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.

Sacred Ground, Jan 18, 2024

The meeting was Thurs, Jan 18, 7pm on Zoom

I Scholarship funds

Check for $2,700 was provided in January for the workforce scholarship program at Germanna Community. The three are receicing instruction in the following fields – excavator operator, owner/operator trucking, and CDL training.

We will invite our contact Jessica Thompson, Executive Director of the Germanna Educational Foundation to  an event at St. Peter’s in the future

II. Future projects

  1. Investigate Black owned bank or Black owned businesses. Options include work with local black organizations such as the Caroline County branch of NAACP – https://naacpcaroline.org/ and/or the Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce (VABCC). https://www.vablackchamberofcommerce.org/.  The latter’s mission is “ensure the economic prosperity and sustainability of Virginia’s vibrant small business community.  They offer a directory of Black businesses .
  1. Feb 10 presentation on Port Royal at the Old Port Royal School. a Black School. It was constructed and used from 1924 to 1959. This is the 100th anniversary
  2. Bingo- Last Monday – Feb 26, 6pm Caroline county Public Schools. This may be a good opportunity for discussion with local leaders
  3. Meeting with school administrations about opportunities for St. Peters and other churches

III. Book discussion – How We Can Win Race, History and Changing the Money Game Thats Rigged by Kimberly Jones

The book was a breakdown of the economic and social injustices that have plagued Black People.  Jones is an author, film maker and book seller. The language was somewhat shocking but it was a technique for bringing us into her world, particularly the gang infested atmosphere in Chicago during the 1980;’s

She discussed the economic effects of slavery. Blacks missed out on the amazing of wealth through home ownership, education and community investment . She equated it to  about four hundred rounds of Monopoly lost. Whites are 60% of the population but control 60% of the wea;th.

Her solutions include a program called Reconstruction 2.0 which include the payment of reparations, use of a Truth and Reconciliation process ,reinstitution of the Freedmen’s Bureau , defunding the police, reinvigorating neighborhoods

Next meeting Feb 29, Zoom 7pm

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

Rejoice this Advent! Sacred Group votes for scholarship funds for 2024

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. We will have a scholarship reception in the spring where we can have the committee attend and meet students that benefit.

Read more

Photos, Patawomeck Village tour, Nov. 8, 2023, Sacred Ground

(full size gallery)

Tour notes are here

St. Peter’s Sacred Ground group had a wonderful fall tour of the Patawomeck Indian settlement just east of Fredericksburg on Route 17 on Nov. 8, 2023. The goal of the visit was to understand their history and culture as well as our role as well. They are one of 11 tribes recognized by Virginia.

There is the 1915 home originally owned by Duff Green that has two rooms of history plus an outside village that opened just this year in July. It is a “work in progress”. The tribe did most of the work to repair the house and create the village.

The tribe originally settled in North Stafford but moved south when Quantico took some of the land. The Indians played a major role in helping the Jamestown colony survive during the winter of 1609-1610 (“the starving time”). Unfortunately, the English did not return the favor but pushed them out. A group settled near us in Port Royal from 1750 to 1820 when they then moved to the Little Falls area of Stafford County and coalesced. There are 2,500 in the tribe today. Thanks to Brad Hatch, a member of tribe and Tribal Council for his tour. An excellent tour and definitely a site worth visiting!

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.

Meyer Gallery trip for Sacred Ground

Sacred Ground will be going to the Meyer gallery in Fredericksburg on Tues Oct. 10, 10am to see the art works on display. Here is a video interview with Meyer.

The interest in Sacred Ground is Meyer’s resarch in connection with mid-19th century Afro-American artist Robert Duncanson, one of the leading landscape painters. The Free Lance-Star published a recent article on Mayer and Duncanson. Free Lance-Star article

Meyer believes “Duncanson’s works can be viewed as instruction manuals for enslaved Blacks attempting to escape north.” It might be a path and features to mark the path or obstacles to avoid. Meyer will have 40 of Duncanson’s paintings representing “the path to freedom” at his gallery at 1015 Caroline St. through Oct. 28.

Here is a Powerpoint of Duncanson’s life as well as 16 of his paintings as a warmup for the tour:

To see a full screen version, press right button to open in a new window or Click here

More about the Sacred Ground Group

The Sacred Ground group was formed in 2020 to watch and discuss Sacred Ground: A Film Based Dialogue Series on Race and Faith in 2020. The 10 week study session was created by the Episcopal Church to explore the roots of racial conflict in the United States through the effects of race and racism throughout American history.

After completing the series, the group has continued reading various books to learn more about the impact of racism in the United States.  The group is currently reading  How we can win:  Race, History and Changing the Money Game that’s Rigged, by Kimberly Jones. 

The group has also set up a Sacred Ground Scholarship, a fund available to Black and Native American students,  as a way to combat the historical inequities in education caused by racism. 

In 2022, two young women from Caroline County High School received scholarships to attend Germanna Community College.  For the coming year, the group will be working with Germanna to help students who want to enter the various trade trainings, but do not have the downpayments to get started.  The cost for getting educated for a specific trade can be anywhere from $500 to $800.  Some of the programs have higher costs.  The group hopes to help several students during the school year. 

The group also hopes to visit the  Patawomeck Museum and Cultural Center in Stafford, which has recently opened.  This visit may take place in November. 

Consider joining the St Peter’s Sacred Ground Group.  All are welcome!

Sacred Ground resumes…

Please consider joining Sacred Ground, the group at St Peter’s working specifically for racial reconciliation in our lives, in our community, in our nation and in the world.  All are welcome.   We are meeting on Zoom on Sept. 12. 

Members of the group are coordinating with Germanna Community College Workforce to seek a recipient for the St Peter’s Sacred Ground Scholarship as we move forward.  

We are seeking information from the Diocese about the history of St Peter’s, so that we can understand our history more fully as we learn about how our past is intertwined with the institution of slavery.  

We hope to deepen understanding of the history and culture of the Native Americans of the Rappahannock and Patawomeck Tribes by planning a field trip to the Patawomeck Museum and Cultural Center in Stafford and working to establish a connection with the Rappahannock Tribe.

The group will also choose a book to read and to discuss as we  to continue increase the knowledge that will help us to improve our work for racial reconciliation. 

Join the meeting on Zoom,  7PM on Tuesday, September 12.  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85488115724?pwd=K0tJTTV1VTA4Z3RLUWhUZlUwdlkzdz09 Meeting ID: 854 8811 5724  Passcode: 539098