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.

Sunday’s Thoughts, June 2, 2024

A lovely collect this Sunday was a good start – “On this day of rest and gladness, we praise you, God of creation, for the dignity of work and the joy of play, for the challenge of witness and the invitation to delight at your table. Renew our hearts through your sabbath rest, that we might be refreshed to continue in your work of restoring the world to wholeness. Amen”

It is all about energy – work, play, witness, renewal and restoration.

This sense of energy carried through to the blessing-
“May the light of God illumine the heart of our souls.
May the flame of Christ kindle us to love.
May the fire of the Spirit free us to live.
This day, and forever more.”

We had the Rev. Shirley Smith Graham to talk to the congregation about the transition, planning and next steps. Johnny and the Vestry are handling this.

The sermon use the clay pots metaphor to illustrate Paul’s reading from Corinthians – “We have this treasure in clay jars.” In one case light can shine through and another it cannot. This was acted out by three children helpers. It provided examples of how St. Peter’s lets light shine through – the Village Harvest distributing food, the Jamaica project providing educational materials, the work with other organizations in the area including the schools, Sacred Ground providing scholarships.

We had another one coming up this month in June. Some of the best ministries are home grown and we have Shred-It that is a combination of fellowship, ecological goodness and outreach. On June 12, 1:30pm bring your documents to the church to be securely shred. Enjoy the fellowship with neighbors. Make a monetary contribution to St. Peter’s outreach for keeping your documents safe, secure and out of the landfill.

“Only God could give this small church the power to accomplish these things. God’s power works in us so that God’s glory can shine out through us.”

A nod to the transition – We are going to get broken in this life and suffer “big and and little deaths”. But these can be beneficial ” Change cracks us open so that new light and life can flow in and then back out into the world. Churches in transition are in the process of dying to what has been so that they can be open to the new life that will be, new life and light that they can then pour out into the world.”

Paul had the last word in the sermon – “Paul was right. We do have this treasure of God’s light in clay jars. So may we welcome the breaking, the spilling, the hardships, and the changes that life brings to each one of us and to our church. For through us, Jesus is already coming again in glory every time we get broken apart and his light shines and pours out through our brokenness into the world”

A Breakfast Program in Jamaica

From Principal Annette Steele  – “The Victoria Primary School Breakfast initiative was established five years ago to help in addressing the nutritional needs of some of the students. We had an increasing number of students getting sick in the mornings. Some experienced tummy aches, headaches and even to the extent where some would faint. We realized that most of these cases were as a result of students not having breakfast in the mornings for various reasons. Some students arrived at school very early because parents were unable to provide breakfast because of financial constraints that they were experiencing.”

“To date, these conditions still exist. However, we have seen a great reduction in the occurrence of illnesses, especially on days when breakfast is served. “

Since November, 2023, a  group of parishioners has come forward and are sending funds monthly through Western Union.  A week’s worth of breakfast costs $50.  The action has not helped feed children  but also acted an inspiration to teachers to keep up their work as well.

From Principal Annette Steele  “Their regular contributions have enabled us to expand the program. We are now able to add more to the menu and eventually feed more students Our students have benefitted greatly from their assistance and we want to express our sincere thanks and hope the partnership will continue as we ensure that the nutritional needs of our students are met.”

If you would like to donate, contact Catherine or Andrea.

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

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.

Jamaica Mission – School Supplies distribution, Aug 26, 2023

Photo Gallery

(full size gallery)

The sun came up after a drizzle on Sat., Aug 26, 2023 which fit the mood of the day. Light did shine on the Victoria Primary School – parents, teachers and students as well as the mission team from St. Peter’s Episcopal. From Mark 15:15 – “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news[a] to the whole creation.”

The distribution provided bags, notebooks, pencils and other school supplies for all the students at Victoria Primary school. 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!

Thanks to the St. Peter’s mission team Laura Carey, Ken and Andrea Pogue. Thanks especially to Andrea for organizing the mission in the difficult covid summer of 2021 and continuing it in 2023. Plans are underway for 2025!

Collage -From left to right, top to bottom – Leaders of the mission including Andrea Pogue (St. Peter’s) middle and Annette Steele (Victoria School principal), Laura Carey gives a certificate of merit to a deserving elementary school student, Footballs provided for the staff, Tablet given to student for answering questions, View on the way to Victoria School, Proud parents of a student, Two days before the event organizing the supplies, Parent who won a bag full groceries.

Jamaica Mission – School Supplies setup, Aug 24, 2023

(full size gallery)

The Jamaica team, Andrea and Ken Pogue and Laura Carey arrived in Jamaica on Wed, Aug 23. Thursday Aug. 24 was a work day preparing for Sat’s distribution of school supplies. See the gallery, above.

The supplies included drawstring backpacks, sharpeners, pencils, pens, toothpaste, toothbrushes, erasers, crayons, pencil cases, and rulers. Also six tablets were contributed as sell as seven used computers to the school.

The work involved sorting pencil case holders by colors for boys or girls and then placing supplies in them, organizing school books, packing backpacks and readying certificates noting achievement. It was a full day but now they are ready.

Jamaican Mission Team send-off, Sun Aug 20, 2023

The team leaves, Wed. Aug 23 for Jamaica ahead of the school distribution on Sat. Aug 26, 2023. Today, there were prayers for safe travel and a successful mission trip.

Thank you to everyone who donated school supplies for each of the 300+ students at the Victoria School in Linstead, Jamaica, These donations included 3,000+ items including drawstring backpacks, sharpeners, pencils, pens, toothpaste, toothbrushes, erasers, crayons, pencil cases, rulers, Also 6 tablets were contributed. Finally, St Peter’s was able to donate seven used computers to the school, along with keyboards and monitors to use with each computer. We collected $2,355 at the end of June for the computers and remaining school supplies

Back to Jamaica

The Jamaica mission trip participants depart on Aug. 23. Traveling are Ken Pogue, Andrea Pogue, and Laura Carey. The school supply distribution is Sat. Aug 26.

Top left to right – Ken Pogue, Andrea Pogue, Laura Carey

Special thanks to Andrea for arranging the original connection between Victoria Primary School and St. Peter’s in 2021 and for her work this year in planning the school supplies distribution on Sat. Aug. 26. Computer equipment which is needed at the school was added for this distribution.

Annette Steele’s day at St. Peter’s, Sun Aug 13, 2023

Annette Steele, principal of Victoria Primary School, 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.

Then, she came to the youth pool party to sample many flavors of ice cream. The rest of the mission team this year – Andrea and Ken Pogue and Laure Carey were also there. The team depart on Wed Aug. 23 in preparation for the school distribution on Sat. Aug. 26 for over 300 students.

Addressing the church, having lunch with two of our guests and then a conversation with the Rev. Catherine Hicks.

Filling up on ice cream at the youth pool party in the afternoon! Image at right shows Annette and to her right St. Peter’s mission team members, Laura Carey, Andrea Pogue and Ken Pogue.

Thanks for all who have supported this mission and those who journey to Jamaica to help with the school distribution.

Welcome, Annette Steele!

On Sunday Aug 13, 2023, Annette Steele, Principal of the Victoria Primary School in Jamaica, will be with us during the 11AM worship service. Two years ago we purchased enough school supplies for 350 children and sent 7 on a mission trip. We will return this month sending more school supplies and this time equipment.

Annette was born in Jamaica and received her education at University of the West Indies, Jamaica with a Bachelors in Primary Education and a Masters in Education. She started as a 6th grade teacher and then moved toward administration, first as a vice principal and then a principal in 2010 at Victoria Primary School.

Victoria Primary School has been in existence since 1932. They currently have 300-350 students in enrollment ages 6-12 years, 13 teachers, and one guidance counselor on staff. Annette is married and has two daughters

What does she love about education? “Teaching and watching the kids excel is my ultimate goal, I am extremely passionate about my students.”

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Andrea, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and the community for initiating this Back to School Drive. Thanks for their continued support. It is making a tremendous impact on the students, parents, teachers, and the community alike.”

We will have lunch to honor Annette following worship in the Parish House.

Following the lunch, all are invited to come to the Davis residence from 2-5 PM for a time of renewal, recreation, and refreshments. During our time together, we will consider our baptisms and renew our baptismal vows, and those who would like to experience what baptism by John the Baptist might have been like will have that opportunity. Thank you to Cookie and Johnny Davis for hosting this party.

Jamaica Project Update – Supplies left to purchase As of June 16

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. Purchases due on June 18, 2023

    Here are the current items left as of June 16 which are left 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. As of June 11, we had collected $1,500!
  • 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.

    Thank you for your donation.

    Donations and Supplies for Jamaica, Update June 30, 2023

    1. Donations. Donations -collected $2,355 as of June 28. $1,499 is earmarked for the school principal to purchase notebooks, computers (keyboards, mouse and monitors), shipping, customs, checking suitcases on the plane for supplies).

    2. The rest of the funds were available for supplies which Andrea purchased on June 30. We are done! Pencil cases, 280. Rulers, 350 Pens, 100 Toothbrushes, 50 Sharpeners, 156 Erasers, 200 Drawstring backpacks, 220

    Thank you for your donations.

    Back to Jamaica in 2023

    In 2021, St. Peter’s fundraising contributed $3,000 for the school project. Here is the presentation from that trip.

    A mission trip was organized to setup the school distribution. The supplies were sent ahead of the distribution.

    In 2023 we are refreshing the supplies as well as moving to supply additional items, like computers. This year only Andrea, Ken and Laura will be going to deliver the supplies.


    Donate here

    Victoria Primary School, formerly Victoria All-Age is located in North West St. Catherine about two (2) miles from the major town of Linstead in the farming community of Victoria. Victoria, along with the adjoining community of Banbury, where most of the children are from, has a populace of over 20,000.

    Approximately 10 % of the adult population is dependent on farming for a living, some of the produce from this activity is sold at the Linstead Market and the remainder kept for domestic use. Another 30% depends on vending as their main means of livelihood, 40% is employed while the remaining 20% is unemployed.

    The current parent population is very young with the average age being about 25 years. Most of them have attained secondary level of education but have not moved on to tertiary learning but instead have acquired a skill in order to become employable.

    The school was originally a shift school, an elementary. It was built to house about 200 children. At the time of the 2021 mission trip school population it was 330

    At the beginning of each school year, some parents often have financial challenges in purchasing items to send their children back to school. Some of these include the purchasing of school bags, writing books, pencils and uniforms etc. There are times when past students will assist in purchasing some of these items.

    Photos from the Saylor fellowship, Nov. 5, 2022

    About 25 gathered from 2 St. Peter’s churches as a fund raiser for the home that is being built in Jamaica for a family member at St. Peter’s. It was a beautiful, warm night with the sky moving to a full moon on Nov. 8

    The fellowship included “What’s in the sock game” where people guessed what was in up to 20 socks. (At least 2 identified all!). Andrea Pogue’s Nov. 5 birthday was celebrated. Dinner included multiple sets of chili with bread and a dessert table that included pecan pie, peanut butter pie and cupcakes. The evening shifted into singing with Larry Saylor leading the group from a distributed song book. Well planned! There was time left for roasting marshmallows.

    At the Saylors (full size gallery)