Farnham & St. John's
Weekly E-pistle
“Church – Another Way”

Both of them pick “Amazing Grace” to use at their services. Both include Bible readings and prayers. Both figured their family would make a good “congregation.” Both include members of their congregation as readers and apparently moms are good at leading the choir in singing hymns. One wears a purple vest (purple is about royalty and Jesus is royalty, she explained) and her favorite jeans with hearts on them. One wears a white overgarment that looks like a short person’s version of the surplice an Episcopal priest wears over a cassock when conducting morning prayer. One puts the service on her I-pad and reads from that. One makes notes and puts them in a notebook she uses at the services she offers. One conducts services indoors: the living room of her home, with a cleared off coffee table as an altar. The other conducts services outside: in a field with a bench as an altar and where a Black Oak, one of her favorite trees, offers canopy. Both of them are about eight years old.
Eva Milsted, the youngest member of St. John’s and Miriam Sisson the youngest member of N. Farnham Church, independently had the same idea and presented it to their respective families when the COVOID-19 virus caused an emptying out of church buildings for gatherings. The idea: to have church anyway. I asked each of them how they came up with the idea of leading “church” during this time we are all sheltering in place. 

Eva responded, “Well if we can’t have church in our church building, I thought we could have it at home.” I thought of the earliest disciples after Jesus’ death huddling together in each other’s homes. Of Paul’s “letters” being read to congregations around the Mediterranean world in a home when the world around them threatened death to those early followers of Jesus and they “sheltered” in one another’s homes for prayer and study.
Miriam shared, “I started thinking, if we can’t go to church in a building, we can do it outside; people make the church and I can make church with just what I have. So, I invited my parents and grand-parents.” I thought of early Celtic Christians seeking God and gathering in nature, what they considered the “other” book of Scripture, God’s Creation. I thought of slaves gathering in woods to pray and sing and praise God on their day of rest and of “church” in African villages conducted under a spreading tree in a village without an otherwise available designated church structure.

“And a little child shall lead them.” In a time when most churches thought the best way, maybe the only way to offer “church” was a live-streamed video of a Sunday service in an empty church or cathedral sanctuary, I cherish the image of one child choosing the sanctuary of her home and the other child choosing the sanctuary of creation to lead simple worship of a Lord and Savior who tries, over and over again to tell us, I am with you – anywhere. 

Thanks be to God for the children in our congregations who light up the Way for the rest of us!

Prayer of the Week

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love
that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul
the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

(Prayer of St. Theresa of Avila)
“In the Breaking of the Bread”

Recently I read somewhere that more people are baking bread during this time of quarantine and sheltering in place. Something about having more time on their hands, I guess. Or maybe I was just more focused on the idea of bread recently with the post resurrection story of two disciples on their way to Emmaus meeting up with a stranger along the way, then only recognizing the stranger as Jesus when they had supper together. “And they knew him in the breaking of the bread.” 

Bread was absolutely the most important part of any meal in Jesus’ day. Leavened or unleavened it is key in image and in ritual in the Bible. Who could I talk to about “bread” as we focus on Jesus’ talking about being the bread of life? Farnham’s Ed Marks.
It seemed a good time to contact the baker among us I know the best. “How come you took up baking bread?” I asked Ed. He began, “It started when I was in law school in the ‘60’s.” He added, “There was just something about kneading that dough.” I laughed, remembering my time in law school and how cathartic it might have been for me to work through some of the challenges and frustrations of those days kneading bread.

It became a fascinating conversation with Ed, particularly about making sour dough bread and all the different “starters” (the yeast element) one can get from around the world. And the one he has that originated in Alaska in the mid 1800’s. I remembered a loaf from that “starter” that I used at a Queen Anne Sunday combined service at Farnham a couple of years ago. Holding the loaf high, breaking it in two in the silence between words of remembrance of a “Last Supper.” The crustiness of the outer layer of the bread, the fragrance of the sour dough inside, the scattering of crumbs as I broke off small pieces of that “bread of life” to place in waiting cupped and crossed palms with the words, “The body of Christ . . .”

I remember the Bishop’s Shrine Mont clergy conference a couple of years ago. Ed’s gift of two loaves of the bread he had baked, passing them forward for the communion the Bishop would offer there. I remember that time of communion among a couple hundred of brother and sister priests in the great room where we met for an ancient, timeless ritual to give us nourishment for the journey along the road we had been called to travel. Bishop Shannon holding a loaf high, the light through a great clear glass window beaming on the bread, blessed and about to be broken. Minutes later I held a small broken piece of bread in my hands and knew that whatever “Emmaus” waited for me on this journey called life, I would be sustained along the Way by the One who held himself out as the “Bread of Life.”
Thanks be to God for the bakers in our life,

                                                                Torrenc e
to Kiersten Saison ,
a member St. John's and a freshman at St. Margaret's School, who earned a place on the St. Margaret's School honor roll for the second trimester of the 2019-2020 academic year. Kiersten is the daughter of Georges and Diane Saison and the granddaughter of Arline Hinkson.
Construction on St. John's Street behind the church has begun and will continue for approximately six weeks. Your Senior and Junior Wardens (Courtenay and Priscilla) and Ed Milsted and I met with the contractor for the St. John's Street project and a portion of the lower triangle of our St. John's property below the wall of the lower cemetery area will be utilized as a staging area for materials (gravel and pipe) for the project. The staging area will not include the "canopy" area beneath our large trees there. Our ground will be regraded and seeded by the company at the completion of the project. 
The Food Pantries Need YOU!

Alert: Area food pantries are desperate – there is a major increase in the number of those seeking food for themselves and their families. So we have connected up with two of them to help with food and funds: Farnham Baptist Church Food Pantry and Warsaw United Methodist Food Pantry

Farnham Episcopal will collect food donations for Farnham Baptist (next “pantry day” May 12 th )
St. John’s will collect for Warsaw United Methodist whose next pantry day is May 8 th .

We are limiting donations to canned and jarred goods . Here is what is requested:
Peanut Butter (either creamy or chunky)
Canned Tuna; Canned chicken
Canned Fruit, Canned Vegetables, Canned Soups
Spaghetti Sauce

Drop off points for donations:
For Farnham parishioners and friends: Susan & Jim Crowley’s back porch, 278 Cedar Grove Road (just a few doors away from Farnham Church and the Farnham Post Office).

For St. John’s parishioners and friends: The St. John’s Church “bench” between the Church's two Sanctuary Doors.

Any questions? Contact Susan Crowley (238-3405) or Courtenay Altaffer (313-1254.)
Farnham & St. John's
further communications this week
Tomorrow e-mail
Torrence's Mid-week Reflection

Friday E-mail
reminder for the Sunday Evening Prayer Service (held via Zoom) with a bulletin & instructions plus links for Cathedral & Diocesan Services & Sermon

Saturday afternoon or evening - E-mail
Farnham & St. John's
Sunday morning Video Sermon

Forward Day By Day
The Parish Prayer List
Courtenay Altaffer
John Barber
Martha Berger
Randall Bone
Sue Bowie
Nancy Allin Bush
Anna Calvert
Mary Claycomb
Marilyn Day
Sumner Elwell
Constance Edwards
Bob File
Regina Griggs
Barbara & Harry Grander,
the Rev. Howard Hanchey, Weir Harman
Mary Hertling
Rebecca Hubert
Marcia Jenkins
Stephanie, Nick & Donovan Kaywork
Ramiza Koya
Jim & Sharon Krider
Susan Lewis
Frank Lynch
Susannah Marais
Judi Newman
Les Merkel
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

April 29 th Gwynne Tayloe
April 30 th Ed Milsted
May 4 th Ben Cox
May 5 th Carl Barber
May 14 th Carter Wellford, IV
May 16 th Harry Grander
May 19 th Sandy Garretson
May 22 nd Mary Hertling
May Anniversaries
15 th Susan & Jim Crowley
16 th Candy & Bill Carden
20 th – Courtney & Michael Sisson
There will be a Compline Service via Zoom Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. Further instructions will be forthcoming later in the week.
Farnham Church
St. John's Church