Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Message
Creation: The Sixth Day

He was the first to greet me when I arrived. I watched him approach, coming down the driveway, moving at a slow but stately, gracious pace. He said hello with his eyes and his whole body moved in a way that offered a warm “Welcome!” He turned and seemed to say, “Follow me!” as we strolled together towards the old historic homeplace waiting to receive those arriving for a celebration on that beautiful afternoon.

A little later he walked beside the family as we all passed through an open gate, then traveled a faint but certain narrow path carved in the earth by cattle moving from one location to another in the pasture leading to our destination. He knew the way to the place where we were going. An open softly rounded “high place” where an old, weathered rock stood, marking a place of rest.

He stood silently as four generations of the family gathered, warmed by afternoon sunshine, brushed by gentle breezes. Unseen, beyond the distant tree line, a river wound its way to the bay then the ocean. A wooden casket holding the family’s loved one rested on the grassy rise to which we had come. Within it a loved one waiting to be returned “earth to earth.” Someone brought a basket of flowers and herbs (rosemary for remembrance) and feathers.

Ancient, time-honored words were spoken that afternoon as life was celebrated. Images spoken of a shepherd, still waters, lying down in green pastures. More images, sung into that afternoon.  “All things bright and beautiful” with visions of all creatures great and small, each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings. The children (grandchildren and a “great”) scattered the flowers, the rosemary and gathered feathers around their grandmother’s casket lowered into the earth. Because their grandmother not only
treasured and loved them, but also flowers, gardens, and all winged creatures, other “living things.” He watched it all with soulful, loving eyes.

The most endearing memory of my time with all of them in that place on that afternoon was the image of him as he lowered himself to the ground to lie quietly by the casket, silent as a stone, offering a still presence, a profound love and “peace at the last.”  “He” was Stonewall King, the family’s beloved yellow Labrador retriever. Remembering him on that day, I visualize the word “dog” spelled in reverse.
picture courtesy of Kerwin King
“Postlude: Genesis 1”

In the beginning God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind.” And “Let us make humankind in our image.” Then, “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”

In the story of Creation and humankind’s place within it all, it is said that God gave humans dominion over every living thing. However, I believe that what evolved from that beginning time in the relationship between humans and the “living things” that surround us, as God may have envisioned from our very beginning, is that they would come to have dominion within and over their humans’ hearts.     

And it seems to be so . . . .  

Sunday, October 3rd  at 10 a.m.
An outdoor service in the Garden of Peace at St. John's (behind the church)
Please bring a folding chair.

Join the congregations of St. John's & N. Farnham for this special Sunday as we honor our creaturely friends, furry, feathered, finned - past and present.

A time to bless them in gratitude for their life among us. 
Our Zoom service at 11:30 a.m. following the in person service will incorporate the same theme.
Passages: Images from a Week Gone By”

Last week we said “Farewell” to some dear friends. Three of them, Tayloe Murphy, Tish King and Bill King. The lives of each of them intertwined with ours at St. John’s and N. Farnham churches, two were members and one (Tayloe) a member of Cople Parish but a good friend of both St. John’s and N. Farnham parishes. What marked each of their passings and the farewell time offered by services in their honor was the theme of “Celebration of Life.” Each one’s life had been such a gift to their families, their churches and the wider community in which their lives placed them.

A few images will be remembered from those gatherings last week when we said “Farewell” as we celebrated their time among us.

From Tayloe’s service at Yeocomico Church on Wednesday, September 22nd, no one will soon forget the image of a young boy, Tayloe’s youngest grandchild, holding and strumming the strings of a guitar almost as big as he was. Singing his grandfather’s favorite hymn “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.” His voice quivered at moments, while the sounds of his singing strummed our heartstrings.

From Tish’s service at the family’s historic home, Grove Mount, on Friday, September 24th,  images of the family celebrating her life may come to life again in the “Message” offered in “Creation: The Sixth Day” above.

From Bill King’s service at St. John’s on Saturday, September 25th, those there “with eyes to see” may remember looking past the open grave site waiting to receive his cremains and watching a heron, silently standing beside the waters of “The Bounds.” Sitting within a grove of old trees, bordering the King family resting place, and the resting place of other of our church “patriarchs and matriarchs” of his generation, were not we reminded of those who still with a loving and stalwart presence stand guard over our beloved parish home?

Truly a time of Celebration of Life, life continuing, carried forward, visions of the heart.
October Services Announcement

Throughout the Fall N. Farnham & St. John's Church Sunday Services are continuing in person, rotating between the churches. Masks & social distancing are required. No Coffee/Refreshment Hour. The Services are as follows:

  • Oct. 3 - 10 a.m. Blessing of the Animals Outside at St. John's 11:30 a.m. Zoom
(please bring a folding chair if you're attending this service.)
  • Oct. 10 - 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist at Farnham - 11:30 a.m. Zoom
  • Oct. 17 - 10 a.m. Holy Eucharist at St. John's - 11:30 a.m. Zoom
  • Oct. 24 - 10 a.m. Morning Prayer at Farnham, Br. Mark officiating - 11:30 a.m. Zoom
  • Oct. 31 - (5th Sunday) Holy Eucharist at St. John's

The link to the Zoom service (through October 24th) is here or on our web-page, farnhamwithstjohns.org. The Meeting ID is: 846 4486 0295

Please remember to bring shelf stable food items to St. John's this week and to Farnham next week. The items brought to St. John's will be delivered to the food bank at Warsaw United Methodist Church for distribution on October 8th and those taken to Farnham will be taken to the Farnham Baptist Church for distribution on October 12th. If you forget to bring food to church this week, it can always be left in either of the locations below:

In the basket under the bell between the church doors.

On the back porch across the road from the church at 278 Cedar Grove Rd.

PS Sir Winston says that if anyone brings dog or cat food to St. John's this Sunday, he will deliver it to the Essex County Animal Shelter.
Items needed at the haven
  • Paper Towels (We have a HUGE need for these)
  • $25 Walmart Gift Cards
  • $25 Amazon Gift Cards
  • Frozen Dinners
(For new families entering shelter)
Variety (Meat and Veggie Options) &
Kid Friendly Options (Chicken Nuggets, etc.)
Upcoming Services
Sunday, October 3rd  
Pentecost XIX


10 a.m. Blessing of the Animals

(bring a folding chair) at

St. John's
followed by 11:30 Zoom service
Sunday, October 10th
Pentecost XX


10 a.m. Service of Holy Eucharist

N. Farnham
followed by 11:30 Zoom service
Sunday, October 17th  
Pentecost XXI

10 a.m. Service of Morning Prayer

St. John's
followed by 11:30 Zoom service
Sunday, October 24th  
Pentecost XXII

10 a.m. Service of Holy Eucharist

N. Farnham
followed by 11:30 Zoom service
The Parish Prayer List
for those in need of God's comfort and healing:
Courtenay Altaffer
Ford Becker
Junius Berger
Martha Berger
Allison Boever
Randall Bone
Sue Bowie
Sallie Cox
Julie Crews
Constance Edwards
Bob File
David Gallagher
Carlton George
Regina Griggs
Barbara Grander
Dorothy Grove
Sandy Wade Hagan
The Rev. Howard Hanchey
Kelsey Heidenreich
Billy Hooper
Rebecca Hubert
Marcia Jenkins
Sally King
Mary Douglas Lawton
The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee
Susan Lewis
Frank Lynch
Tommy Neuman
Judi Newman
Matt & Melissa Porter
James Rynd
Debbie Belfield Stacks
Scott Strickler
Waldy Sulik
Billy Tennyson
Roclyn Tennyson
Elizabeth Valentine
Tyler Walker
John Welch, II
Matthew Yates
Rose Mary Zellner
and the victims of COVID-19.
and for those serving in our armed forces:
Royce Baker
David Berger
Ryan Berger
Allen Crocker
Randy Crocker
Court Garretson
Cameron Heidenreich
Dan Heidenreich
Charles Jones
Daniel Kirk
Mark Lawton
Scott Longar
Luis Loya
Gavin Wade McClung
Christopher Strickler
We also pray for those who have died.
Upcoming Birthdays & Anniversaries
Sept. 30th – Bill & Kim Calvert
Oct. 8th - Paula Milsted
Oct. 19th - Michael Sisson
Please send pictures and updates to the prayer list to parishchurchnews@gmail.com
link to or sign up to receive the meditation by e-mail.
The Episcopal Church
Welcomes You!

This Sunday at 10 a.m. we are having an in-person outdoor service of Morning Prayer and Blessing of the animals at St. John's. followed by an 11:30 a.m. Zoom service. A link to on-line service may be found here.
North Farnham Church
St. John's Church
Background photo courtesy of Saana Baker at the Textile Eye. (If you have time for a look, the webpage is fun)