Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message
A couple of images from the past week are especially lingering for me this week. As always, if an image lingers for a while, I gather it has some message for me. It has feelings and thoughts around and about it that give it staying power. Most images that accumulate for me during ordinary times simply shimmer a bit then fade gently away, but every now and then one or more are stubborn and won’t. Even if later quietly stored in this amazing maze we consider our brain, such an image has a habit of popping up at a surprising moment, even years later. Probably because, though stored elsewhere, some part of it is indelibly imprinted on my heart.
Saturday in the local high school gym over 300 men, women and children gathered. Each had been asked to give $35 and a couple of hours of their Saturday morning to assemble bags of soup ingredients that would be sent around the world. We crowded onto bleachers,  

watched a video about a day in the life of a young girl and her family in Haiti, nine members of the family living in a one room home. We watched her carry a day’s worth of water in a large yellow plastic can balanced on her head to her home from a distribution center in the town. Saw her in school and an open-to-the-elements church. Watched water and dried soup ingredients mixed together to make soup for mealtime. 
Then we packaged dried ingredients for 30,000 meals. Each packet held enough for 6 meals, one per day for six days. The twelve plus of us from Farnham and St. John’s with a few from other groups, assembly line fashion gathered around a U-shaped table. Each of us had a task: pouring, bagging, weighing, sealing, etc. My first job was to weigh each small plastic bag which had started out with Miriam Sisson carefully pouring a little plastic scoop of dried vegetables in, followed by others adding scoops of soy powder, other dry ingredients and finally rice. My job: to make sure each bag contained only 390 to 395 grams of ingredients. Mind you, I said “grams” not “ounces.” And to add or remove grains of rice to make sure there were no less, no more than that number of grams. Most bags arrived needing more, but if they were too heavy or I had
added too many grains of rice to try and reach the optimal number of grams, I had to remove grains of rice. I don’t have adequate words to share how I felt when I had to remove ingredients. As I measured out a gram or two of rice from (not into) the heavier bags, I found myself counting grains, imagining the spoonful or two of soup that would not be available to a child somewhere around the world. My hand trembled at the thought, so did my heart. Who was I to deny a spoonful of soup? I’m here to give not take away. 
Sunday evening, I attended the Celtic Service at Grace. Though I love what I do on Sunday mornings, there is something in me that sometimes just hungers to sit in a pew and be fed by others. Janice Thomas, the wife of the Interim Rector there, gave the reflection in which she shared a heart touching story about a mission trip she had been on in Haiti. I found myself traveling back to my experience of the day before in the high school gym, images of the young girl in Haiti, a pot of soup. But also, fourteen years ago, to February 2005, leading a mission trip for St. James’s Richmond to the Dominican Republic and a day we fed almost sixty children on a mountain top in one of the poorest areas outside of San Pedro Sula. To get to the little village we left our hotel in San Pedro each morning (of course after breakfast) crossed through check points guarded by military with Uzis and drove to the mountain village and little church which needed our help. It was a powerful experience and images from that week will never leave me. There was a little girl, about eleven years old who attached herself to me, followed me constantly everywhere I went in the village, with everything I did.  I remember our last day there on the top of the mountain overlooking the village. On that mountaintop we fed almost sixty children with food we had brought expecting only twenty or thirty. My little shadow friend didn’t eat, but instead went around distributing food to the other younger children. 
When it came time on Sunday evening to light a candle during the Celtic service, I touched the wick of one of the votives with the flame of the lighter. As the candle caught and glowed, I saw her face, framed with her dark hair, her eyes, her moving among the children feeding them.   She has been stored, her image, somewhere deep in my inner being, as clear and defined as if only yesterday. Fourteen years passed away in a heart flash. She would be about 25 years old now. I prayed for her. Her name has faded over time, but she hasn’t and never will. The image of holding in my hand a few grains of rice on Saturday morning will probably never fade either. Somehow, for me and for all of us who are human and need sustenance for life, I sense both images have something to do with a hunger, not just of the body but also of the heart, to feed and be fed. And somehow God uses that hunger in image lingering ways to call us into divinely graced serving that does both.


photos courtesy of Courtenay Altaffer & Torrence Harman
To communicate feedback, comments, observations, or reflections you may have as a result of reading these weekly messages, click here to E-mail Torrence directly. She welcomes the dialog, as it stimulates her creative process. A reply to this E-pistle goes to the church secretary.
Last Weekend at Farnham & St. John's

John Barber's birthday party
at St. John's on Sunday
only a PSALM will do!

Our Winter Series Bible Study will start out with a study of the Book of Psalms tonight and next Tuesday, January 25th.  

I realize that on a particular Bible Study night someone might not be able to come, so each Tuesday I will provide some written material ( Timeline & Psalms ) to keep you up to date with the group, along with an "exercise" you can do to experience some of what the gathered group is doing. This might also be something those of you unable to be with us at all during this series could enjoy doing as "learning at home." Looking forward to journeying with you through the Psalms, Wisdom Literature and the Prophets in the weeks to come.   
B L & C
BL&C (Bag Lunch & Conversation) resumes this Thursday, January 24 t h with Warsaw Town Manager, Joseph Quesenberry bringing us up to date on "The Bottom" and other improvements in the Town of Warsaw. Don't miss this!
volunteers needed for shamrock soiree

We will be having a meeting for all volunteers interested in helping out with this event on Monday, January 28th at 5 pm at our administrative office. If you would like to RSVP for this meeting please contact Gabrielle Allen at   gabrielle.allen@havenshelter.org. 

Also, if you are interested in attending the event please use the following link:
Annual Meeting Follow-up & Reminder
At its Annual Congregational Meeting on Sunday St. John's gave thanks for the dedicated and excellent work of outgoing vestry members, Anne Neuman and Priscilla Wellford and elected Courtenay Altaffer and Sandy Wade Hagan to serve three year terms on the Vestry. At its first meeting following the Annual Meeting the new vestry elected the following officers to serve St. John's for 2019: Senior Warden, Barbara Jean LeFon; Junior Warden, Courtenay Altaffer; Register, Mercer O'Hara; Receipts Treasurer, David Gallagher;, Disbursements Treasurer, Anne Neuman; Endowments Treasurer, Ben Cox. The Annual Meeting packet of Reports is available in the parish hall for those who have not received one. My Annual Report in the form of a "Letter to the Congregation of St. John's" is available in that packet but also linked here.  St. John's has an exciting year ahead of us and a wonderful congregation to work together and live into it, thanks be to God.

Sunday, Jan. 27th is the Annual Congregational Meeting for Farnham
During my "sermon/message" time at our Service of Morning Prayer at 9 a.m. I will deliver my report in the nature of a "Letter to the Congregation"
After the service we will move to the Parish Hall for Coffee Hour Reception and the meeting.
The two Agenda items requiring a congregational vote are: 1) the election of two vestry members for a three year term as Sue Crowley and Ed Marks rotate off the Vestry. The two nominees are Jim Crowley and Michael Sisson; 2) the review and approval of Farnham's 2019 Budget which will be presented by Treasurer Jim Crowley. Other reports will be offered verbally or be present in your Meeting materials.
After the Congregational Meeting there will be a brief meeting of the new vestry to elect the 2019 officers and designate the dates of the monthly Vestry meetings.
In the Church
Sunday January 27 th
Epiphany III

Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. at Farnham
followed by annual meeting
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

Sunday February 10 th
Epiphany V

9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer at Farnham

11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
at St. John's
Sunday February 17 th
Epiphany VI
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