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.

The Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost

We know what did the Holy Spirit did in Jesus time at Pentecost. It energized them, bound them together gave them a mission to extend the Gospel into foreign lands

Pentecost is a season, not just one day. We have a long time in the church year to work with it ( Pentecost is the longest season. In 2023 it is 27 weeks long from May 28 to Dec 3 (advent) or about 7 months). The celebration should be and is a  part of Pentecost Sunday.

And after that?

We have to know who we are. Based on that what is our mission?

Who are we ?

Luke casts the church as a spirited community of bridge-builders, visionaries, and dreamers, male and female, slave and free (Acts 2:17)

Hopefully, our churches have “visionaries and dreamers” but also those that  can organize to implement the change, work for funding if necessary and report back what we done. (Thank goodness we have no slaves.)

What is our mission? 

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“Thy Kingdom Come”

“Thy Kingdom Come” is celebrating its 7 year anniversary in 2023. Since May 2016, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the people of Thy Kingdom Come have been bringing the world together in prayer. St Peter’s has been part of this international prayer initiative for several years. Here is the website. Check out their new mobile app.

In the gospel according to Luke, before Jesus ascended, he told the disciples to go to back to Jerusalem and await the coming of the Holy Spirit. They did as he asked, spent ten days absorbed in prayer as they waited, and the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost.

Through these prayerful disciples, the Holy Spirit brought the Church to birth. Following the example of these disciples, we can spend time in intentional prayer praying for people around the world to be filled with the Spirit and to come to know Jesus more fully.

So what we can do to participate?

1. Review the 2022 Play list

The 2021 Video Series is also available

Here is their Impact Report from 2022 and before.

2. Pray for 5 people

From the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Download the card. This card will easily fit inside your wallet, purse or book. Choose five people you would regularly like to pray for and write their names down onto a list. If you’re not sure who to pray for, ask God to guide you as you choose. Once you have settled on 5 names, commit to praying for them regularly. Use this card as a daily reminder to pray for them.

Once you have settled on 5 names, commit to praying for them regularly by praying the following: Loving Father, in the face of Jesus Christ your light and glory have blazed forth. Send your Holy Spirit that I may share with my friends [here, name your friends] the life of your Son and your love for all. Strengthen me as a witness to that love as I pledge to pray for them, for your name’s sake. Amen.

3. Go deeper with a 2023 Prayer Journal

Each day there are a few things to read, a prayer to offer and then an invitation for you to make your own reflections on what it means to follow in the way of Christ. You don’t have to write anything down, but you may find it helpful.

4. Prayers from Ascension to Pentecost

The nine days from Ascension Day to the Eve of Pentecost are the original novena–nine days of prayer.

Before he ascended, Jesus ordered the disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. After his Ascension, they returned to the upper room in Jerusalem where they devoted themselves to prayer. These last days of the Great Fifty Days of Easter can be a time for us to prepare for the celebration of Pentecost. 

They have also published their 2023 Novena and exploration of 1st John

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Recent Articles, May 14, 2023

Rogation Sunday

Rogation Sunday, a time of celebration and prayer, is a time set aside to appreciate and recognize our dependence upon the land for our food and most importantly upon our dependence of God for the miracles of sprouting seeds, growing plants, and maturing harvest.

The Rogation Days, the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day, originated in Vienne, France in 470 after a series of natural disasters had caused much suffering among the people.  Originally, the Christian observance of Rogation was taken over from Graeco-Roman  religion, where an annual procession invoked divine favour to protect crops against mildew.   Archbishop Mamertus proclaimed a fast and ordered that special litanies and prayers be said as the population processed around their fields, asking God’s protection and blessing on the crops that were just beginning to sprout.

The Latin word rogare means “to ask”, thus these were “rogation” processions. The tradition grew of using processional litanies, often around the parish boundaries, for the blessing of the land. These processions concluded with a mass. The Rogation procession was suppressed at the Reformation, but it was restored in 1559. The poet George Herbert interpreted the procession as a means of asking for God’s blessing on the land, of preserving boundaries, of encouraging fellowship between neighbours with the reconciling of differences, and of charitable giving to the poor. The tradition of ‘beating the bounds’ has been preserved in some communities. In the latter   a group of old and young members of the community would walk the boundaries of the parish, usually led by the parish priest and church officials, to share the knowledge of where they lay, and to pray for protection and blessings for the lands. Others maintain the traditional use of the Litany within worship. In more recent times, the scope of Rogation has been widened to include petition for the world of work and for accountable stewardship, and prayer for local communities, whether rural or urban.

The Sunday before the Rogation Days came to be considered a part of Rogationtide (or “Rogantide”) and was known as Rogation Sunday. The Gospel formerly appointed for that day was from John 16, where Jesus tells his disciples to ask, and ye shall receive.

Rogation readings

I.Theme –   The Stewardship of Abundance

"The Mustard Seed"  

First Reading – Deuteronomy 11:10-15
Psalm – Psalm 147
Epistle –Romans 8:18-25
Gospel – Mark 4:26-32  

The readings this week are for Rogation One and not Easter 6! .  This is an option in the BCP.  There is Rogation Sunday which is celebrated on Easter 6 and then 3 days afterward in the week of Ascension. Rogation Monday is for fruitful seasons, Rogation Tuesday for commerce and industry and Rogation Wednesday for the stewardship of creation. We look at the Monday readings.

The Collect provides the overall ecological feeling to the readings. God is the source of fruitful seasons, the source of abundance and we must be “faithful stewards of your good gift.” As stewards we provide all our knowledge resources, time, talent and funds and use them in service to take care of what belongs to God.

We are the managers but as our first reading in Deuteronomy states God is watching this management . “The eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year”. We must heed his commandments and God will provide – rain, grass for the fields and as a result “you will eat your fill” As the Psalm maintains God is in control of both the weather – weather – rain, hail, frost, snow, wind – which can determine your abundance but also the end product – “satisfying with the finest of wheat.”

Background – Israel was called a land of barley and wheat (Deuteronomy 8:7-8). The spring wheat and barley harvest preceded the major harvest in the fall, the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16, 34:22). Both the spring and the fall harvest were dependent upon the rains coming at the right time. The fall rains are called the early rain. The spring rains are called the latter rain. The early rain is spoken of in Deuteronomy 11:10-15, and Joel 2:23. The rain is prophetic of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon people’s lives individually as they accept Jesus into their lives and allow the Holy Spirit to teach and instruct them concerning the ways of God. The early rain and the latter rain also teach us about the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit in a corporate way upon all flesh. The early rain refers to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Christ’s first coming and the latter rain refers to the outpouring of  the Holy Spirit during Christ’s second coming.

Psalm 147:12-20 sings of God’s work in creation as well as God’s work of protection and safety for the people. God is the one who has given ordinances and statutes to Israel, and to them, God relates to them in a special way, unique, unlike any other people. Those who know God’s ways know the assurance of God’s presence.

Psalm 147 is a praise psalm and broadens the work of God. It sings the praises of God who binds up the brokenhearted, gathers the outcasts, and brings in the marginalized. God cares for all of creation and provides for all the creatures, and God cares for all of the people. God is not impressed with feats of strength or greatness, but rather humility and awe of God.

The Gospel is the parable of the mustard seed, the “smallest of all the seeds on earth” which yet becomes “the greatest of all shrubs”. This allows us to find additional meanings.

When we open ourselves to God’s possibilities, it is often the tiniest change that opens up a new trajectory, weak at first, but then growing stronger, until it overcomes resistance, obstacles, habitual behavior. The mustard seed metaphor stands on its own, but there are so many more organic images that reinforce the point—such as the Mississippi River, which starts as a stream in northern Minnesota small enough to step over and becomes progressively wider, until it spreads through the Louisiana delta to the Gulf of Mexico. Wherever we are in journey, God is always ready to gurgle up from underground, to plant a small seed, to open us to more than we can imagine.

God does allow us to grow on this earth, interacting with this world, and does not pull us out of danger or harm, or shield us from mistakes. But the kingdom or reign of God is built and created out of all of us. We do not know how each of us will grow, but we know we grow based on our experiences here on earth, and grow beyond our earthly experience. How we grow, and grow together, helps determine how and when we will be harvested, gathered together with God

The Romans reading provides a dose of reality into our growing from seeds into bushes when we face difficult life situations.

In other words, there is a parallel experience going on between creation and the children of God. There is the ultimate plan of freedom alongside the distressful life experiences.

As Christians we are caught in the frailty of our human bodies. They have not experienced redemption even though our souls have. Our real potential is hidden behind the weakness of our human bodies

We inherently know and long for the full realization of all of God’s promises. There is a pattern very clearly set in verses 19-25

Note this pattern: 

Romans 8:19-22 – Creation suffers and waits glorification-> God’s children suffers and waits glorication

Romans 8:23-25 – Jesus suffered and was glorified -> God’s children suffer and will be glorified

Paul is addressing God’s children living on the edge of two worlds, one group of people are caught in the web of sin and death and the other have stepped into life and light ( Romans 5). Christians, however, like those bound in darkness are still suffering even though they have escaped the curse of sin through justification. Perhaps Paul sensed the impending persecution against Christians. In any case, the Roman Christians greatly suffered and needed a theology to take them through.

Trials are to be expected. Suffering is part of this life. We are to keep our faith and even strengthen our trust in Him during times of trials for God will create a greater good out of it.

The creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God" and

"But also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body."

Organic Suburbs- Rogation re-defined

Smithsonian in the May, 2015 issue writes about a new trend in planned living involving farm life. Housing is connected not to golf courses or lakes but to gardens.and farm land. Interconnectively is the key concept. In some developments, apartments and homes are wedged together to make use of limited space and encourage social interaction.

There are already dozens of agritopian developments and, fueled by the local-food movement.  There is highly planned housing together with an environmental focus .  Waste water, for example is filtered in a biological treatment system and reused for irrigation. There as much focus on providing bike and hiking paths as streets.  Parks become common meeting grounds.

Serenbe is perhaps the country’s most popular and profitable “agritopia,” outside Atlanta. It tries to combine what it would term the “good life.” – arts, agriculture, education.

At Serenbe, there is a 25-acre organic farm. Plus there farmlands  all of which produce enougth vegetables to supply a number of restaurants, a farmers’ market and a  Community-Supported Agriculture program

Their website provides an attractive description “Year-round cultural events include outdoor theater from Serenbe Playhouse, culinary workshops and festivals, music events, films and lectures, boutique shopping, art galleries, a spa and trail riding, plus a robust Artist in Residence program featuring dinners and talks. “ Currently there are 400 homes

Links 1. Serenbe  2. Smithsonian article

Origin of Mother’s Day

In the photo – Anna Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe who in the 19th century promoted the idea of mother’s day. Then 3 men who wrote about their moms, Lincoln, Edison and Churchill

Today, May 14 is Mother’s day as well as being Easter 6 and Rogation Day. Originally Mother’s day was less about Mom but the conditions she faced in being Mom. In wartime it became a peace movement. Finally, it became about Mom herself in our time.

In the late 1850s, Ann Jarvis established Mother’s Work Day, a day dedicated to teaching mothers how to better prepare food and clean so as to prevent disease. The mission was to improve sanitary conditions. This mission was driven by personal experience, as seven of her eleven children died before adulthood. Though personal, this experience was anything but unique in a time before vaccines and a widespread understanding of germ theory. They raised money for medicine and helped families with mothers suffering from tuberculosis, among other supports.

After the War, Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, also wrote her “Appeal to womanhood throughout the world”, later the “Mother’s Day Proclamation”, which attempted to unite women around the world together to bring about a lasting peace:

“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

After the war, with tensions still high between those who fought on opposite sides, she “organized a Mothers’ Friendship Day…to bring together soldiers and neighbors of all political beliefs.” It was a great success despite the fear of violence.

Mother’s Day continued to be celebrated as a movement for peace, but was only celebrated at local levels until the turn of the century. In 1908, Anna Jarvis, daughter of the aforementioned Ann Jarvis, began to campaign to make Mother’s Day a federally recognized day in honor of her mother who had died in 1905. The first nationally celebrated Mother’s Day was in May of 1914. But what had been a day dedicated first to cleanliness and later to peace was again repurposed, this time to celebrate mothers themselves.

Famous men have celebrated their moms:

Abraham Lincoln – “All that I am or hoped to be, I owe to my angel mother. ” Nancy Hanks Lincoln promoted his love of the written word.

Thomas Edison on his mother- ” The good effects of her early training I can never lose. If it had not been for her appreciation and her faith in me at a critical time in my experience, I should never likely have become an inventor. I was always a careless boy, and with a mother of different mental caliber, I should have turned out badly. But her firmness, her sweetness, her goodness, were potent powers to keep me in the right path. My mother was the making of me. The memory of her will always be a blessing to me.”

Winston Churchill – A London editor submitted to Winston Churchill for his approval a list of all those who had been Churchill’s teachers. Churchill returned the list with this comment: “You have omitted to mention the greatest of my teachers—my Mother.”

This year’s Mother’s day prayer in our church service today covers a variety of moms-

“We give thanks and pray for our mothers and for all who have loved and cared for us as mothers in this life. We pray for mothers who rejoice; shield them. We pray for mothers who are weary, frustrated and overwhelmed; give them rest. We pray for those who have lost children; comfort them. May we love one another with your own tender compassion. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.”

Thanks, Mom.

A Sermon for Mothers

A portion of the sermon from Steve Shepherd, retired minister

On Mother’s Day we can’t say enough good things about our mothers, but we’ll try. And God help us if we don’t!

PROP.- I want to share briefly three thoughts:

1- Her hands work

2- Her mouth speaks

3- Her heart loves


ILL.- A boy got his first job. As he was boasting about the amount of work he did, he said, "I get up at 5 a.m. and have my breakfast." He was asked, "Does anyone else get up too?" He replied, "Oh yes, mother gets up and fixes my breakfast and then fixes dad’s breakfast."

"And what about your dinner?" The boy said, "Oh, mother, fixes that too."

"Does your mother have the afternoon to herself?" The boy replied, "No, mama cleans the house, looks after the other children, and then gets supper for me and dad when we come home. Then we watch TV before we go to bed."

"What about your mother? What does she do?" The boy replied, "Mama washes some clothes and irons the rest of the evening."

"Do you get paid?" "Of course, Dad and I get paid."

"And what about your mother, does she get paid too?"


If anyone here today believes that moms don’t work, I would suggest that you’d better keep your mouth shut.

In Prov. 31, we see that mothers do all kinds of work.

– She sews v. 13, 19, 22 "She selects wool…and works with eager hands."

– She shops v. 14 "bringing her food from afar."

– She cooks v. 15 "She provides food for her family…"

– She gardens v. 16 "She plants a vineyard…"

Our text also says that mothers v. 15 "get up while it is still dark" to prepare food. And v. 18 "her lamp does not go out at night."

WHAT’S THAT OLD SAYING? "Man works from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done."

v. 27 "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread idleness." She isn’t lazy.

ILL.- When my twin sister Sharon and I were born in 1944 mom already had a three-year-old boy. I think all three of us were in diapers. No Pampers either. And no washer.

Most of you know about those days. Nothing fancy in our homes. No extras. But mom worked hard, cooked meals (loved her fried chicken, biscuits and gravy), she cleaned house, washed clothes, ironed clothes (I helped to sprinkle the clothes), put out a garden, and later, worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse while still taking care of the home. THANK YOU, MOM, FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK.


Prov. 31:26 "She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue."

ILL.- When Preacher John Wesley was a student at Oxford Unversity, he was shocked by the amount of drinking done by the students.

After writing to his mother, Susanna Wesley, for her counsel, he received the following words: "My dear son: remember that anything which increases the authority of the body over the mind is an evil thing." Great instruction! And I’m sure that Susanna Wesley said a lot of other good words of wisdom to her children.

ILL.- A London editor submitted to Winston Churchill for his approval a list of all those who had been Churchill’s teachers.

Churchill returned the list with this comment: “You have omitted to mention the greatest of my teachers—my Mother.”

ILL.- Preacher G. Campbell Morgan had four sons and they all became ministers of the gospel. At a family reunion, a friend asked one of the sons, "Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?" While that son looked at his father, he replied, "MOTHER."

Mother was the greatest preacher. Many mothers have done a lot of preaching to their children, whether they considered it preaching or not.

ILL.- I don’t remember much of what mom said to me when I was a kid, sad to say. But I’m sure mom said plenty to me! Because I remember that she washed my mouth out with soap a time or two, which meant I said something wrong. And I’m sure she said something to me about it too!

I’ve told you before that I used to tease her in front of people by saying, “Oh, mom, you know I was the best kid you ever had.” And she would say, “No, you weren’t.” Which meant she lectured me many times about what to do and what not to do. THANK YOU, MOM, FOR CARING ENOUGH TO TELL ME WHAT WAS WHAT.


Prov. 31:11-12 "Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."

If a husband has full or complete confidence in his wife, then you know that she is a woman who loves her man.

ILL.- An epitaph on his wife’s tombstone written by her husband after 60 years of marriage, read, "SHE ALWAYS MADE HOME HAPPY." That’s love.

ILL.- A grandmother was telling her granddaughter goodnight when the little girl said, "Mommy and daddy are entertaining some very important people downstairs."

"You’re right," grandma agreed, "BUT HOW DID YOU KNOW?"

"JUST LISTEN," the little granddaughter said, "MOMMY IS LAUGHING AT ALL OF DADDY’S JOKES."

Brethren, where there is a lot of laughter in a home, you just know that something good is happening in that home! AND, OF COURSE, THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE LAUGHTER IN THE HOME.

Prov. 17:22 "A cheerful heart is good medicine…" When there is a lot of laughter in a home, someone is putting out some good medicine. AND IT ALSO SHOWS A LOT OF LOVE.

ILL.- A teacher at school put this question to little James in math class, "James, suppose your mother made a cherry pie, and there were ten of you at the table: your mother and father and eight children. How much of the pie would you get?"

"A ninth," was his answer. "No, no, James. Now pay attention. There are ten of you in the home. “Don’t you know your fractions?" "Yes, maam," he replied, "I know my fractions, but I know my mother even better, AND SHE’D SAY THAT SHE DIDN’T WANT ANY PIE."

The unselfishness of a mother shows a heart of love for her family. And all of us can remember many unselfish acts of devotion our mamas made to our homes.

ILL.- Some years ago while my mother was still living at her home on Webb City, MO, but was stricken with Parkinson Disease I was there alone visiting her for a few days. I was sitting on her couch and she was in her recliner. Suddenly, I started crying over some heavy burden in my life. The tears poured and I glanced over to look at mother and she was trying hard to get out of her chair. I said, “Mother, what are you doing?” She said, “I’m coming over there to love you.”

Thank you, mom, for loving your grown son


ILL.- Thomas Edison once said, “I did not have my mother long, but she cast over me an influence which has lasted all my life. The good effects of her early training I can never lose. If it had not been for her appreciation and her faith in me at a critical time in my experience, I should never likely have become an inventor. I was always a careless boy, and with a mother of different mental caliber, I should have turned out badly. But her firmness, her sweetness, her goodness, were potent powers to keep me in the right path. My mother was the making of me. The memory of her will always be a blessing to me.”

What a loving tribute to a blessed mother.

Prov. 31:28 “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Mothers in the Bible quiz

So how well do you know the mothers in Bible ? 

We have an online quiz of 10 questions which could stump the best of you. You don’t have to register, give your name, blood type, etc. The results are only known by you. But give it a try.  

The quiz is here for all who dare.