Reviving Connections: The Return of Dover Unplugged and Birth of The Caring Series

Fr. Sean Leonard, Matthew Martin with End Hunger New England and Dove resident Carol Chirico after a meal packing event

In 2017, St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church launched Dover Unplugged to provide community residents with an opportunity for face-to-face interactions and time to just simply connect with one another. The community-focused series was held once a month, usually alternating between an event and a presentation. Designed for the entire community, not just members of St. Dunstan’s, Dover Unplugged provided a chance for people to learn something new, volunteer for a service event, or just simply enjoy a night out with family and friends. From 2017-2020, Dover Unplugged hosted everything from indoor mini golf that highlighted Dover landmarks; to speakers on how town government works and international affairs; to hands-on service projects and how-to events; to a good old fashioned ice cream social - and a lot in between! On March 8, 2020, the One Love Foundation gave a talk and workshop about fostering healthy teen relationships. 

And then the pandemic hit.

Realizing Zoom fatigue and that online programs defeated the purpose of unplugging, St. Dunstan’s paused the Dover Unplugged program. As we adjusted to a new normal with Covid-19 and the resumption of activities, St. Dunstan’s began to look at how to bring Dover Unplugged back. 

The pandemic spurred a rise in people wanting to help others, and so when St. Dunstan’s re-launched Dover Unplugged in 2023, the church decided that the focus should be on ways to help others, and thus The Caring Series was born. In addition to providing space for the community to learn about issues we face in the world today, The Caring Series will offer ways in which people can get involved and do something about them.

The Caring Series kicked off in October with a first-person account of the situation in Haiti and ways in which we in the United States can help the people there. Fr. Noe Bernier, a priest from the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, spoke of what life is like in “fourth world” Haiti, the political situation, and the challenges he faces as the head of several schools and churches that provide not just education and religious services, but meals, jobs, and safe havens for the community. St. Dunstan’s has been in partnership with Holy Innocents School in LaBeague since 2010, providing financial and other support. Participants and many from the St. Dunstan’s community collected toiletries that Fr. Noe had requested, and he was able to take two suitcases back with him.  

Upcoming events in the new year include:

1/12/24, at 7pm: Dover resident Amelia Slawsby will discuss the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral (PPC) and the Episcopal church’s support of the campaign at both the state and national levels. 

2/9/24 at 7pm: Medfield resident Jim Nail will speak about environmental stewardship and the Episcopal Church’s commitment to Creation Care. Participants will learn how we can be better stewards of our beautiful earth and useful tips for energy and water conservation and more. 

4/26/24  at 7pm: Dover Unplugged will host its fourth meal packing event. A popular, hands-on event for all ages!

5/19/24 at 3pm: We will close the Dover Unplugged 2023/2024 season with an ice cream social. 

Over the years, a number of Dover residents have been involved in making the program happen over the years. Special thanks to Hazel Blyzinskyj, Carol Chirico, Amelia Slawsby, Grant Stephen, and Tracy Tobin, who have been most integral to making Dover Unplugged a reality.   

Dover Unplugged events are free and open to all. Dover Unplugged is a ministry of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, which is located at 18 Springdale Avenue in the center of Dover.  Learn more about Dover Unplugged and see info on upcoming programs at or by visiting the Dover Unplugged Facebook page (@DoverUnplugged).