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.

Jamaica Project Update – Supplies left to purchase

Donate school supplies for the children at the Victoria School in Jamaica. Two ways to do it:

  • 1. Purchase the actual supplies through Amazon. Ship the supplies to P.O. Box 385, Port Royal Va 22535. See remaining items below to purchase.
  • 2. Make a check to St Peter’s with Jamaica/Victoria School on the memo line. This will cover remaining costs – computer supplies and shipping of school supplies.
  • The Amazon purchases are due by Sunday, June 18, 2023.

    Checks are due by the end of June. Checks are needed in two areas. (We do not have the costs yet). 1. Cost of the monitors, keyboards and mice for 7 computers. The computers are being donated. The school does not have any computers, currently. 2. Cost of shipping- the school supplies and computers.

    Here are the current items which are left to purchase. See the file below.

    Col 1- the item. This is a link to purchase.

    Col 2- the total need remaining.

    Col 3- The retail item based on number of packs to supply the demand.

    Col 4- The cost per pack.

    Thank you for your donation.

    Click here to view the Shopping list or choose from below.

    SALT Commentary – Gospel Pentecost 2, June 11, 2023


    1) Jesus has been on the move throughout the countryside, and here he comes across Matthew sitting in his “tax booth” (or “toll booth”) (Matthew 9:9). Matthew was likely a kind of customs official, charging a “toll” or “tax” on goods being transported to market; for example, such booths were sometimes set up along roadsides near fishing villages. Tax collectors were widely unpopular, not only because the taxes themselves were onerous, and not only because such funds supported the Roman Empire and its collaborators — but also because tax collectors were often suspected of charging more than required, and pocketing the difference.

    2) It’s striking, then, that Jesus would call such an “undesirable” to be his twelfth disciple; it certainly raised eyebrows among some Pharisees, as did Jesus’ custom of eating with “tax collectors and sinners” (Pharisees were a local religious group, in many ways similar to the movement gathering around Jesus, and therefore a key rival in that local context). But it’s also worth thinking about that Jesus’ other disciples — many of whom, after all, were fisherman! — likely didn’t care much for tax collectors! Indeed, the gist of the overall story suggests that by calling Matthew, Jesus is driving home a point intended not only for outside observers, but also for his own followers.

    3) And what is that point? In a nutshell, that no-one is disqualified from becoming part of the movement — and indeed that Jesus is most interested in people who need help, just as a physician is most interested in people who are sick. As Matthew has been making clear all along in these opening chapters, Jesus is a healer: he comes not to reward those who are already well, but rather to help us become well in the first place.

    4) But not, please note, to “make us well” without our active participation. A woman Jesus meets on the road serves as a definitive, iconic role model: she has been bleeding for twelve years (and so likely has been ostracized for twelve years), and yet she approaches Jesus with a fierce form of hope, saying to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well” (Matthew 9:21). The underlying word here — translated as “be made well” in the NRSV — is the Greek word, sózó (pronounced “SODE-zo,” rhymes with “ROAD-so”), which can also be translated, “save,” “heal,” “preserve,” or “rescue.” And in pursuit of this salvation, this healing, this rescue, the woman is nothing less than audacious. Not only does she make her way through the entourage of disciples in order to touch Jesus’ garment, she pushes through the words of Leviticus, too, the ancient ideas that not only is she “unclean,” but anything she touches will become “unclean” — including the one whose clothing she reaches out to touch!

    5) It’s worth pausing here to let this sink in: a supposedly “unclean” outcast, a woman, boldly touches a Holy Teacher without his permission, apparently desecrating him in the process. The disciples must have been wide-eyed, stunned. Will Jesus be angry? Has he been defiled? Jesus stops, turns around, and confronts the woman…

    Read more

    Remembering St. Barnabas, July 11

    St. Barnabus Curing the Poor – Paolo Veronese.

    Collect for his day -"Grant, O God, that we may follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well­being of your Church, gave generously of his life and substance for the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

    Who is St. Barnabus and why do we celebrate a feast day for him ?

    Three reasons why Barnabas is a famous saint:

    1. He was one of the most highly respected leaders in the early church. Born on the island of Cyprus (which means “copper” because of the mines there), his name was Joseph, but the apostles called him Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”).

    2. When Saul (as Paul was still known) appeared in Jerusalem after his conversion, he was spurned by the Christians he had persecuted. Yet when Barnabas “took him by the hand, and brought him to the Apostles”, and spoke up for him, Paul was immediately accepted (Acts 9:27).   

    He was Paul’s mentor and advocate and was the leader when he and Paul were sent off on the first missionary journey. But Paul’s personality and fervor soon dominated.

    Where it had been “Barnabas and Paul”, it was now “Paul and Barnabas”. (See Acts, Chapter 13.)

    3. Barnabas was so vital to the spread of the Gospel that he earned the highest accolade that any Christian can receive; “. . . . he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith”. (Acts 11:24) 

    Around 49, at a council in Jerusalem, St Peter helped to carry the argument of Paul and Barnabas that Gentile Christians need not be circumcised.

    It is odd, therefore, to discover Barnabas and Peter siding against Paul in refusing to eat with the Gentiles (Gal 2:13). Was this a matter of personal sympathy? The last we hear of Barnabas is of his falling out with Paul over the latter’s refusal to accept John Mark as a travelling companion.

    “So sharp was their disagreement, that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed off to Cyprus.” (Acts 15:36-40)

    So Barnabas passes from the written record. Tradition holds that he preached in Alexandria and Rome, before being martyred at Salamis.

    Celebrating the Rappahannock River

    We recently celebrated Trinity Sunday. The first reading is taken from the creation story in Genesis, Genesis 1:1-2:4a. There is a portion which deals with the waters.

    “And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.”

    “And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.”

    It led me to think of the Rappahannock River, a portion which flows by St. Peter’s and Port Royal. We celebrate the river in a yearly celebration “Gospel on the River” and on Easter Sunday in the Sunrise service.

    We usually sing “Shall We Gather at the River”, a hymn of the River which was written one afternoon in July, 1864, when Robert Lowry, the author, was pastor of the Hanson Place Baptist Church, Brooklyn, N.Y. The weather was oppressively hot, and the author was lying on a lounge in a state of physical exhaustion. His mind raced through various symbols of life – the heavenly river, the throne and the saints.

    The river is a constant factor today as it was in the past. It was the reason why Port Royal was created in the 18th century. Today it is celebrated for its beauty, peace, and recreation.

    The King Singers released “Down in the River to Pray”, recorded acapella from their homes during COVID-19 which was the basis for our video. The original album it was on goes back to 2005. They write, “From our homes during isolation, we recorded a song which has been very special to us ever since it was arranged by our former baritone, Philip Lawson, in 2002.” The song is much older. The earliest known version of the song, titled “The Good Old Way,” was published in Slave Songs of the United States in 1867.The song (#104) was contributed to that book by George H. Allan of Nashville, Tennessee, who may also have been the transcriber.

    This video was put together as a another means of celebrating the river. It was created 3 years ago for Trinity Sunday in 2020. Photographs of the Rappahannock river in various seasons at various events (Gospel on the River) were combined with their vocal adaptation to create a video celebrating the peace and spiritual nature of that river.