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.

Sunday’s Thoughts Jan 21, Epiphany 3 – “Calling once again”

This week was the first “somewhat sizeable snow” in two years. The school children were off 3 days. Snow can bring sense of peace and tranquility.

We were able to have 91 at the Village Harvest for Jan, much better than last year’s 60 though under previous years. Food supplies were strained since Oct. 2023.

Sacred Ground met this week reviewing the check sent out for the new scholarship program for trade educatiion. We also came up with possible new endeavors – .

1. Investigate Black owned bank or Black owned businesses

2 Feb 10 presentation on Port Royal at the Old Port Royal School. a Black School. It was constructed and used from 1924 to 1959. This is the 100th anniversary <>3 Bingo- Last Monday – Feb 26, 6pm Caroline county Public Schools. This may be a good opportunity for discussion with local leaders

4. Meeting with school administrations about opportunities for St. Peters and other churches p>This Sunday Jan 21 is the congregational meeting, an annual event to elect new vestry members and take stock of the community. We will not be having reports as in previous years. This was a dedicated segment.

Cookie has completed a three year term and will be rotating off the vestry. Larry has completed the last year of Robert Bryan’s three year term. Helmut Linne von Berg is resigning from the Vestry due to his caregiving responsibilities for Susan. His unfinished term creates a one year vacancy to be filled, along with the two three year terms that will need to be filled.

Johnny Davis and Andrea Pogue have agreed to run to fill the two three year terms, and Larry Saylor will run for the one year term.

During the meeting, Catherine recalled the accomplishments of Helmut including his cross makng – the central cross behind the altar, the Good Friday cross and two processional crosses. One of our youth spoke to remember the crosses given to new members. She said she has the cross in her room.

The sermon was a combination 2023 review and sermon. The focus was our work as disciples. From the sermon “Both casting nets and mending nets are necessary parts of discipleship. As disciples, we must cast our nets but we also must mend our nets as well. Here are some of the ways we have been both casting and mending the nets that Jesus has given to us to use here at St Peter’s. ”

Jan 21 is also the 3rd week after the Epiphany and the 2nd week of Jesus calling his team. Last week it was Andrew and Nathanael and this week it Simon (Peter) and Andrew as well as James and John

John MacArthur’s book on the diciples places most of the disciples this week in the top tier of the 12 disciples based on their closeness to Jesus. This is definitely the “A” team!

The calling of disciples and the congregational meeting are linked. In both cases there is the search for leadership.

The Vestry is a group of people made up of lay leaders who, along with the Rector, direct the ministries of St Peter’s, based on input from the congregation. They are charged with attending worship on a regular basis, beinng a financial contributor and a registered member of the congregation and attending meeting. They help to solve church problems but also advance church goals.

The Gospel is ultimately about “sending and going” not “watching and waiting”. Definite leadership here! The lesson here is that we don’t have to go far to change the world; what we need is an alluring vision that will focus people on changing their own neighborhood. It takes leadership to develop the vision and get the church on the part toward making it a reality.

The Vestry and the disciples are not solo acts – they function in relationship to community

Jesus mission with the discples as daunting. The Kingdom was all about eliminating the traditional power scheme. It will mean reaching out and touching people, bringing healing, liberation, and renewal. To do this meant repentence as it did with John the Baptist but in this case a change in economic and social direction.

The big difference is that the Vestry mission is focused on the church organization. Vestry leaderhsip is at most 3 years. They also do not have to leave their homes to participate. All four left their familiies to follow Jesus. They had a stake in the fishing business. Andrew and Peter have their own house (1:29) and that James and John have hired hands (1:20). This indicates that these were not poor, destitute fishermen, but that they were prosperous at their trade. They had a lot to lose.

They were all four fishermen, they were two sets of brothers, they came from the same community, and they had apparently all been friends for a long time.

The leader of the group was definitely Peter. His name was Simon but was renamed by Christ to Peter. The disciples would have to carry on after and evetual Ascension of Jesus. Leadership provides the difference between success and failure.

Jesus changed Simon’s name, it appears, because He wanted the nickname to be a perpetual reminder to him about who he should be

By nature Simon was brash, vacillating, and undependable. He made quick decisions that he would sometimes regreat. Peter was used by Christ to indicate his new self.

As Peter he could be bold and decisive perceptive, particularly connecting Christ as the Messiah to God. He took advantage of oppportunities to be involved, particularly with Jesus. He and one other disciple were the only ones who followed Jesus to the high priest’s house to see what would become of Jesus.

He learned submission, restraint, humility, love, compassion, and courage from the Lord’s example and with the Holy Spirit, he did become a great leader. He preached at Pentecost and three thousand people were saved (Acts 2:14-41). He and John healed a lame man (Acts 3:1-10). He was so powerful that people were healed in his shadow (Acts 5:15—16). He raised Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36—42). He introduced the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10). And he wrote two epistles, 1 and 2 Peter, in which he featured the very same lessons he had learned from the Lord about true character.

Yes, he messed up – denying Christ and at one point he was influenced by teachers who called into question a Jew eating with the Gentiles. He learned his errors and eventually spoke up for the gentiles in Jerusalem. You have to watch who you are hanging around with!