Farnham & St. John's
Weekly E-pistle

“I swear to God, exercise and gratitude are like, God’s own anti-depressants.”
(Nadia Bolz-Weber)
So began “Sunday Prayers” a weekly blog this week penned by the irreverent, “say-it-like-is”, tattooed Lutheran minister, The Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber, author of the best seller  Accidental Saints: Finding God in all the Wrong People.  This opener really resonated with me. The week before I had finally gotten around to going to the Y again (the bathroom scales suggested it) and I was beginning to feel some moments of up-lifted spirit surprising my life despite the continual spiraling, viral news in the world around us.

Thanksgiving can be so nourishing. I don’t mean the let’s stuff ourselves full of all our favorite foods kind of time. Not a one day of the year holiday to offer up all our thanks. I mean the any day times I experience a feeling of thanks. For something big or something tiny. I am talking about “waking up” to what makes me and my day better not just once a day but maybe even off and on during it. What is it about we humans that we tend to ignore or suppress the possibility of joy and more often groove with what is depressing and negative? I can’t believe how grumpy I get from time to time. How a little creepy, crawly kind of dis-satisfaction sneaks into my attitude and suddenly a sunny day becomes cloudy (psychologically, that is). Or a rainy day turns me into a fussy “under the weather” kind of human while the corn in the fields across the road is gleefully, thirstily drinking it in raindrop by raindrop as it falls to the earth and their roots reach for it.

Gratitude, what seems to happen when we exercise our “thankfulness,” is such a rich experience. It is something that seems to rise from somewhere deep inside of us. It seems to flow out of an experience of being thankful. Not something we can really force to happen, just offer an open spirit to the possibilities when it happens. After reading Nadia’s Gratitude blog, pondering her list, resonating with it, finding something in me smiling and nodding and then contemplating what could be on mine, I felt a kind of joy and peace and delight. Realizing that when I exercise my thankfulness muscles, gratitude emerges like some special happiness producing endorphin that both gentles my soul and lifts my spirit. Gratitude is something that feeds my mind and heart. Nadia equates daily gratitude with daily bread in the title of her reflection. I like that and think of a little daily manna from heaven that might not last till tomorrow so needs to be picked up and munched on today – nourishment for strength for today. Thankfulness seems to work a bit of a miracle deep inside of us. How lovely! Don’t we want more of it?

Thank you, God, for Nadia this week. Thank you, Nadia, for giving me something to offer in my weekly E-pistle Message this week. Thank you, my heart/mind/spirit, for being open to receiving this gift and then passing it forward. Into a week of days that again may be full of depressive news, may we have thankful hearts and exercise gratitude of spirit, that we may be fed and nourished, find joy and pass it forward into the world around us.

Nadia mirrors for us what can emerge when we pray to God, “Give Us This Day Our Daily Gratitude.” Try it for yourself and see what happens!
“Give Us This Day Our Daily Gratitude”
(by Nadia Bolz-Weber)
That I have been given one more day, I give thanks.

That birds still sing each morning, impossibly early outside my window, I give thanks.

For the sun rising once again in the East, I give thanks.

For drinkable water, for breathable air, and Dairy Queen dipped cones I give thanks.

For one more day of mobility I give thanks.

For novelists who create worlds and characters and stories for our minds and not for our TVs, I give thanks.

For the puppy I got at the beginning of quarantine who is currently destroying my life, I give thanks.

For cell phone reception, and I-guess-its-better-than-nothing ZOOM calls and reliable internet service, I give thanks.

That I am loved, I give thanks.

That I am forgiven, I give thanks.

That I am alive, I give thanks.

That you, O God are known by many names, I give thanks.

That you, O God are present when I feel only your absence, I give thanks.

That you are God and I am not I give the most thanks. Forgive me when I forget that one.

And for every other gift I am too self-obsessed to see, but that totally comes from you – Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Post Script from Torrence

For the Hibiscus blossom and the arrival of the thirteenth flower on my orchid plant last week, I give thanks.

For bird song and the “Bird Opera” (below) that gave me such delight this morning, I give thanks.

Quote of the Week

"Let us be present to the now. 
It's all we have and it's where God will always speak to us." 

(Richard Rohr)
Please note that replies to this e-mail now go directly to Torrence. If you wish to send something to the secretary, click here.
Background Image courtesy of Saana Baker at the Textile Eye.
Outdoor in person Worship Begins Sunday
at 9:00 at Farnham on the Cedar Grove Road side of the church grounds
July 5 th & 12 th at Farnham
Since this Sunday falls within the July 4 th weekend wear something red/white/blue (one or some combination of these colors) to celebrate!

What a joy to look forward to music swelling the breeze at our upcoming outdoors in person service this coming Sunday! Ben Cox will be at the organ, Arline Hinkson on the violin and Sumner Elwell on the clarinet. Although congregational singing won't be happening due to the high risk of COVID-19 spread when we all sing, we are excited to have our beautiful church music back again, giving such joy to our worship time together.  
July 19 th & 26 th
Hosted by
St. John’s
on the grounds of Sabine Hall

Outdoor service will be cancelled in event of rain.
Face Masks required *
Bring your own lawn chair *
Seating will be marked in advance at 6-8 foot intervals for individuals and/or immediate family "groupings"
"Social" distancing will be respected
We will have music, but not singing
A food pantry donation basket will be available for can and jar donations

* We will have some disposable masks and sanitized chairs available if you forget
Outdoor services will be followed by an 11:00 a.m.
(note the time change) “Virtual” Morning Prayer Service
accessed through Zoom by computer or phone
(The Virtual Service is Rain or Shine)
Join us BEFORE our 11:00 Zoom Morning Prayer Service Sunday Bring a cup of coffee for a visit at around 10:45 and we'll have coffee (1/4) hour before instead of after the service. Instructions to be sent with the sermon on Friday or Saturday. The link has been set up as recurring weekly, so will remain the same through the end of August. It is already posted on the church web-site. Please note
Bring your pets!
Beginning July 2 nd the
Church Office hours are THURSDAYS from 9:30 - 3:00.

The state and the Diocese require that masks be worn if you visit the office.

For the time being Lucy works other irregular hours from home and the best way to reach her is via e-mail at parishchurchnews@gmail.com
At Farnham

A special thanks to Junius Berger for his fifteen years of service as Receipts Treasurer/Pledge Keeper for Farnham. Junius has retired from the position. Farnham welcomes Courtney Sisson to this position since her election by the Vestry at its June meeting.
At St. John's

The ECW awarded six scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each to the following students: Regan Allen,Cara Bryant, Jacob Grindstaff, Marveon Newton, Channing Saunders, and Reagan White.

Barbara Jean LeFon, chaired the Scholarship Committee and other members of the committee included Marilyn Day, Dougie Lawton, Mercer O'Hara and Priscilla Wellford. Great work, ladies!
The Parish Prayer List
Courtenay Altaffer
John Barber
Martha Berger
Randall Bone
Sue Bowie
Nancy Allin Bush
Anna Calvert
Mary Claycomb
Sumner Elwell
Constance Edwards
Bob File
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
Susan Lewis
Frank Lynch
Susannah Marais
Judi Newman
Kirsten Palubinski
George Patrick
Don Phillips
Dennis Rynd
James Rynd
Debbie Belfield Stacks
Scott Strickler
Waldy Sulik
Billy Tennyson
Connie Thompson
Matthew Yates
and Rose Mary Zellner
Please e-mail any updates to the prayer list to parishchurchnews@gmail.com Replying to this e-mail will send it to Torrence.
July Birthdays & Anniversaries
1 st – Tish King
9 th – Miriam Sisson
28 th – Susan Crowley
30 th – Mary Sulik
There will be a Morning Prayer Service via Zoom Sunday Morning at 10:00 a.m. Further instructions will be forthcoming later in the week, but are already posted on our website
click here.
Farnham Church
St. John's Church