Farnham & St. John's
Torrence's Weekly Message


Sunday afternoon at Farnham was a joy! Just being together. The outdoor Epiphany bonfire blazed and crackled, thanks to the after Christmas greenery you brought to feed the fire.

And yet a special memory of that late afternoon was seeing each of you who came to light a tiny candle around the creche scene during the “walk-through” of the sanctuary. Did the glow of your candle flame reach deep within your spirit and light up something there?

I am watching too much news. How about you? I seem to be caught between some idea that I should not miss any element of what is going on in our country. Yet wondering if the surge of violence, actions, and reactions, are, like a virus, infecting too many of us. That maybe I need to shelter myself from continual exposure.

One of the highlights of my week is working with Ben and Arline to select music for our weekly worship offerings. How important our music is to nourish body and soul! Even though COVID has silenced our singing our heart and soul can strum with the sounds. Last Sunday we began with “In the bleak mid-winter” and ended with “Let there be peace on earth.” Musical bookends that voiced the stark reality and yet desperate hope for these trying times. I’m reminded of the quote: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” (Thomas Paine, author of “Common Sense”) To which I respond, “Yes, and women’s too!”

The Gospel readings for the next two Sundays are provocative given current events. On January 17 Jesus turns and looks piercingly into the eyes and hearts of those he wants to be his disciples and says, “Follow Me!” The following Sunday the Gospel theme is “Answering the Call.” What in our twenty-first century is asking us to follow among all the compelling possibilities? How are we responding? How are we choosing a way forward? What pathways are beckoning?

Speaking of a way forward – it is that time again for Annual Meetings, election of two new vestry members for each of our churches, and then planning and discerning the next to come in an unfolding time. Dear Lord, let there be light!


As I ponder all this and much more daylight day is slipping quietly over the life of the river I so dearly love. The river’s surface is like glass, smooth, almost a mirror. Its surface disturbed only slightly by a few ducks here and there. They glide so serenely yet I know their little webbed feet are working hard below the surface. I resonate as I try to appear serene while so much is going on beneath the surface in my efforts to steer an onward course.

The sky is a lovely blue. I have been hearing geese call to one another the last few days as they skim the unseen but ever-present air currents flowing above the river. I have not seen the heron couple recently, the ones who frequent a favorite fishing spot out front. Maybe they are sheltering in place in the little creek nearby. And the local pair of eagles? An occasional glimpse of one or the other perching on a limb of the big pine tree on my riverbank makes my spirit soar. .

Speaking of tree limbs and birds – a big one fell from my big pine the other night during a high wind. That evergreen tree I call my guardian tree. A limb so big I could not move it myself. I have been contemplating that limb – probably a favorite of the birds that like to perch in it. I remembered a quote from some spiritual “classic” I read years ago. It went something like this:

A bird was perched on the limb of a tree.
As the limb began to give way beneath her, she sang.
Singing, knowing she had wings.

Grace . . . Hope . . . Peace . . . Onward

Quote for a Mid-winter day
from Emily Dickinson

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.”
Last Week at Farnham & St. John's
Epiphany Celebration at Farnham

Outside we burned Christmas greens and offered prayers for light in the New Year.

Inside, on our sanctuary "walk-through" we lit a candle to remind us to carry Christ light back out into the world.
pictures courtesy of Anne Neuman
In 2020 did you find that you saved money on: travel (because we couldn’t go anywhere), gas (because most everything we used to go to shut down), new clothes (because all we needed were our old at-home clothes and an occasional Zoom outfit), eating out (because we couldn’t), family visits over the holidays (because we did those over the phone or by laptop “facetime”), shopping trips (because someone might sneeze or cough near us in a store), putting money in the offering plate on Sundays (because we weren’t in church most Sundays of 2020). 

In 2020 (and now in 2021) did you receive a stimulus check? Many desperately needed the check they received to fund basic life necessities: food and shelter. But maybe that wasn’t the case for others of us. Because of COVID we weren’t traveling, shopping, eating out, going to the movies, etc., etc., etc. to spend that check to stimulate the economy. Isn’t that what the “stimulus” in front of “check” meant us to do with it?  

In case you have leftovers from all your savings and/or from your stimulus check(s) if you got them, here is a brilliant idea of how to stimulate the economy after all. Pass it forward! To those who are in need.

Organizations always make their biggest push for donations at “year-end.” How about the possibility of “year-beginning” giving to jumpstart God’s economy as we face the year ahead? Passing forward what we might have saved up to fund the well-being of those in need by donating to organizations that serve the most vulnerable in our world economy. Below is a list to choose from. Or pick another that may be dear to your heart. We can make a difference in this world even as we try and shelter from it. God’s economy needs our help. Green the world around you. Pass it on! (Note: underlined items are links to the charities' webpages. Just click on them for more information or to donate.)

Warsaw United Methodist Church Food Pantry 287 Main St, Warsaw, VA 22572
The Warsaw Baptist Church Food Pantry 226 Main St., Warsaw VA 22572

An international mission giving opportunity - A couple of years ago St. John's raised money to donate to a cause Dr. Torre Hinnant had organized to fund the education of three girls in Sri Lanka. Some of you also contributed to that cause then. You may want to consider this effort again or for the first time. Linked here.

Other worthy causes who need it less drastically, but where it will be put to good use:

Farnham & St. John's Discretionary Fund
St. John's Parking Lot Fund
Shrine Mont Shrine Mont creates many jobs in the Shennandoah Valley.
Thank you

from the family of Bunny Knapp for the cards sent by members of both churches for Bunny's 100th birthday. She received 127. The family reports that she was “thrilled to hear from so many friends and well wishers.”
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
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, 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
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 Pine Needle Photo by Elijah Hiett on Unsplash. No permissions required.
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