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.

Thy Kingdom Come, 2024

“Thy Kingdom Come” is celebrating its 8 year anniversary in 2024. 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 2023 Playlist

The 2022 Play list is available

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 2024 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. 

5. Listen to the Bishop Tom Wright’s podcast. Wright is a both a prominent theologian and author. He was the Bishop of Durham from 2003 to 2010. He then became Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s College in the University of St Andrews in Scotland until 2019, when he became a senior research fellow at Oxford University. He has written over 70 books but has specialized in Paul.

In a 2003 interview, he said that he could never remember a time when he was not aware of the presence and love of God and recalled an occasion when he was four or five when “sitting by myself at Morpeth and being completely overcome, coming to tears, by the fact that God loved me so much he died for me.”

Here is the complete collection.

6. New resources.

Firstly, they have introduced new daily themes for our resources. These themes focus on the character of God – ‘Our Father in Heaven’ – the One to whom we are petitioning and inviting people to know, to love and to serve.

Secondly, this year they are introducing a new sub-theme ‘Living the Kingdom’. Whilst Thy Kingdom Come will always have its focus as a call to prayer for evangelism we want to invite participants to go one step further. Mission always comes from the place of prayer, so how can we in this time go the extra mile, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to love and serve those we are praying for or others who are in need? This is about living the Kingdom – individually and corporately – in our context.

Finally, returning to the early days of TKC, they are encouraging Christians to gather together (in-person where possible) and collaborate ecumenically locally, regionally and nationally – being a truly united witness to the world.

For families, there is an 11-part children’s video series called Cheeky Pandas – packed with Bible stories, prayers, animation, worship songs and interviews with special guests including Adventurer, Bear Grylls, CBeebies Presenter Gemma Hunt, Revd Nicky Gumbel (HTB and Alpha) and Pastor Agu and Shola (Jesus House) to name a few. The video series (which will be available from early April onwards) can be used as part of church at home, gathered church (online and offline) and in school assemblies. Similar to last year, the series will be the main content in the Family Prayer Adventure Map and App.

On Mothering

“God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.” – A Jewish Proverb

“There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. – Chinese Proverb

“A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.” -An Irish Proverb

“As truly as God is our Father, so truly God is our Mother.” -Julian of Norwich

“A mother understands what a child does not say.” -Jewish proverb

“The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children. -Elaine Heffner

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Jan 18-25, 2024

Traditionally the week of prayer is celebrated between 18-25 January, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul.

Check out the event website. The chosen theme is ‘You shall love the Lord your God… and your neighbor as yourself’ (Luke 10:27). Go and do likewise!

The materials for 2024 were prepared by an ecumenical team from Burkina Faso Burkina Faso is located in West Africa in the Sahel region, which includes the neighboring countries of Mali and Niger with It has 21 million inhabitants.  64% of the population is Muslim, 9% adheres to traditional African religions and 26% is Christian (20% Catholic, 6% Protestant).

From the materials   “Burkina Faso is currently experiencing a serious security crisis, which affects all the communities of faith. After a major jihadist attack was mounted from outside the country in 2016, the security situation in Burkina Faso, and consequently its social cohesion, deteriorated dramatically. The country has endured a proliferation of terrorist attacks, lawlessness and human trafficking. This has left over three thousand dead and almost two million internally displaced persons in the country. Thousands of schools, health centers and town halls have been closed, and much of the socio-economic and transport infrastructure has been destroyed. Attacks targeting specific ethnic groups exacerbate the risk of inter-communal conflicts. In the context of this dire security situation, social cohesion, peace and national unity are being undermined.

“Christian churches have been expressly targeted by armed attacks. Priests, pastors and catechists have been killed during worship and the fate of others who were kidnapped remains unknown. At the time of writing, more than 22% of the national territory is outside the control of the state. Christians can no longer openly practice their faith in these areas. Because of terrorism, the majority of Christian churches in the north, east and north-west of the country have been closed. There is no longer any public Christian worship in many of these areas. Where worship is still possible, with police protection, usually in large cities, it has been necessary to shorten services owing to security concerns. 

“Nevertheless, a degree of solidarity is emerging between the Christian, Muslim and traditional religions. Their leaders are working to find lasting solutions for peace, social cohesion and econciliation. …”

“Following the government’s calls for prayers for peace, social cohesion and reconciliation, individual churches continue to organize daily prayers and fasting. Action by the various Catholic and Protestant churches has intensified to assist displaced persons. Reflection and awareness-raising meetings have been organized to promote better understanding of the situation and of the value of fraternity, and to develop strategies for a return to lasting peace.

“The invitation to work together on the texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024 challenges the different churches in Burkina Faso to walk, pray and work together in mutual love during this difficult period for their country. The love of Christ that unites all Christians is stronger than their divisions and the Christians of Burkina Faso commit themselves to walking the path of love of God and love of neighbor. They are confident that God’s love will overcome the violence that currently afflicts their country.”

“The churches of Burkina Faso have invited us to join with them in a process of self-reflection as they consider what it means to love our neighbor in the midst of a security crisis

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

Read more

Give to the ECM Christmas Outreach

From Ken Pogue. “Each year the Episcopal Church Men help St Peter’s provide support to those in need during the holidays.  The men coordinate with the Caroline County Department of Social Services to provide families in the area with gift cards

 “Your donations are greatly appreciated by the ECM and the recipients of the gifts in the Port Royal community, Thank you so very much in advance from a grateful community.”

If you’d like to donate for the Christmas offering, please make a check to St Peter’s with ECM in the memo line by Sunday, Nov. 12

Last year $750 was given at Christmas.

Summary of Diocesan Convention, Fri. Nov 5 from Andrea Pogue

The topic for Friday was “Closing the Gap between religion and life” How do we close it? It was led by Bishop Stevenson and guest speaker Dr. Catherine Meeks

They talked about reparations, racism, church declining numbers, and young people.

1 Reparations are not only associated with money but is about relationship with one another, acknowledging the wrong that was done, the struggles that we are still facing, haves and haves-nots which are for the most part due to the color of their skin.
2. Race. In the church, the community is diverse. One person spoke about their community as more than 50% Afro-Americans but only 17% in church. Are we not approachable? Is our faith keeping people away? Let’s do something about that.
3. Decline in church – Bishop Stevenson mentioned a church that had declined to 15 members, 4 -5 years ago. Now -5 years later they have 40 members in the church. That’s awesome!

Read more

Veterans Day, 2023

1. “Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares”                                    
2. “Tragedy of War”-Michael LaPalme

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I (called the Great War) ends.

Veterans Day on November 11 honors everyone who has served in the military, whether or not they served in wartime or died in battle (Memorial Day).

On November 11, 2018 at the beginning of the worship service, we along with many Americans tolled bells in remembrance of those who served and sacrificed. It is an important day years after this anniversary.

From a Litany for Veterans by Robb McCoy-“God of love, peace and justice, it is your will for the world that we may live together in peace. You have promised through the prophet Isaiah that one day the swords will be beaten into plow shares. Yet we live in a broken world, and there are times that war seems inevitable. Let us recognize with humility and sadness the tragic loss of life that comes in war. Even so, as we gather here free from persecution, we may give thanks for those that have served with courage and honor. ”  Here is an English Veterans’ Service.

All gave some, Some gave all.

While the US has “Veterans’ Day” celebrating and honoring all veterans who have served, Europe and Canada has “Remembrance Day” about the end of World War I  on November 11, 1918.  The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem “In Flanders Fields”. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I; their brilliant red color became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

Mark Knopfler wrote “Remembrance Day” about this day. The song and  illustrated slideshow are here .

From “Remembrance Day”

“Time has slipped away The Summer sky to Autumn yields A haze of smoke across the fields Let’s sup and fight another round And walk the stubbled ground

“When November brings The poppies on Remembrance Day When the vicar comes to say May God bless everyone Lest we forget our sons

“We will remember them Remember them Remember them”

Prayers of the People, All Saints, 2023

The Prayers of the People

We give you thanks for those we have known and loved in this lifetime who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no one can number, and with whom, in your son Jesus Christ, we are one.  

James Abourezk, (friend of Linda Kramer), John Anderson (brother of Jim Anderson), Susan Allen (friend of Linda Kramer),  Bethune Andrews  (sister of Linneth Feliciano), Ruby Barnes  (sister of Laura Carey), Mattie Beale (friend of Mary Peterman and Denise Gregory), Easton Buchanan (cousin of Andrea Pogue), John Thomas Carter (Barbara Wisdom’s stepfather), Roger Chartters (friend of the Segars), Pansy Cohen (relative of Andrea Pogue) , Herb Collins (friend of Cookie Davis and Port Royal), David Fannon, David Fitzgerald (son of Lydia O’Neil),  Lynn Garrett,  Edward Geraci, (brother of Marion Mahoney), Louise Gossett (friend of Catherine Hicks) , Taylor Hayden (member of Scout Troop 304), Joan Johnson (Andrea Pogue’s family) , Billy Long (Larry Saylor’s brother-in- law)  Bill McKnight (Chris Fisher’s uncle) , Nancy Newton Nolen (friend of Barabara Segar), Beverly Pauken (Mary Peterman’s sister), Sandra Smith, John Stoddard (friend of the Upshaws), Paris Swisher ( friend of Tom and Alice Hughes), Edith Taylor (friend of Cookie Davis), John Vartonklan, MD.,  Robert Walker, Jane Harrington Webber  (Linda Kramer’s aunt), Jeremiah Williams 

Tolling of the Bell 

“We Remember Them”- Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer 

At the rising of the sun and at its going down; We remember them. 

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter; We remember them. 

At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring; We remember them. 

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer; We remember them. 

At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them. 

At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.  

When we are weary and in need of strength; We remember them. 

When we are lost and sick at heart; We remember them. 

When we have decisions that are difficult to make; We remember them. 

When we have joy we long to share; We remember them. 

When we have achievements that are based on theirs; We remember them. 

For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as, we remember them. 

Loving God, you have bound us together in one communion and fellowship.  Grant to us, your whole Church in heaven and on earth, your light and your peace as we continue on in our pilgrimage in faith with one another and with Jesus, our companion and friend.  Amen. 

And now, let us pray for an end to all violence and for the desire to walk the way of Jesus, for if only we follow that path,  we will find God’s reign of love here, on this earth.  

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.  Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.  Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.  For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen. 

Recent Articles, Oct. 29, 2023

Pentecost 22, Oct. 29, 2023
Lectionary for Pentecost 22
Photos Oct. 29, 2023
Videos, Oct. 29, 2023
Commentary Oct. 29
Vanderbilt visual commentary
The Flow of the lectionary
Stewardship Commentary
Gospel Reflection
Concept of love in Biblical times
Introduction to Thessalonica
Why does Paul go to Thessalonica”
Request for names for All Saints Sunday

The Village Harvest, Oct. 2023, the end of 9 years
ECM Thanksgiving donations
Completion of God’s Garden class

End of October
Reformation Day Oct. 31, 2023
How do we get halloween (Oct. 31) from All Saints (Nov. 1) and All Souls(Nov.2)?

Stewardship 2024
To be a Church Rooted in Love
Planning your financial giving
Options for estimating your giving
Ministry Connections

About Stewardship
5 Principles of Stewardship
Stewardship is…
Stewardship FAQ

2024 Planning
Walk in Love planning help

Fall photos
Robert Frost, October
Early Fall

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.

Church open Oct. 17, 2023, 12 pm-2 pm for prayer

St Peter’s Episcopal, Port Royal, will be open Tues, Oct. 17 for prayer. Please plan to come to the church tomorrow anytime between noon and 2PM to pray for peace in the Middle East. Feel free to come for a short time, or to stay for the whole time. People are welcome to come and go throughout the two hours. We will be praying along with people around the world who are joining the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem who have called for this day of prayer.

Our time together will include a short prayer service at noon, which will include spoken prayers and some meditative music.

After this opening, people are invited to use the various resources that will be available in the church as we pray silently in solidarity with one another and with others around the world who will also be praying for peace.

A short prayer service at 1:50PM will conclude our time of prayer together.

Walk in Love Planning Help Needed!

The new church year starts on the first Sunday in Advent, this year on Sunday, December 3rd. The Vestry has decided that the coming year’s theme will be Walk in Love.

Each season will have a particular focus. The focus of the Advent and Christmas season will be Walk to the Manger. The season after The Epiphany will be Walk in the Light. The seasons of Lent and Holy Week will be Walk to the Cross. The Season of Easter will be Walk in New Life. The season after Pentecost will be Walk in the Way. Catherine and the Vestry will be working on what we do together as the church with these themes in mind. We need a planning committee!

If you are interested in helping with the fun of planning the new year, please complete contact Catherine at (540) 809-7489 or complete this form. Thanks for willingness to help plan!

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The new church year starts on the first Sunday in Advent, this year on Sunday, December 3rd. The Vestry has decided that the coming year’s theme will be Walk in Love. Each season will have a particular focus.

If you are interested in helping with the fun of planning the new year, please complete this form: