Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message
"A Garden Waits"
“God’s Garden”
(A poem by Dorothy Frances Gurney)

The Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light unfurled.
So near to the peace of Heaven,
That the hawk might nest with the wren,
For there in the cool of the even
God walked with the first of men.
And I dream that these garden-closes
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.
The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
For He broke it for us n a garden
Under the olive trees
Where the angel of strength was the warden
And the soul of the world found ease.
Holy Week hovers on the horizon of our lives in the week to come. We will find ourselves in two gardens. The first garden: The Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus kneels in desperate prayer, then is seized by his destiny as betrayal sets him on the final steps of his human journey. A journey that will lead him to a hill named Golgotha where a cross waits for him. The journey does not end there. Rather the path of Jesus’ life descends into a second garden. The Garden of the Tomb where an ending becomes a new beginning with the miracle of resurrected life. The Garden of the Tomb is transformed to become the Garden of Resurrection, of rebirth, of new life as first witnessed by an astounded young woman, Mary Magdalene, the first witness to the reality of resurrection of the larger life we know as Christ.

The backdrop to both stories is the vision of the Garden of Eden in the Genesis of humankind’s relationship with our Creator and all of Creation. A relationship broken in the very beginning by humankind’s disobedience and efforts to hide from God’s sight and providence. The harmony of the created order of God’s desire for how the Creation would live together was broken at the very beginning by the human beings separating and distancing themselves from their Creator's will and relationship with Him.

We have been trying to return to the harmony and peace of that place ever since.

At the crux of this story of return is the cross on Golgotha. The vision forward is gifted to humankind in the Garden in which Jesus’ tomb waited to serve as womb of rebirth – the Garden of Christ’s resurrection and the promise of ours.

Julie Moir Messervy, an internationally known garden landscape designer, opines that whenever we try and create a garden, we are trying to recreate Eden, to seek and find that original harmony and peace.

There is something about a garden that always seems to mysteriously call out to our human longing for peace and harmony, for rest and that mysterious connectedness but deeply desired connection with all of life and with all of life’s Creator. A garden seems to offer a place where heaven and earth may come together for us. The beloved hymn, In the Garden, offers the vision of Jesus, the doorway of new life, waiting there to sit with us, be with us, talk with us, love us into connection with Him and through Him to our Creator and all Creation. Our journey through Lent, through Good Friday to Easter morning is a journey of reconciliation. It is a journey through brokenness, through what appears to be final death then to restoration, renewal, rebirth, reconciliation with life, a "begining again." This is the vision of resurrection offered by Christ's journey, a vision offered to our life by his life. 

May we find the strength, the courage (the heart strength) to travel through the Gardens of Gethsemane in our lives, through and beyond the tomb like times of life. To be re-birthed, re-newed. To wake up to Easter times waiting for us and find ourselves in the son-lit Garden of Peace where the resurrected Christ waits to greet us. Where He walks with us, and He talks with us, and simply loves us into new and continuing life.

By God’s Amazing Grace, let it be so. 
Last Saturday at Farnham & St. John's
What a great time we had at our Spring Equinox Bonfire Gathering at N. Farnham Church. The earliest to arrive was the neightborhood cat we remembered from his regular attendance at our ourdoor services last summer. and early Fall. We were greeted by our new feline member who Michael Sisson, Sr. Warden, has now named "Farnham." Farnham wandered through the church, then made his rounds as folks arrived for the outdoor event. Ultimately, he rested under the magnolia tree while we human folk visited with each other and drew closer to the bonfire as the evening chilled towards sunset. Farnham, the cat, did not partake of s'mores like many of the rest of us, but seemed content to simply be a part of the gathering. Kids played in the surrounding cemetery weaving around the grave markers. A few grown-ups wandered around the grave sites too, perhaps sharing thoughts and a word or two with their forebearers. Celtic sounds from a portable boombox drifted through the evening, interweaving with the warmth of our conversations with church family members and friends. A deep, pandemic inspired longing for re-gathering brought us together again in our open air sanctuary, thanks be to God's gift of springtime.
Food Pantry Push - this is the week!

Distribution dates for the two local pantries that we support are coming up soon. This week please deliver the food items that you're supplying to the drop off locations, bring them to church on Sunday or e-mail the office (parishchurchnews@gmail.com) to have them picked up.

In addition to the Sunday morning services
designated drop sites are as follows:

St. John's: the basket under the church bell between the church doors.

Farnham: the Crowley’s back porch at 278 Cedar Grove Road (across the road from N. Farnham Church.)
Note about Outdoor Services
Now that Spring is official and we are resuming outdoor in-person worship please be aware of the following:
  • Bring your own outdoor chair
  • Wear a mask and respect social distancing
  • Parking at N. Farnham is easily accessible
  • Parking at St. John's is available on a limited basis in the church parking lot; alternative parking is permitted in the NNEC parking lot behind the church.
The outdoor service is dependent on favorable weather. If cancelled, we will attempt to notify you by email the day before or early morning before the service.
If the outdoor service is cancelled or you choose not to attend for health or scheduling reasons, remember that there's a Zoom service at 5 p.m.
Services & Sermons
The Zoom links for meetings and services will be e-mailed to the congregations on Saturday. The link for this Sunday's service (and it will be the same one for the month of April) has been posted to our web-site, farnhamwithstjohns.org; Zoom links are the third item in the dropdown menu on the left hand side of the home page.
Sunday, March 28th  
Palm Sunday 

Procession of the palms

and walk through in the sanctuary

11 a.m. - St. John's
Combined in-person Outdoor 
Service of Holy Communion

5 p.m. - Zoom Service of Evening Prayer
Friday, April 2nd  

Good Friday

a video-taped
service will be sent that can be watched any time.
Sunday, April 4th  

Easter Sunday

Flowering of the Cross

and walk through in the sanctuary

11 a.m. N. Farnham
Combined in-person Outdoor
 Service of Holy Communion

5 p.m. - Zoom Service
Sunday, April 11th  

11 a.m. Service Outdoors

location to be announced

5 p.m. - Zoom Service
The Parish Prayer List
for those in need of God's comfort and healing:
Courtenay Altaffer
Martha Berger
Randall Bone
Sue Bowie
Nancy Allin Bush
Constance Edwards
Bob File
Vinny Fracasse
David Gallagher
Regina Griggs
Barbara Grander
Dorothy Grove
The Rev. Howard Hanchey
Weir Harman
Victoria Hinnant
Billy Hooper
Rebecca Hubert
Marcia Jenkins
Stephanie, Nick & Donovan Kaywork
Jim & Sharon Krider
Mary Douglas Lawton
The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee
Susan Lewis
Frank Lynch
Susannah Marais
Pat Merkel
Tommy Neuman
Judi Newman
Kirsten Palubinski
James Rynd
Marsha Rynd
Chris Smith
Debbie Belfield Stacks
Scott Strickler
Waldy Sulik
Billy Tennyson
Roclyn Tennyson
John Welch, II
Matthew Yates
Rose Mary Zellner and
all 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
Christopher Strickler
Gavin Wade McClung
and Travis Pullen
We also pray for those who have died.
Upcoming Birthdays & Anniversaries
Mar. 31st - Courtenay Altaffer
Mar. 31st - Stan Terhune, III
April 5th – Barbara Grander
April 9th – Kim Calvert
April 21st – Arline Hinkson
April 23rd - Martha Berger
The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!

We begin In-person, Outdoor Services again this Sunday at 11 a.m. with a Procession of the Palms at St. John's. We also have a Zoom Evening Prayer service at 5 p.m. The link for the Zoom service is on our website farnhamwithstjohns.org
North Farnham Church
St. John's Church

Background photo of daffodils Marian Kroell on Unsplash No permissions required.