Farnham & St. John's
Weekly E-pistle

“The Hare & the Tortoise”

“An Editorial”
There are some stories that are not just for children, there’s wisdom in the children’s story for adults who may have forgotten the story they may have heard when they were children too. There are some children’s stories that remind me of the parable teachings of Jesus. Simple but with many provocative layers that when peeled back lead to truths for living. “The Hare & the Tortoise” is one of them.
The secular world news in our country is full of plans and timetables for re-opening, re-gathering, re-emerging, state by state, business by business, beach by beach in the immediate future beginning next week as spring blossoms into summer. The tantalizing vision is that COVOID 19’s active life span is slowing down and we can assume that we can emerge again safely (though with some continued limitations such as social distancing) into life as we knew it before this virulent virus overtook the world as we knew it. But the future is never certain, and this virus is tricky and volatile. We must be ultimately wiser and more steadfast than it is.
One of the places I miss the most is church on Sunday morning. COVOID 19 has stolen that time and place from me and from all of us since mid-March. As we have struggled to re-imagine, re-create alternative ways to “gather” and “worship” virtually, we are experiencing keenly the loss of “place” and the disturbance of our familiar rituals of gathering and feeding one another. It is a type of exile, like the Bible and the prophets address in scripture. “How long, how long?” we moan as we face the future unfolding week by week as our beloved churches are vacant yet waiting patiently for our return.
A ray of sunshine broke through the clouds this week with a letter from the Episcopal Bishops of the Dioceses of Virginia, Washington, D. C. and Maryland along with thoughtful and intentional plans for “A Phased Approach to Regathering as Church.” The main title of the communication was “Turning Toward the Future with Caution and Hope.” The communication is linked here for your reading when you have some time to read, mark and inwardly digest the plan to understand the vision and specific elements of a careful phased in “re-turn” level by level to “Opening of Church Buildings for Worship in Response to a Public Health Emergency.” You will note it is a slow but steady plan.
Return from exile, if we consider the biblical narratives we find in the prophetic literature of restoration and read between those lines of ancient scripture is not easy. It offers different challenges than that of “wilderness” experienced during Exile. Implicit is the theme of “caution” and of an awareness of challenges involved in re-turn to communal living with each other, with the God they worship and with the secular environment around them. The interesting twist to return from exile for the Israelites was the rebuilding of the Temple, albeit with materials and Temple treasures from the past that they were able to carry back and use for the rebuilding. However, it was not the rebuilding of the Temple and their return to worship in their familiar place (Jerusalem) that would pose the greatest challenge. It was, as it always was and would be in the future for the people of God, how to do so in the context of the world and times around them, the ways of the world that were in competition with the way of the Lord they desired to serve.
So, about that children’s fable that titles this editorial “The Hare and the Tortoise.” What relevance does it have for us now? If you remember the story, the fast-moving hare (rabbit) and the slow-moving tortoise (turtle) are to compete in a race to the finish line. I will leave up to each of you to re-read that Aesop’s fable (google your memory or the internet for the details). The interesting outcome is that the tortoise “wins” the race. Slow and steady. Not very exciting – just plodding along, leg over leg, eyes fixed on the goal. Perseverance, steadiness (staying the course), patience, stamina, not getting diverted, resilience - the keys to the tortoise’s ultimate success.
We are probably, realistically, going to experience a slower, more methodical pace in our timetable in returning to church than the world around us presents in getting back to its “business as usual.” But let us keep our eyes on the finish line. I think of our children’s story and name the hare “COVOID” who wants to beat us in the race of life. To win this race we must persevere, stay the course, have patience, pray for stamina, avoid being diverted from the path, nurture our resilience, take our time. This will take courage (heart strength) and compassionate reaching out to one another, doing what we can to keep our individual and communal spirits strong and vital. We need to rest on the strength of our communal faith life which is not dependent on a physical building but on the dwelling place of the heart. And so, in this children’s story, so parable like, I name the tortoise, FAITH AND LOVE.
Our churches wait patiently for us. They have stood the test of time, they will be there for us when we return and we will bring back the treasures that have filled those spaces: our liturgies, our singing, our heartfelt prayers, our bodies and souls, our togetherness. And we will bring new ideas to help us live out of our religious spaces even more fully. It will take time caution and hope, but we will get there. And COVOID cannot overcome the Divine purposes and plans of God. So, let’s stay healthy, let’s be really cautious about getting back to business in response to worldly offered timetables and trust in the slow, steady work of God. We must be available for God’s work. We must have faith and trust in that Divine work, the goal of which is life, continuing life.
            May we have perseverance and stefastness of heart that it may be so,
Focus on the Font
The St. John's Vestry has been in discussion off and on about moving the Font from the organ/music corner to the opposite corner space just outside the choir area. The goal: to give each (music and baptism), their own designated liturgical space and highlighting, uncrowded. After the March Vestry meeting, the intent was to show off this anticipated move to the congregation at our next Sunday morning service in March, which unfortunately became our first "closed to worship in the sanctuary" Sunday. However, now is the best time to accomplish this plan and so is taking place in the next week. It involves removing one pew on the right hand side of the sanctuary and replacing the font in its own special space just outside the choir stall area. The font began its life in the Lunenburg parish at the old church site in Warsaw. After that its "bowl" rested in the earth at that old church site for decades. Later discovered after the current St. John's was built for the parish, it was moved to the St. John's sanctuary and placed on a newer marble pedstal located where it now stands. Later the current organ was also placed in the same location and while the organ and the font have been tight neighbors since the organ placement, it is a very crowded space. We believe that each important liturgical "instrument" of grace will be better highlighted when given its own significance on either side of the chancel. I love the idea of their "anchoring" our visual space that leads our eyes to the altar and the stained glass window of Christ watching over all of us. We hope you will be pleased with this special attention to the Font, this critical symbol of our life together in Christ and in the communal life of our church.  Torrence
The St. John's Triangle

Just a reminder not to be disturbed by pipes and materials piled up on our "triangle" at St. John's at the intersection of Richmond Road and St. John's Street. It's all for a good cause: the Town of Warsaw's work on St. John's Street putting in new underground pipes which will be part of the overall "Bounds" renovation across the street from St. John's..
The Food Pantries Need YOU!

Alert: Area food pantries are desperate – there is a major increase in the number of those seeking food for themselves and their families. So we have connected up with two of them to help with food and funds: Farnham Baptist Church Food Pantry and Warsaw United Methodist Food Pantry

Farnham Episcopal will collect food donations for Farnham Baptist (next “pantry day” May 12 th )
St. John’s will collect for Warsaw United Methodist whose next pantry day is May 8 th .

We are limiting donations to canned and jarred goods . Here is what is requested:
Peanut Butter (either creamy or chunky)
Canned Tuna; Canned chicken
Canned Fruit, Canned Vegetables, Canned Soups
Spaghetti Sauce

Drop off points for donations:
For Farnham parishioners and friends: Susan & Jim Crowley’s back porch, 278 Cedar Grove Road (just a few doors away from Farnham Church and the Farnham Post Office).

For St. John’s parishioners and friends: The St. John’s Church “bench” between the Church's two Sanctuary Doors.

Any questions? Contact Susan Crowley (238-3405) or Courtenay Altaffer (313-1254.)
Farnham & St. John's
further communications this week
Tomorrow e-mail
Torrence's Mid-week Reflection

Friday E-mail
reminder for the Sunday Evening Prayer Service (held via Zoom) with a bulletin & instructions plus links for Cathedral & Diocesan Services & Sermon

Saturday afternoon or evening - E-mail
Farnham & St. John's
Sunday morning Video Sermon

Forward Day By Day
The Parish Prayer List
Courtenay Altaffer
John Barber
Martha Berger
Randall Bone
Sue Bowie
Nancy Allin Bush
Anna Calvert
Mary Claycomb
Marilyn Day
Sumner Elwell
Constance Edwards
Bob File
Regina Griggs
Barbara & Harry Grander
the Rev. Howard Hanchey
Weir Harman
Mary Hertling
Rebecca Hubert
Marcia Jenkins
Stephanie, Nick & Donovan Kaywork
Ramiza Koya
Jim & Sharon Krider
Susan Lewis
Frank Lynch
Susannah Marais
Judi Newman
Les Merkel
Kirsten Palubinski
George Patrick
Don Phillips
Dennis Rynd
James Rynd
Debbie Belfield Stacks
Scott Strickler
Waldy Sulik
Billy Tennyson
Connie Thompson
Matthew Yates
and Rose Mary Zellner
May 4 th Ben Cox
May 5 th Carl Barber
May 14 th Carter Wellford, IV
May 16 th Harry Grander
May 19 th Sandy Garretson
May 22 nd Mary Hertling
May Anniversaries
15 th Susan & Jim Crowley
16 th Candy & Bill Carden
20 th – Courtney & Michael Sisson
There will be a Compline Service via Zoom Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. Further instructions will be forthcoming later in the week.
Farnham Church
St. John's Church