Tribute to Jane Torrey

By · Thursday, April 12th, 2012

I am on my way back from the memorial service of Mrs. Jane Torrey, wife of The Rev. Archer Torrey.  All I want to say is that this was a glorious celebration of the resurrection and I was greatly blessed to have been present for this memorial service.

Jane and Archer Torrey at Jesus Abbey in 2000

Jane and Archer Torrey (pictured left) were the founders of Jesus Abbey. Through their mentoring of many of us in this movement of the Holy Spirit they provided the foundations for the teaching that we present through the PRMI Dunamis Project and the Dunamis Institute.

I owe my own life of following Jesus Christ very much to Jane and to Archer Torrey. For me, Archer taught and demonstrated the power of God and all the wild adventure of following Jesus Christ.

Jane, on the other hand, embodied the love of God extending to all and the deep river of total trust of Jesus intensified by Archer’s propensity for jumping off cliffs in radical obedience to create Kingdom realities.

Now that they are both with Jesus, the joy and the burden is upon us here on earth to follow Jesus in love and trust, power and obedience as they did.  The way they did it, and how it is possible for us, is in surrender and total dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

Ben Torrey has written a wonderful tribute to his mother which follows:

April 6, 2012

Dear Friends,

Jane Grey Torrey of Jesus Abbey in Taebaek, Kangwondo, Korea passed away peacefully at our home in Ellington, Connecticut on April 5th, 2012.  She was 91 years old. There will be a memorial service at the Church of the Risen Savior, 9 Ellington Ave. Rockville, CT at 5:30pm on Monday, April 9th.  Her family will bring her ashes to Korea for a funeral at the Anglican Cathedral in Seoul on April 16th and burial beside her husband, Archer Torrey, at Jesus Abbey.

As you already know, my mother had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in October, 2011 while receiving nursing care at Cascades Verdae Senior Living Community in Greenville, South Carolina. Following unsuccessful chemo and radiation therapy, she was brought to Ellington so that her final days could be spent with her family.

Born on February 4th, 1921 in Davidson, North Carolina, Jane Grey grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and Charlotte Court House, Virginia.  Some of her fondest childhood memories are the years she spent with her grandmother, Frances Yancey Smith, in the home built by her grandfather, the beautiful antebellum home that she later inherited and named Smithaven.

She graduated from Central High School in Charlotte, NC in 1939 then went on to attend Queens College, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art.  During her senior year, she was elected to be the May Queen with a large court.

Following graduation in 1943, Jane moved to Hartford, Connecticut to help the war effort drafting aircraft engines at Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford.  After six months, she felt that the war effort could spare her and she went to New York City where she spent—as she put it—the “most carefree time of my life” painting the Old Masters in the Metropolitan Museum of Art while staying with friends in New Jersey.

Returning to North Carolina, she taught school in Boone and had private art students in Charlotte.

Jane Grey was wedded to the Rev. Archer Torrey in Charlotte on August 28th, 1948.  This began a new venture for her that took her throughout the world.  Following a period of time as Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Father Torrey was invited to Korea to reestablish the Anglican Seminary that had been closed during the Korean War.  The Torreys, including their young son, Ben arrived in Korea on November 17th 1957, the land that became their home from then on.  After graduating the first class of students from St. Michael’s Seminary in 1964 and spending a sabbatical year in the United States, Jane, Archer, Ben and young daughter, Yancey, moved into the Taebaek Mountains, in Kangwon Province, along Korea’s east coast.  There, in 1965, they established the community of Jesus Abbey.  Fr. Archer Torrey passed away in Korea in 2002, at which time Jane, now referred to as Sister Jane, but more affectionately as Mother Jane or Grandmother Jane, continued to make the Abbey her home.  It was with deep regret that she had to leave unexpectedly for medical care in the US, only to realize she would never return to her beloved community and her adopted homeland.

The passing of Jane Grey Torrey leaves sadness in many hearts, but her family, community family, and close friends throughout the world remember her with joy as well as grief, and rejoice that she has been able to join her beloved husband Archer in the presence of the Lord.

Jane Torrey was mother to hundreds, if not thousands, throughout the world. She left beautiful and treasured art—much of which she gave away—hanging in homes on at least three continents. Her memory will live on in many hearts and minds.

Jane Torrey is survived by her son, Ben and his wife Liz who are members of Jesus Abbey, two daughters, Yancey and Deberniere and Deberniere’s husband Nathan.  She is also survived by three grandchildren—Ben and Liz’s two sons, Reuben and Thomas, their wives, Rosaleen and Amanda, daughter, Joanna and her husband Geoff.  She also has four great-grand children and two more expected this year.

Before passing, she indicated that she would appreciate it if, in lieu of flowers, well wishers would send memorial contributions to The Fourth River Project, Inc. to help with realizing her and Archer’s dream of seeing the Three Seas Training Center become a reality.

In Christ,
Ben Torrey

(Memorial gifts may be made by check to The Fourth River Project, Inc. and mailed to PO Box 744, Vernon, CT 06066 or by PayPal at www.thefourthriver.org.  All gifts are tax deductible.)

 

Here is a poem that I (Brad) wrote as a eulogy for Archer Torrey which I presented at his memorial service at Jesus Abbey in 2002. I include this here because even though it focuses on Archer, Jane’s partnership and role at Jesus Abbey and her love for Jesus and other people are reflected here.

In Remembrance of Archer Torrey – A Friend of Jesus and a Pioneer in the Kingdom of God

Wednesday August 14, 2002
Written at Jesus Abbey Korea

In his passing
Archer Torrey left a wake of blessing!
And vision so deep
That all may follow to the heart of God,
That with fire from the source
They may work new works with Jesus.

We weep for our brother, friend, father,
Husband, leader,
Teacher and visionary.
With tears that mingle with the rain,
But we also dance with the angels who celebrate a life lived
With radical passion
Of following Jesus Christ

We shout to God’s glory,
For though faced with colossal obstacles
Archer Torrey “was not disobedient to the Heavenly vision!”

Jesus Abbey,
Conceived in the heart of the Father,
Designated by the Son as a place of many encounters,
Guided by the Holy Spirit.

In a distant mountain valley
Shrouded in the Morning Calm,
A bell was sounded and a rooster crowed,
Stones became walls,
And a new work was begun.

Raw stone, good earth and growing trees,
The chaos of lives wondering in darkness,
All as clay thrown upon the wheel of God’s will.

Archer and Jane
In prayer, laughter and tears,
Said yes!
And stepped together into the crucible of creation,
And made their own lives a laboratory
Where all could learn the work of prayer
And know the Holy Spirit as friend within
To shape us into the image of Jesus
And The Omnipotence who falls upon us
For power and gifts.

Both were Friends of Jesus and fellow artist with the Creator.
Their canvas the lives of all whom God sent,
Their paints the Word of God,
Their easel the ordered life of prayer,
The oil mixing diverse pigments,
Their love that welcomed all
And spread feasts in the wilderness.

All this,
A happy dream
That at first none could share.
A chorus of those without spiritual sight
Chanted, “It is impossible!
No one has ever done such a thing
Return at once to the comfort of the Mission Compound,”

The Whispered voices murmured,
“They are mad!
Driven by dreams without substance,
They will starve in their valley,
Their dreams will become
Their own bones growing white in the sun.”

“Prayer,” they hooted,
“Is for the deluded!”
If you would only listen,
We will list the reasons why this can not be done,
If you would only take heed to our wisdom,
You will not become
“Troublers of Israel”
And we may all go on doing nothing in peace.

But Jane and Archer were mad!
They were hearing voices!
They were dreaming dreams,
But not their own!
So without malice,
But in loneliness
Walked on in obedience
Holding hands with each other
And a little boy who thought this was all normal,
And trudged on against a bitter winter wind
To their mountain valley,

In the first dawn of spring,
With their own bare hands
Dug into the rocky ground
To plant the dream seeds of God’s vision.

God gave the rain and the sunshine,
And the cool mountain breeze.
By next winter the ground had yielded
A few spouts,
Still invisible
To those without eyes to see

A few did see!
The Vision seized them,
So they joined hands with Archer, Jane and Ben
And together like survivors after a shipwreck,
Protected the first flickers of fire from the quenching wind.

All things from the heart of God,
Like rivers to the sea,
Will lead men to Jesus,
Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life,
All dreamers and their dreams from God are hated by the darkness
The Mountain Valley because a battle ground,
The ambush of God’s ancient foes,
The Amalekites,
Vision quenchers with swords,
Wave upon wave they came,
Worse than the winter’s winds,
They came with the weapons of confusion and division,
Despair hunted at the door,
Want waited in the dark.

Often deep into the night,
And far in the wilderness these battles raged,
Left with nothing
But the weapons of our warfare,
The little Jesus Army stood firm
And in the Authority of the Name above every Name,
Saw the light conquer the darkness.

Unyielding stone,
Demonic attacks,
Sinful people,
All make poor clay for shaping God’s reality,
From these raw elements how was vision birthed?

It all came from God,
But standing in the empty silence,
Between the vision and its fulfillment,
Was God’s chosen man,
Jesus’ friend and co-worker,
Only Jesus’ friends are given the joy of standing where He stood when He was nailed to the cross.
The terrible place between
The what is and what will be.
In obedience Archer Torrey stood
Naked,
In that place of intercession,
Clothed only with the gift of faith,

And faith
Welcomed God’s hand to work miracles
In the living stones of the valley
And believed into existence
Love-birthed Koinonia.
It was faith from God
That Birthed the vision of God.

Now after years of struggle,
A place is built;
The Mountain Valley is full of people
Who shout “Hallelujah!”

Now from around the world have come
Those for whom this place is home,
The place where through Archer and Jane Torrey,
As Father and Mother,
And many others as brothers and sisters,
We met Jesus Christ
And were set upon the way of life.

We have come back home now,
Where the vision seeds were first sown in our hearts,
Where we first heard the call
“Come follow me!”
From there we were sent out into all the earth.

We are back now,
Where we were baptized in the Holy Spirit
And received the power and gifts
To fulfill our own God-given visions
That we caught at Jesus Abbey
That took us far away.

We are back home now
But the one we loved and followed is no longer here.
We the students have come back now
Only to find our classroom empty of our teacher.

We the children have come home now
To find our mother bereft
And our father’s place at tea empty.

He was our pioneer in following Jesus
And dreaming impossible dreams,
He is still our pioneer and has gone on before us.

His smiling picture at the altar,
The buildings of mountain stone,
The community that worships, prays, and follows Jesus
Scattered around the world,
And even each one of us who is the fruit of his love and prayers,
All shout!
Don’t look at me!
I only followed Jesus!
Jesus did it!
Jesus did it all!
Give him the glory!
Give Him your obedience,
Follow Jesus as I have followed him,
In grace, love and power,
Follow Him and the vision that is Jesus Abbey will live on!
Follow Jesus and He will create ten thousand Jesus Abbeys

Don’t get stuck on Jesus Abbey,
It is not your home,
Only a trysting and equipping place,
The reality is the Kingdom of God!
Follow Jesus!
He said,
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
And the Only way to the Father!”

Archer Torrey, my pioneer,
Says,
With his whole life,
And to me as I weep,
“Follow Jesus Christ!
He is the Resurrection and the Life!
He is our Pioneer!
Follow Him!”
Brad Long
Completed: Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Jesus Abbey, Korea

 

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