Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Message
The Wild Life
Maybe it is because it was St. Francis Day last Sunday and the blessing of the animals and all those prayers for God’s creatures. And Mazie and Penny O’Hara racing around the cemetery, then waiting patiently (?) for their “begging bacon strips.” I wonder: are we humans quite so excited when we come forward for our Eucharistic time on other Sundays? And Evie Overton talking about feeding the eager racoons and possums that visit her porch daily (more likely nightly). I'm wondering if she’s named them yet. Imagining her long front porch as a kind of sanctuary with a communion table floor of lined up little bowls she fills up for them. Do they wonder where this “manna” from heaven comes from or just trust that it will be there when they need it?

Maybe it is because the wild geese have taken to their flyways again. They always pull my eyes upward to watch them veeing together to travel forward. Their instinctual motion triggering a yearning in me to answer some call forward, to embrace the transition that each Fall seems to herald. To consider what to leave behind in order to honor a “homing” signal calling me forward into a seasonal change in life. Yet, also in another season calling me back again. A cycle best traveled by allowing some inner compass to guide the direction. And I remember a little poem I wrote over fifty years ago about Fall-ing away times and winged geese. A poem really about me and about my human longing to have a compass as sure as the wild things.  

Maybe it is because I’m fascinated watching the squirrels in my backyard trees talk to each other in their tail flicking squirrel sign language way. I wonder if they consider me, the newcomer to the neighborhood, a threat or are they simply betting on when I am going to fill my bird feeders again. And I remember sharing feeding times with their river cousins a couple of years ago during a long winter after my husband’s death, me with my little supper on one side of the glass doors in my river room and the squirrels and a variety of birds sharing theirs, the seed and fruit bits I had scattered on the little river porch on the other side of those windowed doors. Remembering how the loneliness would fade, and how my heart healed little by little in those bits and pieces of our time together.
Maybe it is because Stonewall King stole my heart recently and I’ve been watching Stella, Brother Mark and Vinnie’s little dog, grieving the break in connection between her and one of her humans. My heart space opening to her since I’ve known what that’s like as I named silently last Sunday those four-footed furry friends who have inhabited my home spaces in the past, but moved forward into a larger space and time, nearer to the heart of the One who created their kind. Wondering about my recent thoughts of volunteering at a local animal shelter and connecting spirit to spirit, heart to heart with something four-footed and furry with soulful eyes and what that might lead to.

And maybe it is because Franciscan Richard Rohr has a whole week blog thing going about connecting with all living things. And how they embody/ensoul God’s love.

As I look back over my life, I believe that some of the most important lessons I have learned about how to live, move and have being have come from the other creatures that have being too. Also having been made by the great Designer of all life to live together in Creation. Ones that live, move, and embrace the beingness of their life closer to the earth. Ones who more graciously flow with the “air beneath their wings” in the heavens or travel more fluidly the deeper currents of their life. Ones that honor their deep instincts, move with the intuitive sense that they are one with and naturally interwoven with all of Creation. Ones that inhabit their lives and the Creation in which they have been placed more true to their essential nature and more in harmony with Creation than our human kind.

This morning as I head out to sit on my backyard deck with my morning cup of coffee, I look forward to a contemplative conversation with the statue of St. Francis who presides over my little yard, a dog and a heron at his side. Perhaps the call this week, as I converse with St. Francis and his friends, is to continue to ponder what the “wild life” around us has to teach us about all of life. A spiritual practice as I breathe in the gift of the day.

Will you join me?

Poem of the week - from
To Learn from Animal Being
by John O'Donohue
Nearer to the earth's heart,
Deeper within its silence:
Animals know this world 
In a way we never will.

May we learn to return 
And rest in the beauty
Of animal being.
Learn to lean low;
Leave our locked minds,
And with freed senses
Feel the earth
Breathing with us.
May we enter
Into lightness of spirit,
And slip frequently into
The feel of the wild.

May we learn to walk
Upon the earth
With all their confidence
And clear-eyed stillness
So that our minds
Might be baptized
In the name of the wind
And the light and the rain.
Last Week at Farnham & St. John's
The Blessing of the Animals

Gwynne's Tie
(did he get blessed?)

bacon, Bacon, BACON !
British Soldiers in StJ cemetery. (different from those in Farnham's in 1812.)
Thanks to Anne Neuman for pictures of the Blessing of the Animals service Sunday.

Please note that we have lost our access to free beautiful Unsplash background pictures, as Unsplash is now owned by Photostock and we do not have $400/year to subscribe. So, please, please, please take pictures of all kinds of trees, mountains, gardens, rivers, lakes, birds, flowers, rocks, dirt, the sky, clouds and anything you might think of for background pictures and send them to parishchurchnews@gmail.com.

Please remember to bring shelf stable food items to Farnham this week for October 12th distribution at the Farnham Baptist Church Food Pantry. If you forget to bring them to church this Sunday, items can always be left on the back porch of 278 Cedar Grove Rd. in Farnham or in the basket under the bell between the church doors at St. John's.
Winston's Outreach Project

Winston's been watching the food basket in the office, and thought he should do something for animals less fortunate than he, so he's collecting for the Essex County Animal shelter. They need:
  • Bleach
  • Rolled paper towels
  • Dish washing (anti-bacterial) Detergent
  • Powdered laundry detergent
  • Washable dog toys
  • Washable cat toys
  • Collars & leashes (new or used)
  • Pet carriers (new or used)
Winston with Sunday's shelter donations
  • Linens: washable rugs, towels, sheets, blankets (new or used)
  • Dog biscuits and soft treats (natural without dyes)
  • Cat treats (natural without dyes)
If you lost a pet recently and have flea or (especially) heartworm medications left over, giving it to the animal shelter before it expires is a wonderful thing to do!
"Warsaw Fest"
Join in the Warsaw/Richmond County Community fall celebration offered by the Warsaw-Richmond County Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, October 9th
from 9 - 4 at the Warsaw Town Park
offering:   Yummy Food Trucks
            ▪ Craft and Other Vendors
                ▪ Car & Truck Show 
                ▪ Kids Rides & Activities 
                ▪ Baby & Beauty Pageant 
                ▪ Main Street Parade 
                ▪ Live DJ
Thanks for your heartfelt generosity!

Parishioners at Farnham & St. John's contributed $1,825 to the fund to help Chelsea Eum and hher four boys following the death of her husband, the 37 year old pastor at Warsaw United Methodist Church.
Thank you!
Home Coming

Sally King is moving back to Warsaw - into the Orchard (which is now Northern Neck Senior Care Community, but we will probably still call it "the Orchard.")
Welcome back, Sally!
The Mountains are calling
Torrence will be out of town from Oct. 18th - 29th, attending the Clergy Conference at Shrine Mont, visiting family in N.C., then back to Shrine Mont for the Diocesan Council on Aging Fall Retreat. If you have a pastoral issue, please call your Sr. Warden. Farnham - Michael Sisson (804) 761-2648 StJ - Courtenay Altaffer (804) 313-1254. Brother Mark will officiate at the October 24th service. (photo from Blue Ridge Mountain Life.[go to their website to see more beautiful pix!]
New from The Diocese of Virginia - E-news service

If you've ever wondered: "What does the Diocese of Virginia do for us?"
I try to share with you many of the ways the Diocese reaches out and helps clergy, congregations and you the parishioners of our parish congregations here at St. John's and N. Farnham. We pass forward some of the meditations our Bishops offer from time to time. We highlighted the services our Diocese shared during the pandemic when we small churches were struggling to get up to speed with crafting our own virtually during that challenging time. The Diocesan staff keeps me and other clergy educated and informed on critical matters, such as COVID statistics and protocols needed to keep everyone safe for our church gatherings. News from the Diocese keeps us connected with news about sister parishes - helping us all feel part of a larger faith family within our Episcopal denomination around Virginia. One of the important ways our Diocese does this is by "publishing" the Diocesan E-News Service. You may or may not already receive and read Diocesan mailings, but now is the opportunity to officially sign up and receive the "E-News" service promoted, here. Torrence 
Stay Connected. Click here to subscribe!
Upcoming Services
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
Sunday, October 31st  
Pentecost XXII

10 a.m. Service of Holy Eucharist

St. John's

The Parish Prayer List
for those in need of God's comfort and healing:
Courtenay Altaffer
Frances Beazley
Junius Berger
Martha Berger
Allison Boever
Randall Bone
Sue Bowie
Sallie Cox
Julie Crews
Constance Edwards
Bob File
David Gallagher
Carlton George
Regina Griggs
Dorothy Grove
The Rev. Howard Hanchey
Kelsey Heidenreich
Billy Hooper
Rebecca Hubert
Marcia Jenkins
Mark Jenkins
Mary Douglas Lawton
The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee
Susan Lewis
Frank Lynch
Tommy Neuman
Judi Newman
Matt & Melissa Porter
James Rynd
Debbie Belfield Stacks
John Sterett
Scott Strickler
Waldy Sulik
Billy Tennyson
Roclyn Tennyson
Elizabeth Valentine
Tyler Walker
John Welch, II
Nancy Wilson
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, especially Vinny Fracasse.
October Birthdays
Oct. 8th - Paula Milsted
Oct. 19th - Michael Sisson
Oct. 24th – Mercer O'Hara
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 indoor service of Holy Eucharist at North Farnham Church 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