We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

We are in Eastertide until Pentecost

The word “Easter” comes from Eostre, the name of a Teutonic goddess associated with the return of the season of growth and fertility at springtime. The season of Easter was also connected with the Hebrew Feast of Weeks, which began at Passover and ended on the fiftieth day as Shavuot or Pentecost. This was originally an agricultural festival and later celebrated the giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai. In many countries the name of the Christian feast we call Easter is still called by its older Greek name, Pascha, which means “Passover.” It is this meaning as the Christian Passover that celebrates Jesus’ triumph over death and entrance into resurrected life that is the heart of Easter in the Christian church. For the early church, Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the Jewish Passover feast. Through Jesus we have been freed from the slavery of sin and granted entry to the Promised Land of everlasting life. The primary theme of Easter is the resurrection. 

Eastertide is the period of fifty days, seven Sundays from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. Easter is not a day but a season and it is one to examine the Resurrection, more broadly and deeply.  “Tide” is an old word meaning a festival and its season. Why fifty days ?After the resurrection, Jesus spent forty days on earth before he ascended, and then there were ten more days after that before the Day of Pentecost. 

Easter is also more than just an extended celebration of the resurrection of Jesus  and all that means for us, leading to the launching of the Christian Church and its mission on Pentecost.. In the early church, Lent was a season for new converts to learn about the faith and prepare for baptism on Easter Sunday. The initial purpose of the 50-day Easter season was to continue the faith formation of new Christians. 

Jesus physically appears in Easter 2 and 3 making the Resurrection tangible. Easter 2 is the story of Thomas.  Easter 3 this year is the journey to Emmaus.  The shepherding part of his ministry is explored in Easter 4. From Easter 5-7, Jesus must prepare the disciples for his departure. He is going to leave them. Jesus prepares his disciples for continuing his ministry without his physical presence. Themes explored include the holy spirit, the Prayer of Jesus and God’s glory through His Son and the church. 

Christ ascends on the 40th day with his disciples watching (Thursday, May 18th). The weekdays after the Ascension until the Saturday before Pentecost inclusive are a preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit. These fifty days comes to an end on Pentecost Sunday, which commemorates the giving of the Holy Spirit to the apostles, the beginnings of the Church and its mission to all  peoples and nation.