Farnham & St. John's
The Weekly Message
Highlights & Lowlights 

Congratulations to the Bishops and Staff of the Diocese of Virginia who put together and produced the 2020 Annual Convention that took place last Saturday. A first in the history of the Diocese – A Virtual Annual Convention conducted in the span of one workday. And special thanks to our delegates from N. Farnham and St. John’s, respectively: Ed Marks and Brother Mark Jenkins.

My recollections in this the week following. Superb “Stories of the Diocese” spot on at intervals as we paused for these unique stories to relieve the “business” of the day. We will be sharing these stories, one per week, for the next few weeks. The first, offered following this Message, highlights an amazing and still growing program in the Richmond area. Since it is about food, it is a good one to watch as we contemplate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I beg you to take a few minutes to watch it in the next few days and experience delight that your Diocese is involved in and has promoted such a wonderful ministry.

A highlight (at least in my view) of the business of the day was the resolution passed calling for the election of a new Bishop Diocesan. According to Bishop Goff in her Pastoral Address, the timing of such election and consecration is anticipated in 2022. Since the resignation of Bishop Shannon Johnson, Bishop Susan Goff, our Suffragan Bishop has served as the Diocese’s “Ecclesiastical Authority.” It is time to move ahead in our seeking and finding (with God’s help) our next Diocesan Bishop. While several other Resolutions and Amendments to our Constitution and Canons were on our Agenda, for the sake of some brevity in this Message, I suggest you scan the results in the “Highlights” Summary sent out by the Diocese the day after the Convention as that document is linked here.

The 2021 Budget drew the most intense discussion as presented with conservative income projections resulting from concerns about the financial impact of COVID on parish pledging to the Diocese. Delegate lenses zeroed in on a few targeted areas where budgetary cuts appeared to impact our Diocesan work in important areas. Specifically, two areas drawing significant delegate comments that were the subject of strong concern included funding for our campus ministries and funding for our work in the area of racial justice.

My eyes were blurry, my head spinning as the last vote of the day took place, the Convention concluded and we all paused to prepare heart, mind and spirit to engage virtually in a beautifully and creatively prepared worship service. If any of us were weary and low in spirit as we prepared ourselves to be present for the service to come, our spirits were lifted as we entered that time and opened to the worship experience. The music was particularly notable– prelude by jazz musicians in a variety of sanctuary settings and postlude in Latino rhythms. Readings were offered in the various languages that grace the diversity of weekly services around our diocese. The Rt. Rev. Phoebe Roaf, Bishop of the Diocese of West Tennessee, offered the sermon and we participated virtually in a Spiritual Eucharist presided over by Bishop Goff as celebrant.

A day to remember, but also ordinary in its presenting high and low moments, joyful ones and stressful ones, uplifting ones and wearying ones. After all, we are simply human subject to all that entails, yet longing to be more than this. But I was left with a deep abiding sense that the Spirit is very present and alive at work in this Diocese and that there is a creative current drawing us forward into a future that may be unknown to us but known to the Holy. May we have the courage to open to, support, and engage together in our continuing pilgrimage seeking the next step, and the next and the next with eyes and hearts open to Light along the Way, with trust in the God who set us on this path.

Stories of the Diocese: The Underground Kitchen Community
"A Special Memory"
New to the Weekly E-pistle

Each week for the remaining weeks of 2020 we will "publish" a special memory of a parishioner of St. John's or N. Farnham Church.

Do you have a special memory to share? If so, please send it to torrence.harman@aol.com

We begin this week with a special sharing I received from Mary Douglas ("Dougie") Lawton, on Tuesday. Dougie's date of baptism at St. John's (11/17/1940) is probably the earliest of any still-living member .
Y"According to my Baby Book Record, I was baptized 80 years ago today at St. John's by Rev. C. E. Buxton. Mother put a family glass bowl in the font as it was easier to get the remaining holy water out. My children were also christened from the font by Dabney Wellford." Dougie    

My response to her email: Dougie, Your memory stirred me to reflect on the words of the Baptismal Covenant in the Book of Common Prayer which would have been spoken by the congregation and your parents and Godparents on your behalf eighty years ago.  Especially how your life has "proclaimed" the Good News of God in Christ." How you have lived into the promises spoken on your behalf before you could even talk or walk: to seek and serve Christ in others, strive for peace, and respect the dignity of other human beings. Thanks for the memories! 


From the Diocese -

A Meditation for the 24th week of Pentecost
Susan Goff
"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus . . . Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3
This is hard. There's no two ways about it. It's been over eight months now since our lives shifted dramatically, over eight months of distancing and masks and changes in pretty much every habit. We're ready for this to be over. We want to spend Thanksgiving in groups of family and friends. We want to worship on Christmas Eve in packed church buildings. And we can't. Not yet. Because every day the number of new Coronavirus cases increases dramatically as the infection rate surges. More than a quarter of a million people in this country alone have died of COVID-19. Virginia has not been as hard hit as other nearby states, and new restrictions set by the Governor of the Commonwealth went into effect on Monday to keep it that way. We're tired. We want this to be over, knowing full well that we'll be in it for some months longer.
Where do we find hope? Where do we get the strength to keep on keeping on in order to protect those we love as well as people we'll never meet, not to mention our very selves? Where is the good news in this time of so much that is distressing?
continued here
The last issue of Chesapeake Style for the year is linked here. Don't miss Torrence's Column "Faith Matters" on page 11. This month her article is "For a Time Such As This." It is designed as "a letter to the grandchildren."
Please note:
The office will be closed next week for Thanksgiving, returning on December 1st.
Our services going forward are e-mailed videos which will be sent on Saturdays.

November 22nd
A Service for Thanksgiving

November 29th
The First Sunday of Advent

December 6th
The Second Sunday of Advent
The Parish Prayer List

for those in need of God's comfort and healing
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
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
Ed Rynd
James Rynd
Bennie Shepherd
Debbie Belfield Stacks
Scott Strickler
Waldy Sulik
Billy Tennyson
Roclyn Tennyson
Matthew Yates
Rose Mary Zellner and
the family of Mary Hertling
and for those serving in our armed forces.
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
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