Category Archives: Making

Craft-In 2015 – Reflections

IMG_7881On Friday, November 27, St Dunstan’s held our second annual Black Friday Craft-In. From 1 – 4pm, we were open to the public, with our Gathering Area and Meeting Room full of tables covered with crafting materials. Crafts included decorative ornaments, flower headbands, stamped notebooks and cards, cardboard shields, tiny clay pot nativity scenes, knitting demonstrations, magnets, and more. Over the course of three hours, about sixty people came – and stayed. They stayed to make crafts together, to chat, to share cookies and cocoa, to take a break and have a little fun together on a busy holiday weekend.

IMG_7879Aside from our terrific team of volunteers, almost no members of St Dunstan’s attended. Our guests were folks from the neighborhood, other area churches, and the wider community. They came because it sounded like a fun way to get out of the house for a few hours. Grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles brought kids of all ages, and kids and adults enthusiastically engaged with our craft stations. Strangers helped each other – my six-year-old daughter made fast friends with two sweet eighth-grade girls. Susan, one of our hospitality volunteers, remarked on how much people seems to be enjoying the time together: “Last night as I thought about the greatest reward of the arts and crafting, I felt like it was the friends, parents and grandparents involved with each other in a way that created a very memorable holiday experience; everyone seemed to be extremely grateful to be there.”

IMG_7873I was really touched that we had at least two households who had come last year, for our first Craft-In, and have been looking forward to coming again, ever since – even spreading the word and bringing friends. What a wonderful affirmation!

Last year, our Craft-In was something new, and we got a little press about it, which helped with our pre-event publicity. Planning for this year, I wondered if we’d get much turn-out without the media boost. But in fact, turnout was substantially higher, we were better organized, and the event was amazing. We ate all the cookies and used up most of the craft supplies, and people had a wonderful time. IMG_7877This is an event people like enough to talk about and plan ahead to attend. That’s really exciting! I hope next year’s Craft-In will be even bigger and better – and we’ll buy a few more cookies.

– Rev. Miranda+


The creative impulse originates in the heart of God. God is present, the divine energies are present, in every creative impulse. The human being, made in the image and likeness of God, shares in God’s creative energies.

-Br. Mark Brown, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Community Art Micro-Retreat, 4/22

FullSizeRenderToday is the fifth Sunday in Lent. Next Sunday we begin our walk through the Great Story…. In our Sunday school classes, we describe Lent as the season when God’s people get ready for the mystery of Easter. So: are you ready? How have your preparations been going?Have your Lenten practices and prayers opened some space in your heart to receive the power and grief and strangeness and joy of this story, all over again? IMG_1081

… I come to this Sunday, the last “normal” Sunday in Lent, wishing I’d been able to create a little more space for that getting-ready work. So here’s what we’re doing today: we’re taking a little space. I’m giving you a gift that most of us rarely give ourselves: fifteen minutes of silence, with some art supplies and the presence of God in our own hearts, as the prophet Jeremiah reminds us in today’s Old Testament lesson.

IMG_1084All around the room are different art stations. At any station you can pick up a card to decorate. You’ll work with just one card, and carry it around with you. You can draw a picture if you want, but the goal is to fill the card with color and texture. It doesn’t have to be a picture, it can just be shapes or squiggles or patterns or colors or whatever. Just keep going, keep adding, and see what happens.

IMG_1092Of course as we move around this room, which is not really all that big, we’ll interact with each other a little, standing close, passing things to each other. That’s fine. But don’t talk. Respect the quiet. Mostly stay with yourself and with what you’re doing. Let your art come out of your soul without telling yourself, This is ugly, or I can’t do this. Just be playful and enjoy it.  When the time comes to an end – I’ll let you know –  just leave your card at the table where you are and come back to your seat. Our art cards will become something beautiful together, just like us.

IMG_1101You are also welcome, if it’s what you really need, to just use this time to sit in silence, and listen to your own heart, and maybe to God. That’s fine too.

Announcements, March 12


Rector’s Discretionary Fund offering, Sunday, March 15: On third Sundays, half the cash in our collection plate, and any designated checks, will go towards the Rector’s Discretionary Fund. This fund is a way to quietly help people with direct financial needs, in the parish and the wider community. Thanks for all your generous support.

Sunday School, Sunday, March 15, 10 am: This week, our 3-6 year old class will continue learning about the Faces of Easter, while our 7-11 year old class will explore Psalm 107.

Members of St. Dunstan’s are welcome to join the Zion City Church congregation in their weekly worship service of thanksgiving and praise on March 15.  The service is from noon to 2:00pm.  Meet at St. Dunstan’s at 11:30am to carpool, or meet at Zion City Church shortly before noon.  They are located at 1317 Applegate Road in Madison.  This is just south of the Beltline, off of Fish Hatchery Road.

Evening Eucharist, Sunday, March 15, 6pm: Join us for a simple service before the week begins. All are welcome.

Explorers, Sunday, March 15, 6:30pm: St. Dunstan’s Explorers will meet for light refreshments and wide-ranging conversation. All are welcome. (I will see if I can get any more definitive information by Thursday)

Young Adult Meet-up at the Vintage, Sunday, March 15, 7pm: The younger adults of St. Dunstan’s are invited to join us for conversation and the beverage of your choice, at the Vintage Brewpub on South Whitney Way. Friends and partners welcome too.


Do you like to feed people? Consider joining our St. Dunstan’s Meals Network, to provide a meal for another household in our congregation. New babies, critically ill family members, surgery, or a death in the family are just a few of the occasions for which people might need extra support and compassion. Sometimes it’s just dropping of food, sometimes it’s also sitting with people and listening to how things are going.  Go to the “Sharing Meals” page under “People” on our main page to join our network or, if you’re already part of it, to pick a date on our current meal calendars.

Vestry Meeting, Wednesday, March 18, 6:45pm: The Vestry is the elected leadership body of our parish. Any members are welcome to attend our meetings, to observe or raise questions or ideas.

The Stations of the Cross, Fridays at noon: Walking and praying the Stations of the Cross is a meaningful practice of prayer for many Christians in the season of Lent. On Fridays you are invited to come and join Rev. Miranda in sharing Scripture, meditations from Christian tradition, and prayer as we walk with Jesus on the journey to the cross.

Outreach Committee Meeting, Saturday, March 21, 8-10:30am: All are welcome to join our conversations about how St. Dunstan’s can best serve the world with our resources and our hands. We begin with an optional potluck breakfast at 8am.

Food Forestry at St. Dunstan’s: Plans for 2015, Saturday, March 21, 1pm: All interested or curious folks are invited to come learn about permaculture, our work adding food plants to our woods and grounds over the past two years, and ideas and plans for this year.

Makers’ Guild, Saturday, March 21, 2 – 4pm: Bring your own current handwork – sewing, knitting, painting, beadwork, whatever! – or help out with preparing sample palm crosses and tucking treats into plastic Easter eggs for our egg hunt on Easter Sunday. All are welcome!

Poetry & Spirituality: John Milton, Sunday, March 22, 9am: Paul Thompson will introduce us to the life and work of the great 17th century English poet, John Milton.

“Last Sunday” Worship, Sunday, March 22, 10am:  Our “Last Sunday” pattern of worship is simplified to help children (and adults new to our way of worship) to participate and understand. This month, our Last Sunday worship will invite us all into the final weeks of Lent as we approach the mystery of Easter. Our 8am worship always follows our usual seasonal order of worship.

Christian Formation Committee Meeting, Sunday, March 22, 11:45am:  Our Christian Formation Committee meets to review and plan programs for Easter, the summer, and beyond. All interested folks are welcome to attend and participate.

 Help Spruce up St. Dunstan’s for Holy Week and Easter! Spring Cleaning inside St. Dunstan’s, Sunday, March 22, 12-2pm:  Please see the list of jobs to complete and sign up to help as you are able.  

Grace Shelter Dinner, Sunday March 22, 7pm: Every fourth Sunday, a loyal group of St. Dunstan’s folk provides dinner for residents at the Grace Church shelter, and breakfast the next morning. See the signup sheet in the gathering area to help out.

The Stations of the Cross in Downtown Madison, Friday, March 27, 12pm & 5pm: Walk the story of Jesus’ journey to the cross on the streets of a modern city.  As we walk the fourteen traditional Stations of the Cross, we will reflect together on how we can trace those events in the geography of Madison today – our issues, stories and struggles. We will start on the sidewalk near the Federal Courthouse, across from the Overture Center, and end in the garden at Grace Church on the square. The total walk will be about 1.2 miles, and it takes about 45 minutes. Come at noon or 5pm, as your schedule permits. All are welcome.

“Palm Saturday”, Saturday, March 28, 10:30am – 12pm: Kids, parents, grandparents and friends are invited to make Easter crafts and communion bread, and to take part in a gentle, age-appropriate and participatory telling of the whole Easter story, presented by the youth and adults of our church. This event is best suited for kids ages 3 to 10. All are welcome!

Spring 2015 Chocolate Making: Our Spring Chocolate Event will be after Easter this year. Mark your calendars for Friday evening and Saturday, April 10 – 11. Signup sheets and order forms will be out by mid-March.


Tools for Tanzania Giving Opportunity: St. Dunstan’s seeks to raise $800 for a set of tools to send to our sister diocese, the Diocese of Newala in Southern Tanzania. Rev Miranda visited Newala with our diocesan team in 2013, and Bishop Oscar Mnung’a visited St. Dunstan’s last October. As partners in this “diosisi rafiki” (friend diocese) relationship, we look for ways to support one another, both in prayer and practicality. Newala is one of the poorest parts of Tanzania. It is overwhelmingly rural, and most people are small-scale farmers, working with traditional hand tools. During Bishop Oscar’s visit last fall, we learned about better-engineered, modern hand tools that would help farmers in Newala. If we can send one set of new farm tools to Tanzania, then local artisans can use them as models to adapt the tools they make for local use. Then local farmers may be able to grow more food for their families, which means more resources for their churches & communities! A set of tools, plus transport costs, comes to about $1300. We are trying to raise $800 as our contribution; our sister parish, St. Andrew’s Church in Monroe, WI, will raise additional funds as our partners in this project. To contribute, put a check in the offering plate with “TZ Tools” on the memo line. Thanks for your generosity!

Black Friday Craft-In, Nov. 28, 12 – 4pm

A Free, Drop-In Event for All Ages. Make stuff! Give it away!

IMG_8692On the biggest shopping day of the year, spend some time making, not just buying. At this public event, you can make one or two simple gifts, or learn skills for making gifts at home.

– Crafting stations for kids and adults

– Quick and great-looking make-and-takes

– Middleton Outreach Ministry gift cards

– Techniques and project ideas

– Knitting consultant

– “Free play” crafting area

– Tea and cookies

Questions? Call the church office at (608) 238-2781, or use the “Contact” link at the top of this page.

Here’s a little more about why…

Living in a capitalist society, we get a lot of messages that define us as consumers. But that’s not our only or true identity. As people of faith, we believe we are made in the image of God, and that we find delight and wholeness in the moments when we are doing the things God does. We believe faith communities should be places where people rediscover all our God-given capacities, including the capacity to be creators of beauty. It’s interesting that ‘Maker’ has become the overarching term for crafters, artists, DIY-ers and tinkerers of all sorts, because Dorothy Sayers (the mystery author and theologian) used it in her 1941 book The Mind of the Maker.  She argues that creativity, in the broadest sense, is a fundamental aspect of God – and that our creative impulses are expressions of our inner holiness, the part of us that looks like God. God is a maker, and so are you.

So: Resist the mall. Make stuff. Give it away.