Reflections on “Reflections”
Rev. John Farmer (left) is presented a certificate by Rappahannock Record publisher Fred Gaskins to recognize his long-running church page column in the Record. The presentation took place during the December 20 worship service at Irvington Baptist Church, where Rev. Farmer is pastor. Gaskins thanked the congregation for sharing the talents of their pastor for so many years.
For the first time in over 27 years, the “Reflections” column by Rev. John Howard Farmer is missing from the Record this week. Rev. Farmer retired from his writing duties at the end of December.
We calculated that Rev. Farmer, pastor of Irvington Baptist Church, provided columns for 1,406 continuous weeks, and a celebration would certainly be in order, except for COVID-19.
Instead of an open house, we have opened this page to written remembrances and notes of thanks from his readers. Thank you for submitting the following reflections on “Reflections,” and its author:
I married and left the Northern Neck in 1989. My parents gave me a subscription to the RR for Christmas each year. Each week when the paper arrives, I have the opportunity to “Go Home” per the local news.
I always looked forward to Rev. Farmer’s sweet stories, travel adventures, family activities and Word of Inspiration. I will truly miss his stories and am thankful for the many years he dedicated to making people reflect and smile.
Denise D. Barriere
P.S. My parents are gone now, but I still subscribe so that I can still “Go Home” each week.
Thank you, Rev. Farmer, for your weekly words of faith, encouragement, love and history. Your beautiful words and biblical knowledge will be missed tremendously.
Thank you for your many years of dedication, sharing your “Reflections” with our community.
A recent “Reflections” by the Rev. John Farmer began with, “Tons of depression, our unresolved frustrations and even over-stressed experiences are the result of our major investment in the present, coupled with too many over-shoulder glances at troublesome times that lay behind us”.
It ends with, “Look toward the horizon; it gets better as a new day approaches. Do you know the Lord of our new day?”
There is much invaluable but free wisdom in between, similar to what Rev. Farmer offered to readers regularly in the Rappahannock Record.
I’ll miss it. Thanks, Pastor Farmer.
My sweetheart and I have been blessed to be a part of John Farmer’s “flock” for almost 20 years at Irvington Baptist Church. We enjoy his teaching so much we travel 125 miles round trip from Williamsburg to sit at his feet most Sundays.
It was because of our love for John, Hazel, our church family and the Northern Neck that we discovered and later subscribed to the Rappahannock Record. What a gift to be introduced to “Reflections” in the midst of our reading! We’ve laughed (and cried) through many an account of John’s memories, suggestions and advice. We will miss his column terribly, but can hold on to the precious treasure we continue to experience every Sunday in his presence.
For all those needing a dose of John Farmer’s wit and wisdom after his column retires, feel free to visit one Sunday at IBC and enjoy continued “reflections.”
Allyson de Haven Harris and John Hort
I have long dreaded the day when “Reflections” by the Rev. John Farmer would no longer appear each week in the Rappahannock Record. It has been my favorite article ever since we moved to the Northern Neck some time ago. That’s not to say I don’t also read many of the other items that are printed, but “”Reflections” has been one to savor, ponder over, study, and yes, reflect on. Several have been cut out and saved to be reflected upon again, to remind one of good ways to think and act.
His gentle humor in sharing his observations of the actions and reactions of other critters we share life with here on this earth God gave us is enjoyable and appreciated, along with his more serious words guiding our thinking and actions. I am long overdue in thanking him for the weekly effort he has put into delivering these helpful gems to us, and to let him know they really have been helpful in aiding us to think and act in the best way to help others. Truly the type of gifts this real Santa provides.
He is wished much continued happiness in his (semi) retirement ahead. I’m sure he will continue to give of himself to others. It was always good to see him when he often made himself available to anyone who desired at the Bon Secours Rappahannock General Hospital, as well as his Christmas-time appearances in public.
And, thank you, Hazel, for sharing him with us and doing your own good work.
Sincerely and affectionately,
Gwen M. Head
The Rev. John Farmer has stopped writing his uplifting “Reflections” column for the Rappahannock Record. These reflections are a shared personal journal of his spiritual, mental and physical experiences and growth with God. I have read somewhere there is a gift for us in every relationship that comes our way. A gift that is precisely what we need. John Farmer, who is also my pastor, has been that for me.
Read his “Tomorrow…tomorrow…” essay, which seemed like a message delivered directly to me, advising “a concentrated effort on our part to place ourselves in the will of God. It truly means that we are to accept things as they are—and move on.” For me he was talking about having courage to give my problems and worries to God…to really do it. “…the journey of a lifetime begins with one step…once we are moving again, and living again, everything else improves.” That advice has been true for me.
These words from Victor Hugo are a gift from me to John Farmer who, throughout his ministry, has carried the worries, sorrows and joys of his congregation, past and present: “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
Thank you, John, for your writings, teachings and friendship.
To Pastor John,
I will miss your articles in the Rappahannock Record. There were so many times you hit the mark that I thought, for sure, you had to be Catholic.
Thanks for the inspiration.
It started with a late night text from a college friend in distress, left feeling helpless as her brother came close to death. As I tried to think of how to help, I ended up sending her bits and pieces of “Reflections” I had seen in prior weeks that I thought might give her some comfort. Tentative hope came over the next few days—and so did more texts, asking for more “Reflections.”
She was the first, but far from the last. Several dozen young adults—far from the Northern Neck, but made close by today’s technology—have appreciated your messages, seeking hope, wisdom, and the occasional wry chuckle. Though neither part of your congregation nor your traditional readership, they still count themselves as additions to your flock. Thank you for helping them learn how to fly.
Thank you for your stories that remind us of the joy we can find in family and friends.
You’ve told us in a gentle way that every day in our journey is a gift from God.
Blessings brighten when we count them. You are at the top of our list.
Frances Lumpkin Nunnally,
Remembrance for John Farmer,
While much sadness may come with old age, many joys do as well.
I started reading the Record regularly around 1990. I do not think I missed any of John’s essays. John’s wit, insight, humor and thoughtful articles have brought joy in my aging.
Thank you, John. I will miss you in the Record.
R. Wayne Nunnally,
We purchased a home in Irvington in 2009, and began our search for a local church. About a year went by, and I realized I was reading the “Reflections” column weekly, the only one in the paper I anticipated and read each week, so we decided to attend an Irvington Baptist Church service.
We have worshiped there ever since, loved every moment of our participation, and look forward to the rest of our years as members of this wonderfully Christian congregation.
Pastor Farmer’s words reached us through the Record, and we appreciate your providing that opportunity and his major writing efforts each week.
Scotty & Jo Schafer
Read Henry Lane Hull’s reflections on “Reflections” in his Excerpts column this week.
A few copies of Reflections, the book, are still available at the Rappahannock Record. The paperback collection of 117 columns can be yours for $12.