We live first and foremost as a parish, committed to our mission of sharing Christ’s love with our friends, neighbors, and local community.
At St. Dunstan’s we believe that building a friendship with God should result in building friendships with others. That’s why we are so intentional about “fellowship,” which is a churchy word for being together and having fun!
In a time and place where it’s so easy to live anonymously and transiently, failing to make meaningful connections with others, St. Dunstan’s practices hospitality: the gift of welcoming others in friendship, often over a meal. After all, our worship is a symbolic meal, so we want to practice what we preach! We make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for everyone in the parish to join together in fellowship. We see the presence of elders and children and everyone in between as a strength and a gift.
We believe that church should be a place where we meet people who aren’t exactly like us, even as we are supported wherever we are in life’s journey. We believe that the best place to raise a family is in the midst of an extended family that can love us, support us, and teach us and our children.
St. Dunstan’s beginnings evolved from worship services conducted by The Reverend Douglas W. Hutchings for a small group of Champions area residents on the patio of one of their homes in September, 1966. As a result, on February 12, 1968, 51 Episcopalians formally petitioned The Right Rev’d J. Milton Richardson, Bishop of Texas, to establish a mission to serve the Champions area. The 119th Council of the Diocese of Texas accepted the petition and the mission was formally organized as St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church. The Rev’d Douglas W. Hutchings was named Vicar.
In June, 1969, 4.5 acres of land were purchased as the site for the new mission to establish permanent facilities off Stuebner Airline. An additional 3 acres immediately behind the original purchase were acquired during March, 1970. The first multi-purpose building was completed and dedicated during the fall of 1971.
St. Dunstan’s became a parish in 1972 and the Rev’d Clark Gardiner Lennard was called to be the first Rector, beginning his ministry here on July 1, 1972. The Reverend Clark Lennard was a leader, builder, and was nationally renowned for his vision and leadership in Christian Education. St. Dunstan’s grew and flourished under his guidance and direction.
An additional 1.5 acres was purchased in 1974, and the pipe organ was installed. In 1975, two temporary buildings were purchased to provide additional space for Christian Education.
As St. Dunstan’s flourished, the dream was to have a larger nave to serve our growing ministry. A building program begun in 1979 generated almost one million dollars. In early 1980, construction began for the present nave and the remodeling of the former worship center into a Parish Hall and Education Center.The first services in the new nave were joyously held during the Christmas season 1980. The facilities were formally dedicated by the new Bishop of Texas, The Right Reverend Maurice M. Benitez on Easter Eve, 1981. An additional building, now named Lennard Hall, was constructed in 1982 and bells for the bell tower were installed shortly thereafter. Cast in Holland, the bells were named Dunstan, Richardson, Hutchings, and Lennard for the four most influential people in the life of our parish to that date.
On Sunday, April 1, 1984, the congregation was saddened by the death of their rector, Reverend Clark Gardiner Lennard.
Aided by much help and support from within the Diocese, the established ministry at St. Dunstan’s continued with able assistance from The Reverend Jeremiah Ward, who was waiting to fulfill a commitment to become Rector of Camp Allen. The Reverend John R. Bentley, Jr. accepted the call to be the second rector of St. Dunstan’s and began his ministry here on December 1, 1984.
Scant space for Christian education remained a problem and another temporary building was moved onto the property to accommodate our growing group of young persons.
In 1992 more land was acquired to the south for future building and parking lot expansion. On Sunday, August 7, 1994, ground breaking for a new Education Building and parking lot took place with the Right Rev’d Claude C. Payne, Bishop Coadjutor presiding. The ensuing construction program also included the transformation of Lennard Hall into staff offices, the refurbishment of the Parish Hall building, the provision of a chapel called Canterbury Chapel off the Nave and the installation of a Columbarium. The new facilities were formally dedicated on October 18, 1995 by the Bishop of Texas, the Right Rev’d Claude C. Payne.
In January of 1998, St. Dunstan’s affiliated with the American Anglican Council.
On April 15, 2004, The Reverend John R. Bentley accepted a call to become Director of Pastoral Care at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Houston.
The Education Building was renamed The Bentley Education Center in honor of his ministry on April 4, 2004. The Bentley Education Center occupies the southwest comer of the courtyard and contains classrooms, kitchens, laundry facilities and a nursery.
On August 1, 2004, The Rev. Nick Dyke arrived as Interim Rector and served until December, 2005. Fr. Nick helped to move the parish forward a long transition by focusing on stewardship, pastoral care, and a willingness to try new things and “have our cheese moved.” He also kept the congregation in good humor through his seemingly inexhaustible supply of Aggie jokes.
Fr. Rob Price was called from the staff of the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas to be the third Rector of the parish and began his ministry on the first Sunday of December 2005. His most immediate challenges were to: revitalize the young family and youth ministries, to meet the challenge of paying off the last of the debt on the Bentley Education Center, and to handle a significant and urgent accrual of deferred maintenance.
After two years of rapid growth and fiscal struggle, these goals were achieved. As a part of these efforts, the In His Steps stewardship ministry was brought into the parish, which continues to focus the congregation on prayer and fellowship as the cornerstones of generosity.
In 2008, following two major surprise bequests from the estates of Pat Denny and Dan X, the nave underwent a major renovation in which a new organ was installed, the clerestory was removed from the southeastern and northwestern walls in order to improve the sound dynamics of the room, the choir loft was expanded, icons were added around the suspended St. Dunstan’s Cross, and the sanctuary and main aisle were floored in marble. Additionally, the chapel was also renovated into a truly beautiful space for prayer with an expanded columbarium and commissioned iconography. During this period and moving forward, staff positions were added for youth ministry, young family ministry, pastoral care, and outreach. Fr. Rob found a special niche as the “MC” of the Vacation Bible School programs, dressing in character to the delight of the children and the bemusement of the adults.
The original parish building complex, including the Parish Hall, were updated and made capable of hosting contemporary worship in 2011. After a year of offering an experimental “5:01” service on Sunday evenings, an additional contemporary service was added on Sunday morning in 2012: the “9:01”. This service was held in the Parish Hall and ran concurrently with the 9:00 traditional service held in the nave. In 2014, the Bentley Education Center was renovated and rededicated, with Fr. John Bentley being named the parish’s first “Rector Emeritus.” With additional music staff, the Choir Fellows program was started in 2015, bringing in top vocal performers from local high schools to offer music in the 11 a.m. Sunday Service.
The parish’s benefited from several Associate Pastors. In 2014, Fr. Randall Trego joined the clergy team. His fruitful partnership with Fr. Rob contributed to a season of spiritual growth and deepening fellowship among the parishioners.
Two jewels were placed in St. Dunstan’s crown with the beginning of two new outreach ministries that have redefined the parish as one that is fundamentally outward-looking and engaged with the needs of the community. KidsHope USA brought over a score of volunteer mentors to Eiland Elementary School, where they spend an hour a week with at-risk students. The partnership between St. Dunstan’s and Eiland has been recognized both by the Klein ISD and the Texas Education Association for its excellence as a role model for churches to follow. Additionally, the Hope Center was founded by the parish in response to discerning a clear call from the Holy Spirit to intervene in the growing and urgent challenge of homelessness along the FM 1960 corridor. The parish supplied an enthusiastic band of volunteers and the first 18 months of working capital to give the ministry its start in a strip center close to I-45. Since then, it has proudly watched the Hope Center be declared a Jubilee Ministry of The Episcopal Church and become an independent 501(c)3, involving volunteers from 17 different churches and serving over 800 guests in the first two years of its ministry.
This “peace which passeth understanding” was tested and deepened further in the midst of two distinct challenges. In the spring of 2017, the resources to sustain the 9:01 were exhausted and the service was discontinued, and its Praise Team was brought in to the nave to serve a newly blended service. Only a few months later in August, Hurricane Harvey fell upon Gulf Coast, with over 30 parish households inundated by the floodwaters of Cypress Creek. In a truly remarkable display of mutual love and sacrifice, parishioners answered the call to assist their brothers and sisters in need and mucked out houses, provided emotional support, and collected $40,000 which was distributed to affected parishioners.
Shortly after the immediate crisis of the flood passed, 40 members of the current and past Vestries of the parish met in a special session to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit in our worship schedule. Once again, God was faithful, and the leadership of the parish conversed and prayed their way to a solution that glorified God and placed loving and honoring one another’s gift as paramount values of St. Dunstan’s. As result, the Sunday morning worship schedule would now offer 3 services: 7:45am spoken service, 9:00am modern traditional service that blended contemporary music led by the Praise Team with traditional hymns, and 11:00am traditional service with choirs.
In August 2018, Fr. Rob announced his call to become the Dean of St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas, Texas. The parish celebrated his ministry and that of his family on his last Sunday, October 14.
St. Dunstan (c. 909-988), Archbishop of Canterbury
St. Dunstan started his profession as a monk at Glastonbury, England and became Abbot in 940. He completely reformed the monastery, and under his leadership it became famous for its learning. In 957 he was made Bishop of Worcester and in 960 was named Arch bishop of Canterbury. The King and Archbishop together planned and carried out a thorough reform of Church and State.
The restoration of monastic life, which seemed to have been virtually extinct in England by the middle of the 10th century, was almost wholly a result of Dunstan’s efforts. He established several foundations and zealously supported the cause of learning. He achieved fame as a musician, scholar, and metal worker.
St. Dunstan’s Feast Day is May 19.
More than one thousand years later, we celebrate his life, which inspires us to bring light and help to those in darkness.
Prayer Collect for St. Dunstan's
O God of truth and beauty, you richly endowed your bishop Dunstan with skill in music and the working of metals, and with gifts of administration and reforming zeal: Teach us, we pray, to see in you the source of all our talents, and move us to offer them for the adornment of worship and the advancement of true religion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Lessons Ecclesiasticus 44:1–7 or 33:1–5,20–21 Matthew 24:42–47
Our Vestry Leadership
Don Dozier - Senior Warden
Peggy Rudolph - Junior Warden
Michael McElroy - Clerk
Our Search for a New Rector
In August 2018, Fr. Rob announced his call to become the Dean of St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas, Texas. The parish celebrated his ministry and that of his family on his last Sunday, October 14. We are currently in the search process for a new Rector. To learn more about the search process, click here.
Please pray for our new rector with us:
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on St. Dunstan's, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a rector for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ out Lord. AMEN.