Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message
“To see the world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.”
“If the doors of perception were cleansed,
 everything would appear to man as it is,
William Blake, poet, painter, printmaker, author of the above poetic lines was a seminal figure for what became known as the “Romantic Age” in literature and art. He was born in 1757 and died in 1827. His popularity did not truly emerge until after his death.
Mary Oliver, poet, writer, keen observer of the minute and vast, the ordinary and the infinite, well known and loved by many, died a couple of weeks ago on January 17, 2019. Born in 1935 during her lifetime she offered a special lens, microscopic at times, on the world within but mostly beyond the threshold of her home. In ways, I believe, her observations deeply resonated with the infinite and the eternal, as did Blake’s in his expression. They were both special messengers, opening their readers to worlds beyond our every-day seeing.  
Mary Oliver wove a luminous web of words and images, not in the way that poetry sometimes rhymes, in sound, that is. But there was something about the way she patched words together like ancient stones quietly lining a path to help shape the direction of one’s journey along it. She had a way of drawing her readers, her listeners, into the inner mysteries of life she was exploring through her unique lens on nature: the woods, ponds, paths just beyond her doorstep. Her doorways to what life was all about or could be were the living things all around her. Maybe a tree, a grasshopper, a weed, an iris, her dog Percy or a sparrow that joined her in her morning walk. These simple, exquisitely made living things were icons that drew her into the mystery of life, seeding a understanding that all life is inter-connected with an energy that flows through everything in creation, like a well-spring, offering its refreshment to those who will pause and drink of it. That something within all of nature wants to engage in conversation with us, offer clues on how to connect to some divinely created flow. That if we stop, look and listen, very present to the moment, we will discover that each part and parcel of what has been divinely created to have life has a message for us in how to live ours. At least that was her gift to me. Maybe to you too.
In a way, though I have never heard her described as such, she and what she offered was very Celtic. The ordinary seems to hold something very sacred. She drops into the infinite moment in a mindful presence that embraces and draws us, the readers, into the world she sees. And we move with her in a sense that all of life flows with the dynamic and inter-connected energy that brings life out of every beginning and every ending in every moment of it. Like any point on the iconic Celtic knot, endings simply flow into yet a greater understanding of the continuity of all life and the ultimate reality that new vision is founded moment by moment as it simply evolves out of what appear to be finite.
Mary Oliver was never named a Poet Laureate of any geographic place, like America or some more local entity, not in any formal sense. However, she became a poet laureate for our inner landscapes where mind and spirit, heart and soul live, move and form our being.
A few days ago, holding her death gently in my heart and soul, in thankfulness for her having opened doorways to deeper ways of seeing things and richer ways of living this “one precious and wild life” we each have been given, I journeyed through some of Mary Oliver’s poems that have accompanied me on my journey. You may remember some as I shared them in sermons or past Epistle Messages. I also searched the internet for her voice and listened to her moving sharing of the “mystery” which seemed to be the landscape designer for the tending of the garden she might consider her life. I was particularly drawn to several of her poems as I reflected on her passing into that infinite spaciousness that perhaps both she and Blake and many of the Celtic writers seem to offer through a lens that expands our consciousness, our views of the world around us and our place in it. They are messengers to and between our world and the larger world into which they have passed and are now exploring beyond a threshold waiting for all of us. I encourage you to “google” her name and locate some of her best-known poems or pick up one of the many books of them. But I have also linked here some of her poems that feel like they have a special message for us. Read, pause, reflect, inwardly digest. Start by just listening carefully and savoring the mysteries she opens herself and us to for ways to live our one, wild and precious life.                                                                        
Onward, moment by precious moment,

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.
Picture Credits for today's E-pistle:

Above wooded path picture is from Pinterest, as is the fruit picture, below. No copywrite infringement is intended. The Valentine bag picture is courtesy of Courtenay Altaffer.
B L & C Schedule
(Bag Lunch & Conversation)
Noon to 1:00 p.m. on Thursdays
We were able to reschedule Joesph Quesenberry for this Thursday, January 31 st at noon to discuss "The Bottom" and other improvements in the Town of Warsaw. Don't miss this!

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. 

In tonight's Bible Study : we finish up Psalms
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 .
All are welcome!
Community Outreach
As part of our opening our hearts to special folks around Valentine's Day in a "fruitful" way, on Sunday, Feb. 10th 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.
T he Annual Congregational Meeting for Farnham took place following the January 27th Sunday morning service. At that meeting we thanked Ed Marks and Sue Crowley for their service on the Vestry as they rotated off at the conclusion of their terms. Jim Crowley and Michael Sisson were elected to serve three years terms. The 2019 budget as presented by treasurer Jim Crowley was approved. Year end reports were given. If you were not present to receive the Annual Meeting packet, please pick one up in the parish hall on your next Sunday or contact Lucy Baker, the parish secretary to send you one. At the first meeting of the new Vestry, the following officers were elected: Senior Warden, Stan Terhune; Junior Warden, Ed Elliott; Register, Kim Calvert; Treasurer, Jim Crowley; Receipts Treasurer, Junius Berger. The Vestry reappointed Jim Crowley, Junius Berger and Ed Marks to continue to serve as Finance Committee. The Priest-in-Charge year-end report in the form of A Letter to the Congregation of Farnham Church was delivered during the Sunday morning service. It is linked here.
2019 Vestry Schedules
St. John's
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6:30 p.m.
Hinson Parlor and the second Wednesday each month thereafter
Wednesday Feb. 20, 7:00 p.m.
Parish House but the third THURSDAY each month thereafter
In the Church
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
Sunday February 10 th
Epiphany V

9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer at Farnham

11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
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