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.

Season of Creation – Forests (Deforestation)

This week we look at ground level to consider deforestation


Forests in our memories – From Michelle Cook, Intergen. “How do you think of forests? In your imagination are they places of peace and quiet? Are they places that scare you? Are you more at home in a eucalypt forest than in a mangrove forest? Sometimes forests can be places of fear. Think of all the old stories from Europe, the folk tales some of us may have grown up hearing. Stories like Hansel and Gretel, where children get lost in the forest. Stories like Snow White, where the beautiful young girl gets taken to the forest by the hunter so that he may kill her far away from witnesses. Forests in these stories are seen as places of secrecy, of unknown dangers and mysterious powers.”

“In Psalm 139 it is our bodies being knit together in our mother’s wombs that becomes known. God, the creator of everything, knows our bodies, and hear the Psalmist says to us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Even the workings of the womb, hidden from us, and felt by mothers, are known by God. The story of creation is retold in Genesis 2:4b-22. Adam is created from earth and is set in a garden – a forest of fruit trees – a garden of food. Here is a forest, where again, all is known. The chaos and desperation of the land, where nothing is yet growing, is contrasted with the richness and safety of the garden.”

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Season of Creation 2023 – a retrospective

The image shows the challenges and work to improve the environment in the darker areas with the light areas, the work we are doing now and a promise for the future.

We did fewer projects and concentrated on the beauty of creation and the need for renewal.  The Season of Creation was present in these areas:

  1. Five Sundays readings in the Season of Creation and highlighted a specific environmental area which we covered weekly.- Earth, water, energy, food (waste), deforestation. Link
  1. We began a new Christian Ed for Children ages 5-9 and they covered water
  2. The services during the month had the following different sections

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Concluding the Season of Creation – Prayers for the Earth

Based on the Fifth Mark of Mission

To Strive

God, creator of the universe,
Fill us with your love for the creation,
for the natural world around us,
for the earth from which we come
and to which we will return.    
Awake in us energy to work for your world; 
let us never fall into complacency, ignorance,
or being overwhelmed by the task before us.
Help us to restore, remake, renew. Amen 

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Richard Rohr on St. Francis

Rohr is a Roman Catholic priest and writer. He is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation which brings together action and contemplation .

He recently created a video on St. Francis.

Rohr discusses St. Francis and his connection with nature which he refers to as “The First Bible”.  Some points

1 The  early Franciscans taught that the whole natural universe is the first Bible

2 if we murder and mangle and manipulate and destroy, how would we possibly have the skills to reverence and use, correctly, the written Bible?

3  You grant respect and reverence to nature and you let the animals talk back to you. Once you’re inside the enchanted universe where everything is granted subjectivity, you’re never lonely

Climate Change – and you – the big items

Home owners


  • A house with a furnace is like a car that idles all day. Swap your furnace for a heat pump, which works by extracting heat from one location and transferring it to another (Tax Credit : 30% of the cost paid by the consumer, up to $2,000/year,)
  • Swap your gas stove for an electric stove, which will also lower indoor air pollution (rebate amount has not been publicized year)
  • Install a programmable thermostat model to turn off the heat/air conditioning when you’re not home.
  • Get a home or workplace energy audit to identify where you can make the most energy-saving gains.  ( Tax credit – 30% of the cost paid by the consumer, up to $150)
  • Consider Solar- This is  a significant expense but can vary depending on the company you choose.

30% federal tax credit via Inflation reduction act. State – – A property tax exemption for the increase in home value after going solar.

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECS), which are financial incentives for generating clean electricity.  You gain one SREC for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours generated by your solar panels, and you can sell the credits to local electricity providers and other organizations that are subject to renewable energy mandates. As of 2023, each SREC can be sold for around $45 to $70.

Solar alternative – Even if you can’t install solar panels, you can still be a part of the clean-energy economy. Check out – Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) odec.com. ODEC has entered several long-term purchase power agreements for energy generated by wind, solar, and landfill gas resources. .

Your home – other

  • Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you’re not using them
  • Turn off lights you’re not using and when you leave the room. Change to energy-efficient LED bulbs
  • Wash clothes in cold water. Hang-dry your clothes when you can
  • Draft proof.
    Drafts waste five to 30 per cent of energy. Those from basements and roofs cool the most. Seal doors, windows and chimneys in those areas first. Try testing with incense. Where the smoke wavers, a draft is blowing in.To seal leaks, make or buy a “door snake” and caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows. Look for non-toxic, eco-friendly caulks. You can also add small insulating covers underneath electric outlet wall plates on outside walls or beside cold basements and crawl spaces.
  • Insulate windows.
    Hang heavy curtains to keep the cold out and the cozy in. A cheaper solution: insulation film, available at most hardware stores. This plastic shrink film is easy to apply and keeps in much of the heat that would otherwise escape.
  • Reverse ceiling fans.
    Many ceiling fans have a reverse mode. When they turn clockwise, they push down warm air that pools near the ceiling and circulates it through the room.
  • Change furnace filters.
    Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase your furnace’s energy demand by making it work harder. Replace filters at least every three months during the heating season.Better indoor air quality is a nice side benefit of this energy-saving tip. Consider switching to a washable filter, which reduces waste and is more effective.
  • Check your thermostat.
    Every degree you turn it down can save between 1.5 and five per cent of your heating bill. A programmable thermostat will help you get efficient and consistent.Turn down the thermostat when you’re sleeping or out. It’s is the most efficient way to reduce your heating bill — and your eco-footprint.



  • Combine errands to make fewer trips. Remove excess weight from your car. Use cruise control.

                Consider electric or hybrid or low carbon vehicle for your next car

Speeding and unnecessary acceleration reduce mileage by up to 33%, waste gas and money, and increase your carbon footprint.

  • Properly inflated tires improve your gas mileage by up to 3%. It also helps to use the correct grade of motor oil, and to keep your engine tuned

                Fly less and take alternate transportation


Season of Creation – Food waste

1. Food Waste

The local food banks and other distributors have worked out agreements with restaurants to help eliminate waste by taking foods they cannot sell due to sell by dates and redistributing the foods. Globally, the issue of waste is a large one.

World Wildlife Federation has covered the topic in its fall magazine.

“Today, 7.3 billion people consume 1.6 times what the earth’s natural resources can supply. By 2050, the world’s population will reach 9 billion and the demand for food will double.

“So how do we produce more food for more people without expanding the land and water already in use? We can’t double the amount of food. Fortunately we don’t have to—we have to double the amount of food available instead. In short, we must freeze the footprint of food.

“In the near-term, food production is sufficient to provide for all, but it doesn’t reach everyone who needs it. In fact, one-third of the world’s food—1.3 billion tons—is lost or wasted at a cost of $750 billion annually. When we throw away food, we waste the wealth of resources and labor that was used to get it to our plates. In effect, lost and wasted food is behind more than a quarter of all deforestation and nearly a quarter of global water consumption. It generates as much as 10% of all greenhouse-gas emissions. As it rots, it pollutes water and soil and releases huge amounts of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases.

“Another negative aspect of food waste is its connection to species loss. Consider this: Food production is the primary threat to biodiversity worldwide, expected to drive an astonishing 70% of projected terrestrial biodiversity loss by 2050. That loss is happening in the Amazon, where rain forests are still being cleared to create new pasture for cattle grazing, as well as in sub-Saharan Africa, where agriculture is expanding rapidly. But it’s also happening close to home.

“These wasted calories are enough to feed three billion people—10 times the population of the United States, more than twice that of China, and more than three times the total number of malnourished globally. Wasted food may represent as much as 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is a main contributor to deforestation and the depletion of global water sources.

“By improving efficiency and productivity while reducing waste and shifting consumption patterns, we can produce enough food for everyone by 2050 on roughly the same amount of land we use now. Feeding all sustainably and protecting our natural resources.”

South Korea has a system that keeps about 90 percent of discarded food out of landfills and incinerators, has been studied by governments around the world. But the country’s mountainous terrain limits how many landfills can be built, and how far from residential areas they can be built.

Since 2005, it’s been illegal to send food waste to landfills. Local governments have built hundreds of facilities for processing it. Consumers, restaurant owners, truck drivers and others are part of the network that gets it collected and turned into something useful.

In the case of a restaurant when it gets to a plant. Debris — bones, seeds, shells — is picked out by hand though most facilities are automated. A conveyor belt carries the waste into a grinder, which reduces it to small pieces. Anything that isn’t easily shredded, like plastic bags, is filtered out and incinerated.

Then the waste is baked and dehydrated. The moisture goes into pipes leading to a water treatment plant, where some of it is used to produce biogas. The rest is purified and discharged into a nearby stream.

What’s left of the waste at the processing plant, four hours after Mr. Park’s team dropped it off, is ground into the final product: a dry, brown powder that smells like dirt. It’s a feed supplement for chickens and ducks, rich in protein and fiber, said Sim Yoon-sik, the facility’s manager, and given away to any farm that wants it.

For consumers, at apartment complexes around the country, residents are issued cards to scan every time they drop food waste into a designated bin. The bin weighs what they’ve dropped in; at the end of the month they get a bill.

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Climate Change, More Book, Part 3 Reduce, Sept. 24

The first two chapters of the MORE book were required material to get to Part 3 – Reduce.

Understanding the significance of our need to reduce greenhouse gases from Part 1, led to calculate our carbon footprint in Part 2. We meet to strive towards net zero emissions by 2050. Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans and forests for instance. Part 2 focuses on reduction to get to net zero.

How much do we need to reduce our carbon footprints? For Americans, that number is about 90 percent.The United Nations’ intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that if we don’t act now, we’ll be facing the severe effects of a warming planet as early as 2040.  One example? 50 million people around the world, will be affected by coastal flooding.

This chapter lists 26+ ways for us to act.

Click this button on the bottom right of the PowerPoint window to enlarge

Sermon, Proper 19, Season of Creation 3

Psalm 103; Romans 14:1-12, Matthew 18:21-35

Practicing forgiveness is part of the art of  living fully, joyfully, and peacefully in this world.  Last week, Tom provided us with that unforgettable image of a person standing in the ocean trying to hold a beach ball under the water—and how that effort meant that the person was not free to do anything else.  Not forgiving, he pointed out, is like trying to hold that beach ball under the water. 

In today’s gospel, Jesus tells a story about a king who forgave a slave in tremendous debt to the king. That slave, having been forgiven his debt, went out and refused to forgive one of his fellows who owed him money.  In fact, the forgiven slave had the person in debt to him thrown into jail until the man could pay his debt to the slave the king had so generously forgiven.     

The others who witnessed all of this went and told the king, who called the forgiven slave in.  The king said, “You wicked slave!  I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?”

And the king hands over the slave to be tortured until he pays his original debt. 

And then comes this zinger from Jesus.

“So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” 

That is, we suffer the consequences when we continue to be unforgiving people.  

So I’m wondering—are there, in the end, limits to God’s limitless mercy? 

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