Farnham & St. John's
The Weekly Message
The Mountains Called
Twenty-one of us from St. John’s and Cople parishes answered the call of the mountain and gathered as a group at Shrine Mont for our Parish Weekend September 27-29. While the theme was “A Divine Ecology: Connecting with and Caring for Creation” the real theme was Fun, Food and Friendship. On Friday evening we played with the Story of Creation as creatively colored in the poetic words of John Philip Newell, shared stories of creatures we had loved (like St. Francis might have done) and took a stroll around the landscapes of created living things papered like a ground-covered collage in the center of our circle in Chilton Hall, our main gathering space.

On Saturday morning we moved from “In the beginning” and the story of Creation in Genesis to the story of the Garden in the Gospels, where Mary Magdalene meets the resurrected “gardener” of her life. Each of us, channeling Mary or John (the beloved disciple), then went out, individually and silently, to explore what was waiting in the “garden” outside Chilton Hall. To seek, find and see with new eyes the “Divine” waiting for us to connect with it in creation around us. Maybe an acorn, a rock, a flower, the way the light might shine through a leaf on a tree. Maybe a scrap of lichen or moss, a seed pod about to burst, a bee digging deep in the center of a flower. Any one of these living things could be a doorway to the Divine for one of us.

Saturday afternoon offered its own collage of things to do that even took many beyond the Shrine Mont circle. Paula, Elena, Deborah and Gracie “zip-lined” down the mountain at Bryce’s just up the road. Eva and Lucy picked apples at a local orchard. A couple from Cople were fascinated by their visit to the nearby potato chip factory. Some visited (and sampled or shopped) at a local winery. Back at Shrine Mont, some walked to the Cross or checked out the Labyrinth or napped.

On Sunday morning we gathered at the Shrine with some of the other “congregations” on their parish weekend at Shrine Mont. In that open-to-heaven-and-earth cathedral, we sang, prayed and praised Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Towering trees gently housed us, the morning sky and drifting clouds domed roof like over us and ancient rocks, hewn from the mountain itself silently offered a sheltering chancel for our open-air sanctuary.

We connected with the Divine which flows through all of creation and worshiped and gave thanks for its flow on, in and through us in many ways that weekend. The Spirit wove in and through and around us wherever we were, but I specially remember:
Torrence Harman photo
•   When at mealtimes we spread around long refectory style tables in Tucker Hall, passing around heaping bowls of vegetables, salad, chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, apples, hot rolls. We shared the bounty that had been blessed in words just before our meal, but also by sunlight, rain, nutrients in deep soil, everything that played a part into the journey of this food from earth to table.
•   When those of us from St. John’s gathered in falling darkness on Crenshaw Cabin's porch in weathered rocking chairs, a mix of generations sharing stories as Lucy strummed her guitar, our voices interweaving conversation and quiet pauses with the sound of strummed strings and soft voice. Heart strings strummed by that time, how well I slept those nights, visited by gentle dreaming.
•   When the kids wove in and out of the “grown-up” conversations and activities, yet did their own thing as Danni shepherded them through their own times of being creative in Creation. The presence of “youth” was one of the blessings spoken of by the older folks reflecting on the weekend.
• When, before the Sunday service at the Shrine, pushed by some interior voice, I spoke to the coordinating priest and offered to give the “message” for the service, not really knowing what I might have to offer but kind of recklessly thinking, “God will provide; something will come up.” And then a startling moment during that message as I tried to channel maybe something God wanted spoken that morning, I felt something deeply powerful rising up within me – certain, definite, intense, wanting to come to the surface. And then feeling that happen, a kind of spilling over of thoughts and words that surprised me. Then pulling into it three kids in the gathering to “manifest” (put skin on it) to give vision to the message. Each holding out something: a rock, bright leafy branches from a Shrine tree. Then sunlight shining on and through it all.
Shrine Mont was founded on springs. Springs well up from deep within the earth, to travel upward, defying even gravity as a channel is carved through earth and rock while water is pushed upward. To then spill out, pooling at the surface. On mountain tops springs are the genesis, the beginnings of streams, which then let go and flow now with the downward power of gravity down the mountain, combining with other streams, then flowing into rivers, ultimately bays and then the great ocean. And everything along the Way is nourished.

Perhaps we are called to the mountains to find springs waiting for us and within us. And then to be used by the Divine, not only as a channel for what God wants to have rise up within us, but then to be a channel for the flow of that living water down the mountain into the valleys and then to and along all the shore lines of life. 

Maybe we are simply Divinely called to “go with the flow” to become channels for that which sustains and nourishes life along the Way. It can be a “mountaintop” experience wherever we are! May we respond to the call.
Scotty McMullen photo
Scotty McMullen photo
Really? A zip-line harness?
Scotty McMullen photo
Photos of Torrence at the Shrine were taken by Courtenay Altaffer. Zipline photos, including the background image, are courtesy of Scottie McMullan from Cople Parish.
Sunday at Farnham & St. John's
The Blessing of the Animals
It's that special time again:  October is Stewardship Month!  A good month to check in with our "Thanksgiving" heart as we look forward to our official Thanksgiving focus in November.
You will be receiving some " appeal ing" correspondence in the mail shortly. As well as finding this topic woven into Sunday messages and weekly Epistles from time to time this month. Stewardship Sunday is a time by when at the latest to please have your pledge communicated to the parish. 2020 budgets being compiled now are impacted by your decision.. Stewardship Sunday will be Sunday, Oct. 27 th for Farnham and Sunday, Nov. 3 rd for St. John's. Please start now prayerfully considering your gift to your church family's year ahead so you can commit heartfully when you receive your pledge information.
Delivery Schedule:

Oct 14 - Hannah Tiffany & Barbara Jean La Fon
Oct 21 - Becky & Ed Marks
Oct 28 - Kim & Bill Calvert

The Episcopal Church Women
Of Richmond County

Invite you to
“An Afternoon Tea at Downton Abbey
—Virginia Style”

Presented by
The Victorian Ladies

Saturday, November 2 nd
Two O’Clock in the Afternoon
Wellford Hall, St. John’s Church
5987 Richmond Road
Warsaw, Virginia
Bring your grandchildren
and build memories.
Proceeds to benefit
Community Outreach in Richmond County

Limited seating, $25 each person
Please RSVP by October 28 th by mailing a check with “Downton Abbey” on the memo line to St. John’s Church,
 PO Box 1093, Warsaw, VA 22572
For more information, Please call (804) 394-3606 or 333-3931 or e-mail priscilla.wellford@gmail.com
Departing Dulles FEBRUARY 9, 2020. SMALL, PRIVATE GROUP. ALL EXPENSES INCLUDED. Tailor-made by Quest International Travel (47 th year, three-generation family owned in Jerusalem) and The Rev. Dr. Paul "Peter" Hogg, tour host for 30 years in countries worldwide and a former parish priest in both Virginia & Southern Virginia dioceses.   Click here  to download the color brochure. Call Peter Hogg (757-635-3557) for questions and receive a hard copy (or email:   phogg123@gmail.com . )  
(Brochure also available at  www.bit.ly/HolyLandwithPeterHogg )

click here to see the haven's volunteer needs
Lost & Found

There are still 2 pairs of sunglasses and a car key in the office lost & found.
In the Church
Sunday October 13 th
Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Sunday October 20 th
Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Sunday October 27 th
Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's
Sunday November 3 rd
Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

In the Parish Hall

Come Worship With Us

Sunday Service this week

10:00 a.m. St. John's Church
Warsaw, VA
Farnham Church
St. John's Church