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.


What we wear on our hearts should be just as obvious to the world as what we wear on our bodies. Our T shirts may say “Harvard”, but our hearts should say Jesus. Our jeans may say “Levis”, but our hearts should say Jesus.” -Br. James Koester, SSJE

“God wants us to become fully the person he created us to be and not to settle for anything less: to become so alive that when people see us they actually see something of God radiating through us and glorifying God.” – Br. Geoffrey Tristram, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

SSJE is a monastic community of The Episcopal Church & The Anglican Church of Canada.

“St Peters as our rock”

From a sermon Aug 24, 2011

In July of 1833, three of our ancestors here in Port Royal, William Gray, Charles Urquhart and George Fitzhugh, placed an ad in the Virginia Herald for builders.

To Builders— “The Subscribers, Commissioners for building a church in Port Royal, will receive proposals for erecting the same—they would prefer to have the whole work undertaken by a single individual, but will contract for the Brick work separately, if necessary. A hundred thousand Bricks, it is supposed will be about the number required for the church.”

And this church is built of bricks. Bricks, made from the earth itself, are a strong building material, much like rock. In many places in the Old Testament, the rock is a symbol for God.

…Here we are, in a brick church named after St Peter, the man that Jesus called a rock.

And Jesus asks each and every one of us the same question he asked the disciples.  “But who do you say that I am?”

When we are able to answer this question as Peter did, “You, Jesus, are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” we experience a cosmic shift in our lives. When we recognize that God IS the solid core within us—our inner rock.

We profess our faith every Sunday in the words of the Nicene Creed—our belief in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

But how do we know when God really is at the center of our lives? Paul provides some help with this question in the passage from the letter to the Romans that we heard today.  We find that rather than being conformed to the world, we are being transformed by the renewing of our minds. And our minds are made new when we can wake up every morning and hand ourselves over to God. “God, please be the rock in my life today, and please help me serve you by serving my neighbors. Please help me to do whatever it is you give me to do today, to your glory.”