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.

2023 Highlights at St. Peter’s

This is a topical summary. We have another page that is a chronological listing of 2023 events with table of contents with links to the events.

The highlights can be grouped as follows:

A. New ministry
God’s Garden
Chancellors Village
Advent Worskhop

B. New expressions in ministry
Stewardship tree
Lent -Stations of the Cross in the graveyard and more services

C. Expanded and revised ministries
Mission trip to Jamaica
Anniversary Village Harvest Food Ministry
Sacred Ground revised
ECM (Episcopal Church Men) end of year expanded donations and use of an art auction.
Community – Prayer service, Outside Christmas pageant, Work with community organizations
Key parishioner volunteering
ECW (Episcopal Church Women) projects

D. Music provided new delights
Easter, the summer and Christmas
Blue grass concert

E. Losses connected with two historic trees and two heating systems.

1. New ministry – God’s Garden

A new ministry debuted Sept 17, 2023. God’s Garden for 5 to 9 year olds began with 4 children and two experienced teachers, Elizabeth Heimbach, the originator of the class and Jan Saylor.

One of the first activities was to “God’s Garden” which explored what it meant to be a saint, today (Oct. 1, 2023) for St. Francis Day on Oct. 4. As an example they told the story of St. Francis taming the Wolf of Gubbio. Then, they made Pet blessings with treats to give out in church to make pets happy on St. Francis Day, Oct. 4.

2. Expanded ministry in Jamaica

Even before the mission began, we hosted Annette Steele, principal of Victoria Primary School who enjoyed a full day at St. Peter’s on Sun, Aug. 13. She addressed the church at announcements about our joint mission to help the students in her elementary school get ready for school in Sept, both in 2021 and 2023. She explained how much it meant to the students and her community.

After the service, she enjoyed St. Peter’s hospitality at a luncheon and met our parishioners and guests.

The group of 3 on the mission team distributed our donations in Jamaica on Aug. 26

We not only brought the usual school supplies but added 6 tablets. Separately, 7 used computers were donated to a school that had never had a computer.  

There were different ways of distributing the items.  There were contests for tablets and food baskets won by answering questions. Certificates given out based on merit overall and in areas like math. A number of students won $1,000 Jamaican dollars for math competency. Teachers were not forgotten – 2 footballs were given out to the coach!

3. Village Harvest ended its 9th year and began its 10th year in August, 2023 and ended the year serving the most people since 2019.

For the year, we recovered from a slow 1st quarter, 2023 and ended the year serving 1,063 people compared to 1,051 in 2022. It was the best yearly total since 2019.

Unfortunately, the same trend overall wasn’t present with food. Food increased from 2021 to 2022 (14,303 to 15,302 pounds) but dipped to 13,859 pounds in 2023. The first quarter was the problem. We had 2,913 pounds in that quarter compared over 4,000 for 2022 and 2021.

As a result, pounds provided per individual dropped from 14.56 in 2022 to 13.04. In 2021, it was in the same range at 14.32. Overall, pounds per individual are substantially higher since 2019 than in earlier periods.

The 2023 collection on Giving Tuesday, Nov 28 of $1,205 was the highest Giving Tuesday figure since 2019 and provides over 5 months of support for purchasing food for 2024

4. Sacred Ground revised their scholarship program

Representatives from Sacred Ground met with Jessica Thompson, Executive Director of the Germanna Educational Foundation, for lunch at Castiglias in Fredericksburg on Oct. 10, 2023.  The goal was to determine how we could move forward with a new focus on our scholarships for students.

Sacred Ground voted unanimously by email in early December to fund the recommendation forwarded by Jessica Thompson at Germanna for scholarships for students entering the trades. Each student is “in financial need and from underserved populations.” The $2,700 would be split equally to pay for their training.

Each student owes approximately $1,500 for the classes to complete the training. We will pay for the additional expense for each student through additional scholarship funds

They also toured Patawomeck Village in November. The goal of the visit was to understand their history and culture as well as our role

Earlier, the Sacred Ground group had the pleasure of meeting with Alanna Gray (beside Catherine), and her mother and grandmother (opposite Alanna) at Cuppa Cheer in February

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ECW takes dinner to “The House” at Mary Washington

(full size gallery)

The House is a combined ministry of the Episcopal/Lutheran churches focusing on campus, Young Adult, and Intergenerational Ministry centered around The University of March Washington and Germanna. The Rev. Ethan Lowery is the missioner who is supported and sponsored by by Trinity Episcopal, St. George’s Episcopal and Christ Lutheran.

St. Peter’s ECW signed up to provide dinner to one of their regular weekly meetings on Tuesday between 5pm. They have a dinner business meeting and program. We had 8-10 students for the dinner. (The students were in the midst of “crunch time” with exams next week).

Thanks to Elizabeth, Catherine, Linda, Alice and Robin who cooked the food and Jim Heimbach and Andrea who supported St. Peter’s at the event. St. Peter’s provided both regular and gluten free chile, corn bread and brownies as well as a vegetable tray.

Joining us was the Rev. Rosemary Beales who is a specialist in Godly Play and presented the story of Abraham with all the objects in a tray of sand. (Catherine took Godly Play under Rosemary prior to St. Peter’s implemented it several years ago. Rosemary works with Godly Play at St. George’s.)

We learned the House is conducting one of their main fund raising events this Sun Dec. 10 which is a crafts fair with items donated. Customer will not pay a price set by the House but one they believe is fair.

ECW Dinner for the “House”

The ECW will be taking dinner to the “House” located on Collage Ave, Fredericksburg on Dec. 5.  (This was last done Feb.5 , 2019 for about 10 students.) . Their website is – https://www.thehousefxbg.org/.

The Episcopal and Lutheran churches in downtown Fredericksburg have shared ministry for years, working together to fund and staff a mission to the University of Mary Washington campus since 2011. In 2018, the leadership of the three churches dreamed up the new position of Young Adult Missioner to coordinate campus ministries.

The missioner is The Rev. Ethan Lowery. College students meet Tuesdays during the semester from 5-7pm at The House for dinner and discussion and time to hang out and check in.  Our goal for our young adult ministry is to create safe spaces for fellowship, creativity, and learning and growing

Our missioner’s work is supported and shared among three parishes–Christ Lutheran, Trinity Episcopal, and St. George’s Episcopal, all within walking distance of UMW and The House

What Does Ministry Look Like ?

This is a PowerPoint comprising a list and description of St. Peter’s ministries under four headings – internal, local partners, state and national partners and international partners. The internal are distinguished by parishioner involvement and are generally active yearly. The others may not be active every year.

Many of these ministries represent the day to day work of the church, both outreach into the world and inreach for those within the church. The church is more than just Sunday and the St. Peter’s building but is working in the world! They involve the both the clergy and parishioners in the church as well as others. Many of these ministries are historic (Bible Study is 20 years old) but some, like Sacred Ground were created in the last five years.

To see a full screen version, press right button in the bottom windows   to open in a new window

Your giving for 2024 is crucial to making these ministries thrive. Also, consider joining these ministries and contribute toward their successes. We are always on the lookout for new ministries. An example is Andrea Pogue’s work with Shred-it which originated with her.

ECW Planning and Donation meeting, Sept. 25, 2023

The September meeting of the St. Peter’s ECW was held at the Heimbachs’ house because tree work at the church made parking limited. There were about 11 in attendance. Typically the ECW (Episcopal Church Women) at St. Peter’s give half of their earnings away by the 4th quarter of each year for outreach.

After everyone enjoyed tea and snacks, we welcomed our new member, Jean Devitt. Then, Elizabeth reported that the ECW account currently totaled $2280.89, and the group agreed to donate $100 to CERVE, (the Caroline Emergency Relief through Volunteer Efforts), $250 to Catherine’s Discretionary Fund, $500 to Village Harvest, and $500 to Social Services for their Christmas program. Since an anonymous member had given an additional $70, the ECW account will have $1000 after these donations are made.

Nancy Long has agreed to do some research to find out about the cost of repairing the brass altar vases which were a gift to St. Peter’s from the ECW, while Alice said that she would try to find out the possible value of the large bas-relief currently stored upstairs in the rectory.  

The group also discussed plans for the coming months including a visit to Chancellor’s Village, and a tour of the Potowomack Center. In addition, we talked about providing refreshments for the Epiphany and Presentation Services when the St. Peter’s Choir will join the choir of St. Asaph’s. We also agreed to prepare dinner for the Episcopalian students at Mary Washington, and, perhaps, to supply snacks for them during exam week in early December.

Finally, several people had ideas for events for which we could sell tickets to raise money. Jan suggested a Mother’s Day brunch, Catherine suggested a croquet match, and several people talked about the possibility of an event like a concert that could include a barbecue.

Summer Party for Youth and Children

What’s better than a party before school reopens!! St Peter’s Episcopal Church women welcomed a group of youth and children from Port Royal for lunch and games on Wednesday, August 9th. School starts next week.

This was the first summer event for Port Royal since the pandemic. In 2019, we had a program during June and part of July. Here is a link to an event in late July, 2019.

This year focused on pure entertainment. The children had fun playing various games. The giant bubble maker was a huge hit. Also, everyone guessed how many M&Ms were in a large container (1984 M&Ms!). The winner gave everyone else some M&Ms to take home.

Adults and children enjoyed eating pizza, watermelon, and grapes for lunch in the pavilion. All of the children got to take home a selection of books, thanks to Elizabeth and The Little Free Library program. Thanks to all who attended and all who worked to make this enjoyable time a success.

Thanks to the work of the ECW and planning by Andrea Pogue and Elizabeth Heimbach. Thanks in addition to Dave and Jean for helping out.

ECW Writing

The St Peter’s ECW met on November 27th to write cards to all St Peter’s friends and family who are scattered far and wide.  A wide selection of Christmas cards, tea and cookies made the morning a delightful time of fellowship for those who gathered.  Our long distance friends were with us in spirit.  Thanks to Elizabeth Heimbach for arranging this event, and for providing everything we needed for the morning’s pleasant work

Categories ECW

Giving Tuesday, 2022 results

The 2022 collection on Giving Tuesday of $1,175 exceeded teh 2021 total of $899. This should help to pay for 5-6 months of the Village Harvest in 2023. We serve about 190 people a month. Wonderful!

Also at the end November, the United Thank Offering collection was $484.73, rolling past November, 2021’s total of $268.87. The UTO is one of the oldest women’s ministry. Here is a short article on the UTO.

From a recent article in Episcopal News Network. “Practicing gratitude can be “a truly transformative thing,” UTO Board President Sherri Dietrich told ENS, since it helps people focus on what they have instead of what they might be lacking. “It just makes your life happier,” she said, and that can have an impact on others. “I really believe gratitude is one of those things that changes a circle of the world around you and can spread from there.”

Rev. Heather Melton, UTO staff officer called practicing gratitude “a healthy and important practice” and added that gratitude is sorely needed today. “We live in a time where people feel disconnected. Gratitude is one way to notice not only the thing someone is doing for you but also the connection we have with that person. Gratitude is a reminder that we need each other, from the person who makes your coffee to your best friend.”

Thanks to all who contributed!

ECW Donations, 2022

The ECW met in Early October to decide the distribution of their earnings from the Village Dinners. $2,550 was distributed almost evenly between domestic and international charities. It was slightly lower than $3,000 a year ago. However, some funds were held back for other ministries, such as the altar guild and fellowship.

Donation Amount Description
St. Peter’s Discretionary Fund   300 Fund to help local residents pay utility bills, rent, etc
Village Harvest Food Distribution   250 St Peter’s Food Distribution
Healthy Harvest Food Bank   250 Source for food for St. Peter’s Food distribuion
St. Andrew’s School in Richmond   250 School in Richmond, VA providing quality education for children in low income families
Micah Ecumenical Ministries (in honor of the Rev Thomas Hughes)   250 Churches in Fredericksburg established Micah our churches care for the whole person through ministries that address basic needs, health care, housing, income and the social/spiritual.
Total Domestic   1,300
Donation Amount Description
Five Talents   250 Transforming lives around the world through Christian economic development
Heifer International   250 Ending hunger and poverty around the world, by providing livestock and training to families
Episcopal Relief and Development   250 Working with partners around the world to alleviate hunger, create economic opportunities, respond to disasters, promote health, and strengthen communities.
Victoria All Age School in Jamaica   250 School visited in 2022 with support for Increased access to technology for the students.
Rev Luis Garcia   250 Priest in the Dominican Republic, to support his ministry in the several churches that he serves.
Total International   1,250  
Total 2022 Donations   2,550  

Honoring Women’s leadership on International Women’s Day

March 8 is International Women’s Day/ https://www.internationalwomensday.com “Celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality, is key.” “Collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity is what makes International Women’s Day impactful.”

Let’s call out the achievements of women at St. Peter’s:

At St. Peter’s our key ministries are led by women. Andrea Pogue (Village Dinner, Village Harvest, Shred It, Sacred Ground, Jamaica mission), Cookie Davis (Buildings and Grounds, Sacred Ground as well as her work with historic Port Royal), Susan Linne von Berg (Village Dinner), Elizabeth Heimbach (ECW). BJ Anderson (Altar – Communion Bread), Jan Saylor (the above and anything creative), Denise Gregory (music) and Mary Peterman(music,art). One other lady to cite – Eunice Key who has moved to SC but who worked in most of the above ministries and named the Village Harvest and is in the collage. Diligent, hard working with abundant initiative to go along with it. Without them there would be a big gap.