Farnham & St. John's
The Weekly Message
"The Invitation"
The flowers on the altar at St. John’s on Sunday were exquisite. Maybe seemingly more so because there are none on or around the altar during Lent. Japanese magnolia, Lenten rose, spirea, curved towards the cross in the center. Gentle muted colors that reminded us that spring is on the “verge” of coloring the bleak greyness of winter in the next few weeks. 

Today, the day before Ash Wednesday, our day is grey with a heavy cloud cover. But the rain that prevails spilling from those clouds is moistening the earth and can’t we just sense the movement of that which wants to bloom, silently (at least to our ears) moving upwards through dark earth. Somehow there is in the deep center of every atom of created matter a knowing that we live, move and have being in some eternal cycle of seasons. And that just as the earth is moving towards warmth and light, all that within us that wants to bloom is called to seek both, trusting that new life will emerge.

The invitation into the observance of a Holy Lent waits for us tomorrow on Ash Wednesday, as do ashes to be crossed on our foreheads reminding us of our earthly origins. And yet that tiny spark within us that trusts in the eternal cycle of seasons stirs. If we travel through this time with intention and find the energy to push through dark soil, maybe bumping into a few stones along the way, may we be graced by the certain knowledge that an Easter morning awaits.

Bishop Susan Goff offers us a remarkable reflection about looking for blossoms even among the winter wilderness of Lenten hearts. Please read her reflection with hope and gather strength for the journey.
the wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
    and rejoice with joy and singing.
Isaiah 35:1-2a
Life abundant is springing up all around us. The crocuses and daffodils are in full bloom. The Lenten rose, humble in its rank of first blossom, is far from alone this year. Winter is making way, quickly, fully and earlier than usual, for spring.
In the season of Lent, we intentionally enter the winter wilderness of our own hearts to look for the blossoms there. And they are present - 

- in the gift of forgiveness that feels like quenching water on a sin-parched soul,
- in the simple yet extraordinary healing of wounds that happens little by little, day by day,
- in the bubble of laughter that escapes our lips in the most trying of times,
- in the kindness of a stranger,
- in the reconciliation that comes when we dare to listen without judgment and speak without reproach.
The wilderness of Lent overflows with life. As we give up old practices and take on new ones, we can see life as surely as we notice blossoms on the once-dormant earth. The wilderness of Lent is a training ground for life, shaping us to see it all around us, preparing us to receive the gift of abundant life from God who created us and loves us fiercely.
Don't be afraid to go to the inner wilderness you have long been trying to avoid. Don't be afraid to enter the places of fear or longing or pain that you've long been trying to ignore. Signs of life and promises of hope are already there, just waiting for you to find them. God is already there, too. And God, the author and giver of life, will never abandon you.
Faithfully yours,                                                          
The Right Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority 
Last Week at Farnham & St. John's
Coffee Hour photos courtesy of Ian Dunn. Flower photos (including background) courtesy of Courtenay Altaffer.
Tom Baker delivered the message about Shrine Mont at St. John's and answered questions at coffee hour. Please make reservations for your child to go to camp before next Sunday in order to get the discounted rate.
Flowers from the altar at St. John's
Hellebores (Lenten roses,) soulangeana magnolia and spirea from a parishioner's garden were given to the glory of God and in loving memory of Mary Ames & Marshall Coggin and Edward Turner Coggin and arranged by the altar guild.
Don't Miss Tonight's
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
at 6:00 p.m.

in Wellford Parish Hall at St. John's.
Pancakes, Sausages and all the fixin's

And since it is Mardi Gras Tuesday, let's everyone attending dress up by wearing a favorite apron. 

There will be a special prize for the most fabulous one. Special judgc is
Carson the Butler.
Ash Wednesday Services
the Imposition of Ashes
St. John's at noon Farnham at 5:00 p.m.

Forward Day by Day

We seem to be having trouble getting our Forward Day by Day books, and some of you miss them. The daily prayer can be found on-line here.
In the Church
Wednesday February 26 th

Ash Wedesday

Imposition of Ashes

12:00 noon at St. John's

5:00 p.m. at Farnham

Sunday March 1 st

1 st Sunday of Lent

Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's

Sunday March 8 th

2 nd Sunday of Lent

9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer
at Farnham

11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist at St. John's
Sunday March 15 th

3 rd Sunday of Lent

Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's

Mark Your Calendar

Come Worship With Us
Sunday Service this week

9:00 a.m. at Farnham Church

11:00 a.m. St. John's Church

Farnham Church
St. John's Church