Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message
“Crossroads”

This past Sunday our theme was “crossroads.” We were in the middle passage of the Gospel of Mark, the end of chapter 8 in Mark’s sixteen-chapter Gospel. The scene where Jesus confronts the crowd of those who have come to hear and maybe follow him. He names what it will look like if they decide to go forward with him. That naming includes things like carrying a cross, denying self, gains and losses, etc., etc. That got their attention.

Naming realities, positive, neutral and/or negative, is an essential element in committing to a forward path. Leadership and decision-making theory, in practice, include consideration of options, a listing of the pros and cons of each, then identifying potential strategies that “put skin on” a given choice. Whether we take pen or pencil to paper or play this out in our imagination, the whole process involves a significant amount of “naming” things.

This week, our Bishop Susan offers an excellent Meditation that I believe really speaks to our “crossroads” theme. Had you and I realized, as she points out, that we are at the one- year mark from when the pandemic took over life as we knew it? And something so important and applicable to what we hope is a turning point initiating a way forward: the idea of “naming” things. And the thought of how that can be so beneficial right now as we go forward. Bishop Susan also models in her meditation the importance of not just naming experiences, but also naming the feelings and emotions that are so intricately interwoven with experiences. This is critical because emotions and feelings can drive our choices. But also, when named, help us get clarity to make healthy ones.

How timely her meditation is! Please read, mark, and inwardly digest what is offered in it. Because in our home parishes we are at a crossroads. At St. John’s and Farnham we will go forward as this pandemic fades; our church doors will open again. However, we have choices as to how we will go forward, what will this emerging time look like for us, what will it include. One thing this pandemic has forced – I prefer the world “stimulated” – is our thinking more creatively, exploring more options, learning new things whether we wanted to or not. Lots to think about, lots to ponder.

Special thanks to Bishop Susan for her thoughtful wisdom and guidance as we pause on this threshold to ponder, choose, then nurture a vision forward that offers the renewal and rebirthing that all Creation announces as the reality of an Eastertime springing out of winter.

By God’s Amazing Grace, Spring is coming and will be so....
 
 Torrence

Background photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash No permissions required.
One year ago this week, the pandemic became real to most of us as dramatic changes to our daily routines began. The last diocesan gathering was the ordination of Deacons on March 7, 2020. The last Sunday that we gathered in person for worship in our accustomed way was March 8. It has been a year, a full year of loss, of longing and of learning. How do we mark this anniversary? I invite us to do it by naming before God what we have experienced, because naming has power.

In the second biblical story of creation in the book of Genesis, we read:
"So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name."  Genesis 2:19

Naming has power because naming something, as the first human in the story did, gives us a measure of control over it. My husband Tom and I named our dog Georgia. All we have to do is call that name and the tall ears of our pup lift and her head turns toward us with eager expectancy. She responds when we whisper her name caressingly and when shout it sharply. Knowing her name gives us some power over her although, given her willfulness, that power is far from complete.

Naming has power because naming things we fear strips away some of the control those fears have over us. Many years ago, I wanted to go sky diving. I imagined the freedom, the grace, the wonder of seeing the world from a higher view. When I told my father about my desire, he urged me not even to consider it. As we talked, he named his life-long fear of heights and he named what he witnessed in his years of military service in the South Pacific during World War II. I named my fear that if I didn't sky dive, I might always be afraid to try new things and my fear that if I did, I might not live to try new things. Naming fears with my father robbed those fears of power. I never did sky dive (not yet, anyway) and I've not been afraid to face new challenges and try new things.

Naming has power because naming something leads to deep compassion. Our neighborhood is full of birds, especially this time of year. Early each morning and again each evening we enjoy a concert of songs and calls. The glorious cacophony often stops me in my tracks and fills me with delight. As I learn to identify and name more and more birds by their songs and by their appearance, I cannot take them for granted. They are no longer nameless objects, but robins and mockingbirds and wood thrushes that share this fragile and beautiful world with me. They are friends that I care about as loss of habitat threatens them.
 
As we complete one year of life in pandemic, I invite us all to name our experiences, trusting that the powerful act of naming gives us strength, takes away some of the sting, and deepens our compassion for ourselves and for the world. In prayer, in reflection, perhaps in journaling or in conversation with a trusted other:
Name what you have lost in the past year.
Name what you long for now.
Name what you have learned and what you are learning.
Name the fears that deplete you and the hopes that enliven you.

Name them all before God.
Don't be afraid.
God will give you strength, courage and compassion.
And God who loves you fiercely will never let you go.
Prayer of the week

Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours and utterly dedicated to you; then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

A prayer of self-dedication BCP p. 832
Announcements
Spring & Easter are calling us
to gather again in person in Creation.  

What's our greatest "longing" at Farnham and St. John's? What I am hearing from everyone is to "gather." Now is the time! Mother Nature is calling us into her springtime embrace to honor Creation's unfolding. Let's answer the call! We will begin Sunday outdoor worship again starting Palm Sunday, March 28th In the meantime put Saturday afternoon, March 20th on your calendars for a sunset bonfire gathering at Farnham. It's the Spring Equinox, a perfect time to honor the coming of Spring and the unfolding of the Great Gardeners work to nurture the earth and all that is in it to bloom again. Watch for the details of all this Spring regathering to follow in next week's Epistle.  
New Farnham Officers At its meeting last week, the new Farnham Vestry elected the following officers:
Senior Warden - Michael Sisson
Junior Warden -Stan Terhune
Treasurer - Jim Crowley
Register - Becky Marks
Pledge keeper - Courtney Sisson
Finance Committee Members-
Ed Marks
Jim Crowley
Courtney Sisson
Convention Delegate - Ed Marks
Important Outreach Ministry:
Food Donations!
Both Warsaw United Methodist and Farnham Baptist have distributions from their food pantries in the coming week.

Please leave non-perishable food items for Warsaw at St. John's on the bench under the bell between the two sanctuary doors or for Farnham on the back porch at the Crowley's, 278 Cedar Grove Road, Farnham 22460

It's estimated that Food Insecurity grew to as high as 15% for children in Richmond County in 2020, so please add a few items to your shopping list each week for this ministry. Especially appreciated are high protein items such as canned tuna or meats, mac & cheese (milk already added), shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, or healthy snacks such as yogurt-covered raisins or dried cranberries.
The impact of Corona Virus on Food Insecurity linked here.
Shrine Mont camps are a GO for 2021!
In-person or on-line
check out
Shrine Mont Camps website
Easter Flower Memorials

If you would like to donate a hydrangea plant for Easter at $17, please notify your altar guild chairman by March 17th of the number of plants you wish to donate and the name(s) of your loved one(s) in whose memory the flowers are donated.

Becky beckymarks@aol.com (804) 925-5599
Mercer mercerohara@gmail.com (804) 761-9542
Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash. No permissions required.
Services & Sermons
The Zoom links for meetings and services will be e-mailed to the congregations with the weekly Diocesan video sermon by Saturday. The link for March's Sunday's Zoom services will be posted on our web-site , farnhamwithstjohns.org. on Friday.
Sunday, March 7th  
Lent III 


10 am Service of Morning Prayer
on Zoom



homily by Torrence Harman

Sunday, March 14th  
Lent IV 



10 am Service of Morning Prayer
on Zoom


homily by Torrence Harman

Sunday, March 21st  
Lent V 



10 am Service of Morning Prayer
on Zoom


homily by Torrence Harman

Sunday, March 28th  
Palm Sunday 




Return to In-Person Services🤞



homily by Torrence Harman
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
Buck Grove
The Rev. Howard Hanchey
Weir Harman
Billy Hooper
Rebecca Hubert
Marcia Jenkins
Stephanie, Nick & Donovan Kaywork
Jim & Sharon Krider
Mary Douglas Lawton
The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee
Barbara Leiter
Susan Lewis
Frank Lynch
Susannah Marais
Pat Merkel
Tommy Neuman
Judi Newman
Kirsten Palubinski
James Rynd
Marsha Rynd
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 pray for those who have died:
Martha Beggs Orth
To update this list, please send an e-mail to parischchurchnews@gmail.com.
March Birthdays & Anniversaries
Mar. 1st – Anne Warner
Mar. 9th - Becky Marks
Mar. 13th – Nancy Finnegan
Mar. 13th - Ed Marks
Mar. 31st - Courtenay Altaffer
Mar. 31st - Stan Terhune, III
The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!

Our services at Farnham & St. John's this coming Sunday are Zoom meetings. The link for these meetings is on our website farnhamwithstjohns.org
North Farnham Church
St. John's Church