Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message
Epiphany Seeing The Light

Today, January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany in our Christian calendar of big events during any given year. Epiphany is all about “light” – how the light that comes into our world as revealed to us at Christmas breaks through whatever the world is experiencing. Calling us to open to that Light, let it break into our lives and illumine the way forward. The season of Epiphany tracks the coldest wintery time of the year – January and February. Then takes a turn on Ash Wednesday which falls this year on February 17th. Ash Wednesday serves as the gateway into our annual season of Lent. The season of Epiphany calls us to seek and find where the light is slipping through, breaking into our days. This Epiphany time leading up to Ash Wednesday may not feel warmer, but it offers us a time of subtly increasing light. And, if we seek it, it will let us find it: light to guide us on the way ahead.

 It is critical that we do everything we can to honor and embrace this season of Epiphany we find ourselves in now – to explore, embrace and use the light it offers. During this time, we watch the light in our natural cycle of night and day increase day by day – a phenomenon of nature which occurs every year in its natural yearly cycle beginning at the turning point of the Winter Solstice which occurred on December 21, 2020. I am reminded of the Celtic Christian tradition that offers such an important image of the interweaving of our spiritual lives and that of nature. That tradition encourages us to read, mark and inwardly digest the teachings in two “books” – the Book of the Bible as Holy inspired in scripture and the Book of Creation as Holy created in nature. 

The season of Epiphany and its focus on light breaking through and into our world and our day to day life is an important prelude to the season of Lent. Lent is a time when we need all the light we can get to sort through life, to de-clutter, throw out the rubbish and debris that has accumulated over the past year (or more), “clear the decks” and “clean house” so to speak. So that we are more open and ready to receive the gift of resurrected, renewed, reformed, renovated life at the end of Lent when Easter breaks through the deadened areas of our lives and gives us the opportunity to bloom again.

A new year 2021 offers us a threshold time during this liturgical season of Epiphany to shine our Epiphany light both back over 2020, a year that we have experienced as crowded with troubled, infected, dis-eased, dis-orienting events. And to shine the light forward onto the new year 2021.
A photograph my grandson, Dean, took last year when he was traveling in the Southwest U. S. shows the sun breaking through a crevice formed by the rocky landscape in which the lens of the camera caught the sun and its piercing rays. You cannot tell if it is a picture of a sunset or a sunrise unless you are told in which direction the lens of the camera was pointing. I like that uncertainty for this day marking the Feast of the Epiphany. This feast day marks the time when the Wise Ones from the East following starlight arrived at the foot of a manger where the Christ Light had been born. Humbling themselves before that Light, they paid homage to it, laid their gifts before it, then turned to journey onward. Today marks a turning point for them in their story and for us in ours. Sunrise, sunset. Both are offered in this turning moment of the Light of Revelation an Epiphany moment presents. Sunset on ways past, sunrise on new possibilities. Starlight can guide during nighttime, sunlight during daylight. Reflections on 2020 offer both – 2021 will offer both.  

Today offers an interesting time of reflection as we pause on the threshold of the feast of Epiphany and consider the sunset/sunrise cycle that we live within. Perhaps we can use the light to help us look forward by facing both back on the old and ahead to the new. Like Janus, the ancient god for whom January took its name, as he is shown with his face “facing” in both directions, with eyes facing back and eyes facing front.

So, here is a exercise using this Epiphany light, as, like the Wise Ones, we stand at the threshold of the journey to this moment. Using our Epiphany light, shine it back over 2020. What was the darkness like for you during that time? What moments, what events stirred uneasiness, uncertainty, anxiousness, lack of clarity, dis-ease (things that nighttime and darkness can give rise to within us) during 2020 for you and for the world around you? Consider and name them. However, were there also pinpoints of light (intense as if from a guiding star? If so, remember them, identify them. 

The Wise Ones then turned to leave. Perhaps, now called to travel more by day, and rest more by night. Knowing how intense sunlight can be, perhaps they found the cycle of both day and night – daylight and nightlight, to offer the natural rhythm to sustain them on their journey. The key to life as light - finding it and letting it guide us, whether by day or by night. 

As we stand at the threshold of this new year with the Epiphany light shining on the path ahead may we be aware that there will be, as in the natural order of all created life, both night and day. Both offering light. How can we stay the course of light, seek it, find it, and let it illumine us as we journey on? Reflect on the light this feast day offers. A turning point reminding us not only to keep our eyes on the light given to us by the Holy, but to absorb it and then reflect it!

May we be open to all the possibilities light has to offer us as we journey forward in this year unfolding before us by the One who says, “I am the Light of the world – follow me and find life!” 

Blessed to be on this journey with you for another year . . . 
From the Diocese
linked here is the Diocesan Facebook page. Read Bishop Jennifer Brooke-Davidson's fun & uplifting Epiphany message.
Christmas Highlights at Farnham & St. John's

WOW! What an amazing and talented group of young people we have. A huge thanks to all of them for the beautiful, inspiring Christmas Eve Program they developed and videotaped to bring such special JOY to all of us for Christmas 2020. A Christmas that due to our COVID necessitated sheltering in place would have been less light-full without the gifts they shared with us. In case you missed seeing the program or in case, like me, you like to watch it more than once or twice to experience the warmth and joy of the season over again, it is linked here for your viewing delight. And special thanks to Danni, our Youth Director, and all the adult family members who facilitated the production. 
"Ringing the Bells on Christmas Day"

What a special way to celebrate Christmas morning. Small groups, bundled up, gathered around the old church bell at Farnham, then at St. John's. Big bells and little bells chimed in ringing out news of the once again remembered birth of the Christ child. Concidentially and sybolically twelve of us showed up at Farnham for the earlier bell ringing. How appropriate that a couple of the four footed members of our community joined in: Xena and Renfro Barber pictured here with Miriam Sisson, the youngest member of Farnham. How special it was to be able to walk through our beloved church sanctuaries (of course, masked and socially distanced), and light our own candle from the Christ candle at the foot of the manger scene - to the much loved sounds of a Christmas hymns played by our organist, Ben Cox.  
Services & Sermons
Except for the Farnham Epiphany Bonfire above all of our events are virtual only. We do some services on Zoom and some video services and/or sermons which are sent out on Saturdays.
The Parish Prayer List
for those in need of God's comfort and healing
Courtenay Altaffer
John Barber
Martha Berger
Randall Bone
Sue Bowie
Nancy Allin Bush
Constance Edwards
Bob File
David Gallagher
Regina Griggs
Barbara Grander
The Rev. Howard Hanchey
Weir Harman
Billy Hooper
Rebecca Hubert
Marcia Jenkins
Stephanie, Nick & Donovan Kaywork
Jim & Sharon Krider
Mary Douglas Lawton
The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee
Susan Lewis
Frank Lynch
Susannah Marais
Pat Merkel
Tommy Neuman
Judi Newman
Kirsten Palubinski
James Rynd
Bennie Shepherd
Debbie Belfield Stacks
Scott Strickler
Waldy Sulik
Billy Tennyson
Roclyn Tennyson
John Welch, II
Matthew Yates
Rose Mary Zellner and
all 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
Christopher Strickler
Gavin Wade McClung
and Travis Pullen
January Birthdays & Anniversaries

Jan. 6th - John Barber
Jan 2oth - Marilyn Day
Jan. 25th - Bob Snavely
Jan. 25th Sandy Wade Hagan
Jan. 26th - Sally King
Jan. 26th - Dougie Lawton
Jan. 26th - Priscilla Wellford
28 Junius & Martha Berger
background image by Saana Baker at the Textile Eye. Used with permission.