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

At the end of our sanctuary “walk through” after our recent Epiphany bonfire at N. Farnham Church, Ben and Arline played the simple so familiar tune, “Let there be peace on earth.” The little Christmas lights and tiny candles many of you sparked into flame around the crêche scenes that evening glowed. What did it feel like to touch a little candle into light and life? See the glow? Feel, if only for a fleeting moment the warmth that tiny flame offered? What was the sound of peace like as it was birthed out of the plaintive sounds of the violin in the deeper flow of the organ’s notes? On a cold mid-winter night as night fell around us in the fleeting moments of a sanctuary time: what was that like?

Peace: I felt it that evening, and it lasted for a while. But the world closed in again as I blew out those tiny lights, as I left the bonfires to others to douse with water, and the news of the week rolled out like a lava flow from an erupting volcano. COVID mutations, rising infection rates, warnings of violence to come, pictures of guys carrying AK-47’s on Franklin Street in downtown Richmond adjacent to the state capitol in front of St. Paul’s church, etc., etc., etc. And talking to folks who were worried about loved ones either with COVID or too vulnerable to it or who were feeling anxious, discouraged, wondering how long all this isolation would be going on, etc., etc., etc. Peace – Shalom. What does it feel like? Look like? How can we find more of it during these strange and difficult times? It seems so elusive right now.
Shalom is the Hebrew word for peace. Word has it that it is derived from the Hebrew Shalem which offers the idea of wholeness, completeness, health, fullness. The desire for peace, wholeness, health flows throughout the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. And stories abound about what seems to interfere with God’s people finding it and living into it. Fear, anger, injustice (one to another), separation (from God’s way of Shalom) interfere with the peace which the Holy deeply desires for us. How easy it seems these days to blow out the light, douse the flame of peace for ourselves or as we allow others to do it for us.

I awoke this morning with a deep sense of calm, of peace. It made no sense, given all that is going on in life. The mystery of this sense of peace is what stirred me to reflect on its presence in the midst of chaos, conflict, dis-ease and the disordering of what had seemed stable about life before. All I know is that this peace is a “feeling” – my mind can’t parse it, can’t pull it apart and figure out the how and why of it. Except to know that it is a function of “grace” and that somehow I am meant to share it, give away the idea of it. Remember what it feels like when I have felt it before. Share these thoughts.

I remember it when: I hold a baby, savor a sunset, sit with a dear friend, kneel in a sanctuary, touch the velvety petal of a flower, soar with the notes of the Hallelujah chorus, feel an old familiar hymn rise within me, smell the coming rain, feed the birds outside my door, walk through a forest, watch two people smile at one another, sit by a fire with loved ones, watch a movie where goodness and love win over what is not, watch light dawn in someone’s life, feel the brush of angel wings and the whisper, “Do not be afraid.”

Now, it’s your turn to remember and treasure moments when you felt peace. Then share a few.  Are you humming yet? The tune to the words: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Can you feel the flow of it, the flutter of it: a “touching” somewhere deep inside as a tiny candle flame is lighted into life? Peace, let it begin in you, let it happen in you, let it be, pass it on. By amazing Grace may we become a channel, an instrument of God’s peace. And not let the world put out the light.

Shalom, 
               Torrence
Some Quotes on Peace

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

'Working for peace in the future is to work for peace in the present moment.'
Thich Nhat Hanh

'Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles,
 it takes away today's peace' 
Unknown

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

"World peace begins with inner peace."              14th Dalai Lama

"Peace be with you."              Jesus
Announcements
Parish Office Closure

Due to the increasing risk of COVID, the St. John's/Farnham Church Parish Office will be closed to parishioners and the public beginning the week of January 18th for an indefinite time. While staff will occasionally be present, we will not keep regular office hours. If you have need to be at the office for any reason please contact the priest, Torrence Harman (804-436-7591 or torrence.harman@aol.com) or the Senior Warden of St. John's Courtenay Altaffer (804-313-1254 or ctaltaffer@gmail.com) to make any necessary arrangements. We request that any parishioners who currently have access not do so at this time and rather contact Torrence or Courtenay regarding any need to access the office regarding church business. For any pastoral emergencies, please contact Torrence directly by phone, text or email. Thanks to St. John's Junior Warden Priscilla Wellford, a slot for delivery of any mail to the office (for ex. pledge payments) is being installed immediately in the door to the Parish Hall office (at the Lower level entrance).
The Annual Meeting of the Congregation of St. John's Episcopal Church
Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 10 a.m.
The meeting will be conducted by Zoom - Zoom invite and meeting instructions will be sent out the week before the meeting

Agenda items will include
  • election of two vestry members
  • the 2021 Budget
  • Annual Reports
Vestry members concluding their three year term are
  • Arline Hinkson and
  • Brother Mark Jenkins. 
Nominees for election for the two openings on the vestry are
  • Barbara Jean LeFon and
  • Anne Neuman. 
The Annual Meeting of the Congregation of N. Farnham Episcopal Church
Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 1 p.m.
The meeting will be conducted by Zoom - Zoom invite and meeting instructions will be sent out the week before the meeting

Agenda items will include
  • election of two vestry members
  • the 2021 Budget and
  • Annual Reports
Vestry members concluding their three year term are
  • Kim Calvert and
  • Ed Elliott. 
Nominees for election for the two openings on the vestry are
  • Brenda Harhai and
  • Stan Terhune
Services & Sermons
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
Pat & Richard Damion
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
Barbara Leiter
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, at least one of whom is on duty in our nation's capitol city.
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
Upcoming Birthdays & Anniversaries
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
Feb. 2nd – Anne Grigg
Feb. 8th – Steve Foster
Background Dorit Judaica Hebrew Shalom Peace Wall Tile with Doves and Swirls, Christian Home Decor can be purchased from My Jerusalem Store here. Hebrew lettering of "Shalom" inserted into Torrence's message is by Dan Pelleg and is made available under the Creative Commons Universal Public Domain Dedication.
The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!

There are no in person services at Farnham or St. John's this coming Sunday. We will e-mail a video service on Saturday and subsequently post it to our website farnhamwithstjohns.orgyoutube and facebook pages.
North Farnham Church
St. John's Church