Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Message
Advent 1 - "Winter Weather"
It was warm and sunny in Charlotte, N. C. where daughter Torre, son-in-law Dave and I joined in with his family’s afternoon Thanksgiving gathering last week. Mid-afternoon mid 60’s weather offered no hint of the wintertime our landscape was Falling into. The Thanksgiving food feast over, the evening turned colder. We drifted toward the circle of Adirondack chairs surrounding the backyard firepit, a favorite family gathering place. Warmed by the blazing bonfire as I listened to their conversation, the recounting of the stories of a family that had embraced me on this holiday when I was far from my homeplace, I felt part of something timeless, lulled into contentment, fullness, and peace.

Dave, Torre, and I, along with Wally their Basset Hound (of course family dogs were part of the gathering) left Charlotte a little late that night for our trip back to Torre’s and Dave’s home in the “high country” of Boone in the mountains of western North Carolina. Winter met us along the way as the weather turned, cold and blustery. The wind picked up, rain pelted the car as we wound our way along the higher roadways up the mountain through Blowing Rock and then further up into Boone. 

 Wally, who prefers ground beneath his feet over riding in moving vehicles in any weather, crawled from Torre’s lap in the front passenger seat through the open console to the back seat where I was tucked away and tried to sprawl out in my lap. I characterize Wally’s demeanor and behavior when on solid ground, as extroverted, buoyant, attentive, and protective of his humans. Moving cars make him nervous and unusually quiet – but heavy weather messing with our travel that night in the darkness really unnerved him, as he moved around seeking sanctuary to hunker down and wait out the journey home. Reaching home, finally, everyone headed for bed. 

I was the first up the next morning, headed downstairs to greet the early morning, dawn just beginning to emerge over the mountain ridge that rings Boone. Torre and Dave’s house, perched on the side of the mountain overlooking Boone offers an amazing view at any time of year, but this morning’s view was primal and stunning. Winter had broken into our world overnight. On the inside of large windows framing my view outward, I sheltered in place but felt enveloped in the unfolding drama. Trees swayed in the cold wind rolling over the mountain ridge. Trunks bending, starkly dark limbs, outlined against a grey sky, moving, dancing as if to some primal drumbeat only they could hear sounding from a center deep within the mountain. The wind, almost bruising, strained the foundation of the trees whose network of roots, intertwined, strained back, holding on for dear life to that mountainside in which they are grounded. Rock formations also rooted in the mountainside stood firm, but subject to inescapable wind and water weathering subtly but surely sculpting their hardness over time into what they were meant to become. I wondered if they trembled to the touch of the cold and the wind as I experienced a kind of quiet compassion rising deep within me. A heavy cloud cover hovered over the landscape as a sunrise struggled to brush the mountainsides with its golden touch. 
After a moment or two I sensed another presence join me as I felt warm breath brushing my ankles. I was not alone. I looked into Wally’s eyes as he looked up at me, seeming to say, “I’m with you too.” And, in that exchange I sensed our shared understanding that we, small, insignificant creatures were in the presence of something much larger, very intentional holding us, sheltering us, offering us sanctuary in a timeless still center point.

Biblically, mountain experiences offer epiphany moments. I go back and will over time go back again and again to the landscape I found myself on last Friday, the morning after Thanksgiving. When I found myself held in a timeless, mesmerizing space as the stunning power of Creation unfolded around me. At the still center point of that experience, I know I was made aware of the reality that heaven and earth are not separate “zones” but intertwine either subtly or dramatically. Experiencing a knowing, at least for some moments in the human-made construct of our time on earth that we are always in the presence of a Creator of all that was and is and yet will be. A Universal Timeless Sacred Holy Oneness. And that we are not just onlookers, but integrally entwined within a timeless design that cycles through the seasons of our landscapes, not just the geographic ones but those within the body and soul of all living things. When things Fall away and Winter breaks in, deep within the earth of our being life seeded to emerge again shelters, waiting for that moment it feels stirrings into new life. That warm winds and gentler weather and the sun breaking through a steel grey winter sky will come over and over again in our Creator’s timeless design to awaken us to a Spring arising and a Summer becoming. 
In this Advent season may we awaken to this knowing
and prepare for this becoming.

Advent Bonfire at Farnham for N. Farnham/St. John's parishioners and friends this Sunday afternoon (12/5)
from 4 - 5:30 p.m.

Outdoors Social time
Dress warmly
Bring a folding chair
Masks optional since we will be outdoors
Invite friends - your friends are welcome
Upcoming Services
Sunday, Dec. 5th  
2nd Sunday of Advent


10 a.m. Service of Holy Eucharist

St. John's
followed by 11:45 a.m. Zoom service
Sunday, Dec. 12th
3rd Sunday of Advent

10 a.m. Service of Morning Prayer

N. Farnham
followed by 11:45 a.m. Zoom service
Sunday, Dec. 19th  
4th Sunday of Advent

10 a.m. Service of Holy Eucharist

St. John's
followed by 11:45 a.m. Zoom service
Friday, Dec. 24th  
Christmas Evest

Service of Lessons & Carols with Holy Eucharist

Farnham - 4:00 p.m.

St. John's -10:30 p.m.

The Parish Prayer List
for those in need of God's comfort and healing:
Courtenay Altaffer
Ford Becker
Junius Berger
Martha Berger
Allison Boever
Sue Bowie
Sallie Cox
Julie Crews
Lynn Elliott
Constance Edwards
Bob File
David Gallagher
Carlton George
Dorothy Grove
The Rev. Howard Hanchey
Kelsey Heidenreich
Billy Hooper
Rebecca Hubert
Marcia Jenkins
The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee
Susan Lewis
Frank Lynch
Tommy Neuman
Judi Newman
Matt & Melissa Porter
James Rynd
Debbie Belfield Stacks
Scott Strickler
Waldy Sulik
Billy Tennyson
Roclyn Tennyson
Elizabeth Valentine
Tyler Walker
John Welch, II
Nancy Wilson
Matthew Yates
Rose Mary Zellner
and the victims of COVID-19.
and for those serving in our armed forces:
Royce Baker
David Berger
Ryan Berger
Allen Crocker
Randy Crocker
Court Garretson
Cameron Heidenreich
Dan Heidenreich
Charles Jones
Daniel Kirk
Mark Lawton
Scott Longar
Luis Loya
Gavin Wade McClung
Christopher Strickler
We also pray for those who have died.
Upcoming Birthdays & Anniversaries
Nov. 30th- Mary & Waldy Sulik
Dec. 1st - Brenda Harhai
Dec.3rd - Micheline Conn
Dec.3rd - Chris Slater
Dec.9th - Vanelia Gallagher Dec. 9th – Elena Milsted
16th – Torrence Harman
17th - Brother Mark Jenkins
Dec. 30th-Lynn & Ed Elliott
Please send pictures and updates to the prayer list to parishchurchnews@gmail.com
link to or sign up to receive the meditation by e-mail.
The Episcopal Church
Welcomes You!

This Sunday at 10 a.m. we are having an in-person indoor service of Holy Eucharist at St. John's, Warsaw followed by an 11:45 a.m. Zoom service. A link to on-line service may be found here.
North Farnham Church
St. John's Church

Background image courtesy of Saana Baker at the Textile Eye.