Farnham & St. John's
The Weekly Message
“The American Way”

American flags wave in the breeze in our cemeteries marking the graves of those who served in the armed forces of our country. We honor those who have served who are no longer with us and today, Veterans Day, we also honor those of you who are with us. If we were in our churches this coming Sunday, you who are veterans would be asked to come forward for us to specially recognize you as a blessing to us, to our country and to our American way of life. We would also give thanks to the family members who supported you. We offer thanksgiving for your service and for you and your family’s commitment to the cause of freedom our Armed Services serve to protect.

Our way of life has been so disrupted this year. Whether we wanted it or not, the dis-order of this time, has impacted our way of life. Our freedom of movement has been limited as the pandemic threatened our and everyone else’s health and safety. We sheltered in place, cancelled trips and when going out marked our distance from one another in six-foot intervals. We gave “air” hugs instead of actual hugs. We learned to recognize people faces by their eyes alone. But then, of course, has it not been said, “The eyes are windows to the soul!”

It was also a time of confronting realities that the promise of equal justice, opportunity, respect, and dignity to be available to all in this great country is a tarnished value. And one of the most divisive elections in our nation’s recent history has cracked the “united” adjective in the name of our country.

It is time to repair, restore, and move forward. We must do this for the good of the whole.

I watch the little flags lift in the wind then drop draped against their slender post. I remember my grandson Dean’s stunning picture of the flag that unfurled its splendor over the Irvington 4th of July parade in 2019. (here) I reflect on the red, white, and blue, the stars and stripes, and the field upon which they rest. When our flag unfurls and moves with the wind it is stunningly beautiful. Its design is alive, every star shining as all elements move together, individual and distinct and yet in unison.

Mother Teresa said, “If you want peace, go home and love your family.” The bottom line is that peace starts with each of us, one by one. Respect, love, listening, sharing, turning from face to face confrontation to face forward towards a new ordering of the future is hard work. Every encounter offers a moment that can diminish our way of life or help it to flourish.  

I remember a moment almost ten years ago when I was on a retreat at Ghost Ranch in the desert of New Mexico with others as John Philip Newell led us on a pilgrimage walk in the Celtic contemplative way. I remember how he paused for a moment and then spoke, “You know, the next moment has never happened before.” I remember my heart fluttering, stunned at this idea – that even just the next moment holds possibility, holds hope. And the idea of just living into each one to come with an open heart. We resumed our pilgrimage walk, more pensive yet more aware of each other and the land upon which we walked.
By God’s amazing grace may this great land we love find peace . . . 

Background Photo by Ben Hendricks on Unsplash (cropped). No permissions necessary.
Bishop Porter Taylor's meditation for the 24th week after Pentecost.
No Future Without Forgiveness

With the announcement that Joe Biden has enough electoral votes to be the President-Elect, some are joyous, and some are dejected. Some are laughing and some are weeping. All the emotions and reactions we feel are to be honored. Here's the thing: our work as followers of Jesus hasn't changed. Remember the promises in our Baptismal Covenant?

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons loving your neighbor as yourself?

Yes, the configuration of our government matters because it has enormous ramifications. However, when we are baptized, we gain agency. We become Christ bearers and our task is to align ourselves with God so that we are available to be God's instruments to bring God's realm of justice, peace, and mercy near. I realized that since Election Day, I have not been present to the actual world around me. My focus is on what might happen instead of what actually is happening.

In Walden, Thoreau writes, "I have never met [a person] who was fully alive. How could I look [that person] in the face?" My hope is that I and all faithful people will wake from our preoccupation and distraction of the election and attend to the hopes, and joys, and hurts of the world right around us. "Today is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." In other words, this is the only day we have, so let us be fully incarnated here and now and do the work God gives us to do wherever we are.

If we are to "seek and serve Christ in all persons," then we must let go of our preoccupation with what happened or didn't happen and embrace the world around us. A spiritual teacher when listening to one of his/her students go on and on about mystical theology would finally ask the person, "Yes, but where are your feet?" In other words, "Are you grounded in the here and now?" It's not enough to be wise about the universe if you are unkind or simply a jerk to your neighbors.

Perhaps it's time for us to attend to the events and people in front of us. Perhaps it's time to focus on this moment which is the only moment we have instead of what people should have done in the past or ought to do in the future. The present moment is the only place reconciliation happens.

There's a reason Desmond Tutu entitled his book about the struggle over South Africa's apartheid No Future Without Forgiveness. Until we find a way to reconcile, we will simply transfer the current division and acrimony to another subject. The doorway to forgiveness is to let go of a desired future and stop defining others by one act or one aspect of their lives.

Some time ago, I read an account of the 50th Anniversary of Gettysburg in 1913. The surviving soldiers from both sides dressed in their uniforms for a re-enactment of Pickett's Charge. The Union soldiers took their places on Seminary Ridge, and the Confederate soldiers stood on the farmland below. Instead of rifles and bayonets, they had canes and crutches. When the two armies approached one another, the Confederate army let out a rebel yell. However, instead of shooting or stabbing, they embraced. They put the past to rest -- they forgave -- and they stepped into new life.

Let us not wait fifty years or fifty days for the healing to start. Reconciliation is our calling; it's what we promised in baptism and it's time for us to embrace our calling.
The 226th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Virginia, (formerly known as "Council") is being held this Saturday on-line. The good thing about that is that it is considerably less expensive for the churches than paying for your delegate and clergy to stay in a hotel and eat in restaurants and be charged $40/day to park their cars. Nor do the delegates have to fight the traffic on I95 to get there. The bad thing for them is that they will be spending Saturday from 8:30 a.m. (oh, and please log on early) to 4:00 p.m. glued to their computer screens and participating in Zoom meetings. This is followed by a Zoom service. So, please thank your delegates, Mark Jenkins from St. John's and Ed Marks from Farnham for doing this. Also attending are Torrence, as clergy of course, and Becky Marks, as president of the Region.
The next American Red Cross blood drive will be held on Tuesday, November 17th, 2020 from 1 - 7 p.m. at the firehouse on Airport Road in Tappahannock. There is also one on Thursday, November 19th at Warsaw Baptist Church from 1:30 - 6:30 p.m.

The following procedures will still be in place for these drives:

• Temperatures of the staff, donors, and volunteers will be taken upon entry to the blood drive. Anyone reading 99.6 or over will not be allowed to enter.
• We ask that donors come alone, without children or friends. Only the donors themselves can enter the blood drive. 
• We will not take walk-ins in order to practice social distancing, this way we can control how many people are in the room at once. Appointments only.
• It is a requirement that everyone present at blood drives wear a mask (donors, staff, volunteers etc.) 
• Blood donations collected at this upcoming blood drive will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. This will not change the donation process at all and it is completely free to the donors.
You can make an appointment online by clicking here. If you would like to schedule an appointment by phone for the Tappahannock date, call Tom Clark at 445-1668.

Editor's Note: There are 4 appointments available in Tappahannock and 10 in Warsaw at this time.
Blood drive image from Temple Beth Tikvah in Atlanta. No copyright infringement intended.
Our services going forward are e-mailed videos which will be sent on Saturdays.

 November 15th

November 22nd
Christ the King Sunday

November 29th
The First Sunday of Advent
The Parish Prayer List
Courtenay Altaffer
John Barber
Martha Berger
Randall Bone
Sue Bowie
Nancy Allin Bush
Mary Claycomb
Constance Edwards
Bob File
David Gallagher
The Clyde Gibson Family Regina Griggs
Barbara & Harry Grander
The Rev. Howard Hanchey
Weir Harman
Mary Hertling
Billy Hooper
Rebecca Hubert
Marcia Jenkins
Stephanie, Nick & Donovan Kaywork
Jim & Sharon Krider
Mary Douglas Lawton
The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee
Susan Lewis
Frank Lynch
Susannah Marais
Pat Merkel
Tommy Neuman
Judi Newman
Kirsten Palubinski
George Patrick
Ed Rynd
James Rynd
Bennie Shepherd
Debbie Belfield Stacks
Scott Strickler
Waldy Sulik
Billy Tennyson
Roclyn Tennyson
Matthew Yates
and Rose Mary Zellner
Prayer of the Week

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad, especially Royce Baker, David Berger, Ryan Berger, Allen Crocker, Randy Crocker, Court Garretson, Cameron Heidenreich, Dan Heidenreich, Charles Jones, Daniel Kirk, Mark Lawton, Scott Longar, Luis Loya, Christopher Strickler, Gavin Wade McClung, and Travis Pullen. 

Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Please e-mail any updates to the prayer list to parishchurchnews@gmail.com Replying to this e-mail will send it to Torrence.
This Month's Birthdays & Anniversaries
November 7th - Becky and Ed Marks
November 9th - Lynn Elliott
Nov. 10th - Vanelia & David Gallagher
November 19th – Georges Saison
November 28th – Bill Calvert
November 30th – Mary & Waldy Sulik
There are no in person services this coming Sunday. We will e-mail a video service on Saturday and subsequently post it to our website farnhamwithstjohns.org, youtube and facebook pages.
Farnham Church
St. John's Church