Farnham & St. John's
The Weekly Message
 "Being Mindful"
There got to be a rhythm to what we were doing. Tables organized in big U shapes around the huge room. Ten folks of diverse sizes, ages, etc. per side of the U. Eighteen members of Farnham and St. John’s present around one of the tables. The rhythm: fit a bag to the bright yellow funnel; scoop 1 (dehydrated veggies); scoop 2 (protein powder); big scoop 3 (soybean) ; big scoop 4 (rice); bag removed; bag on tray; bag weighed; scoop again in or out to make the weight; bag sealed; bag placed on table; bag moved to an open spot on squared mat; bags packed in waiting box; box sealed; team shout out, “YEA!”
Whoever came up with the idea of the assembly line was brilliant. Three hundred men, women and children from churches and organizations in and around Richmond County, two hours later, 45,000 meals packed and ready to go to Haiti. It was the annual meal packing event for mission to Haiti organized by members at Menokin Baptist Church. They had the idea; we all came together, responded, whatever our origins. That’s how you make three hundred people. That’s how you make 45,000 meals in two hours. Together.
At the end I walked around the stacked packing boxes, full of nutrition destined for faraway men, women and children we would never meet, but who didn’t have enough – nutritious food or other things. Hearts, handprints, stars, words of love and encouragement were sprinkled on the outside of the boxes – magic marker designs mostly by kids who wanted the outside of the boxes to know “someone cares.” They seemed to know that kind thoughts and words of goodness and hope, between strangers, might be as nourishing as what was packed inside. When the goal was met, who in that high school gymnasium didn’t feel excited? Tired, but on a high – riding the wave of joyful energy that flowed through that room. We did it!!! Together we had done something that mattered, really mattered.
I’m sure I wouldn’t want to be one cog in an assembly line like this eight hours a day, day after day, but there are those who find such over and over again work a way to earn a living, achieve a purpose to be a positive in their life. There’s something calming and soothing about such routine, over-and-over again action. In the rhythm of our work that morning, there was a focus on each task we assigned ourselves to individually. Also an awareness of how our one seemingly small task interrelated with the seemingly small task of others around us. That it made so much more sense to work together. That we had to focus on the person (his or her action) on either side of us if together we were to meet the goal of the morning: 45,000 meals for hungry people in Haiti. Rhythm assumes there are parts working together cooperately. And that the key to this happening is an intentional awareness of the need and dignity of each of the parts. Rhythm happens when the actions and orientation of the distinct parts is mindful – working respectfully of the unique but needed action of all involved.
I came away from last Saturday with a renewed, desired awareness to key in more often to the rhythm of my life. And the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a funny word. It seems to describe a mind full of a lot of things. And my experience of a mind full of so much is that it seems to make me feel either anxious from time to time or overwhelmed. I see this in other folk too, their response to the “too muchness” of life at times. However, mindfulness is basically an orientation to life in which, at least from time to time, we need to simply let ourselves be filled as fully as possible with the moment at hand. To simply be present with what or who is right there in the moment with us. It’s about fullness but focused on the here and now, not everything that has happened before or, just as distressing, all the possible yet-to-come aspects of life. Research shows that times of mindfulness can help us be calm, less anxious, more productive. Neurologically, our brains benefit from resting in the present moments. Also that our entire system can benefit from routine, rhythmic actions. Our systems respond well to rhythm and predictable routine positive happenings which we can trust will happen repetitively. Think of rhythms in nature: the seasons, the sun setting and rising, again and again, the tides, ebbing and flowing, in and out, sleeping and waking. Think of activities that seem to soothe and calm the mind, body and soul: knitting, rocking,
sawing and hammering. There’s just something about repetition and rhythm that brings about a harmony of mind, body and spirit, both for an individual and for individuals doing and being together.

However, we also need to be mindful of the harm that can come from rhythms and repetitions that are negative. They can groove into our minds and hearts as surely as the positive ones. And what damage they can do! Negative rhythms, especially when done in harmony with others, or in repetitive actions, create dissonance, fracture and increase dis-ease. Positive rhythms lead to re-pair; negative rhythms lead to dis-pair. Such are our times, so much negativity in the present moments of the world around us that we need to be carefully mindful of what we are doing and how we are presenting to the world around us. May we be, like the boxes waiting to be distributed from our meal packing day last Saturday headed out into the world, be filled with nutritious and healthful contents, and may we boast labels of goodness and love. Let’s work together to make goodness, kindness and love be the goal. This has to happen: now!

By God’s amazing grace, may it be so

Torrence pictures, including
background photo of dried vegetables, courtesy of Torrence Harman.
Poem of the Week

The following poem, originally titled "The Work of Christmas is by Howard Thurman.  
It is offered below re-titled as a call to action.

"Epiphany and Beyond - Onward" 
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations 
To bring peace among sisters and brothers,
To make music in the heart.
Last Week at Farnham & St. John's
At St. John's, the blessing of trees which are being taken down.
Socks worn on Sunday by our wonderful musician, Arline Hinkson, who played violin at both churches. Thank you, Arline!
and at Farnham...
Kudzu! Gone but not forgotten!
It's taken at least three years at Farnham to address the Kudzu issue bordering our cemetery and church yard grounds on two
sides. Creeping, creeping, spreading above and below ground. Creeping along the ground and even into some of our trees. Heading, if successful, into the graveyard.  Kudzu is greedy, oh yes - a take over whatever is near it or gets in its way type. Thanks to the dedicated commitment of several Junior Wardens and most recently Ed Elliott, the Kudzu is gone. Roots probably linger underground, but we are told can be managed away over time. Thanks to our churchyard maintenance grounds company and their big machines that took on the Kudzu and won! St. John's photos courtesy of Anne Neuman. Farnham's, Torrence.
The RAPPAHANNOCK CONCERT ASSOCIATION www.rappahannockconcerts.org  
proudly presents...  
The Strings Crewe
18 Violin, Viola & Cello
Musicians aged 6-12 in Concert at
Farnham Episcopal Church (a 1637 restoration with superb acoustics)
on Feb. 2 nd at 2:00 p.m.
20 + C + M + B + 20

Curious about what this stands for?

Come and see as Brother Mark leads us through a New Year's "Chalking of the Door" at St. John's this Sunday, January 26th at Coffee Hour.
Also playing in the concert are their instructors:
Mei-Li Beane, Violin/Viola. Mrs. Beane studied music at Rutgers University, the Conservatory of Seville, Spain and the College of William and Mary from which she holds a degree. She is a member of the Northern Neck Orchestra and has played with several orchestras and ensembles. 
Rebecca Young, Cello. Mrs. Young graduated from Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA where she
studied cello and graduated with a degree in Music Education.  She taught public school music in Ohio and New Jersey, and played with the Akron POPS Orchestra .
Paul Lindsay, Violin/Viola . Retired as Music Director for the Appomattox Governor’s School, Mr. Lindsay is a Julliard graduate and former member of the US Navy Band. He teaches Crewe students in Warsaw at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
At St. John's Annual Meeting last Sunday, January 19th, Paula Milsted and Priscilla Wellford were elected to three year terms on the Vestry. Paula Milsted was elected as a Trustee of the Church to serve along with Ben Cox and Anne Tayloe Neuman. At a meeting of the new vestry following the Annual Meeting the following officers were elected:
Courtenay Tayloe Altaffer (Senior Warden); Priscilla Wellford (Junior Warden); Arline Hinkson (Register); Anne Tayloe Neuman (Disbusements Treasurer); David Gallagher (Receipts Treasurer); Ben Cox (Endowments Treasurer).
In the Church
Sunday January 26 th

3 rd Sunday after the Epiphany

Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Sunday February 2 nd

4 th Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

2:00 p.m. Strings Crewe Concert
Sunday February 9 th

5 th Sunday after the Epiphany

9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer
at Farnham

11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist at St. John's
Sunday February 16 th

6 th Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Mark Your Calendar

Come Worship With Us
Sunday Service this week

9:00 a.m. at Farnham Church

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

Farnham Church
St. John's Church