The story of St. Dunstan's Anglican Fellowship in Dillon, Colorado, began on a Thursday evening, September 29, 2011, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. Two couples, one former Episcopalians, had asked the Rev. John Longcamp, a non-parochial priest in the APA Diocese of the West, if an Anglican Church could be started in Summit County, high in the mountains of Colorado. A total of eleven interested people gathered that evening for a Eucharist celebrated in the Longcamp home. Thus began our weekly Wednesday evening gatherings for study and Evening Prayer or the Eucharist in various participants' homes.
Some of our members were attending other churches, most a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, when our group organized, so we met at non-conflicting times. Wednesday evenings were soon changed to Sunday evenings and finally to Sunday mornings. By the New Year we were determined to become official and petitioned Bishop Grundorf for status as an Anglican Fellowship. He graciously accepted us and assigned our first choice of names: St. Dunstan's.
In March we opened a checking account, elected a Mission Committee and officers, and discovered an attractive rental unit in a small, rustic community center/shopping mall. Our fortunate choice of Junior Warden, Ken Mace, a retired architect who had also done contracting work, assured us that the multiple small rooms of this unit could easily be removed, as the partitions were not weight-bearing.
April saw us achieve incorporation as a non-profit charitable organization, draw up bylaws under the patient supervision of Fr. Erich Zwingert, and have a webpage created for St. Dunstan's, again, thanks to Fr. Erich Zwingert. On the first Sunday after Easter we began meeting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday mornings.
We were amazed at how we were able to progress through the many necessary steps. But we cannot take credit, for we had invaluable help from three more priests: Fr. Walt Crites, Vicar General of the Diocese of the West, Fr. Gene Mallard, who recently saw St. Thomas the Apostle Anglican Church through all the steps from a tiny mission to a parish now worshipping in its own new church building (His dissertation written during and about this process is outstanding and should be made available to all, not just starting congregations!), and Fr. Bill Weston, retired rector of St. Barnabas Parish, which he led through at least two major building projects necessarily undertaken to accommodate their growth. All three of these men sent us guidelines, examples of necessary documents, and other forms of their expertise. Without their help, we would still be wallowing helplessly in the first stages of forming a congregation.
On May 19, St. Dunstan's Day, the DOW Standing Committee officially recognized our congregation as a mission in the Diocese of the West.
Renovation of our new church was masterminded and largely executed by our Junior Warden, Ken Mace. One period of frustration was when it took nearly a month to get carpeting installed-the only part of the project that Ken felt we should hire out. But on June 17 we held our first service, the Holy Eucharist, in our new facility. Because several families could not be present that Sunday, we held our Celebration of Opening on June 24, the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Thanks to our ad in the Summit Daily News, a new couple discovered us and joined in worship and all other festivities.
We started the service by asking God to bless our new place of worship, knowing that a true consecration by Bishop Grundorf, or a future Diocese of the West bishop, will have to wait until we have a permanent and debt-free church building as well as parish status.
Ken Mace and his wife Phyllis were thanked and honored with the gift of personal copies of the Book of Common Prayer, the new APA editions, in which the world does not end after Easter A.D. 2013. Of course, food and fellowship followed the Eucharist.
It is amazing what we, particularly Judy Collins, our treasurer, have been able to find on E-Bay, thrift shops, and on sale at other stores to supply the many necessary items that a start-up church requires. Neighbors of the Longcamps donated a home organ just in time to celebrate our opening.
Three of our women already have organized a quilt ministry by which they make and supply quilts for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Denver. A hiking group has been organized, a must in mountain communities. Both organizations are awaiting just the right name.