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, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Rev. Tom Hughes’ sermon, Sunrise service, March 31, 2024

“Happiness comes from in here. We live from the inside out not from the outside in”.



I’m Tom, I’m from over here at St Peters and what a joy to be doing this and to hear that beautiful reading of that scripture again. You never get tired of that do you, that story over and over again.

What a wonderful gift that is, and on top of that, the perfect setting for being here together for the sunrise the Lord has provided for us so beautifully. And if you appreciate it, the symbolism here is everywhere. You’ve got spring, new beginning, new life coming up, you got the river of God flowing by out here and it just goes on and on, new life, new light into the world, the light of Christ – we’re celebrating it right now so it’s just everywhere. If you’re not already half dead you can see it around you, the presence and power and the love of God.

I’m sure growing up we all heard the phrase, about being saved by grace through faith. What we’re here celebrating is the grace of God who sent Jesus to fix this situation that we weren’t able to fix ourselves and we could not extricate ourselves from the terrible situation that human beings have been in because we lack the ability to resist evil. It’s just something the matter with us that we are not able to resist evil without help, but help has come – that’s what we’re celebrating this morning. Jesus died for us so that has been taken care of and that is the grace of this moment, that is the power and the love that God has shown to us.

Now the other part of that, the faith part of that, is something that we have to tend to because the devil is right on top of us, on our back all the time trying to put things in our way so that we do not see that and experience that and live that out in our lives, the faith part of that, but that’s why we’re here. But that only comes from the work of God from the inside we can’t get that out here.

It’s like being happy. I read this funny article in the paper the other day about a state. They decided they going to try to make more people happy so they were going to give everybody all the food and medical help and place to live- everything provided free . Those are noble things. We do want to help people. That’s not where happiness comes from. What a misunderstanding of the purposes of creation!

Happiness comes from in here. We live from the inside out not from the outside in. That’s is where God is (inside). God’s everywhere. God is here and God is in us, each one of us, ever one of us, so that’s the place out of which we live our lives and that’s where happiness comes from. It’s the joy of knowing Christ, the joy of being in God’s world and and to live together in peace.

Could that be more wonderful ? That’s what I feel here. God’s people come together living in peace and in the beauty and the presence of God. You just can’t ask for more than that in this life so we say Allelujah, Christ is risen.