Farnham & St. John's
The Weekly Message
 "the Epiphany"
Today as I write this it is Monday, the Feast of the Epiphany, falling within the first seven days of the beginning of a NEW YEAR, but also a NEW DECADE. A year ironically with the name “2020” to start off a decade that appears chaotic, desperately needing re-ordering and a clarity of vision.  As we pause at this threshold, is this thought as sobering to you as it is to me?  
I woke today a little before 7 a.m. to a cold, crisp morning. As I usually do first thing I went to the front door, unlocked it, opened it, breathed in the air of a brand-new day. Something about this practice always seems to stir reflection. My front doorway faces east over seemingly limitless fields. This morning, against the horizon, a brilliant dawn began slipping silently towards daylight. The winter fields lay
image by  izja  from  Pixabay  
patient, fallow in their natural rhythm, waiting quietly for that time they will welcome seeding, receive joyfully the sunlight and whatever rain may be offered, then respond with greening as months to follow unfold. 

While Epiphany is liturgically linked to the coming of the Magi, their finding what they were searching for guided by starlight, theologically it is about the greater Light: the dawning of a new Light entering the world and our human consciousness. What is the Light wanting to dawn in our consciousness this Epiphany? I wonder.

In their annual cycle the fields around us will have winter quiet time when what is happening is interior, happening, relatively speaking, in the dark, under the surface, preparation for “what’s next.” To be followed by a time of receiving seed and external resources. Beneath the surface germination will happen next, roots threading their way within dark soil, seeking embedded nourishment underground. The ground will be asked to allow what is emerging from the seed to push through it, then break through the surface where light is waiting to nurture the seedlings growth. To grow into the fullness of the original vision of truth tiny, deep but strong, at the center of the seed. The ultimate desire of the seed is to become part of a nourishing, abundant harvest. It will take partnership of earth, seed, light and water for the harvest to come about in due season. Slim or bountiful, expected or unexpected, whatever the harvest, it will be more than what would have happened if the earth had not co-operated with what was offered to make use of its grounding.  

Each “season” in this cycle has its critical interior and exterior work, interweaving both below and above the surface in order to culminate in harvest. It’s really, for those of you who appreciate big theological words, the cycle of incarnation (a making manifest), putting “flesh” (materiality) on what is spiritually in process. “An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual (process effected by) grace.” This is sacramental work.
The power of reflection on this year’s Feast of the Epiphany is that this coming again of light is happening on the threshold of a new decade. Perhaps the power and the promise we are to grasp at this awe-full thought is the reality that the cycle of life that happens in the smaller cycles of life (by their very nature, repetitive), continues, year after year. The fulfillment of the promise of continuing life.

Nature always and naturally moves towards generativity. The long arch of our Creator’s vision manifests in continual re-generation. A generativity that is guided by a Way that is designed to always make more of nurturing, nourishing, life enhancing goodness than has been in the immediately preceding moment in time. The secret is in the seed and in the ground and an active Creator sower generously casting seed everywhere, yearning for seed yearning to germinate and soil ready to receive and be a cradle for growth. Interesting question: Are we ground, are we seed, or are we both? Consider this response: “Both and!”
At Farnham and St. John’s we approach a new year as we ready for our annual congregational meetings, Farnham’s this Sunday, January 12 th and St. John’s, the following Sunday, January 16 th. We will conduct the usual business (vestry elections, adopting a 2020 budget, etc.). But there’s something deeper going on here.

We do this around food, in effect, a pot-luck lunch at each church. We bring what we can, an offering to nourish our gathering, our being and doing together. We ask the Divine to bless it all: the food, the fellowship, our coming together. We pray to be nourished by Divine Presence and Wisdom and each other’s presence, wisdom and opportunity to “commune” together in a common meal in the Presence of the God of Creation and Love.
As we pause at the threshold of a new year and a new decade in the life of our “nuclear” faith family, may our prayers, our desires be for the Creator of us and everything around us to help us become rich soil and fertile seeds for new beginnings. To seek and live in the Presence of Light so that we may be available for this divinely crafted continual process of re-generation designed to make all things new again. May we have the courage to allow this to happen within us and then allow it to flow out in the world around us. The truth of who we are and of our becoming from our beginning.

“And the angel says: Be not afraid!” 

By God’s amazing grace, may it be so . . .                     

Background image by  izja  from  Pixabay  
Bishop Susan Goff photo. Click here to read her Epiphany message entitled "Notice the Light."
Last Week at Farnham & St. John's
Pris Wellford
Dougie Lawton
Priscilla Wellford
celebrating their birthday
at St. John's coffee hour
Haitian Mission Meal Packing Update!
Thanks to all you wonderful Farnham and St. John's parishioners of all ages who have signed up to participate in the Mission Meal Packing event at Richmond Co. High School on Saturday, Jan. 18 from 10-12 noon. Please try and arrive at about 9:45 a.m. so we get you registered in and organized in our teams. Below is a list of those signed up. If you do not see your name listed and you want to join us please let me know if you are with St. John's or Sue Crowley if you are with Farnham. There's still some room left if you want to join up. And special thanks to Sue Crowley for gathering together the Farnham contingent!
Farnham:  Brenda Harhai, Becky Marks, the Terhune family (Stan, Betsy and 2 grandchildren), Judy & John King, Jim & Susan Crowley, Sandy Garretson, Bob Snavely.
St. John's: Mercer O'Hara, Courtenay Altaffer, The Milsted family (Ed, Paula, Elena, Eva), the Heltzel family (Paul, Ben, Gracie, Jamie)
And Torrence will be there too.
Farnham:  Reminder that the Annual Meeting of the Congregation will be held this coming Sunday, January 12 (including lunch) at 12:30 p.m. in the parish hall. Agenda matters will include: 1) election of two new vestry members (nominees are Becky Marks and Susan Crowley); 2) adoption of a 2020 Budget; and 3) Annual Reports.
St. John's:  This is formal notice that the Annual Meeting of the Congregation will be held on Sunday, January 19 (including lunch) in Wellford Hall immediately following the 11 a.m. service. Agenda matters will include: 1) election of two new vestry members (nominees include Paula Milsted and Priscilla Wellford); 2) congregational approval of Paul Milsted as a court appointed Trustee of St. John's to replace Bill King and to serve with current Trustees Ben Cox and Anne Neuman; 3) approval of a 2020 ; Budget; and 4) Annual Reports.
“Want to learn more about volunteering at the most engaging preservation project in America? Join Menokin staff for a volunteer interest session on Tuesday, January 28th at 10 am, or on Thursday, January 30th at 5:30 pm at the Visitors’ Center (4037 Menokin Road, Warsaw). For more information or to sign up, contact Juliana Grassia at  jgrassia@menokin.org  or 804-333-1776.”

If any of you have updated telephone numbers, addresses, or e-mail information, please provide it ASAP to the church office, parishchurchnews@gmail.com for the 2020 Church Directory.
In the Church
Sunday January 12 th

1 st Sunday after the Epiphany

9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer at Farnham

11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist at St. John's
Sunday January 19 th

2 nd Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's
Sunday January 26 th

3 rd Sunday after the Epiphany

Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Sunday February 2 nd

4 th Sunday after the Epiphany

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