Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message

 “We are mosaics. Pieces of light, love, history, stars – glued together with magic and music and words.”   Anita Krizzan
I saw an article about Advent titled “Practicing Advent.” So, I thought about “practices” and maybe making a list of ones that might be helpful in Advent – little opportunities to experiment with (isn’t that something that practices imply) during this Advent journey in our liturgical calendar. A time travel that takes us up to and through the longest night of the year at the Winter Solstice. Then into a breathless pause for the mere length of three days as we wait, wondering what new light will be birthed into our lives this year when yet another Christmas morning is broken open with a birthing cry. I thought about a nice practical list of practices, good for Advent, or really any time of the year when dark and light, the twin images particularly associated with Advent, get confused and ambiguous in the life we are trying to live. Would such a list be of help in my Epistle message this week? Maybe.
But then something else came along. A last-minute decision on my part to attend a service of Advent Lessons and Carols at Grace Church Sunday night. It was night after a long day – the first Sunday of Advent – after services at both our churches, some afternoon activities, and the Richmond County Museum Tree of Love event in the old Richmond County Courthouse with the finale of lighting of a courtyard tree and Christmas carols as early night fell. I left Warsaw in the dark, my light beams high to catch any hint of deer peering out of the trees on either side of the road, just waiting to spring out to make their “Russian roulette” mad dash across the road in front of me. Tired, I almost turned off onto River Road and home, but something kept me going straight towards Kilmarnock and Grace and music and readings waiting to be threaded through a timeless Advent story.
It was a mosaic of the dark and light of a people waiting for deliverance. Pregnant with hope and expectation in a darkened world, ancient prophecies offered slivers of light. The turning of the passages seamlessly shifts in the third to fifth lessons beginning with Isaiah’s powerful words, “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God!” In the ninth lesson an angel appears with its usual message “Do not be afraid!” Is there something in this message for us two thousand years later as we ponder, as maybe Mary did, what’s to come in the yet to come after any laboring time that precedes new birth in life? 

It was the music beginning the service that set the Advent stage. It touched my heart and soul and messed with my mind that likes things neat and tidy and wants to impose predictability and some element of control over my life. In the first Prelude piece, the clear simple notes of a silver flute drifted through the sanctuary – a beautiful and wistful yet urgent “Prelude for Flute and Organ” drew us into the evening. My heart lifted, hope soared as it must have for so many over the years as they heard within the music promises of a “drawing near” of the One to come, as they watched and waited for the Christ light to pierce any darkness that felt like it was enveloping them. The silvery notes floated like a bird on the wing holding a branch of peace, promise and love circling high reaches of the sanctuary. The organ offered a delicate back light to the sounds of the flute.

Then another prelude piece followed, offering the power and pathos of an ancient exiled people. The organ, violin and flute took on the discordant notes of a grinding sadness - the desperation of a people deeply desiring to be set free, to be delivered from bondage, depression and despair, finding themselves in an alien land. It was powerful in its minor key, especially the organ, which seemed to mirror the groans of something dark, and I wondered how the strings of the violin would survive the stress of the bow as it wove in and out of and resonated with the strains of the organ.

On Monday, the morning after the Advent concert of Lessons and Carols, the words of a quote I had written on a slip of paper the last time I was at Shrine Mont seemed to call to me. A quote by Anita Krizzan out of a book of quotes I found in the bookstore there. The quote which began this Epistle Message. And I thought of what had happened with and to me on Sunday night. Leaving the service, I felt that I had really experienced (not practiced) Advent. Especially this year. Dissembled I come into Advent, seeking to be glued together by the magic of Christmas, being rearranged mosaic-ally with all the dark and light pieces that have come before, drawn to starlight and angels saying, “Be not afraid!” Words offered here because I believe, I am, like every one of you, called, yet again, to welcome new life into the world and to respond to it with love.

And about that idea of practices? Maybe this other one by Anita Krizan says it all: “Let your love crumble into an infinite amount of tiny precious seeds. Then plant love everywhere you go.”


Thursday Afternoon Fireside Tea & Chat

Drop by the Clopton Parlor

at St. John’s any time between 3 & 5 p.m. on Advent “Thursdays” (Dec. 6, 13, 20). A time to warm yourself beside the fire and enjoy a warm drink of tea, coffee or cider. Bring a friend if you like. No Agenda. Offered as a time-out from the busy-ness of the season for just time together.
December 9 th at 5 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church in Kilmarnock
The Cantori Choral Ensemble
(pictured above) from Williamsburg presents their Christmas Concert.
list of Christmas musical events in the Northern Neck area
St. John’s
Celebration of Angels & Light

will be held Sunday December 16 th at 3:00 p.m. We’ll gather in the sanctuary for a medley of special music, readings and lighting of candles as we celebrate the coming of the Christmas Light into a winter-darkening world. Our musicians will include Ben Cox on the organ, Arline Hinkson on the violin and Laura Rowe on the flute. Special guests will be the remarkable angels crafted by the talented artist, Kim Papanicolau. Kim will be with us to introduce us to the angels who will “star” at the “light” reception in Wellford Parish Hall following the service.
Monday, Dec. 17th 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. “ Winter Light
An Advent Quiet Morning at Farnham led by Torrence. This morning will offer a time apart during this busy season to reflect, refresh and renew your spirit in the beautiful historic sanctuary at Farnham. Some reflective readings will guide you in quiet time for journaling, reading, coloring, collage, other creative offerings or just sitting in silence. It is a time to just “be,” resting in the promise of coming Light. We will conclude with Noonday prayer followed by sharing over lunch. Led by Torrence. A $5 donation is requested to defray the costs of materials and lunch.
Farnham's ECW
is hosting
Caroling by the Bonfire
a potluck Chili and Potluck at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11th at Indian Banks, the home of Dean & Sandy Garretson, 2494 Simonson Rd., Farnham.
All are invited!

Their annual meeting and Greening the Church takes place in the Farnham Parish Hall on December 13th at 11:00 a.m.
St. John's ECW
will hold its December meeting at Sabine Hall beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11 th with lunch to follow at noon. This will be our
Christmas Luncheon
with a special guest attending!"
In the Church
Sunday December 9 th
2 nd Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. at Farnham
Morning Prayer

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

Sunday December 16 th
3 rd Sunday in Advent
Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

3:00 p.m. at St. John's
Celebration of Angels & Light

Monday December 17 th

9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Farnham

Winter Light
see description above
Sunday December 23 rd a
4 th Sunday in Advent
Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

December 24 th
Christmas Eve

Holy Eucharist

4:00 p.m. at Farnham

11:00 p.m.   at St. John ' s
preceeded at 10:30 p.m.
by a Christmas Carol sing

Link to
Farnham & St. John's
Schedule of
Advent &
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