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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Time lapse photography by Colin Winterbottom

Here is Washington Cathedral as you've never seen before.


Time lapse of Washington Cathedral

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Feast for the Eyes and Soul

I came across this website today quite by accident.

You now can take a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome by using this link:

Warning: Use your mouse S L O W L Y when moving to see various sections of this magnificent work or you may experience a sense of vertigo!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Fast and Feast!

During these last few weeks  - when the weather was so unpredictable - when my health has been substandard - when I decided that my precious rescued dog, Miss Emmy Lou, at over 15 years old with very weak hind legs, advanced dementia, and only intermittent control of her functions was alive but had no quality of life - I stopped, sat down and prayed.   I had hit my end- of- winter funk.

But here we are on the cusp of Spring -  and all my instincts tell me that I need to sew some very good seed during this Lenten season by reaching out to others.  There is need everywhere you turn and opportunities in each daily encounter for kindness, reconciliation and redemption.

Skimming Facebook today I found the following image filled will rule-of-thumb guidelines to keep a holy Lent attributed to Pope Francis - enjoy and or employ.  I will start today!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Resources for Lent

Just after you've finally polished off that last tin of Christmas cookies and gently removed the Valentine's day chocolate ring from around your mouth,  a culinary icon looms before us all ...

a traditional stack of Shrove Tuesday pancakes due to appear on a table in a parish hall near you on February 28th! 

Yes, dear friends, it's THAT time again; only two Sundays remain in Epiphany-tide!  Until Ash Wednesday, March 1 we may, without too much guilt or remorse, " Laissez le bon temps rouler!" if we so choose.

That being said, it might be wise to have a plan of action in place to be spiritually prepared to enter into the church's most solemn season of the liturgical year.

One practice readily available to us all is making a habit of utilizing one or more of the different forms of daily prayer or abbreviated Devotions found in the Book of Common Prayer (p. 37 - 140).

Mo. Barbara Crafton's "Almost Daily eMos from the Geranium Farm" by in large focus on the scriptural readings appointed for Morning Prayer on individual days. 

If you are not currently a subscriber and do not receive these emails from the Farm in your inbox/on your phone, I encourage you to join the eMo Subscriber's List to receive her brief meditation or essay, complete with accompanying artwork and the pertinent Daily Office readings.  Just send me an email at: and I'll be happy sign you up.  Alternatively, if you're an avid Facebook user, simply go to The Geranium Farm Page (Community).  I post the daily offering there as well, no subscription required.

Some other suggestions:

Episcopal Relief and Development will offer Lenten meditations.  Sign up using this link:

Society of St. John the Evangelist is offering their Lenten meditations, entitled "5 Marks of Love".  Sign up using this link:

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Advent Resources for 2016

Advent - the beginning of a new liturgical year - commences next Sunday, November 27th.  Episcopal Church Foundation has recently published a great article listing many resources for Advent this year.  You can click on this link to choose any that may enhance your personal advent discipline and practice :

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Church: 5 Ways to Welcome Newcomers

Fr. Tim Schenck's  blog, Clergy Confidential , is always a good read.  I try to keep his current offering in the Farm's "A Few Good Writers" section.

Although this entry was written to focus on the annual September kick-off season, the message is timeless and certainly worthy to (borrowing shamelessly from Thomas Cranmer's words, living still in the collect for Proper 28) " ... read, mark, learn and inwardly digest ...".   Our challenge, as always, is to turn the words into action regardless of the time of year.  Hey, you never know!  Like it says in Hebrews 13:2, 'Be not forgetful of hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.'  Let's welcome the saints, sinners and angels among us.

Post-Labor Day Church: 5 Ways to Welcome Newcomers

One of the things churches take very seriously is the Sunday morning welcome. We have ushers and greeters and newcomers’ packets and welcome tables during coffee hour and signs proclaiming "All Are Welcome!" posted everywhere. Recognizing that walking into a church for the first time can be intimidating, a tremendous amount of effort goes into making visitors feel welcome.

Now some parishes do this better than others. I’ve personally had every experience from being completely and utterly ignored to being treated like a minor celebrity. There’s a fine line between genuinely feeling as if people are glad you’re there and feeling as if the congregation is simply desperate for new blood — in a vampire, blood-sucking kind of way. 

But this whole idea of welcome isn’t simply a veneer of good manners. And hopefully it’s not just the adoption of certain best practices from the hospitality industry, as passed on through the filter of church growth consultants. 
Rather, if it’s authentic and not just self-serving, welcoming the stranger is a spiritual endeavor. It’s the whole idea of treating one another as if we are encountering Jesus himself. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus even identifies himself as the stranger to be welcomed when he says, “Just as you did it for the least of these, you did it for me.” So welcoming the stranger is not just about being polite, it’s about being a Christian. 

Never is this as apparent as that first Sunday after Labor Day. In many parishes, this is the great dividing line between the loose-goosey, informal summer time and the get-back-to-the-fall-routine that begins the Program Year. Other than, say, the Christmas and Easter services that draw many people who have no intention of attending church more than twice a year, September has a different vibe. This time of year, in addition to welcoming back parishioners who have drifted away but want to be more intentional about regular worship, we welcome many newcomers searching for a church home, intent on finding a community of faith. 

In other words, September offers us a unique opportunity to welcome the stranger. And it begs the question, are you ready and willing to do so?

While there are many strategies to an effective newcomer program, here's a quick and dirty fall checklist:

1. Update the Website. Is the fall worship schedule posted? Have you removed references to Holy Week 2014? Remember, the website is your parish's "virtual usher" -- it's the first place all visitors go before entering the worship space.

2. Update Newcomer Packets. You do have these, right? A simple folder with (at a minimum), a welcome letter, contact information sheet (and what to do with it), general info about Sunday School and upcoming programs and events.
3. Schedule Ushers and Greeters. As the crowds (hopefully) show up, there's often general, if holy, confusion as many enter the doors for the first time. Are there people on hand to direct people to the worship space? To walk new families to the nursery or Sunday School area rather than just passively pointing the way?

4. Social Media Strategy. Be intentional about what's posted on the parish public pages. Let people know about service times and other upcoming special events. This may not be the time to wade into controversies over liturgical minutia. If you've ever considered purchasing a Facebook ad, this would be the time to try it out. Encourage parishioners to invite friends to try out your parish!

5. Don't Just Talk About Welcoming, Be Welcoming. At the announcements, don't talk about how welcoming your parish is, simply be welcoming. Help people who look confused during the liturgy, invite people to attend coffee hour, resist the temptation to catch up with all your friends -- talk to newcomers first, then catch up.
The upshot is that when we get to that post-Labor Day crush and people scramble to return to the fall routine, be intentional about your welcoming (yes, even if someone you don’t recognize sits in your pew). It’s not just the responsibility of the ushers or the clergy to welcome strangers. It’s up to you. Even if it takes you out of your comfort zone to reach across the aisle and offer words of introduction and encouragement. 

This is what building up the Body of Christ looks like. And we're all invited to do our part.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Wise Words from Blessed Oscar Romero

Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez was a bishop of the Catholic Church in El Salvador. He became the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador and spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture. Romero was assassinated while offering Mass on March 24, 1980

"You cannot reap what you have not sown.  How are we going to reap love in our community if we only sow hate?"

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