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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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Friday, February 27, 2009

About Things Episcopal.... A, B, Cs and more!

For those of you who would enjoy delving into 'things Episcopal', Geranium Farmer Linda L. Maumus suggested the following boo:

The Episcopal Handbook > ISBN:9780819223296> Morehouse Publishing

Other resources that may be helpful:

A Dictionary for Episcopalians by John N. Wall > ISBN 1-56101-178-9> Cowley Publications;
A Lay Minister's Guide to The Book of Common Prayer by Clifford Atkinson>ISBN 0-8192-1454-X > Morehouse Publishing;
A Manual of Eucharistic Visitors by Beth Wickenberg Ely >ISBN 0-8192-2158-0;
The Vestry Handbook by Christopher L. Webber >ISBN 0-8192=1453-1

Online resources: is a great place to browse through thousands of hymns and also learn about their history; is a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is to compile and distribute materials for worship, especially those materials related to congregational hymn worship. Sumphonia was founded in the autumn of 2002.

Three short works by Frederick Buechner (in paperback) are a great addition to your library:
Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC, revised 1993;
Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who's Who, pub. 1979;
Whistling in the Dark: A Doubter's Dictionary, pub. 1993. All are published by HarperSanFransisco.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Lenten Meditation Journal

If you haven't found a Lenten book to sink your teeth into or would savor something with a homegrown flavor, you may wish to use a journal, available online, produced by the Adult Spiritual Formation Commission of Grace Church, Nyack, New York. Parishioners and clergy came together, sharing their reflections on the daily lectionary for Lent.

Use the attached link for JOURNEY: Lenten Reflections from the Community of Grace Church.

Barbara's mediations for Episcopal Relief and Development can be found at their website: .

If you have favorite books, essays, prayers or poems that have served you well during previous Lenten observances which you wish to share with other Geranium Farmers, please send them on to:

May your Lenten walk be profound and fruitful.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thoughts on Caretaking During a Time of Crisis

The following was sent to Barbara from Geranium Farmer Dr. Fred Turpin, minister and psychotherapist. Thank you, Dr. Turpin, for reminding those in leadership positions to care for themselves and others in times of austerity and personal isolation.

Subject: A personal letter for leaders of religious and community organizations

I want to relay a few thoughts to those of you who are ministers, priests or rabbis, or those of you who are in charge of various clubs and organizations. I don't need to tell you of the darkness that seems to be descending upon the world right now. Even Rupert Murdoch today said that nations will be redefined and futures altered. Things that we always assumed would never fail are falling apart with greater rapidity than anyone could have imagined even a couple of months ago.

As a minister and psychotherapist, I'm increasingly concerned about the psychological effects this will have on the people in our churches and temples, our neighbors and even ourselves. At this time it is difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel. I think it reasonable to expect that in times like this, we will see a number of people who retreat into their homes and suffer intensely from fear and despair. We will also see a large increase in homelessness, people going hungry, postponing necessary medical care, withdrawing into depression and considering suicide. Marriages and families are coming under added pressure. The repercussions with some people are quite severe, though may not always be noticed by neighbors or their religious community.

I know each one of you is doing some serious thinking about how your church, temple or organization can do a better job of tracking your members and recognizing when they withdraw or show symptoms of depression or dire need. This is the time when people need a sense of community-- need to be seen, recognized and appreciated.

Many organizations are drawing up a buddy system, so that if someone begins to withdraw, that is noticed and someone will follow up and possibly visit them. Now is the time when we need to have more church suppers or neighborhood gatherings, more evenings when meetings are organized and social activities are available and that everyone knows the doors of the church or temple are always open. Do whatever you can to increase a sense of community and family. Be alert for the signs when someone needs to be helped.

If there's one thing we know it is that our society has become far too oriented toward the individual, toward the idea that we should be self-sufficient. We just can't sustain that anymore. We now need to embody a deeper sense of belonging, and if it doesn't begin in our religious institutions and community organizations, where else will it happen?

I'm only putting into words the concerns which we all hold in our hearts and need to hear from every pulpit and put into action in whatever ways you deem best.

If there's any way that I can be of service to you or assist you in any way, please let me know. My prayers are with each of you during this difficult time. And we also need to be careful of our own danger of falling into depression or suffering from burn out. I'm here if you need me in any way. I wish you a deep sense of shalom. Fred

Dr. Fred Turpin
18 Lakeview Drive
Ridgefield, CT 06877

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