Farnham & St. John's
The Weekly Message
Thanks to Calvary United Methodist Church’s current road sign. I used it as our last week’s Epistle quote of the week: “Thanksgiving is not just a day. It is a lifestyle.” Calvary’s billboard proclaims this exquisite truth to all who travel Historyland Highway in Richmond County. Quotes can be like little road signs for life. 

Everything I am learning about Thanksgiving and the idea of gratitude leads to the discovery that thankful and grateful living expands life. It opens us up to rest in and rely on what really matters, what sustains and enlarges life. Author Melody Beattie offers: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Gilbert K. Chesterton offers: “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” 

Our holiday of Thanksgiving may be a remarkable threshold upon which to pause before going forward into our liturgical season of Advent, that time of “preparation” to get us ready to receive the holy season of Christmas. Mark that word “holy.” Because sadly our culture has hijacked the holiness of Christmas. Our secular culture loves that theme of preparation but has hijacked it for its financially driven economic purposes. This time of preparation is now one characterized by anxiety and stress, fueled by confusion over how we are to show love and a marketing ploy that more is never enough. Love becomes equated with things, presents instead of presence. Many arrive at Christmas morning, exhausted and unfulfilled, depressed at unmet expectations, despite all the work. A “blue” Christmas instead of a “white” one colors the season. How many say to themselves, “Thank God, it’s over.”

How can we re-orient – NOW – to this time ahead. Just start with this Thanksgiving. Use the holiday as a threshold to a different way of living, not just with Christmas as an end in sight, but as a new beginning. Savor what appears on your plate. Remember that our nourishment is not just the food prepared for us, but the nourishing relationships in our life. Taste and see the beauty that this season offers, a landscape that is stripped down to what is essential, a way of life for nature and its creatures that calls for a slowing down, a quiet restfulness and peace, a clarity of light and air. Let yourself go and experience the amazing joy, the natural high that comes when you receive the joy of love in the gift of Ultimate Love that Christmas presents and you will find that this Love opens up all the loving channels that connect us with those around us. Use this coming Advent time as a time to prepare by opening up to, making space for the possibilities that new life can offer. Find out that less is more because it leaves space for the yet to come. A final quote from Sam Lefkowitz: “When asked if my cup is half full or half empty my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.” Maybe Advent is simply a time to empty out what takes up space that could otherwise be filled with hope, love, joy and peace.

And speaking of cups, please be sure to read and “digest” the following reflection by Bishop Susan Goff – a quotable “doable.” She gives vision to a pause that refreshes along the way as we move through this Advent time.         

background Rappahannock Sunset, money and Supper Supper meal are staff photos
An Advent Message from the Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff

November 25, 2019
"Be still and know that I am God."  (Psalm 46:11)
Be Still. Slow Down. It's Advent.
When I was a parish priest, we would hang signs with those words all over the church buildings. We did it because in the crush of preparing to celebrate Jesus who came to earth as a newborn two thousand years ago, stillness can be elusive. Without moments of stillness, the press of shopping and making, parties and baking can overwhelm us. We might forget that Christmas has anything to do with Jesus. We might forget that Jesus not only came in the past, but that Jesus comes to us in the present and that Jesus will come again in God's anticipated future. When we forget any of the tenses of Jesus' coming, our Advent wonder is flattened.
Being still and slowing down gives God room to move in our lives and to remind us of what our preparations are really all about. So why not adopt a simple, daily practice -- like having a cup of tea or coffee with God each day? Prepare your hot beverage as usual, any time of day, then close the door on everything else for ten minutes as you drink it. You can talk to God as you would to any friend with whom you share a cup. You can spill out your anger and hurt, as you would with a loved one whom you know deep down will love you no matter what. You can sit in complete silence as you would with someone who knows you so well that you don't have to say a word. Just sit. Just be. Just for the time it takes to drink one cup.
God has always been with you. God will always be with you. So enjoy the warmth of the mug in your hands. Enjoy the wonder of the warmth of God's love as you prepare to celebrate again the greatest love of all.
Faithfully yours,
The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority
Don't forget to bring food each Sunday to be distributed at the food pantry.
This Sunday's loose plate offering goes to the Farnham & St. John's Discretionary Fund.
The last "Souper Supper" Bible Study class is Monday December 2 nd from 6 to 8 p.m. in Wellford Hall. If you can't make it Monday evening, there will be a Tuesday morning session beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending at noon with a soup and bread lunch and conversation. Please join us for either or both.

Your YMCA membership brings an extra benefit this December. Take a walk on the wild side and enjoy unlimited visits to the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News from December 1-31. YMCA members will also enjoy a 10% discount in the gift shop and food service locations. Stop by the Welcome Desk at your local YMCA for a membership verification form and show it, along with a photo ID, and your membership card (key tag or app), at the Virginia Living Museum front desk.  see full story here
Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Farnham ECW is selling beautiful Merry Christmas Red potted amaryllis bulbs. This is in lieu of our traditional sale of Christmas wreaths. They are priced at $20 each and make lovely gifts as well as great Christmas decor for your home!

Since this is the first year we are doing this, we have produced a limited supply, so order early. Contact

Sandy Garretson
Tickets may be purchased in Heathsville at St. Stephen's Thrift Shop or on-line here.
In the Church
Thursday November 28


simple Morning Prayer, no music

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

Sunday December 1 st
Holy Eucharist

1 st Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Sunday December 8 th
2 nd Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer at Farnham

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

Sunday December 15 th
Holy Eucharist

3 rd Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Mark Your Calendar
December Vestry Meetings

St. John's - Hinson Parlor on the 17 th at 6:30 Farnham - Parish Hall on the 19 th at 7:00

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