Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message
A Winter's Gift

  Tranquility. A new favorite word. I stumbled across it this morning. It sparkled out to me from something I was viewing. It seemed to describe a feeling I needed after the whole dramatic, action packed period of Thanksgiving through Christmas. Dare I say my resonance with this word was an “Epiphany!” An enlightening surprise! Since tranquility seems to be so elusive for us in these days and times.
Tranquility, a state of mind and heart that feels so good. Calm, peaceful, quite delicious. Antonyms (words of contrast) come to mind: agitated, antsy, bored, disturbed, depressed, distressed (perhaps any word that starts with “dis”). Just considering these dissonant words with calm detachment made me realize just how beautiful, restful and nurturing tranquility might be as an essential thread in one’s rhythm of life.
The word arose for me as I grazed through a website called “Artful Home” promoting objects that would contribute to a “serene mood.” Carefully selected the hand-crafted items intentionally evoked the quiet creative beauty of winter. They presented simple lines, white snow-like and pale coloring, serene designs, either soft or stark images but with a crystal-clear quality about the object within its environment. Each seemed visually resonate with a spacious serenity. I don’t need any more objects in my life, but I felt strangely drawn to, “at one” with some of them. As if my whole system sensed a need for something serene and tranquil as I transition from a difficult year gone by and pause at the threshold of a new one offering an unknown yet to come.
Of all of nature’s seasons, winter as a natural icon, has potential to offer a time and space to allow one’s self to experience tranquility. It’s not a showy, overtly busy time as nature is resting from producing things like leaves, blossoms, berries, new baby things that grow rapidly demanding a lot of attention. Winter is a time many animals hibernate while those still active must become seekers of hidden things, food sources that have been stored in anticipation of winter. It is a time when work seems to mostly happen below the surface, deeper within things. It’s a time of focusing on, re-discovering and accessing inner resources. It’s a time to experience a different kind of enrichment as what is essential in us develops organically, not through our “work,” but seemingly by that of some inner Source operating quietly in our interior. I’m reminded of the root structure of trees, vines, many plants whose ongoing growth and re-creation occurs in dark soil during winter while to all above ground appearances these living things appear at rest.
Like many I get restless in these often dreary, cold months in what is known as “the dead of Winter.” Also, impatient, as I anxiously await Spring, wondering if it will ever come. It’s a time of year when we seem especially vulnerable to sickness and poor health, both physically and mentally. We yearn to feel better, maybe escape south or anywhere to interrupt the monotony of grey days, depressing weather and the antsy-ness of spirit that often and without warning slithers into life.
 Perhaps the message that winter tries to offer any of us who feel dissonant with this time of year is that there is a surprise gift that may be uniquely available to us now: one of tranquility. Who knows exactly how it happens? Probably in different ways to different folks. But there are possible commonalities, pathways that in similar ways beckon us and then lead us towards such moments of grace. Or, moments that break suddenly, starkly and unannounced into whatever less than healthy state of heart or mind we are in. Gifted moments that simply drop in the lap of our heart, begging to be opened and enjoyed. In my experience such moments when I key into them are nourishing, sustaining and even enlivening. Such was a moment of grace for me this morning and all I know is I want more of them to interweave with the other “energies” of this rhythm of time we call life. This tranquil energy is just so amazing. Oh, how I want to welcome it again and again!
I sense a special invitation to all of us in this wintertime to reflect on ways to engage with this gift of peace and tranquility. Remember times you may have experienced it, savored it. How that felt and what you may have found were the “fruits” of the experience for you. If you are moved to do so, give voice to them; share your stories about those times with others. Consider how you might live in an invitational way, more open to such moments. And if you are so inclined please let me know what you discover. It may be hard to put such experiences into words and I know there is so much both in the world around us and in our inner world that can block our access to them. But I do know that the gift of them waits for us, hovering in the heart of some greater, all-encompassing Divine Energy that deeply desires Shalem (health and wholeness) and Shalom (peace) for all of us in a beloved Creation. And I believe that we were created to help each other along the Way to finding both. May it be so . . . .


Please share any feedback, comments, observations, reflections you may have as a result of reading these weekly messages. My hope is that they are "conversation starters" for you, the reader - that they stir up reflection and conversation for you with friends, family and maybe most importantly with "yourself" and in your personal prayer/reflection life. I really appreciate feedback and if you want to offer yours or share ideas with me please let me know though my personal and direct e-mail address:   torrence.harman@aol.com.  If you simply "reply" to the email address through which you receive the weekly Epistle it goes to our parish secretary, Lucy Baker, who might be interested in what you have to say, but then has to send it on to me. (However, special thanks to Lucy, the co-editor of the Epistle to whom deserves full credit for her creative designing of each edition, selection of photographs, etc.) Relative to the weekly "Message" your feedback is really helpful to me in stirring up ideas on themes as well as developing creative approaches to encourage these messages to serve as channels of God's grace and inspiration in all our lives. Incidentally, a couple of comments from one of you readers influenced this week's "Message" - not in this case as to theme, but as to more creatively allowing the theme to flow and engage folks.  Thanks to everyone who reads the Message and for those of you sharing comments
Last Sunday at Farnham & St. John's
Three Wise People and a Star
Torrence thanks all the "volunteers" who helped celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany!

3 wise people and a star
L to R - Stan Terhune, Jim Crowley, Miriam Sisson, and Brenda Harhai
St. John's
3 wise people & a star at StJ

L to R -
Hannah Tiffany,
Georges Saison, Jamie Heltzel,
Paul Heltzel.
Correction: Apologies to Ben Heltzel, superman in the Superhero Christmas Pageant. Last week, we listed him as Paul Heltzel in the pageant picture.
SUNDAY, JAN. 13th at 2:00 p.m.

"Sundays at Two" at the Lancaster Community Library in Kilmarnock

"Tidewater's Unhealed History" The Rev. Benjamin Campbell, speaker.

Ben is pastor emeritus of Richmond Hill, an ecumenical center in Richmond, and a pastoral associate at Richmond's St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Early in his ministry he served in parishes in the Northern Neck. He is author of "Richmond's Unhealed History" and has been a leading scholar, interpreter and facilitator in the study of race relations in central Virginia over many decades. Quoting from the Rappahannock Record, his book on unhealed history "examines the contradictions and crises that have formed the city over more than four centuries. He plans to tell a story from the perspective of the Chesapeake Bay where some of the world's greatest social and political ideals have been articulated and sometimes practiced." I have known Ben and his work for many years, plan to attend this local event and am confident attendees will find his presentation energetic and engaging in a way that will cause us to consider aspects of history that continue to have ramifications for our communities today. This opportunity is timely as 2019 represents the 400th anniversary of Africans to America in Virginia at Jamestown in 1619.
January 19th 2019

Meal Packing to support the children at New Hope School in La Mer Frappee, Haiti.

Rappahannock High School
10 to 12 noon
We will pack 30,000 meals 
$35 dollars per person to participate.
Checks should be made payable to Menokin Baptist Church .
Each $35 dollars pays for 857 meals!!! 

Please arrive 15min early to register and to take a GROUP PICTURE for the newspaper just before we start. 
We have 17 teams of 10 members but have a goal of 20 teams....So if you, your friends, or family want to participate, PLEASE COME . A few teams have more than 10 members so they need help making a second complete team of 10. 
9 are participating from Farnham and we have committed to 12. 
Please e-mail Courtney Sisson, if you will help.
BL&C (Bag Lunch & Conversation) will resume in January on Thursday, January 31 st (tentative date) with Warsaw Town Manager, Joseph Quesenberry bringing us up to date on "The Bottom" and other improvements in the Town of Warsaw. In February we will focus on Social Services in Richmond County, welcoming  Vanessa Livingstone, the Director, on Thursdays, Feb. 14 and 28 to provide us an overview on the broad range of services for which the Department is responsible on Feb. 14th and zeroing in on some of the specific areas in which the church and community may have an impact. The other two "open" Thursdays in February on Feb. 7 and 21 we will devote our time and conversation to the important topic of "The Role of Church and Volunteers in the Community: Action for Impact"
Bible Study Tuesdays Jan. 22 through Feb. 26
5:30 p.m.- supper; 6:15 - 7:30 p.m.- study
In this Winter series we will survey three remaining main areas in the Old Testament: the Psalms (Jan. 22 & 29), the Wisdom Literature focusing on Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon & Job (Feb. 5 & 12) and Introduction to the Prophets primarily focusing on the three major prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Feb. 19 and 26). If you were unable to participate in the Fall series, do not let that discourage you from entering this Winter series since we will be reviewing throughout some of the earlier material as it relates to the current topics. I look forward to having those of you who previously participated return to continue our study of the Old Testament. However, please everyone who plans on attending all or most of this Winter series let me know of your intent to do so for purposes of food and materials.  RSVP at  torrence.harman@aol.com  or 436-7591.
Annual Meeting Notices
Notice of Annual Meeting of the Congregation of St. John's Episcopal Church (Warsaw) to be held on Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 12:30 p.m. following the Sunday morning service. The Agenda will include approval of the 2019 Budget, Annual Meeting Reports and election of two vestry members for a three year term resulting from the rotation off the vestry of Anne Neuman and Priscilla Wellford.
Notice of Annual Meeting of the Congregation of N. Farnham Episcopal Church to be held on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. following the Sunday morning service. The Agenda will include approval of the 2019 Budget, Annual Meeting Reports and election of two vestry members for a three year term resulting from the rotation off the vestry of Ed Marks and Sue Crowley.
In the Church
Sunday January 13 th
Epiphany I

9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer
at Farnham

11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
at St. John's

Sunday January 20 th
Epiphany II

Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's

Sunday January 27 th
Epiphany III

Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's
Sunday February 3 rd
Epiphany IV

Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's
In the Parish Hall

Come Worship With Us

Sunday Service this week

9:00 a.m. Farnham Church Farnham

11:00 a.m. St. John's Church