Category Archives: Newsletter

Annual Reports 2023

Our Annual Reports are an overview of many of our ministries and their recent projects and priorities. It’s a good way to know what we’re up to. Note that not all ministry groups send in an annual report! NOTE: We don’t post email addresses on the website, but use our Contact Us form or talk to Rev. Miranda to get connected with any of these ministries. 

MINISTRY REPORTS, JANUARY 2023

MINISTRIES OF FELLOWSHIP AND FORMATION

Children’s Formation

Sunday school

Sunday school is back to our pre-pandemic schedule of meeting twice a month during 10AM in-person worship. (Most of our kids are participating in church in person, though StoryChurch is one online kid-centered offering, and we are open to others as needed!) We have two Sunday school classes, one for ages 3 through first grade and one for second grade through fifth or sixth (whenever kids decide they’d prefer to stay in church). In the younger classroom they are working through a set of core holy stories, using materials from the Godly Play and Diddy Disciples books. In the older classroom we are patching together our own curriculum from various sources, based on the Sunday lectionary. In the new year we may start integrating some of our Scripture drama work as part of the schedule for that class. Interested folks welcome as teachers and helpers – talk with Rev. Miranda!

Drama Camp

Our summer kids’ camp in 2022 was a Drama Camp, focused on building kids’ skills and engagement with various aspects of drama and theater. About 25 kids participated over the course of the week, including some guests from the wider community. The younger group worked on using their bodies, faces, and voices to express different feelings, played with costumes, and developed a performance of the story of Jonah. The older group explored lights and tech, makeup, props and set design, voice and expression, and much more, while preparing a performance of the Biblical story of Tobit. It was a great week and we are carrying some of those skills into our Scripture drama and pageant work during the year!

Youth Ministry

The Youth Ministry Program has undergone one significant change this year: hiring a dedicated staff person. Isabelle had a number of big goals coming into this position, but there are three in particular that have seen marked improvement.

First, expanding communication regarding youth activities with the wider parish has been successful by the utilization of monthly “wrap-up” emails and increasing day-to-day visibility through frequent Facebook posts. The parish has been able to receive updates on the annual Treinen Farm visit, the Halloween and Christmas parties, Friday night craft projects, and other service events.

Second, youth ownership of the youth program has been strengthened by seeking input on Friday night activities, monthly events, and service opportunities. The GSAFE bake sale was requested, priced, and staffed by the youth themselves, resulting in a $593 donation. Coming up at the end of January is an almost entirely youth-organized overnight retreat (Holy Creations: Self Love & Care) where the youth will get to explore topics they’ve expressed both and interest and need for. A similar approach is being taken for spring programming and summer service trips.

Lastly, youth programming has made only as many adjustments as befits the wants and needs of the youth themselves. To maintain tradition and smooth the transition process, Fall and Spring bonfire days are still going strong! To make space for the artistically inclined, one Friday a month has had a dedicated seasonal craft. In upcoming months, the youth hope to have multiple Lent Madness get-togethers, movie nights, a murder mystery dinner party, and an open house art gallery in the Parish Center.

As far as need goes, Isabelle is still trying to find/establish a best practice for Friday night second-adult volunteers. You could help greatly in that process by signing your name & volunteer preferences to this link: https://forms.gle/619m9yikuv1uoCgW9. Finally, if you have ideas for events, crafts, games, demonstrations, or destinations, please contact Isabelle to initiate some collaboration! Thanks much for reading, and the kids hope to see YOU on an upcoming Friday night.

Building & rebuilding community

Moving into the fall of 2022, parish leadership heard and perceived a need to focus on building and rebuilding community.  One endeavor in that direction this fall is the new Aging Together group, which meets about once a month on Friday mornings on Zoom.  We’ve had some meetings focused on particular topics, like loneliness and the disorienting effects of grief; others have been focused just on sharing and mutual support. Some people have started meeting on Zoom most Fridays because connection feels good!

Another new endeavor was a small group that met on Zoom for four sessions focused on practical tools for raising faithful kids. Out of that work came a plan to have monthly evening Zoom meetings for parents, for check in and mutual support, similar to our previous Spirituality of Parenting group.

We’re also working on returning to some of our pre-pandemic fellowship opportunities, like regular young adult meetups and crafting gatherings. If you’re interested in any of this, talk with Rev. Miranda to learn more – and in some cases, perhaps help make it happen!

Saturday Book Club 

The Saturday Book Group meets on Saturday mornings every 6-8 weeks, though less frequently during the summer. We generally alternate between fiction and non-fiction books. In 2022 most meetings were remote on Zoom. In 2023, we plan to hold hybrid meetings – in person combined with Zoom.

Books we read in 2021 were:

  • The Luckiest Boy in the World by Patrick McBride
  • The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny
  • The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story created by Nikole Hannah-Jones 
  • Contributed Poems in memory of Dan Hanson
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison 
  • The Road to Character by David Brooks

Speak to Peter if you’d like to know more. Please do join us.

 

MINISTRIES OF WORSHIP AND PRAYER

Contemplative Prayer

The contemplative prayer group finished its year in May 2022 (after starting in October 2021). We continued to meet online throughout the spring and experimented with several types of prayer together, including the examen, welcoming prayer, Ignatian contemplation, and lectio divina. In July, we gathered in person for a potluck lunch hosted by Susan Franks.  Overall, we gained insight into new ways to connect with God and are grateful for the friendships we made with one another along the way! – Submitted by Jamie Smet

Music Ministries 

St. Dunstan’s music ministries is a loose conglomeration of musicians (both vocalists and instrumentalists) who do help us sing, listen to, and play music for service; write special hymn lyrics; compose, transcribe, and engrave psalms, hymns, choral arrangements, and original music; provide special music on- and off-site in collaboration with wider church events; handle music library, technological, and licensing logistics; provide second-adult presences for children’s choir rehearsals; organize fellowship events; publicize off-site music events; and provide financial and material support.

2022 required continued adaptation of our musical activities to meet the challenges of the season, including Deanna’s reduced hours. Some highlights of what we accomplished include:

  • offering musical offerings of a range of difficulties and configurations at 9am and 10am services
  • developing and refining routines for an intentionally hybrid, eclectic music ministry that’s sustainable long-term
  • continuing to experiment with a come-as-you-are, all-ages Orff bell ensemble

To all ensemble participants; guest musicians of all stripes; folks who manage the library and technology behind-the-scenes; donors; and the congregation: thank you for your continued support!

OUTREACH MINISTRIES

Outreach Annual Report 2022

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.

In 2022, the Outreach Committee used monetary donations and in person volunteer hours to address the following concerns: disaster relief, food insecurity, lack of shelter and housing, eviction prevention, refugee resettlement, LGBTQ+ rights/safety, and criminal justice reform.

The Outreach Ministries Committee holds meetings on the last Saturday of the Month.  The meetings are currently held at 9:30am, via zoom. We welcome new voices and new concerns; please consider joining us! Contact Evy  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.   If you have issues you would like us to address or organizations you would like to support you can either email them directly to Evy or fill out the outreach input form at this link https://forms.gle/nUHzxa3wHHv5b1Ei6

St. Dunstan’s Outreach Allocations in 2022

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 2022St. Dunstan’s Outreach Committee allocated  $17997 to the following organizations and projects:

Middleton Outreach Ministry, Bread for World, MOSES, Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee-Newala, GSAFE (creating safer schools for LGBTQ+ youth in Wisconsin), East H.S. Food Pantry, Jewish Social Services/ refugee resettlement program, Second Harvest, The Beacon, Just Dane for Healing House, Mr. Bob’s Under the Bridge, Briarpatch Youth Services, Badger Needs Network, Grace Food Pantry, Tenant Resource Center, Mennonite Central Committee/Ukraine, Bstrong/Ukraine, and the Diocesan Haiti Partnership.

St. Dunstan’s Outreach Endowment Fund

This year the outreach committee sought congregational input on the distribution of grants from the outreach endowment fund.  The fund was established in 1995, by the vestry and is managed by Diocese of Milwaukee Trustees of Funds and Endowments.   Annually the outreach committee makes recommendations to the vestry for spending a percentage (aprx. 5%) of the fund to provide donations to organizations addressing basic human needs.   50 people participated in the voting process and the votes were very close.   The organizations that received the most votes were The Road Home and Allied Food Pantry.  Both organizations received $2,500 from the outreach fund.

Outreach Core Ministries and Volunteer Opportunities 

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.

 Outreach MOSES Ministry

Since 2018, St. Dunstan’s has been a Member of MOSES – “Madison Organizing in Strength, Equity and Solidarity for Criminal Legal System Reform” – a non-partisan interfaith organization that works to promote social justice with a focus on ending mass incarceration. In doing so, MOSES seeks to deliver a message of hope, healing, and unity that reaches beyond the divisions of race, creed, and socioeconomic status. MOSES provides many opportunities for volunteer participation at various levels, such as helping at a MOSES-sponsored event; serving on a MOSES task force or committee; or making a tax-deductible financial donation to MOSES. In 2021 and 2022, St. Dunstan’s served as the host location for an annual rummage sale to raise funds for MOSES – over $2,700 was raised for MOSES at the 2022 rummage sale, thanks in part to members of St. Dunstan’s who supported this event by donating items and being present to help as needed. For more information about MOSES, visit their website at www.mosesmadison.org. 

MIDDLETON OUTREACH MINISTRY 

Middleton Outreach Ministry has been able to navigate many transitions during this past year. They have continued to provide food and housing assistance in a number of ways. At the end of August, MOM expanded to in-person shopping four days a week and continued the drive-thru, delivery and mobile services. This past November saw 100,000 pounds of food distributed along with 8600 pounds of clothing. They supported more families in the Connections housing program so they could move out of doubled-up living arrangements and into homes of their own. Currently 15 families involved in this program have received housing, and will continue to have one year of support from MOM. Also, MOM special events have provided needed assistance during the year—600 students received backpacks and school supplies through the Back to School Program; 432 Thanksgiving meals were distributed; and the Winter Wishes program provided over 500 households with gift cards. St. Dunstan’s Outreach

Committee has continued its support of these very important community services with monetary donations, volunteers, as well as participation in the past year’s Winter Wishes program. Thank you, St.Dunstan’s for helping us contribute in so many ways to provide the assistance needed to sustain the good works of Middleton Outreach Ministry.

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 February 19 -25, 2023.

Grocery Shopping for Refugees/ Jewish Social Services

Humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and elsewhere have displaced millions of people. Some of these people and families who have been arriving to the United States under UN humanitarian parolee status are being resettled in Madison under the management of  Jewish Social Services. We wanted to support them in a tangible way, something more than simply writing a check. To that end, beginning in August of 2022, the St. Dunstan’s Outreach Committee and a team of volunteers has been helping JSS with their important work by shopping for and delivering groceries for new households who are arriving in Madison. This fills an important gap between the time of their arrival and when their food benefits can be applied for and processed. The shopping list reflects the cuisine of their country of origin. So when they are going through so much stress as they settle into their new home, they have familiar foods waiting for them, in the fridge. The Committee allocated $1500 in 2022 to reimburse congregation members for buying groceries.  Funds not spent on grocery shopping were sent to Second Harvest Food Bank. Since last August, we have had the privilege to assist 7 households from Congo, Afghanistan, and Syria as they have settled into our community.

Diaper Drive – Pantries are almost always looking for large-sized diapers. We held a diaper drive again this year, and were able to donate over 5900 diapers to pantries. 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 FoodShare 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 diapers 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. 

This year, we donated diapers and wipes to the following organizations: Allied Drive Food Pantry, Karen’s Essential Center (a pantry in the Elver Park area), Healing House, and Reach Out Lodi (a pantry in Lodi). Thank you very much for your incredible generosity!

Creation Care Annual Report

St. Dunstan’s as a parish has carried a commitment to creation care since its earliest years, when the first rector Bob Childs planted exotic conifers around the grounds. In 2016 we gathered a Creation Care Task Force and created our Creation Care Mission Statement: https://stdunstans.com/our-grounds/creation-care-mission-statement/ . Here are some ways we are living it out this year…. 

This area of ministry currently has more energy than organization! We could really use a facilitator or co-facilitators for a Creation Care team, to gather us every couple of months to share ideas and updates, identify and move along various projects, and so on. 

Installing Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on the main building (spring/summer 2023). Thanks to two major gifts and a small Solar for Good grant from RENEW Wisconsin, we are moving forward with this project, which should cover about 75% of our usual electricity use at the main building. (There will be additional costs, though how Inflation Reduction Act provisions apply to us is still to be determined so we don’t have exact numbers yet.) We’re really excited to be able to generate our own energy (and reduce our utility bills!) In this way. 

The Walnut Syrup Project

Last year, starting in early February, we placed 8 taps into 4 trees at three different locations on the church grounds.  It took a while before they started actually dripping sap, but over the full season weeks, we collected somewhere around 50 gallons of sap. We did some preliminary boiling indoors on a stove along the way to help in preserving the sap and reducing the volume we were storing, and on March 26, 2022 we had our first ever sap boil using a stove constructed from cinder blocks, a few bricks, a stove pipe and a steam tray pan. We ended up doing a second boil as well, and ultimately ended up with a little shy of 1 gallon of Black Walnut Syrup. 2 pints of the syrup went home with the makers. A small amount was offered as tasting samples at the church, some of it was used in some tartlets for the pie brunch this last fall,  and a quart was given as a  gift alongside the check that St. Dunstans made to the Wisconsin Inter-Tribal Repatriation Committee. The remainder of last year’s syrup will be available to have on pancakes at the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper.

– Submitted by Phil. Talk to Phil or Carrie about this project! 

The Grounds Mapping Project

For years we have needed an up to date digital map of the property that shows particular features, including things like our permaculture plot and other useful plants. After getting conversant with the appropriate software in 2022, John L. plans to work on some mapping this year, including at least a basic map and a map that notes memorials on the property, such as trees and benches. If you have other mapping ideas, talk with Rev. Miranda or John! 

 

Music Ministry Annual Report

A photo of the church music loft, with piano, drums, small hand instruments, and tech equipment.

St. Dunstan’s music ministries includes the choirs (both the children’s and adult’s), and the musician’s collective, a loose conglomeration of musicians (both vocalists and instrumentalists) who do help us sing and play music for service; write special hymn lyrics; compose, transcribe, and engrave psalms, hymns, choral arrangements, and original music; provide special music on- and off-site in collaboration with wider church events; handle music library, technological, and licensing logistics; provide second-adult presences for children’s choir rehearsals; organize fellowship events; publicize off-site music events; and provide financial and material support.

2021 required continued adaptation of our musical activities to meet the challenges of covid-tide. Some highlights of what we accomplished include:

*facilitating psalm refrain and original Alleluia composition projects in Sunday School. (We did the original Alleluias in two parts: 1 and 2. They’re available here, at https://stdunstans.com/seeking-learning/what-does-your-alleluia-sound-like-part-1-noticing-some-alleluias/, and here, at https://stdunstans.com/seeking-learning/what-does-your-alleluia-sound-like-part-2-composing-your-alleluia/.)

*adapting musical offerings for 9am and 10am services

*piloting covid-safe musical activities at the 10 am service (e.g., an always-improvised, come-as-you-are, all-ages Orff bell ensemble; improvised congregational rhythm accompaniment on hymns; and a hybrid format approach to choral singing)

*continuing to offer and refine AuDivina, a listening practice using music not typically considered churchy to illuminate a theme. Check out our Courage-themed AuDivina list here, at https://stdunstans.com/category/audivina/.

*creating several virtual ensembles of varying configurations throughout the year

To all ensemble participants; guest musicians of all stripes; folks who manage the library and technology behind-the-scenes; donors; and the congregation: thank you for your continued support!

Submitted by Deanna Clement