you for continuing to support the efforts of Middleton Outreach Ministry to help our neighbors and our community.  Together we can bring hope and security when it is most needed. – Submitted by Janet Bybee

St. Dunstan’s Diaper Drive: A child needs approximately 6500 diapers between birth and potty training. Many families in our area are struggling financially, and they have to make tough decisions about whether to buy much-needed diapers or groceries or pay their rent. The Wisconsin Food Share program (food stamps) does not cover diapers, other personal care items, or household cleaners. Decisions must be made all the time about how to spend the small amount of money coming in. Imagine wanting and needing to change your baby’s diaper because you know it’s dirty, but you only have a couple left and no money with which to buy more diapers. Furthermore, families often don’t have the money to buy economy-sized boxes or the time to watch for sales.

In 2019, we have received $455 in donations and gotten $1,000 from the outreach committee. We have spent $442.68 which represents more than 3000 diapers given for those that need them! We are continuing to look for sales to provide the largest about of diapers with our funds.  Thank you for your generosity. Submitted by Mary Rowe

BREAD FOR THE WORLD: More than 1 in 5 children in the United States live in low-income families that must struggle every month to obtain enough food to eat.   How do these low-income families get enough food?  Our federal government supplies almost all of it.  In fact, more than 90% of hunger relief food comes from the feds.  Charitable organizations such as churches and service clubs supply less than 10% of what is needed.  These voluntary sources cannot provide all the food that is needed.  It would be economically impossible for them to do much more, even if they wanted to.

The Christian Organization BREAD FOR THE World recognizes how crucial the government’s food programs are.  It works to coordinate and encourage Christians of all denominations (and anybody else), to contact their elected representatives and ask them to be sure that federal food-support funds such as food stamps (SNAP) are adequate for the needs of low-income people.  The hundreds and thousands of letters and emails from all over the country that we send to our elected politicians have had really important positive impacts on federal food programs over the years.

We at St. Dunstan’s support these food-relief efforts. Those who attended St Dunstan’s on Bread for the World Sunday in early November received the names and addresses (snail-mail and Facebook) of all of our Senators and Congressional Representatives.  All of you who communicated with your elected officials have helped to make a positive difference in the allocation of funds to alleviate hunger.  We never know how many contacts are made.  We only know that last year a Congress divided on almost every other issue stood together in shaping legislation that fed hungry people in this country and abroad. Submitted by Peg and Dan Geisler 

Healing House: Healing House, located at 303 Lathrop Street in Madison, is an 8 bed facility, providing 24/7 recuperative care for homeless families who have been released from the hospital or who need care to prepare for a surgery or medical procedure.   Families are cared for by medically trained staff and volunteers and can stay for up to 28 days. The Healing House provides clients with three meals a day, child care assistance, and case management to end the cycle of homelessness.  St. Dunstan’s is a part of group of organizations brought together by The Road Home to provide meals to families staying at the Healing House.   The next week St. Dunstan’s will be supplying food for Healing House is March 29th through April 4 of 2020.  If you would like to join this ministry please contact Evy Gildrie-Voyles.

Grace Shelter: Grace Shelter began 30 years ago.  Thank you to Sue Lloyd and Rose Mueller who have served as coordinators for this ministry.  St. Dunstan’s envolvement with Grace Shelter was revised this past summer to enable us to continue helping to serve the homeless men in downtown Madison.  Our schedule is serving dinner on the 4th Sunday of 4 months during the year (September, December, March and June).  Depending on the time of year we may serve from 50-150.    There are 12 volunteers that cook and/ or serve and 4/5 families that provide the cereal, milk, juice and fruit for the morning meal the next day.   

We were heartened by church members’ response to our request for dessert for the Holiday meal as we could have been serving over 140. Thanks to all who have given their time and energy to continue our commitment to Grace Shelter.   

MOSES (Madison Organizing in Strength, Equality, and Solidarity): MOSES is a Madison-area ecumenical group with a multi-year track record of successful work for criminal justice reform in Wisconsin.  St. Duntan’s is a participating member of MOSES.  MOSES meetings are held different member churches on the 1st Sunday of each month.  Anyone who is interested in criminal justice reform is encouraged to attend.  Please contact Elvice McAlpine or Bonnie Magnuson for more information. 

In 2019 the MOSES sponsored Solitary Confinement Truck, which contains a reconstruction of a solitary confinement cell came to St. Dunstan’s as part of our August Parish Read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. The Parish Read was organized by Bonnie, Elvice, and Pam Witzig.   Here are some of the highlights of the Just Mercy Parish read.  There was good attention from the congregation during verbal announcements.  A large percentage of members (of all ages) from both the 8:00 and 10:00 services interacted with Talib and the Solitary Confinement Cell Truck.  11 people regularly followed the on-line discussion.  9 people participated in one or more of the four section by section discussions. 10 people participated in the whole book discussion.  Others said they read the book but didn’t participate in a discussion and others paid attention to the posters.  Submitted by Elvice McAlpine