Our past Sr. Warden, Karen Tynes, made an interesting observation at her last Vestry meeting: all of the growth and new ministries we are experiencing at St. Dunstan’s Church are an expression of Christian hospitality. We have taken hospitality far beyond welcoming visitors.
Each week during the invitation to Holy Communion I say, “During the distribution of communion we offer prayers and anointing for healing. This can be for you, or for someone else. Just go to the area to the side of the altar, behind where the processional cross is now standing and there will be someone there to pray with you.”
Did you know that every week you can download the latest sermon from St. Dunstan's Church on iTunes? We record the entire service and publish the sermon. Those recordings and the clear sound we enjoy in our worship are made possible by our excellent sound booth team, made up of Alex Broadhead, Randy Van Heusden and Chuck Pacher. Alex, Randy, and Chuck have made it their ministry to allow the rest of us to HEAR our worship.
Every week members of our congregation give rides to people who would not otherwise be able to attend our worship. This generous ministry is coordinated through our Care Teams. Giving a fellow parishioner a ride to church is a practical and pragmatic expression of caring and generosity.
Last Saturday evening I put on a tuxedo, complete with a bright red bowtie, and served a seven-course meal to the Bishop, his wife, and six guests. Josef Hinkofer created the menu and cooked the food. We did this to support the Mission to Seafarers ministry led by Ken Hawkins. The dinner was an auction item at the annual Mission fund raising event.
Once, years ago, when I was grieving and struggling, a package arrived unexpectedly in the mail, addressed to me. I opened the package to find a beautiful, hand knit shawl with a note of encouragement. I wrapped that shawl around my shoulders and I knew that there were people who loved me and were praying for me, and I got through that crisis. I still love to use that prayer shawl, early in the morning, when I say my prayers.
On Saturday afternoon, after the second Memorial Service in as many days, my voice was almost completely gone because of a quickly advancing cold. I finally had to admit that I was not going to be able to do the services on Sunday. That is when I called Deacon Richard.
Care Teams are a prayer ministry with a high-tech twist. Each person on a Care Team receives a weekly email listing all the prayer requests and care needs we are aware of within and beyond our congregation, and then they do whatever they are inspired to do. Sometimes that means saying a prayer or sending a card. It could involve delivering a meal, or organizing meals for a week. It could also involve giving a ride to church, or just making a friendly call to check in with someone.
At our Sunday morning worship there are people serving at the altar wearing a simple white robe. These men and women are our Eucharistic Ministers. They carry the Gospel book in procession, read the Prayers of the People, and assist at the altar during Holy Communion. When we begin distributing the bread and the wine, our Eucharistic Ministers serve the wine and occasionally assist with the bread.