Category Archives: Ministries

Fall Fellowship & Learning Opportunities, 2021

This fall and winter, our adult formation and fellowship offerings focus on forming small trusted networks – whether oriented around a shared journey like grief, parenting, or discernment, or simply a small group that meets often to share and pray.  Eighteen months of pandemic life have shown many of us that we need more trusted friends to help sustain us in difficult times – and one of the most important ways people grow in faith is in conversation with other faithful folks. So I’m excited to be able to offer the opportunities below.

Besides these new offerings, there are existing groups within the church that always welcome new members, including the Wednesday and Saturday book groups, and the Monday morning art group. (All are currently meeting online, but hope to return to in-person in time.) Our youth groups also function as holy communities for those who participate. New kids are always welcome, even if they’re not otherwise involved in church or attend another church.

If you feel a tug towards gathering with a smaller group of fellow Dunstanites, but don’t see something here that feels like the right fit – or even have an interest in convening your own group – let Rev. Miranda know!

If you are interested in any of these opportunities, talk to Rev. Miranda, call the office at 608-238-2781, or use the Contact Us form on this site.

SMALL GROUP OPPORTUNITIES… 

Contemplative Prayer Group: Jamie S.  would like to convene a small group that will meet on Wednesday evenings (7:30 – 8:45) three times a month to explore and practice different approaches to contemplative prayer together. This group will get started in October. It will gather online at first, with the option to move to in-person when circumstances permit.

Weekly Fellowship Group: Marian and Chris B. will also be convening a small group to meet on Thursdays at 7pm, for regular conversation and shared prayer.

Bereavement Group: Grieving the loss of a loved one is the most difficult and painful of life’s experiences.  Maybe your grief is recent, or perhaps a long-ago grief still often comes to mind. Join a circle of companions who are going through similar experiences. Healing often begins when people are able to share their grief stories, their struggles, their questions, and what is helping them come to terms with their situation. The group will be facilitated by Gloria Alt, spiritual guide and Certified Bereavement Companion through the Grief Training Center of Wisconsin. We will meet over Zoom Thursday evenings from 6:30-8, or Saturday mornings from 9-10:30.  The groups will meet for 6 weeks beginning September 23/25.

Group Spiritual Direction: Do you ever feel you’d like to meet with others who are on a path to encounter the Holy more deeply?  Group Spiritual Direction is an opportunity for a small group (3-4 people plus facilitator) to meet on a regular basis to support one another in their spiritual lives. The unique process for Group Spiritual Direction incorporates times of silence, structured times for sharing for each individual, and group response arising out of reflection and intercessory prayer. The group would meet every other week for 4 sessions, with the possibility of going on after that if group members wish to do so. (There would be a nominal charge per session if the group continues; cost should never be a barrier to participation.)  The group will be facilitated by Gloria Alt, a trained spiritual guide. The group could be focused on Discernment and Transition, for those exploring a new season in life; on Grief and Loss; or on general reflection on life and where God is at work.

DROP-IN OPPORTUNITIES…

Spirituality of Parenting is a monthly gathering after the 10am service. People for whom parenting is part of your spiritual journey are invited to a time of sharing and mutual support. This offering will be hybrid, with the opportunity to join in person or online.

Drop-In Heart Check is a monthly opportunity for shared reflection on the week, using the tools of the Ignatian Examen. (You don’t have to be familiar with the Examen to participate!) We will gather after the 10am service. This offering will be hybrid, with the opportunity to join in person or online.

Younger Adult Gathering: There is interest in re-convening a monthly Younger Adult Gathering – for folks under 40, more or less. If you’re interested, let Rev. Miranda know! I’m especially looking for people to help plan and convene these gatherings.

FOR KIDS & YOUTH…  We’ll begin the year with outdoor Sunday school for all ages, during 10am in-person worship on Sept. 12 and 19, and continuing in October.  StoryChurch on Sunday evenings will continue as an online offering for younger children.
Take-home materials will be available for those who prefer to stay away from in-person gatherings for now.
A Scripture Drama Club will meet after 10AM church once a month to prepare a drama for the following Sunday. This gathering will be hybrid – you can join in person or online, and we welcome actors for both Zoom and in-person church.
Our Middle High Youth Group will continue to meet over Zoom this fall, while our High School Youth Group expects to start meeting in person soon.

Making Music in Times of Crisis

An introduction from the Rev. Miranda Hassett…  Over the summer, talking with clergy colleagues about how things were going at their churches, I started to notice a pattern in what they were telling me: “My music director just quit.”  “My organist hasn’t been in touch since March.” And so on. While these were extreme cases, many church musicians struggled to know how to do their job – fulfill their calling – under our current circumstances. I have a lot of compassion for that – I empathize! And I’ve also been incredibly grateful that our Director of Music Ministry at St. Dunstan’s, Deanna Clement, has approached our changed circumstances with curiosity, hope, and a robust confidence that we would continue to offer music to God and one another, somehow.  I asked Deanna about what made her able to face these times. The result is this message – a reflection on the qualities and ways of being that will help us keep making music, literally and metaphorically, in times of crisis.

“Through all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; it finds an echo in my soul; how can I keep from singing?”

These famous lines come from a hymn by Robert Lowry (1826-1899). It may sound familiar: we used them as our Song of Praise for a while, this autumn. They also happen to be on the back of a high school choir sweatshirt that I still own, nearly two decades later.

You can read them as an earnest affirmation of music-making for its own sake, regardless of the circumstances. That’s not the only way I hear them, though. When I read these words on this particular sweatshirt, I also hear the start of an ethic of music-making while in crisis.

I hear it that way because crisis marked my high school choir experience. A choir director’s catastrophic failure of judgement left a vacuum of leadership in its wake, and a group of passionate teenagers committed to singing (and their equally committed parents) had to pick up the pieces.

My cohort ended up having 6 directors in 4 years of high school. It was hard in ways that still hurt 17 years later. And we also got through it. Not only did we all survive – but that first gut-wrenching year, both our concerts and our tour happened. They happened a little differently, but they happened. Choir continued, and we stayed connected.

That all happened in 2003 in suburban, affluent Phoenix, to a secular, public high school choir of passionate teenage musicians.  Today I, and we, are living through another crisis that affects our shared music-making. It’s a very different crisis, but finding wisdom in those long-ago experiences for navigating music ministry at an Episcopal church in Wisconsin in 2020, might not be as big a leap as you’d think.

Having been in that rag-tag band of teenagers, parents, and administrators negotiating uncharted musical territory gives me a way to hold the seriousness of our current situation for what it is, and to reflect on my role in helping navigate our current troubled waters.

Singing together in person in church is dangerous right now. The science is still emerging, but indicates that there is no completely safe way to sing together in-person. Singing, or playing some instruments, together in groups seems to be one of the riskiest things we can choose to do for everyone involved: musicians, helpers, audiences, congregants, and clergy alike.

The best we can do is to mitigate risk with masks, generous ventilation, limits on how many, how loud, how close, and how long. It’s a logistical nightmare for schools, colleges, universities… and churches.

We, as a member of the body of Christ, strive to welcome and serve and whole-heartedly include all kinds of folks – those confident in their ability to weather a Covid diagnosis; those who are at greater risk for complications and even death; and everyone in between. So our guidelines for music-making have to design for people at varying levels of health risk and of risk tolerance.

Our multi-generational congregations make us less like school or university music programs and more like community orchestras and choirs – and many of those community programs have canceled their in-person seasons, not just for 2020, but into 2021 as well. The Metropolitan Opera, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and Chorus all made this hard choice. So can we.

That doesn’t mean we can’t still sing together. That doesn’t mean we can’t still play together. It does mean that we’re going to have to find a way to make community and minister through music differently.

I don’t say that lightly. Rewriting the script for what music ministry looks like is overwhelming on a good day. Our received ways of making music in church are familiar and beloved. And for me personally, the fact that I wasn’t trained specifically for a church musician role gives me extra room to second guess myself.

But I remind myself that back in high school, the well-respected senior who became the leader for our choir wasn’t the most obvious choice either. He wasn’t the most musically proficient performer, though his many musical and technical skills certainly helped him. What really made him the right leader for our group at that time were traits that had little to do with music. He was kind, attentive, honest, creative, flexible, generous, earnest, curious, and savvy. He was someone who tried to include everybody; who ran towards whatever’s broken; and who tried to make amends when he messed up.

All of those are traits I’m still working to embody. All of those are traits that characterize the church, at its best.

So how did we do it, back in 2003? What values and ways of being helped us keep doing what we felt called to do, when the way we had expected to do it collapsed unexpectedly?

One important way of being was Collaboration. Everyone contributed what they could to keep things running. Although one choir student was put in charge during that strange interim period, in practice, many people helped us keep going. I led sectional rehearsals with the piano, as did others. A friend who had access to the concert program files kept those up to date. Council members made sure each class had leadership. Singers continued to show up to class. Substitute teachers let us do our thing.

In the Diocese of Milwaukee, we are exploring new forms of musical collaboration. People are contributing all kinds of gifts and skills, as we find new ways to make music together. It’s not just playing or singing that’s involved here: there’s so much happening behind the scenes to make sure that the technological and logistical aspects of this effort all work.

Another aspect of my high school choir experience was Sacrifice.  We had to let go of expectations about the experience we had hoped to have. We weren’t going to have one great music teacher lead us through four years of growth, as others do, no matter what we did and through no fault of ours. If anything, we had that ideal deconstructed before our eyes in real time without a lot of terminology for what was going on or how we felt about it, and it hurt. But being able to feel those feelings and release them was crucial to being able to move forward together.

The way we’re doing church and making music together wasn’t anyone’s choice. Being in exile from our buildings hurts. Being unable to do many things we love hurts. Finding possibility in this time doesn’t mean that “Everything is fine.” But doing what we can so that we’re all still here when we can be back together in-person again is worth it.

By the same token, we also needed plenty of Patience. There was a lot of hurt, confusion, grief, and anger to process. It was sometimes hard to know exactly what we were mad at or sad about, just that we were. It came out sideways. It made us sick. Even the strongest among us weren’t immune. We had to learn to be patient with one another as we dealt with the impact, individually and collectively, of what we were going through.

Learning to work with practices meant to keep us safe has required a lot of study, discussion, discernment, and grieving. Learning to work with this technology has required a lot. But we’re working through it all. We’re still here.

Something else that helped us back in high school was Focus. It was easy to get upset and angry because there was a lot to be rightly upset and angry about. Watching your heroes fail spectacularly hurts. Losing an imagined future hurts. But the mission was clear: we would continue to learn about and make music together regardless of what was going on around us. We would do it with whatever and whomever we had.

For my work at St. Dunstan’s in Madison, I’ve had to step back and ask, “What’s the most important thing?” My answer has been being part of the body of Christ in Wisconsin during COVID-tide. My job is to support that mission through music.

Perseverance: There were days where what we were doing felt impossible – but we didn’t give up on music or each other. Today, I’m the Director of Music Ministry at St. Dunstan’s and a recently minted PhD from UW-Madison’s School of Music. Music is still central in my life, and many of the friends I went through this with are still on my Facebook feed.

The Diocese of Milwaukee has not given up on worshiping, and making music, together. We’re working through technological glitches and learning from them. We’re adapting our practices for these new formats and taking notes on how it goes.

Collaboration, sacrifice, patience, focus, perseverance. These are ways of being that allow us to collaborate with God and each other, to “hear that real though far off hymn that hails a new creation.”1 They come alongside those sturdy Christian standbys of faith, hope, and love, as reasons that “no storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.” These behaviors are how I know that “Love is Lord of heaven and earth.” The skills we lack—or just need to practice a bit—will come with time, study, and play.

We may need to learn some things, and that’s okay. We might need to buy some things, and that’s okay. We may want to ask some people we never thought we’d reach out to questions that we never thought we’d ask, but guess what? That’s okay. We may need to try out some things that don’t work. That’s okay. We might need to reorganize our time and efforts and our liturgical aesthetics and our music-making spaces. You know what I’m going to say already: That’s okay!

Our Thessalonians text for today tell us, “Hold fast to what is good.”2 Honesty, kindness, patience, creativity, generosity, perseverance, flexibility, and so much more are good, and are already here. They are ways to “Rejoice, always, pray without ceasing [and] give thanks in all circumstances.”3 We sometimes just need to remember them; be given permission to use them; and bravely act with them in mind. Music is just one way we do these things, and it’s a great space to practice.

So, to quote a ready Music that Makes Community anthem (if there is one), “What we need is here.”4 Let me say it again: “what we need is here.”

Video Transcript:

(Instrumental Drone)

Let’s listen once.

“What we need is here, what we need is here.”

Join in as you’re able.

“What we need is here, what we need is here.”

Add in some harmony.

“What we need is here, what we need is here.”

Last time now.

“What we need is here, what we need is here.”

Let’s transition elsewhere.

It may take some time, but that’s okay.

(Instrumental transition to “How can I keep from singing?”)

“Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
it finds an echo in my soul;
how can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?”

(Instrumental out)


1Also from Lowry’s lyrics for the same hymn.
21 Thessalonians 5:15.
31 Thessalonians 5:16-17.
4Words and music by Amy McCreath.

Sermon, December 13th

An introduction from the Rev. Miranda Hassett…  I’d like to preface Deanna’s words by saying just a little bit about how she came to be preaching today. Over the summer, talking with colleagues about how things were going at their churches, I started to notice a pattern in what they were telling me: “My music director just quit.”  “My organist hasn’t been in touch since March.” And so on. Not everywhere, but in many churches, the music staff person just disappeared in mid-March. They didn’t know how to do their job – fulfill their calling – under our current circumstances, so they ghosted. I have compassion for that. But I also have a huge well of gratitude that that’s not what happened here. Deanna came to our changed circumstances with grief about the things we had to put aside for a season, of course, but also with curiosity and hope and a robust confidence that we would continue to offer music to God and one another, somehow. So I asked Deanna: what makes you able to face these times, these constraints, in this spirit? Is it something you could talk about and offer to others? I was thinking in terms of having her share with other music ministers of our diocese. But when she brought me what she had written, I thought, This could be a homily for our parish, as well. This message transcends Deanna’s particular role and vocation. The Biblical scholar Richard Swanson offers a paraphrase of today’s text from Isaiah: “Make a straight road for the God whose Name is Mercy, make it in the wilderness, make it in chaos, make it in our imaginations so that we can bear the hard, chaotic work that lies ahead of us.”  Here is Deanna’s story about developing the imagination to make a way through chaos. 

 

“Through all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; it finds an echo in my soul; how can I keep from singing?”

These famous lines come from a hymn by Robert Lowry (1826-1899). It may sound familiar: we used them as our Song of Praise for a while this autumn. They also happen to be on the back of a high school choir sweatshirt that I still own, nearly two decades later.

You can read them as an earnest affirmation of music-making for its own sake, regardless of the circumstances. That’s not the only way I hear them, though. When I read these words on this particular sweatshirt, I also hear the start of an ethic of music-making while in crisis.

I hear it that way because crisis marked my high school choir experience. A choir director’s catastrophic failure of judgement left a vacuum of leadership in its wake – and a group of passionate teenagers committed to singing (and their equally committed parents) had to pick up the pieces.

My cohort ended up having 6 directors in 4 years of high school. It was hard in ways that still hurt 17 years later. And we also got through it. Not only did we all survive, but, during that first gut-wrenching year, both our concerts and our tour happened. They happened a little differently, but they happened. And choir continued – and we stayed connected.

That all happened in 2003 in suburban, affluent Phoenix, to a secular, public high school choir of passionate teenage musicians. Today I, and we, are living through another crisis that affects our shared music-making. It’s a very different crisis… but finding wisdom in those long-ago experiences, for navigating music ministry at an Episcopal church in Wisconsin in 2020, might not be as big a leap as you’d think.

Having been in that rag-tag band of teenagers, parents, and administrators negotiating uncharted musical territory gives me a way to hold the seriousness of our current situation for what it is, and to reflect on my role in helping navigate our current troubled waters.

Singing together in person in church is dangerous right now. The science is still emerging, but indicates that there is no completely safe way to sing together in-person. Singing, or playing some instruments, together in groups seems to be one of the riskiest things we can choose to do for everyone involved: musicians, helpers, audiences, congregants, and clergy alike.

The best we can do is to mitigate risk with masks, generous ventilation, limits on how many, how loud, how close, and how long. It’s a logistical nightmare for schools, colleges, universities… and churches.

We, as a member of the body of Christ, strive to welcome and serve and whole-heartedly include all kinds of folks – those confident in their ability to weather a Covid diagnosis; those who are at greater risk for complications and even death; and everyone in between. So our guidelines for music-making have to design for people at varying levels of health risk and of risk tolerance.

Our multi-generational congregations make us less like school or university music programs and more like community orchestras and choirs – and many of those community programs have canceled their in-person seasons, not just for 2020, but into 2021 as well. The Metropolitan Opera, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and Chorus all made this hard choice. So can we.

That doesn’t mean we can’t still sing together. That doesn’t mean we can’t still play together. It does mean that we’re going to have to find a way to make community and minister through music differently.

I don’t say that lightly. Rewriting the script for what music ministry looks like is overwhelming on a good day. Our received ways of making music in church are familiar and beloved. And for me personally, the fact that I wasn’t trained specifically for a church musician role gives me extra room to second guess myself.

But I remind myself that back in high school, the well-respected senior who became the leader for our choir wasn’t the most obvious choice either. He wasn’t the most musically proficient performer, though his many musical and technical skills certainly helped him. What really made him the right leader for our group at that time were traits that had little to do with music. He was kind, attentive, honest, creative, flexible, generous, earnest, curious, and savvy. He was someone who tried to include everybody; who ran towards whatever’s broken; and who tried to make amends when he messed up.

All of those are traits I’m still working to embody. All of those are traits that characterize the church, at its best.

So how did we do it, back in 2003? What values and ways of being helped us keep doing what we felt called to do, when the way we had expected to do it collapsed unexpectedly?

One important way of being was Collaboration. Everyone contributed what they could to keep things running. Although one choir student was put in charge during that strange interim period, in practice, many people helped us keep going. I led sectional rehearsals with the piano, as did others. A friend who had access to the concert program files kept those up to date. Council members made sure each class had leadership. Singers continued to show up to class. Substitute teachers let us do our thing.

Today at St. Dunstan’s, we are exploring new forms of musical collaboration. People are contributing all kinds of gifts and skills, as we find new ways to make music together. It’s not just playing or singing that’s involved here: there’s so much happening behind the scenes to make sure that the technological and logistical aspects of this effort all work.

Another aspect of my high school choir experience was Sacrifice. We had to let go of expectations about the experience we had hoped to have. We weren’t going to have one great music teacher lead us through four years of growth, as others do, no matter what we did and through no fault of ours. If anything, we had that ideal deconstructed before our eyes in real time without a lot of terminology for what was going on or how we felt about it, and it hurt. But being able to feel those feelings and release them was crucial to being able to move forward together.

The way we’re doing church and making music together wasn’t anyone’s choice. Being in exile from our building hurts. Being unable to do many things we love hurts. Finding possibility in this time doesn’t mean that “Everything is fine.” But doing what we can so that we’re all still here when we can be back together in-person again is worth it.

By the same token, we also needed plenty of Patience. There was a lot of hurt, confusion, grief, and anger to process. It was sometimes hard to know exactly what we were mad at or sad about, just that we were. It came out sideways. It made us sick. Even the strongest among us weren’t immune. We had to learn to be patient with one another as we dealt with the impact, individually and collectively, of what we were going through.

Learning to work with practices meant to keep us safe has required a lot of study, discussion, discernment, and grieving. Learning to work with this technology has required a lot. But we’re working through it all. We’re still here.

Something else that helped us back in high school was Focus. It was easy to get upset and angry because there was a lot to be rightly upset and angry about. Watching your heroes fail spectacularly hurts. Losing an imagined future hurts. But the mission was clear: we would continue to learn about and make music together regardless of what was going on around us. We would do it with whatever and whomever we had.

For my work here, I’ve had to step back and ask, “What’s the most important thing?” My answer has been being part of the body of Christ in Madison, Wisconsin during COVID-tide. My job is to support that mission through music.

Perseverance: There were days where what we were doing felt impossible – but we didn’t give up on music or each other. Today, I’m the Director of Music Ministry at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church and a recently minted PhD from UW-Madison’s School of Music. Music is still central in my life – and many of the friends I went through this with are still on my Facebook feed.

We at St. Dunstan’s are not giving up on worshiping, and making music, together. We’re working through technological glitches and learning from them. We’re adapting our practices for these new formats and taking notes on how it goes.

Collaboration, sacrifice, patience, focus, perseverance. These are ways of being that allow us to collaborate with God and each other, to “hear that real though far off hymn that hails a new creation.”1 They come alongside those sturdy Christian standbys of faith, hope, and love, as reasons that “no storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.” These behaviors are how I know that “Love is Lord of heaven and earth.” The skills we lack—or just need to practice a bit—will come with time, study, and play.

We may need to learn some things, and that’s okay. We might need to buy some things, and that’s okay. We may want to ask some people we never thought we’d reach out to questions that we never thought we’d ask, but guess what? That’s okay. We may need to try out some things that don’t work. That’s okay. We might need to reorganize our time and efforts and our liturgical aesthetics and our music-making spaces. You know what I’m going to say already: That’s okay!

Our Thessalonians text for today tell us, “Hold fast to what is good.”2 Honesty, kindness, patience, creativity, generosity, perseverance, flexibility, and so much more are good, and are already here. They are ways to “Rejoice, always, pray without ceasing [and] give thanks in all circumstances.”3 We sometimes just need to remember them; be given permission to use them; and bravely act with them in mind. Music is just one way we do these things, and it’s a great space to practice.

So, to quote a ready Music that Makes Community anthem (if there is one), “What we need is here.”4 Let me say it again: “what we need is here.”

Video Transcript:

(Instrumental Drone)

Let’s listen once.

“What we need is here, what we need is here.”

Join in as you’re able.

“What we need is here, what we need is here.”

Add in some harmony.

“What we need is here, what we need is here.”

Last time now.

“What we need is here, what we need is here.”

Let’s transition elsewhere.

It may take some time, but that’s okay.

(Instrumental transition to “How can I keep from singing?”)

“Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
it finds an echo in my soul;
how can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?”

(Instrumental out)


1Also from Lowry’s lyrics for the same hymn.
21 Thessalonians 5:15.
31 Thessalonians 5:16-17.
4Words and music by Amy McCreath.

“God Be With You” Parts

Singing in parts is one of the great joys of in-person church, but also takes a bit of practice. In this season, it’s something many people (including me!) sorely miss, but also something that technology supports well!

Towards that, some music videos that separate out the different parts of Clay Jones’s “God Be With You,” a song we’ve been using to close our 9am Zoom worship services, appear below. Words appear along with the music as it plays out.

As you’re so moved, see how it feels to sing a part you don’t normally sing. (If you’re feeling adventurous, try out how it feels to listen to one part while singing another!)

Hope you enjoy!

Melody:

Alto:

Tenor (sung an octave above how it’d normally sound):

Bass (with the part played up above the accompaniment):

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