Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message
“Another Poet”

It was several years ago – one rainy stormy night at St. Mary’s Whitechapel. A simple Celtic Evening Prayer Service before one of our Fellowship Supper Evenings. Not exactly like most Celtic services churches offer: no Holy Communion, no beautiful “live” music. Just a simple gathering, with some simple prayer poems from someone like John Philip Newell or John O’Dononue. The lyrical Celtic music instead streaming from an I-pod (if I managed to work it right) or slipping out of the old “boom” box that I tried to aim inconspicuously towards the folks gathered in old wooden pews within that simple seventeenth century space. 
Like any Celtic service, silence wove around the words, the prayers, the poems, the musical notes, embracing whatever was offered. At such times, in both silence and sound, hearts beat together in a rhythm to the life given each and seem to specially resonate within such sanctuary spaces holding heart, mind and spirit in sacred trust.
It was the sound of heavy rain swirling just outside that really wove its way into our time together. I remember in the middle of the brief service simply pausing, so drawn into the presence of nature raining down upon our little world, offering some wordless message for us. 
I don’t know how Mary Oliver, the poet featured in last week’s Epistle Message might write about such things. I am trying to remember and can’t if she ever wrote about rain and storms among all her poetry about nature. Not explicitly, perhaps, but when reading her poetry and pausing in some of the spaces among her carefully sculpted words, it’s there – messages about how to live. Messages offered in her observations about creation, the ordinary and the extraordinary, naturally weathering whatever happens within it.
But, back to our Celtic night several years ago. And, so, I paused, listening to the rain and wind and found myself quietly offering: “Can you hear the space between the raindrops?” That is what someone remembered and reminded me of many years later – that question that now, I believe, something Holy wanted spoken to remind us all that something holy and life-giving waits within silent spaces. That in the “spaces between” things there is a place of wordless communion.
There is a silent space between rain drops, falling snow flakes, musical notes in a piece that just breaks one’s heart open, and between the words in any prayer or poem. And if we are very present to it, something happens, something reaches out to us when we open into that space.
Last Thursday night I was at a program in which a young man shared his poetry and offered commentary on the question that had formed the evening’s focus: “Have words lost their meaning?” The question, poet Temple Cone presents, is a provocative one, like the poetry he read from pieces he had crafted over time. I took only some brief notes from his comments, because as he read his poems, I found myself closing my eyes, simply dropping from my analytical “head” into what I have come to call my “heart-space.” Really that whole space that I envision as the core of any of us and where an interior Voice, wordlessly and soundlessly waits for us. In reviewing my sketchy notes when I got home, I was drawn to four words he had strung together in an off-hand comment. “God dwells beyond words.” 
Temple is coming here to speak his poetry into our spaces at the invitation of St. John’s and Farnham during one of our Lenten community evening programs. Watch for further details.

And in the meantime, pause a lot. Be present to the moments of silence between all the busy-ness, the noise of life. Let there be space between you and all you do or that is done to you. Then listen, just listen. Practice listening. Let yourself find or be found by whatever is waiting for you in the silence. Then just simply resonate with and flow into what feels true and life-giving.

 image from Pinterest: no copywrite infringement intended   Torrence
Be it a scripture passage, a hymn, a written prayer, lyrics to a song, or a poem – anything in writing, it can be “prayed” in a special way. A Divine way, perhaps offering reflection and some new insight. If you are interested in trying this out here is a way to explore what really becomes a remarkable spiritual practice. Linked below are steps in “How to Ponder/Pray a Poem.” Pick out a favorite poem, or one of Mary Oliver’s shared in last week’s Epistle or the one I selected by Temple Cone offered at the end of the process instructions. You might also use this process with a favorite hymn or psalm or the lyrics to a favorite song. Enjoy!
The "Love Sermon" (1 Cor. 13:1-13) from Sunday February 4th
I had promised I would share in writing my sermon from last Sunday in this week's Epistle. However, since next week's Epistle will go out just before Valentine's Day, I am saving it ‘til then as a more timely share opportunity.  
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.
to see this week's Volunteer Requests
This Week
In tonight's Bible Study : we begin
the Wisdom Literature!
Bible Study Tuesday evenings. Supper provided at 5:30 ~ (it helps us to plan if we know you're coming & we ask for a $5 donation to defray costs) Study begins at 6:15 and tonight we begin Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. All are welcome!
B L & C Schedule
(Bag Lunch & Conversation)
Noon to 1:00 p.m. on Thursdays
Our February focus is on Social Services

Feb. 7 th  ~ Brenda Goddin will be sharing her personal reflections about working for several decades in Social
Services in Richmond and Essex Counties. 
Feb. 14 th  ~ Vanessa Livingstone, Director of Social Services for Richmond County. 
Feb. 21 st ~ The Role of Church and Volunteers in the Community: Action for Impact.
Feb. 28 th  ~ Vanessa Livingstone, Director of Social Services for Richmond County. 
St. John's Community Outreach
this Sunday bring fresh fruit!

As part of our opening our hearts to special folks around Valentine's Day in a "fruitful" way, on Sunday, Feb. 10 th we will gather after the 11 a.m. service at St. John's in the parish hall to put together bags of fresh fruit as Valentine Gifts to include some of the people in the community around us who might enjoy a gift packed with love. So please bring fresh fruit (apples, pears, oranges, grapes, bananas, etc. for this project. Any left-overs will be donated to The Haven.
Thanks to the St. John's Sunday School kids and Danni Jones for painting the fruit bags last Sunday. Lucy Baker photo.
Celtic Services

St. Stephen's, Heathsville
5:30 p.m. this Sunday, February 10 th
with Arline Hinkson on Violin

Grace Church, Kilmarnock
5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17 th
with Torrence Harman giving the reflection.
In the Church
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
Sunday February 24 th
Epiphany VII

Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's
Sunday March 3 rd
Epiphany VIII

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