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.

Bingo Night, Feb 26, 6pm-7:30pm, Port Royal Fire house

Mon., Feb. 26th, Bingo Night 6-7:30PM at Port Royal Fire Department St Peter’s is serving as a Partner in Education with the Caroline County Public Schools.

We will be providing snacks for the Caroline County. If you would like to help, please bring granola bars, individually wrapped bags of trail mix, or small bottles of water and place them in the back pew by Sunday, Feb. 25.

Souper Bowl Sunday – Food and card donations

1. Prayer at Announcements

We collected food cans from parishioners today plus cards addressed to the recipients to provide additional connections to our Village Harvest food distribution, happening Wed Feb. 21, 3pm-5pm.

2. Results. We collected 41 cans of food and 33 cards donated plus $75 in monetary donations.

The goal was thirty cans and thirty cards for those who come to the distribution so we exceeded our goal. It was also above last year with 25 cans Thanks to all!

It was not just the donation that was important but also the symbolic bringing of the donation to the altar which we did today. This practice goes back to at least Exodus in the Old Testament when Moses encourages bringing donations forward to the Lord.

Discretionary fund donations, Feb. 11

Thank you for your discretionary fund donations. A total of $270 was collected Feb 11, 2024.

The bulletin of the same day announced recent funding. “In January, $850 of our discretionary fund helped 9 families with internet access, rent, and electricity. Thank you for your ongoing generosity for this ministry.”

SouperBowl! Feb 11, 2024

Bring a can, or cans, of soup to church on the 11th, along with a Valentine’s Day card wishing the recipient love from St Peter’s to be included in a Village Harvest bag on Wed, February 21st. The goal—thirty cans of soup and thirty cards for those who come to the distribution. Monetary donations to the Village Harvest are always welcome. Write a check to St Peter’s with Village Harvest in the memo line if you wish to donate.

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The Souper Bowl supports the Village Harvest

The Role of Food Insecurity

Year % Food Insecurity
2017 10.2
2018 9.9
2019 9.4
2020 7.7
2021 8.1

The Souper Bowl helps to fund the Village Harvest which is not budgeted but depends on contributions. Harvest fund levels are affected by trends in food insecurity.

The trends of food insecurity have improved over the last few year as a percentage of the population except for the last year (2021) in the table.

That’s the good news we can all appreciate. However, all groups in the community have not shared in this improvement.

Food insecurity is an economic condition driven by several factors, chief among these is a lack of money. Overall, the economy has been positive in these years accounting for downward trend percentage of food insecurity. There is an underlying second issue. Food insecurity is affected by underlying economic and social disadvantages reflecting racial differences.

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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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Chancellor’s Village Eucharist

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During early August, 2023, the local Episcopal region organized a weekly Euchriast at Chancellor’s Village, a retirement community just west of Fredericksbug, VA.

Catherine participates once or twice a month and shares the pulpit with the other priests of the Fredericksburg Region. The service is a regular Sunday service complete with sermon and Eucharist. The faciity has a dedicated worship space with altar and seats over 30.

Boyd and Barbara Wisdom have been there since July, 2022. Barbara and Tom Segar joined them by September.

Today, December 12, there were 10 initial participants but two came in at the end of the service and were given the Eucharist. The service was based on the readings from the previous Sunday, Advent 2, Year B.

As a bonus Chancellor’s Village was completely decorated for Christmas.

ECW takes dinner to “The House” at Mary Washington

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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.

Giving Tuesday 2023 results

W. T. Purkiser preacher, scholar, writer wrote a hundred years ago, “Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” His point in life was to lead an active faith and to share our blessings, often more than we realize.

The 2023 collection on Giving Tuesday of $1,205 was the highest Giving Tuesday figure since 2019. This should help to pay for about 5 months of the Village Harvest in 2023. We serve about 100 people a month. Wonderful! Many thanks to those who contributed

Discretionary Fund in 2023

There have been 41 checks totaling $3,524.58 from January through October of this year. The last year reviewed was 2021 for the same period which showed $2,243.68 distributed These funds help people with utilities, medical bills, rental payments, food, and car payments. The Discretionary Fundis a vital part of St. Peter’s Outreach. Thanks for those who have donated to this fund!.