To learn more about making a pledge or donation to St. Dunstan’s Church, click here.
From the Rector
Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, however you got here, whatever the color of your skin, wherever you live, whomever you love, whether you are rich or poor, you are welcome here. It is in that spirit that we give to support our congregation. This year, our Stewardship Campaign has asked this simple question:
What do you love about St. Dunstan’s Church?
I love our worship, with the balance of reverence, inspiration, and joyful expression. I love the people I sing with in the choir and the Community Dinner teams. I love our generous and talented staff. I love looking out as I preach and seeing expressions from interest to amusement to confusion. I love seeing the children pouring through the sanctuary doors after Sunday School to join us for Holy Communion. I love the view of our gardens from my office. I love that even in challenging times we are experiencing growth and vitality. What do you love about St. Dunstan’s Church?
We Are Building
The growth this year is easy to see. This month we removed our old pipe organ and began to prepare the sanctuary for a new instrument. Those distinctive boxes of pipes behind the altar have been the backdrop for our worship for 40 years now. Behind my office you can see another big change where the new dry storage shed is being built to support our feeding program. These are just the first in a series of projects made possible by donations to the Imagine the Ways capital campaign. The success of that campaign was made possible by the underlying strength and commitment of our congregation. Your support of the day-to-day operations, worship and ministry of St. Dunstan’s Church with an annual pledge provide the foundation for all this. Thank you for your contributions to Saint Dunstan’s Church and our ministries.
Click on a video below to hear Rebecca Daniels and Mary Pacher speak about their love of St. Dunstan’s.
Fifty-eight years ago my husband and I walked into this church. Canon Jesset was the priest at that time.
We were expecting our first child – he’s sitting right there – and we were so welcomed here. We knew we had found our church home. Over the years our family grew and we all became very active here at St. Dunstan’s. Our 4 children were all baptized and confirmed here and all served as acolytes. They were active in Sunday School and Youth Group. Our three sons and one grandson received their Eagle Scout award here at our altar.
Several years ago I became involved with an organization on Whidbey Island called Ryan’s House for Youth. This organization houses and feeds homeless youth on the island. I started volunteering there because I wanted to help.
When I was Youth Group leader here at St. Dunstan’s, I took our youth up to Whidbey for a weekend retreat to help the homeless youth move into their new building. Everyone worked hard and had a good time.
Later, I announced to our congregation that the homeless youth were coming down to St. Dunstan’s for a weekend. This congregation opened their hearts to the youth. They provided sleeping bags, pillows, air mattresses, board games, and a lot of food.
When the Ryan’s House youth arrived they were warmly welcomed. We all had a great time. As the dinner hour approached, one of the youth from Ryan’s House asked if he could go inside the church. I said “Yes, but don’t be long, because we will be eating dinner soon.” I then went into the kitchen to help prepare dinner.
A little later, while we were starting to serve dinner, I noticed that the young man wasn’t there with the rest of the kids. I walked over and looked in the sanctuary and saw him. He was standing in front of the altar, looking up at the cross with Christ the King on it, and he was trembling. I wasn’t sure what was going on and I didn’t want to intrude, so I slipped in quietly and sat in one of the pews. It was then that I noticed his hands were crossed against his chest. The trembling continued a few more minutes and then he sighed and his shoulders dropped.
I went up to him and asked, “Are you OK? – Are you OK?” He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Miss Mary, I just found God. I just found God and he loves me.” At that point, I too had tears in my eyes.
St. Dunstan’s family is making a difference in so many ways. We support each other here at church as well as in our community. We are making a difference in the lives of many by doing God’s work. I love it here because of that. God bless all of you and thank you.
Why I Love St. Dunstan’s
I first discovered St. Dunstan’s on a website after making a bold and life changing decision to move from Texas to Seattle for 6 months for my job. I was leaving behind my children and instinctively, I knew I had to find a church. I checked a number of websites and felt drawn to St. Dunstan’s for a number of reasons:
1) The church appeared to be active. There was evidence of the feeding program and music ministries. The church I attended in Texas was also active but did not have these types of activities. I was intrigued.
2) There was an organ! Ok, so I could not HEAR the organ, but it was exciting as the church I attended in Texas did not have one. Music was just not important to them – and growing up, one of the churches I loved most had a beautiful music program that I truly took for granted.
3) Fr. David – I remember that I very much liked what I read about him, his story, his family and his journey to St. Dunstan’s. I connected with it.
I had a strong feeling that St. Dunstan’s was the church where I could place my heart.
One evening, while in Washington for work, I drove out to see where this church was. I pulled into the parking lot and immediately liked what I saw. The beautiful, natural surroundings were so peaceful. It truly seemed like heaven on earth. I got out of my car and walked around the empty parking lot. On the front doors, I saw the signs for the Community Supper. I was sad that I had missed it that week, but I knew I would be back.
One day, during a very long conference call, I drove back to attend a bible study class. I stayed in the car to wrap up the call that ran VERY long. I somehow mustered up the courage to go inside, even though I was 15 minutes late. I entered the parish hall, and was immediately greeted by Chris Johns, who hopped up to help hang up my coat and I was invited to join in the study with a number of now familiar faces: Fr. David, Bill Britton and Harvey Lazelle. Again, I had that feeling that St. Dunstan’s was where I was supposed to be.
After the Bible study, I had the opportunity to tell Fr. David about my journey, why I had made the difficult decision to leave my children and come to Seattle and how I needed someplace to put my heart. Somehow, within the conversation, I knew I had found that place.
About a month later, I returned. This time over the weekend, to attend a church service. It was the last Sunday before Christmas. It was the first time I had entered the sanctuary. It was decorated for the season and was breathtaking. The windows and trees took center stage and drew me in.
There was the organ! There was a choir! And there were handbells! I had played handbells when I was younger! I had found my home – the place to put my heart.
Ever since that Sunday, I have been back nearly every Sunday, except for 6 months when I returned to Texas to reunite with my boys. I had jointed the choir and the handbell choir. I took a class – Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University – a life changing course for me. To put it mildly, I was a financial mess and had been for several years. Through Financial Peace University, I found a way to get my finances in order and finally tithe – give back to the church financially, as my parents always did, and I never could figure out. I was free! And this year, during the Capital Campaign, I was able to pledge additional support in an effort to help St. Dunstan’s reach our goals.
Financial Peace University actually meant so much to me that I even took it back to my parish in Texas, and ultimately facilitated the program (It was my idea, so I was awarded the job of running the program). And when I returned to Washington and St. Dunstan’s, I told Fr. David about how I had brought Financial Peace University to our church in Texas and he thought it was wonderful, asking me to co-facilitate with him for the next round. I gladly did and hope to do it again in the future.
Community suppers gave me another place to go, while I was here without my boys. A place to be fed, make friends and serve. I became a regular attendee and worker and was so excited to share this experience with my boys and my family.
When I brought the boys to St. Dunstan’s, they loved it, too! We have all experienced the warmth. The friendships. The people. Not just the beautiful sanctuary and surroundings. All of it has helped us to grow out of a place of stress an inner turmoil to peace and strength.
St. Dunstan’s has given us all a place to get involved an in service. I am honored and humbled to be a member of the vestry and the project estimate committee. I am so excited to see the changes and growth yet to come, just as this place has provided a way for my own family to grow and change.
And when my extended family has come to visit, they too, have told me how wonderful they feel when they attend and can see why I chose St. Dunstan’s.
This morning, I woke up early to review and reflect upon my writing and finalize my conclusion, I happened to pull up the website and was struck my our mission statement: ‘Inspired by our worship, together we grow in Christ through welcoming the stranger, feeding hungry bodies and spirits, giving of ourselves, and inviting others to join us in this journey of faith’. This is why I love St. Dunstan’s.
To learn more about making a pledge or donation to St. Dunstan’s Church, click here.