Farnham & St. John's
This Sunday is Celebration Sunday, so
don't forget your pledge cards
Torrence's Weekly Message
"For the Birds: A Thanksgiving Reflection"
Daddy retired, and we all wondered what he would do with his time. He still managed some of the family’s real estate properties; he still tinkered around in what Mother called “Daddy’s house” – an expanded tool house where he accumulated items for every conceivable “fix it” project and simply enjoyed puttering around. But once his mornings were freed up from heading off to the office, he seemed to acquire a new “fixation,” becoming obsessed with manning the large bird feeder that hung just outside the window of the breakfast nook, a little room off the back of the kitchen. The feeder had become a table-in-the-round not only for the birds but for every squirrel in our small city backyard and my guess, even for those in the neighbor’s yard. It was easy to spot Daddy’s mind at work, his mission forming: protect the birds and their livelihood from the “enemy” – those blasted squirrels. He gave this mission as much focused dedication as I believe he had offered the East Coast of the United States as a Navy pilot during WWII patrolling with others the coast line: their job to spot enemy submarines who might (and often did we now learn) approach the waters just off our American
shores. As, yet another squirrel swung happily off the bird feeder and gorged itself, I imagine Daddy muttering to himself and heading out to his tool house to craft yet another squirrel deterrent. At one point the bird feeder had so many “spikes” attached to it (Daddy’s latest effort) the kids named it “Sputnik.”
In contrast, my father-in-law, Buff’s Dad, found great enjoyment in the squirrels whom he accepted simply as just part of the creation occupying his homestead in Goochland County where acres of meadow and forest encompassed his countryside. Yes, he was into the birds somewhat, but in his advancing years (and even in the early stages of his Alzheimer’s) he loved to watch the squirrel families who lived in the old oak tree that shaded the homeplace’s patio and porches. To him there seemed to be plenty food to go around there in the country, with lots of acorns for the squirrels and plenty of seeds and other foods for the birds – enough to go around for all the creatures.

I’m not saying one mindset was right and the other wrong. But both these “father” figures came to mind the other day as I stood in a unique and fascinating store named “Yard Birds” in Richmond with the intent of buying new bird feeders – one for the little patio/garden space just outside my window at the church parish office and another for outside my river room window at home. Now that Arthur and his hummingbird friends are gone for the winter, I really want to establish a companioning relationship with the other winged creatures around me that might appreciate my presence and a ready food source when times are tough in winter weather. I needed new bird feeders since after several years the old ones had been almost destroyed by guess who? Local squirrels who had happily hung/swung around our feeders, even chiseling through the plastic sides for quicker access to the contents.
All I can say is that at “Yard Birds” it is a daunting task to select a feeder. It is obvious that there must be a whole industry with the sole purpose of designing contraptions to keep squirrels out. Oh, Daddy dear, you would be in “seventh heaven” with them. I was confronted by a full spectrum of feeders, from the old-fashioned style with an invisible “welcome” mat for any creatures seeking what’s inside, to feeders with complicated arrangements and implied “go away squirrels” mats at every opening.

I love all of God’s creation. How nourishing it has been to me throughout my life, and especially as I have found myself living alone yet finding nurturing companionship with the animal kingdom who shares the spaces around my little homestead with me. “What to do, what to do!” as I lingered, debating the choices in “Yard Birds.” Finally, it was as if I took a cue from both of my “father” figures who modeled their own worldviews about birds, squirrels and probably many other things in my life. I picked one feeder, frighteningly called the “Squirrel Buster Plus” which I have placed outside my river room window at home. And then one of the old-fashioned ones that will probably welcome anything that spots what it has to offer. That one will hang just outside my office window. 
But this project is not over yet. Yet to come? I am going to watch for a figure of St. Francis to add to the parish house office patio/garden – yet another “welcome” sign for God’s creatures. And then for home? A trip to one of the local home/garden places around here. To buy just a regular old-fashioned bird feeder (which will probably welcome anything) for my little front garden here where my already-at-home St. Francis statute would probably welcome company.
But at that local store, I’m also going to get one or two uniquely designed old fashioned squirrel feeders to place outside my window at the opposite end of my river room. The corn fields just beyond my house are obviously empty of corn – the local squirrels’ favorite food source – during winter. And yet here I am, a possible food source for them too in the coming months.

Oh, how busy we will be together this winter: me, the birds and the squirrels, giving and receiving. Creatures living together as God intended. I wonder if they will ever know just how much they feed my heart and soul?

The Farnham Vestry Meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, November 29th

the haven has an adopt-a-family program for Christmas and is sponsoring a 12 days of Christmas market on December 8 th , for which they need volunteers. They're also looking for donations of warm gloves and hats since it's supposed to be a cold and snowy winter. Click here to find opportunities to help.

 BL & C 
(Bag Lunch & Conversation)
12 noon to 1 p.m. this Thursday

Our program this Thursday, the 29th is “ The Underside of Christmas ” with Aimee Jenkins from the Salvation Army. This will be the last BL&C of the year in deference to Fireside Tea & Conversation ,
(see announcement, below.) 
BL&C will resume in January.
This Saturday, December 1st St. Stephen's, Heathsville presents its 12 th annual
Oysters & Oldies festival from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at
Historic Roanoke Farm in Heathsville.

A limited number of tickets are available for $30. Children under 12 are free.

All you can eat!
Local Oysters (Roasted or Half Shell)
Chili, Hot Dogs, Dessert & Soft Drinks.
Oldies from the 40's thru the 80's
Louis Armstrong to ZZ Top

Tickets: In Heathsville at St. Stephen's Thrift Shop
or online click here

Craft Beer from Montross Brewery
& Wine Available

proceeds benefit St. Stephen's community outreach programs.
“A Celebration of Angels & Light”
Sunday, December 9 th 3:00 p.m.
at St. John’s
We’ll gather in the sanctuary for a medley of special music, readings and lighting of candles as we celebrate the coming of the Christmas Light into a winter-darkening world. Our musicians will include Ben Cox on the organ, Arline Hinkson on the violin and Laura Rowe on the flute. Special guests will be the remarkable angels crafted by the talented artist, Kim Papanicolau. Kim will be with us to introduce us to the angels who will “star” at the “light” reception in Wellford Parish Hall following the service.
The December meeting of the STJ ECW will be held at Sabine Hall beginning at 11:00 a.m. with lunch to follow at noon. This will be our Christmas Luncheon with special guest attending.

Thursday Afternoon Fireside Tea & Chat

Drop by the Clopton Parlor

at St. John’s any time between 2 & 5 p.m. on Advent “Thursdays” (Dec. 6, 13, 20). A time to warm yourself beside the fire and enjoy a warm drink of tea, coffee or cider. Bring a friend if you like. No Agenda. Offered as a time-out from the busy-ness of the season for just time together.
A list of Christmas musical events in the Northern Neck area
In the Church
Sunday December 2 nd
Celebration Sunday
Holy Eucharist
1 st Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Sunday December 9 th
2 nd Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. at Farnham
Morning Prayer

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

3:00 p.m. at St. John's
Celebration of Angels & Light
Sunday December 16 th
3 rd Sunday in Advent
Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Sunday December 23 rd
4 th Sunday in Advent
Morning Prayer

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

9:00 a.m. Farnham Church Farnham

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