News from St Dunstan's

A Day on The Charles – Spring 2017

As part of St. Dunstan’s 50th Anniversary celebration, 30 parishioners, of all ages, enjoyed a leisurely paddle on the Charles River.  The small flotilla of canoes and kayaks launched at the bridge on Rte. 27 near the Sherborn/Medfield line and made their way to Rocky Narrows in Sherborn where they enjoyed a picnic lunch.  They continued on to the Bridge Street landing in Dover.
It was a bright spring day and everyone had a wonderful time paddling on this beautiful section of the Charles River as many of our earlier parishioners had done.  One young paddler enthusiastically declared, “This is the best day of my life!”
It looks like this event could become an annual event as St. Dunstan’s moves forward into the next 50 years.
Thanks to Tim, Wendy and Chuck for organizing this event

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Bishops Join MA Church Leaders Opposing Refugee Restriction

Episcopal ribbon

“Increased Compassion, Not Hardened Hearts”:
Bishops join MA church leaders opposing refugee restriction

Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, together with Bishop Douglas J. Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, have signed a joint letter from 17 church leaders, issued today by the Massachusetts Council of Churches, opposing the White House executive action suspending refugee resettlement.
The full letter is available here.
An accompanying message from Bishop Gates to the diocesan community follows:
Dear People of the Diocese of Massachusetts,
We are struggling mightily with the turmoil of transition.  We are a nation bitterly divided.  While some argue that necessary correctives are at play, many of us feel that we are in danger of losing our moral compass.  In either case, we have no option other than to bring the core principles of our religious tradition to bear on current decisions.  Our positions as Christians are determined not by party affiliation, nor by self-interest–neither personal self-interest nor national self-interest.  Rather, our Christian positions must be determined by the core values of our faith.       …………..continue reading here


Art Exhibit Featured in Episcopal Journal

St. Dunstan’s Art Committee’s current exhibit, “The Art of Worship” has been featured in the January issue of the Episcopal Journal. ”
Congratulations to Tia Dennis, whose photography is showcased in this exhibit.  You can read the interview and article HERE

 Baptismal Font

Fiftieth Annual Meeting

St. Dunstan’s Fiftieth Annual Meeting took place on Sunday, January 29.  The Annual Meeting began after a Service of Morning Prayer at 10:00 a.m., followed by a Potluck Brunch. The meeting took place in Fellowship Hall.

A link to a copy of the Saint Dunstan’s 2017 Annual Report can be found here:
Annual Report 2017 St. Dunstan’s


Election Eve Prayer Service and Chili Dinner – Nov. 7

St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Dover to Host Election Eve Prayer Service and Dinner for the Community on Nov. 7


Oct. 31, 2016 – St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Dover is offering an Election Eve Prayer Service at 7pm on Monday, November 7. Open to the community, all are invited and welcome to come together in prayer for our country and its elected officials.

“This election cycle has brought with it so much contentiousness and division in our country, and I feel the real need to saturate ourselves and our country in prayer at this time,” said The Rev. Sean T. Leonard, Rector of St. Dunstan’s.

Rev. Leonard said he had been mulling over the possibility of hosting a prayer service on the eve of the election when The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan, issued an invitation to the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts to observe a vigil of prayer surrounding election day.

“Once I heard Bishop Gates’ invitation,” added Rev. Leonard, “I recognized that this might be the Holy Spirit at work, inviting us to be intentional in prayer around this coming election.”

St. Dunstan’s also welcomes the community to come together in fellowship and share a meal together. Chili will be served in the church’s Fellowship Hall before (6:30-7 pm) and after (7:30-8:30) the service.

For more information, please visit or call the church at (508) 785-0879.




Holy Ghosting to Scare Up Funds for A Place to Turn



Last year, St. Dunstan’s decided to take the idea of “Ghosting” (AKA Trick or Treating in reverse) and use it as a means to scare up funds for A Place to Turn food pantry in Natick. It was a big hit, with more than 200 houses getting “Holy Ghosted” and raising more than $1, 100 for A Place to Turn.


As they say in all the Halloween movies, we’re back ….


Here is how it works:

  1. You write a check to A Place to Turn and send it to St. Dunstan’s with the attached Holy Ghosting request(s). Suggested donation is $5 per destination (although you are certainly free to donate more).
  1. The children (and adults) of St. Dunstan’s will prepare a ghosting bag for your intended recipients, and we will deliver it for you prior to Halloween. You can order as many bags as you wish — we will deliver them all!
  1. That’s it! Ghosting complete!

Each ghosting bag will contain a small amount of candy (a Tootsie Pop ghost or similar) and a letter informing the recipient that someone (that’s you) has secretly made a donation in their honor to A Place to Turn. That’s where the “Holy” in “Holy Ghosting” comes in: your donation goes directly to A Place to Turn (St. Dunstan’s will deliver it), where it will help families in need in our area.

Because the candy and delivery are donated, and your check is written directly to A Place to Turn, 100% of your donation goes directly to the charity. Maybe we should be calling it Wholly Ghosting.

Questions? E-mail us at

Here is a link to the order form:


2016 B-Safe Comes to Dover

On July 7th & 8th, St. Dunstan’s parishioners again served lunch and hosted a field day for the 100 summer campers in our sister parish St. Stephen’s program, B-Safe.  Also, I lead the Optional Worship for the campers at their site, Epiphany School in Dorchester.  Next year, I encourage all of you to drop by the church on the day we host them because it is an amazing sight.  Our volunteers run a happy, healthy, educational, enjoyable, and appropriately scheduled full day’s program. I was impressed.  And proud!

B-Safe 2016 comes to St. Dunstan’s

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     St. Dunstan’s goes to B-Safe 2016

A reflection from Bishop Gates in the aftermath of violence

Following is a letter issued July 12 to the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts from Bishop Alan M. Gates regarding the violent tragedies of the last week.

Dear people of the Diocese of Massachusetts,

Last weekend I made a two-day silent retreat at the Trappist Abbey in Western Massachusetts.  It came as we were all still reeling from two more senseless deaths of black men at the hand of law enforcement officers, and the horrific deadly assault on police officers in Dallas.

In the first hours of my time at the Abbey, I picked up Jean Vanier’s book Becoming Human, and happened upon this paragraph:

I once visited a psychiatric hospital that was a kind of warehouse of human misery.  Hundreds of children with severe disabilities were lying, neglected, on their cots.  There was a deadly silence.  Not one of them was crying.  When they realize that nobody cares, that nobody will answer them, children no longer cry.  It takes too much energy.  We cry out only when there is hope that someone may hear us.   [NYC: Paulist Press, 1998; p. 9]

The image is devastating.  In moments of deep despair, when all hope is lost, silence ensues.


St. Joseph’s Abbey Trappist Abbey in Western Massachusetts

The seemingly intractable cycle of violence which has taken hold of our nation has caused our despair to grow yet deeper in the past month.  Multiple tribulations intersect in varying toxic combinations:  the violence of religious extremism; continuing vulnerability of the LGBTQ community; deeply ingrained, systemic racism; the dual need for accountability from and support for our police forces; and unconscionably easy availability of deadly weapons.

We might well feel weary of crying out, or become convinced that no one will hear us.  We could fall silent, like those hopeless children.  But we must not.  We must not cease lamenting, not cease striving, not cease praying, not cease reconciling, not cease demanding of ourselves an honest self-examination, not cease demanding that those who govern on our behalf would do so with clarity of vision and courage of conviction.  We must not cease hoping, and not give up acting as agents of that hope.

The Cross of Christ bears witness that hatred and brutality are to be met with neither fight nor flight, but with a compassionate clarity of purpose that demands only love, and effects only reconciliation.

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates

July 12, 2016


A letter from Bishop Gates following Orlando shootings

“Hard work to be done”: A letter from Bishop Gates following Orlando shootings

Following is a letter to the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts from Bishop Alan M. Gates in the aftermath of the June 12 shootings in Orlando, Fla.:

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

A week ago I joined a neighborhood Peace Walk in Boston’s South End with Boston Police Commissioner William Evans and members of his department, children and adults of the neighborhood, and participants in our diocesan B-PEACE effort.  We walked local streets proclaiming our determination to reduce gun violence and other violations of communal safety.

“Of course,” I told the gathering, “marching around the neighborhood or wearing orange (as we’d  recently done for Gun Violence Awareness Day) will not, in and of itself, stop the violence.  We do this to proclaim to others and remind ourselves that together there is hard work to be done.”

The very next day a 17-year-old student was shot and killed outside his high school in Dorchester.  Six days later 50 people have died in Orlando in what is being termed the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history.  Within hours of my own grateful participation in Boston’s Pride Parade, I find myself grieving and extending compassionate prayers and heartfelt support to the wider LGBT community as the latest target of hatred and violence.

I struggle to sort out the tangled web of motivations in this tragedy, as in others before it.  Each mass shooting and terror attack has had its own particular toxic combination of factors – individual alienation, hatred towards those who are different from us, religious extremism and more.  A common factor in virtually every case, however, has been the ready accessibility of lethal weapons.

With each successive, perverse milestone in our country’s narrative of violence – now a school massacre, now a movie theater slaughter; now the most children murdered, now the greatest total number of victims – our initial determination to be galvanized fades into a higher threshold of tolerance and accommodation to apparent inevitability.

Our grief and anger, however, must continue to issue not only in compassion and prayer, but in continued advocacy for those measures which can turn the tide in this crescendo of death.  We do this with programs that build relationships across lines that divide us.  We do it also with common-sense legislation on access to weaponry.  (Bishops United Against Gun Violence, of which both I and Bishop Gayle Harris are members, provides links at, pull-down menu “The Evidence.”)

Of course we know that none of these measures in isolation will prevent all murderous attacks.  Of course we know that combating terrorism requires different methods than combating household firearm accidents.  But a full spectrum of interconnected efforts must advance the cause of communal safety and peace.

Jesus told us that the greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbor.  It follows that the greatest sin is the failure to love, and we are told that the consequence of sin is death.  Too much are we witnessing this consequence.  Let us love one another.  Fervently, tangibly, relentlessly: let us love one another.

Faithfully in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates

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Find a developing list of local prayer services and vigils here.

June 13, 2016