Farnham & St. John's
The Weekly Message
Each Sunday in Advent our church bulletin highlights a word for the coming Advent week. Last Sunday the word for this week: “Peace.”

Recently, as I was going through a lot of writings that I have saved over the years, I came across an old piece I had written just after my trip to the Middle East in May 2014, just before ISIS emerged on the Middle East and world scene that Fall. I believe I originally shared it as my newsletter message for the churches I was then serving. The world was in unrest then. It still is. I share it now with you, five years later as we await the birth of the Prince of Peace in a world that seems so bent on non-peace.

Since returning from the Middle East the end of May and following the spiraling events there in the months that followed, I have become more and more aware of a deep and abiding need for peace.

Jesus, appearing to his disciples after his resurrection, breathed peace on them saying, “My peace I give to you; my peace I leave with you.” As we look around us today, we wonder, “Just where is that peace?”

How often in my prayer life, past and present, have I sought the Lord and asked for him to bring peace into the world – whether the world of family (mine or others), community, church, nation, or the “whole” world. Perhaps this is why during the past several months a sustaining and yet challenging image for me has been a picture known as the “Compassion Mandela.” It is placed here as an image for this message. It is considered an “Icon” for our times.
An icon is an image that serves as a window for contemplation. It draws the heart into openness and the mind into reflection. It is less about the two-dimensional picture and more about the multi-dimensional within, behind and even beyond the image. As the eye lights on an image and then draws that image through the pupil and inward to be contemplated and interpreted by the mind, so does an icon act as a passageway into the amazing labyrinth of the mind. 

We associate our mind with our brain. The brain has been viewed variously throughout human history. One of the views is of the brain/the mind as a control center. This is way too simplistic a description but resonates with how we often experience it. We talk about being closed-minded or open-minded. We use our mind to interpret, select and then pass information to the rest of our internal systems that sustain and nurture our “wholeness” as a human being. Or our mind can deny, repress, ignore, limit and reject information, block what is to be passed on. Sometimes this may be the healthier response, but the shadow side of this is a blocking that can diminish the whole of us and our responses to and with events and people around us.

Of course, the heart (supposedly the seat of emotion), like the mind, can control/dictate how we respond to external stimuli. Those responses can be positive or negative – think of Cain killing Abel and other negative behaviors that result when anger, jealousy, rage, fear, take control of us and lead to actions that are life diminishing, not life enhancing.
The healthiest approach is an integration of heart and mind: a weaving together of reason and emotion, each serving the other so that our responses to what is going on around us are holistic.

Compassion arises when the heart calls us to respond, when the mind embraces its creative potential and when reason and emotion join together to fashion a response that enables us, not blocks us, to respond in positive, active, creative ways.

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,” is not simply an idealistic hope but a prayer which we offer up in recognition that peace-making needs to happen within us. Then be allowed to radiate out as we respond in holistic ways to the world around us. What is needed in each of us for peace to become a reality is a heart that desires it, a mind that seeks it and responsiveness to the guidance of our Companion on the Way. May that be so in our lives.
                                                            Be at peace . . . . 


"Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures."   (John F. Kennedy)

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."  (Jimi Hendrix)

"When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed."  
(Mr. Rogers)
Last Week at Farnham & St. John's
G wynne Tayloe lighting the Advent candles at St. John's
Anne Neuman photo

< Pass It Forward staff photo

background photo of Clouds over the Rappahannock also a staff photo

Compassion Mandala by Robert Lentz photo, above, from Trinity stores. Copies available on T-shirts and other merchandise.No copyright infringement intended.
"A Forward Pass"

No, I'm not talking about football. Just sharing how some of the dollars St. John's and Farnham folks have given to the St. John's/Farnham Discretionary Fund were "passed forward" recently to warm and brighten some other folks' Christmas. A Christmas mug, a packet of hot chocolate mix, two candy canes, a couple of plastic "Dollar Tree" poinsettia blossoms, a $25 WalMart gift card and some prayer and conversation time reflecting on how God fills our cup and lets it "runneth over" touching those around us. Pass completed, touching down at the Warsaw Manor Senior Center first Wednesday gathering on December 4th while Sandy Hagan, senior center members and Torrence shared a little Christmas prayer/reflection time together.
Farnham ECW is selling beautiful Merry Christmas Red potted amaryllis bulbs. This is in lieu of our traditional sale of Christmas wreaths. They are priced at $20 each and make lovely gifts as well as great Christmas decor for your home!

Since this is the first year we are doing this, we have produced a limited supply, so order early. To purchase, call (804) 925-5599 or (301) 627-2843 .
Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay
The St. John's ECW ladies will meet this Friday, December 13 th at Wellford Hall at 2:00 to make centerpieces for tables and cemetery sprays to be sold at the Warsaw Festival Market as well. Greens will be provided. Please mark your calendar and let Priscilla Wellford know if you plan to attend.
If you are interested in having a poinsettia on the altar at St. John's for Christmas Eve in memory or honor of someone you love and haven't spoken to her already, please call Mercer O'Hara at (804) 333-1760 or 761-9542
Don't Forget
Torrence's Tea Time!
December 12 th

at 3:30 p.m.

in Clopton
Parlor at
St. John's.

All are

In the Church
Sunday December 15 th
Holy Eucharist

3 rd Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Sunday December 22 nd
Morning Prayer

4 th Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

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

Tuesday December 24 th
Holy Eucharist

4:30 p.m. at Farnham
Christmas Celebration & Holy Eucharist

10:30 p.m. at St. John's
Christmas Eve Service & Holy Communion

Sunday December 29 th
(5th Sunday)

Lessons & Carols

10:00 a.m. at Farnham

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