Farnham & St. John's
Weekly E-pistle
Torrence's Weekly Message
“Mother Earth”

It’s the Golden Anniversary of Earth Day this week!

We humans may not have the opportunity to show up, all dressed up, for our Easter Sundays but Mother Earth sure is. The amazing parallel of our Easter season (that fifty-day liturgical season that began on Easter morning) and Creation’s season of spring offers amazing grace, especially this year. It’s as if Creation is taking special advantage of our having to slow down, shelter in place, seek sustenance, nurture and grace without our otherwise usual busyness and distractions.
Interesting: Spring started early this year. I wonder if Mother Earth just realized we humans needed her sooner this year. How like a good mother: intuitive about her children’s needs.

Well, I couldn’t help myself. Sunday, I got in the car and drove to Richmond to visit my favorite garden nursery. My route, of course, took me past many church sanctuaries (Farnham and St. John’s included) standing empty. At my destination I parked, donned my face mask and plastic gloves. Waited in line at appropriate social distance to be given my “ticket” (a cart wiped down with disinfectant), the nursery doorway monitored by an employee allowing only so many into the “garden” to assure the health and safety of all. I was reminded of the angel with the flaming sword (maybe like a disinfectant spray bottle) guarding the entrance to Eden.
My time to enter came. I walked through the sliding glass doors and I WAS IN HEAVEN. Not a Sunday church sanctuary which is out of bounds for us right now, but a heavenly place, nonetheless. Inside, I just breathed it all in, the colors, the moistness in the air. Probably a heightened level of oxygen present. Don’t the earth scientists tell us that plants and trees are essential to re-oxygenating the air for our planet? I found myself simply overcome at the sight inside. What an exquisite, amazingly diverse congregation of growing, blooming plant life waited for me. I didn’t pick up anything immediately just wandered around, taking it all in in this place, my this-week Sunday sanctuary. I just let myself breathe it all in, opened my mind and heart to the amazing abundance that was present there. All my senses open to what the nursery had to offer.

Then I simply listened with my heart to what I might need to bring back home with me. I listened too to what seemed to want to come home with me. I had made a list ahead of time of what I believed my home ground thought it or I needed, wanted. But there were a couple of
surprises. One, a dear little coral bark Japanese maple tree. Only about thirty-six inches tall. Skinny, needing a stick to prop up its tiny, slender trunk, it looked so vulnerable. Like it needed something deeper, more nourishing to live in – a bigger container than the little plastic pot which held it now. As its few little new leaves seemed to wave at me, I thought of a bigger container back home that could hold it till it could graduate to an even bigger one, then to a special place directly in the ground around my little cottage. But the real space it seemed to whisper to was my heart. So, I scooped it up, with joy, and put it in my cart. You know, joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit St. Paul talks about.

Our lives are nurtured by many things, our heart and soul space nourished when we attend to the health of body and spirit. There was just something about that little tree, something mutual. Like we each knew we needed the other. My heart needed to grow with the joy of caring for something; the heart of that little tree needed a place to call home and yet seemed to sense it had something very important and nourishing it could offer me. That we would each be more together, than if we remained separate and apart.

There’s something about my experience with the little tree that seems to mirror something really big. The relationship of humanity with this Earth we call home. Recognizing how much we need each other. Recognizing that our health together is an interdependent, not independent thing. We need each other for the health of the whole. This earth is living matter; we humans who inhabit it are living matter. The earth is a Divine Creation; so are we. However, we humans have not always lived in harmony with the rest of the body of Creation of which we are an integral part.

It’s amazing the changes in earth’s environment during this health crisis we call COVOID 19 – a crisis that is drastically impacting earth’s human population. As humanity has been forced to slow down for our health, to shelter in place, to reduce many of the activities which we thought were essential to our life, something life enhancing has been happening to the earth, this place we call our island home. The earth appears to be healing. It’s air, its waters, the whole environment is becoming a healthier environment for all living things, us included. Perhaps it’s a time we are confronted with the reality that some of the ways we have been living have been to the detriment of the rest of Creation. When we live independent of our relationship with the rest of the created order it creates dis-harmony with the whole of a created order that is designed to make life abundant for all.

It’s a golden time to pay homage to our relationship, earth’s and ours together. We both need to heal. Spring is intimately showing us how regenerative such a time can be, a time for new life to emerge from the old. I believe earth in this Easter springtime is reaching out to us, calling us to notice how joyful it can be for us to care for one another, to ground ourselves in the amazing Divine Love that created everything that is. May we listen, may we open our hearts, minds and spirits to this message of healing and restoration. That it may be so!

Blessing of the Week

May God give you grace never to sell yourself short,
grace to risk something big for something good,
grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but the truth
and too small for anything but love.

Last week at Farnham & St. John's
They don't show up on any detail report for our teleconferenced evening prayer service on Sunday evenings, but they come close or curl up in their human's lap to be a part of what's going on. "They" are our four footed companions who are sheltering in place with us during this time. Last Sunday as I sat out of doors on a bench under a tree to conduct our teleconferenced prayer service at my grandchildren's house, Tink (aka Tinker Bell) the family cat appeared near me. Her golden eyes focusing intently on me during the prayers as she listened with what appeared to be keen interest. I was telling Becky Marks about this the next day. She laughed and shared that Tiger, one of the feline members of their family spent
that same time curled up in her lap. I haven't commented before, but I am sure I have heard a few canine noises during some of our telephone tree prayer services. From past experience being with families during prayerful times I am keenly aware that the four footed family members frequently join the family circle during times of prayer - staying close to what is pastorally happening. Somehow I think they either feel the same connection we do with the Holy at such times. Or maybe they sense they help us connect with the Divine Creator to whom we all belong, whether two footed or four footed.
Weekly Worship Opportunities
The National Cathedral
has a daily audio/video morning prayer service at 7:00 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and a Sunday 11:15 a.m. Holy Eucharistic Service. All include music. Click here for the menu. You can subscribe to their updates and to automatically receive the Sunday Service. A link to this Sunday's service will be sent later in the week.
The diocese will be offering a weekly sermon each Sunday from a different person in the diocese. Last week, this began with our assistant bishop, Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson. These sermons will be available as Audio Visual ( AV ) links or as Audio only links.
This week the preacher will be the Rev. Dr. Mary Thorpe, the Canon to the Ordinary.

A link to this weekly sermon will be sent later in the week.
Grace Church, Kilmarnock. Audio Service including music, a sermon and prayers. Click here for April 19 th Sermon.
Go to this page for other offerings, which change weekly.
Farnham & St. John's
further communications this week
Tomorrow - e-mail
Torrence's Mid-week Reflection

Friday (fingers crossed) E-mail
A 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
In yet another sign of spring, it's
Season, again! Since we're not going to the grocery store as much this year, read it here. Torrence's article is on page 13.

Note: Once the webpage comes up, click on the black heron logo to download the copy. We've been having some trouble with this taking a long time, especially if you're using Google Chrome as a browser.

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
and, belatedly, the April Birthday List

April 5 th Barbara Grander
April 9 th Kim Calvert
April 21 st Arline Hinkson
April 23 rd Martha Berger
April 27 th Dean Garretson

April 29 th Gwynne Tayloe
April 30 th Ed Milsted
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