Our History

St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church has been a vibrant parish in the southern part of Tulsa since the early 1960s. From our humble beginnings of meeting together in a high school cafeteria, to celebrating our 50th anniversary with generations of family and friends, we continue to grow, thrive and welcome ALL.

From Left: Bishop Chilton Powell and our first priest Rev. Richard Daniels breaking ground on our church in 1964; center: Ruth Gibbs and The Revs. Daniels and Holly meeting in the 1980s; Right: Founding member Eleanor Smith reading during one of our services.

From Left: Bishop Chilton Powell and our first priest Rev. Richard Daniels breaking ground on our church in 1964; center: Ruth Gibbs and The Revs. Daniels and Holly meeting in the 1980s; Right: Founding member Eleanor Smith reading during one of our services.

In The beginning...

  Our history begins humbly in the early 1960s with an inspired young priest,  90 enthusiastic Episcopalians  and a WWII field communion kit. The congregation was organized by  Rev. Richard W. Daniels, and served the southern area of Tulsa, which at the time was largely wide expanses of pasture.

   The group began meeting in modest surrounds where ever there was room; sanctuaries were created in living rooms, with tv sets and stereos as altars. On Epiphany 1963, the congregation began meeting weekly at Memorial High School's cafeteria.

   We encouraged family participation in the liturgy, and voted two women to our vestry-- nearly unheard of at the time. We named ourselves "St. Dunstan's" after the medieval English saint, and grew into a large worship family in a climate of creativity and openness, in which each person was urged to offer his or her abilities for the common good. We still strive towards this today.

  In 1964 we became an official Mission of the Diocese and received our land near 71st and Yale from St. John's Episcopal Church. Through the contribution of an array of talents-- each of which seemed to come when needed-- our young congregation at last shaped in stone a lasting symbol of its faith. In January of 1965 we had our official ground breaking. In September 1965 we received our dedication of our final church home by the Bishop of Oklahoma, the Rt. Rev. Chilton Powell. 

An illuminated illustration of St. Dunstan from medieval times.

An illuminated illustration of St. Dunstan from medieval times.

About St. Dunstan

 St. Dunstan was a dynamic man who lived a little more than a thousand years ago in turbulent, medieval England. Born in the early 900s to a noble family, he later became a hermit, monastic, metal worker, jeweler, artist, musician, composer, abbot, political advisor and finally, the 25th Archbishop of Canterbury. 

   Dunstan rejected palace life to become a monk at Glastonbury, and was ordained by his uncle, the Bishop of Winchester. After some time as a hermit, he lived in the monastery transcribing  manuscripts, practicing his skill as an artisan in precious metals, played and composed music, built organs, designed bells and followed God. 

  Always one to follow his moral compass, Dunstan always spoke his mind to those in power--- so he often found himself falling in and out of  favor with Kings and the court. In fact, he was exiled at one point in his life by a king who didn't appreciate his sound advice.

  However, he was recalled to his homeland in 957, where he installed the Benedictine Rule to the disorganized and corrupt convents and monasteries of England. The king that had begged Dunstan to return then made Dunstan Bishop of Worcester, then London, and finally Archbishop of Canterbury from 960 to 988.

  In the 1980s, our own Rev. Richard Daniels wrote a scholarly biography of St. Dunstan, which has become a go-to reference about the saint and is used around the world. 

 

Rev. Mary Ann Hill presides over a First Communion service in our Spanish Language service that occurs each Sunday at 1 p.m.

Rev. Mary Ann Hill presides over a First Communion service in our Spanish Language service that occurs each Sunday at 1 p.m.

St. Dunstan's Today

 The parish of St. Dunstan's has undergone many changes in the 50 plus years it has been serving the Tulsa community.

   In the late 1970s, we began one of our most important ministries, St. Dunstan's Preschool, which is open to children of all faiths and backgrounds 5 days a week, throughout the year.

   Our preschool also offers a Pre-K program for quality learning and preparation for elementary school.

   Another new addition to the life of our parish is our Spanish Language Service, which serves Spanish speaking Episcopalians throughout the Tulsa area. This service is presided over by Fr. Heber Papini and has become an important part of our community as  a whole.

   Aside from this service, which is held weekly at 1 p.m., we also have a combined Spanish and English service held quarterly at 11 a.m. Please check our calendar section to see when this will next occur!

   Aside from these two large ministries, you'll find the people of St. Dunstans involved in programs to benefit not only our own parish, but our community at large. Some of our favorite charities to work with include The Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, Emergency Infant Services, Iron Gate Grocery Pantry and New Hope Oklahoma.