Table of Contents – Links to the articles
Events are in chronological order
The Christmas Eve service did not go as expected. Our video stream was shutdown by an electric failure. Our organist was sick and others were away. We couldn’t do Silent Night in German due to the illness of our German speakers
We pivoted and the service was different but meaningful. We rearranged the bulletin. We had 2 large families who came in force and we went out caroling to a parishioner family who was ill. All ages came together.
During the service two ladies in the choir (Denise Gregory, Mary Peterman) provided all the soulfult music on piano and flute. And it worked! They came back on Christmas day and performed as well. Our hearts and thanks go out to them.
The youth helped to lead our worship service on the last Sunday in January.
Tues, Feb. 7th, Bingo Night 6-7:30PM at Port Royal Fire Department St Peter’s served 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.
Today, Feb. 12, 2023, we collected soup from parishioners today plus cards addressed to the recipients to provide additional connections to our Village Harvest food distribution, happening next Wed Feb. 15, 3pm-5pm. We collected about 25 cans and numerous cards. If 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.
The annual Congregational Meeting gives us the opportunity to reflect on the year just past, and to look toward our future together. We will also elect Linda Upshaw to the Vestry.
We had 15 people in the church and another 5 on Zoom. Preceding the service was a gorgeous sunset. The sermon was about how the righteous live – “storing up treasures in heaven and returning to God” which is our goal in Lent. Catherine ending was from a Jewish writing – “When all is left is Love”. The tag line -“Love doesn’t die, people do”
The Ash Wed service is a special service during the year getting the congregation ready to embark on a “Holy Lent” – “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy WordGallery
This was a Chrisian education group who read and discussed the Psalms using Zoom during late winter and spring.
We talked about how and when the psalms were collected, learn about different categories of psalms, how the Babylonian exile influenced the collections of Psalms, and most importantly, how the Psalms speak to us today about God and our relationship to God.
We read the first 20 Psalms in detail and then divided up the remainder in groups. Everone chose a Psalm that was meaningful to them to read and discuss for the group. People took away a new appreciation of the Psalms and their meanings.
The Sacred Ground group had the pleasure of meeting with Alanna Gray (beside Catherine), and her mother and grandmother (opposite Alanna) at Cuppa Cheer on a warm February day. Alanna is one of the Sacred Ground Scholarship recipients and is in her first year at Germanna Community College. The scholarship is helping to pay for her tuition.
Several years ago, Mary Peterman painted watercolors of each station, and they have been displayed in the church during Holy Week.
Thanks to the company Creative Color in Fredericksburg, who created outdoor banners of each station using Mary’s artwork, we can walk the stations out in our graveyard, surrounded by those who have gone before us. The Stations were located on the fence around the graveyard. The stations can be walked in a small group or in solitude.
Meditating on the words for each station, and on Mary’s watercolors, will be a spiritual experience that will deepen your relationship to Jesus and your faith.
Walking the stations of the cross also remind us that Jesus lived and died as one of us, and knew horrible suffering. As we travel with him through his last hours, we come to know that Jesus travels with us in our hours of greatest need.
During Coffee House, Jan Saylor taught how to make small crosses from palms that can be dried and kept for years.
Readings on Palm Sunday
The Tenebrae Service and Maundy Thursday were added back to Holy Week this year after COVID.
Easter is the culmination of the three key events in Christ’s life – Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, important for this church and Christians. Resurrection which is celebrated on Easter Sunday is a state of life in which we are living now in our bodies.
The choir provided a slew of anthems A. “When you prayed beneath the trees” – Denise Gregory, Mary Peterman B. “Were you there when they crucified my Lord” – Helmut linne von Berg, Larry Saylor. Male duo acapella C. “O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded”- Denise Gregory, Mary Peterman D. God’s Right Hand and Holy Arm – Choir
At last, St Peter’s has Breezeline Wi-Fi in the church building. Our streaming capabilities are now much improved. Going forward, we hope to stream our services successfully on You Tube at this link. https://email@example.com/streams You can also find this link on the St Peter’s website, https://www.news.churchsp.org. The link will also appear in the Sunday bulletins.
The new directory has been sent to your email address. You can save the document and handily find addresses on your computer and make corrections on your document as changes occur. You are welcome to print out a copy of the directory for your use. A few hard copies of the directory will be available at church, beginning on Palm Sunday. If you would like a hard copy and did not get one of the available copies, please let Catherine know and she will print one out for you.
This Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day. The Earth Day 2023 Theme is “Invest In Our Planet. What Will You Do?” How much plastic do you use? The Earth Day site has a plastics calculator https://www.earthday.org/plastic-pollution-calculator-2/ This Saturday, Earth Day—take a walk and participate in the St Peter’s “trashy contest.” Prizes will be given in the following categories: amount of trash, most disgusting piece of trash, smallest and largest piece of trash. Bring your entry to church next Sunday
The last Village Dinner was in April, 2023. The decision was based on a smaller number coming to the dinner as well as those preparing.
The women of the church were responsible for 3 ministries -The Village Dinner began 2005, The Royal Caterers 2008, and the Village Harvest 2014
This was the 11th appearance of the Shred-it truck since 2012. Shred-it’s goal is to safely dispose of records no longer needed using a professional shredding company
After costs of $335,the project made $305 for St Peter’s ministries. Thank you, Andrea Pogue, for coordinating the Shred-It truck as you have done for the last decade.
The gathering was an outreach effort in support of Helmut and Susan. Attendees included:
Helmut & Susan
Andrea & Ken Pogue
Jim & Elizabeth Heimbach
Chuck & Bonnie Harding
Mike Dixon (friend of Ken Pogue)
Pentecost featured the streamers representing the fire coming down on Pentecosts. We had a new group leading this and they functioned like they were veterans.
We were entertained during our Pentecost picnic by the Little Falls Bluegrass Band from Stafford. The gentlemen have played bluegrass music for many years in many bands, including this one. They comprise all ages – the banjo player celebrated his 18th birthday on Pentecost. They have played for weddings, social and church services. They are tight both in music and friendship – and it shows! Their acapella numbers were especially wonderful.
The offering throughout the Episcopal Church raises monies for grants that focus on meeting compelling human needs and to expand the mission and ministry of the church at home and throughout the world. $330.50 was collected for the Spring UTO ingathering on June 4. The UTO was able to fund 22 grants, including two historical grants in 2022. They had $1,051,154.14 available to award in 2022.
Catherine met with the youth weekly on Zoom for a weekly Bible study just for them. The difficulty was scheduling based on busy schedules. Zoom allowed the most youth to participate at a day and time of their choice and also not have to worry about transportation.
Thursday evening turned out best. The subject for most sessions was the upcoming lectionary.
An online compline service took place Wed, June 21, on Zoom celebrating the summer solstice and the longest day of the year The name Compline comes from the Latin word meaning “completion.” Prayers for protection at the end of the day, scriptures and blessings make up the service.
This was a collection for school supplies which ended with a rally at the Middle School at the end of July.
Our goal was 200 packs of 8.5×11 loose leaf notebook paper, 3 hole punch. Very ambitious! Most of those collected were 150 paper packs. We were able to collect 95 packs.
Johnny and Cookie Davis, and Tommy Hicks, a farm truck and a tractor, and a large crew of many other parishioners and neighbors were able to clear the back of the church of the debris from the crown of the tree that had broken off and ended up in the driveway behind the church. Thanks to all of you who helped with this project.
St Peter’s received a $5,000 grant from the Peter J. Lee Small Church Revitalization Grant in May, 2023. Jesse Clark was hired for the job and began in July. Some repairs to the parish house siding and porch have been made during the process of painting.
Elizabeth Heimbach and Dave Duke share the distinction in our congregation of being published authors. There is an article in the July newsletter about them and the link below.
St Peter’s Episcopal Church women welcomed a group of youth and children from Port Royal for lunch and games on Wednesday, August 9th. School starts next week.
This was the first summer event for Port Royal since the pandemic and sponsored by the ECW.
This year focused on pure entertainment. The children had fun playing various games. The giant bubble maker was a huge hit. Also, everyone guessed how many M&Ms were in a large container (1984 M&Ms!). The winner gave everyone else some M&Ms to take home.
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.
The Youth end of summer came to the Davis household on Aug 13 at 2pm. School begins this week. Instead of a blessing of back packs, the focus was on water – the waters of baptism and the waters for recreation. They first discussed baptism. Most could not remember their baptism so it was appropriate for Catherine to lead them in the renewal of their baptism vows. They discussed the differences between John the Baptism focus on repentence and Jesus baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Swimming was next on the agenda. Since it was a hot day, the water was refreshing, even for Jack, the Davis dog. About 4pm there was an ice cream social – making your ice cream in a bowl and or cone. There were at least 5 flavors of ice cream. After this there were games – a bean bag game, in particular. The hummingbirds fluttering around were a visual treat. We learned how much sugar and water was needed to keep them happy.
This past month (August 2023) your contributions helped five families pay rent, one family pay a gas bill, and one family pay an electric bill.
We apply the loose offering and specific donations from the second Sunday to the discretionary fund. Please be generous!
Termites were found when the termites swarmed, alerting us to their presence. Unfortunately, by the time they were discovered, the termites had already done quite a bit of damage to the north side of the church, especially to one of the pews and to the woodwork along the north wall. The Trustees have notified the Vestry that the money for the termite repair can come from the Endowment Fund. The church began treatments immediately for the termites
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!
We are in our 9th year having begun in 2014. We have added 3 families or 12 people in different months in 2023. Heathly Harvest Food Bank in Warsaw continues to supply our food and we have a steady stream of volunteers on Tuesday before Wednesday distribution and then on Wednesday the distribution day.
We are still behind year to date for 8 months in people – 652 compared to 706 in 2022 but looking back to 2021 we are above its total 640. More positive is the 6 month client results, March through Aug, covering most of the 2nd and 3rd quarters, eliminating the winter slow period. There is a steady rise from 2021-2023, 440 to 514.
Pounds in 2023 are under both 2022 and 2021. To date we have provide 8,764 pounds of food compared to 9,759 in 2022 and 10,179 for 2021
Pounds per client is a measure of effectiveness. Despite the lower number of pounds provided, pounds per client remains positive by 13.5 pounds in 2023, close to 14.0 in 2022 though under 15.9 in 2021. Except for 2019 and 2021, and 2022, pounds per client is higher than anytime in the history of the Village Harvest.
Since 2016, we have interrupted Pentecost with a month of the Season of Creation. For the early years, we changed the lectionary to make it more pertinent to the themse of the Season of Creation.
The Season of Creation is an optional season for the church year. For centuries, our theology our theology has focused on relationship with God and our human relationships with one another. The Season of Creation focuses God’s relationship with all creation and with our relationship with creation (and with God through creation). It highlights our role in understanding and addressing address the ecological problems we face today as a part of God’s creation.
This year we are considering working with the Cool Congregations program of Interfaith Power and Light. St Peter’s would work to establish a baseline of energy use and then set a goal of achieving a 10% reduction in emissions and become a “Cool Congregation.”
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. In 2021 the group continued learning by reading books.
At the same time, they talked about ways that St. Peter’s can become part of what Bishop Curry calls the Beloved Community. The group asked the Vestry to provide $500 to establish a scholarship allowing a Caroline County minority student to pay for education after high school. The $500 grew to $10,100 due to the donations of generous parishioners. The group then decided to distribute two scholarships and retain funds for the future.
Except for a luncheon earlier in 2023, Sacred Ground has not been meeting since May, 2023 when their first scholarships were awarded. Meetings will begin again in September, 2023.
The group will be exploring several directions:
1. 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.
2. 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.
A new ministry debuted Sept 17, 2023 and completed Oct. 22, 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. With this age range the pace is fast. Link to the first lesson
The Gospel passages from Sept 10 and 17, 2023 work well together as demonstrated by Tom’s (Sept 10) and Catherine’s (Sept 17) sermons. Both were about forgiveness and mostly the failure to practice it.
Tom brought up a metaphor of a beachball that you are being forced to hold underwater. You can’t do anything else -your hands are occupied. That’s the case of not forgiving
A week later Catherine extended it.
“What ball are you chasing today that Jesus has ALREADY taken away from you? What is it that you can’t forgive or let go, that you keep taking back, even though you have been forgiven and freed by God and by others for your sins toward them over and over and over?
“Last week, Tom reminded us that when are tempted not to forgive someone or when we are tempted to continue carrying a grudge, to go to a quiet place and after thinking about all that has happened, let that thing go. Yes!
“Another important thing about these lessons is the reminder that once the ball is gone, we need to replace the ball with something else, or we will start longing for the ball again, because it’s what we know, and we’re comfortable with it, even if we don’t like it.
The children in Sunday School on Sept 24 had a lesson on water and the story of Jonah and the whale was included. Later, during the sermon in Church, the Rev. Tom Hughes mentioned Jonah as part of Old Testament lessons and stressed that it demonstrated the grace and forgiveness of God. Then, a child raised her hand and a discussion began which led to a rapid end of the sermon in a good way. The children had paid attention in Sunday School!
The video has part of the Sunday school lesson on Jonah, about 4 minutes 25 seconds. Then after 4 blank seconds the end of Tom’s sermon is spliced in.
They met at the Heinbach house, welcoming Jean Devitt, determining end of year donations and planned events for the end of the year.
Unlike ministries which meet once a month, once a quarter or more infrequently, Bible Study from 10am-12pm meets every Wednesday. Currently, they don’t take time off during the summer
It is ecumenical with people from other churches and faiths. Cleo Coleman, a member of the Baptist Chuch, has been coming since it began approximately in 2002.
The group reviews the upcoming lectionary as well as sparks other discusssions.
“God’s Garden” explored what is 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.
Three videos show packing the bags, processing into church during the first hymn, and finally handing them out during the announcements. A fun activity for all with the children gaining an appreciation for this popular saint.
1. Making Pet Treats
2 Procession to the church during “Morning has Broken”
3. Distribution of the treats during Announcements.
As most of you know, during September, the Vestry had to make the hard decision to remove our old pear tree behind the parish house. This tree has amazed us through the years by continuing to stand despite a long and ominous crack, and a large hollow in the trunk. The tree had a habit of blooming at odd times of the year. The pear tree’s fruit varied from inedible for all but the yellow jackets and the groundhogs and then this year, a delicious harvest for all.
The pear tree was probably planted by the wife of Rev Ware, who served at St Peter’s from 1888 to 1918. She planted an orchard of fruit trees on the church property. This pear tree was probably the last member of her fruit tree orchard, connecting us to the faithful witness of past St Peter’s members.
Our large sycamore tree now stands as a sentinel with no branches. The branches that remained after the freak storm at the end of July did not have enough support from the tree trunk to safely remain on the tree. The sycamore tree will probably bush out in the spring with small branches and leaves. Meanwhile, it too provides a witness to our past.
Gallery of both trees
Thanks to Jan Saylor for her artistic ability!
In recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Oct 9, 2023), liturgy of Oct 8, 2023 contains Native American resources.
Here are 4 parts of the service with themes and two videos (Communion Hymn, Prayers of the People, Blessing and Song of Praise)
Pow Wow near Port Royal (Photo Catherine Hicks)
Announcement from Andrea Pogue in church, Oct. 8, 2023 with a message from Annette Steele, principal.
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.
Our time together included a short prayer service at noon, other prayers at 1pm and concluding prayers at 2pm. Larry Saylor provided the meditative music throughtout the 2 hours. The first link has Catherine’s description of the 5 prayer stations that adorned the windows.
Stewardship tree, Oct 8 when Jan introduced her creation. and 3 weeks later Oct. 29. Thanks for your estimates of giving! About 18 leaves, each representing a pledge or estimate of giving.
As of Sun, Nov. 5, the ECM fund stands at $1014.13. They will send $500 to Social Services to provide for 10 Thanksgiving dinners @ $50 each, with all remaining funds to go to Social Services later for Christmas presents.
This is the second largest Thankdiving donation since 2020 for the ECM.
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.Link to Andrea’s summary
There was a discussion of 5 topics presented on the screen
Andrea chose – “Where do we want to see our church in 5 years?” “We need more members in here not to fill pews to fill their souls.” To help them know God. We need to be welcoming to any race, any color
St. Peter’s Sacred Ground group on Nov 8 had a wonderful fall tour of the Patawomeck Indian settlement just east of Fredericksburg on Route 17. 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. Photos Tour notes
St. Peter’s Vestry met on Tues Nov. 14 for a Mutual Ministry Review.
The Diocese of Michigan provides a good understanging of it – “Mutual Ministry Review is a discernment process in which the leaders of the congregation ask who God is calling this congregation to be, how this congregation is presently responding to God’s call, and how this congregation is going to respond to God’s call. The MMR is an effort to discern God’s will for the church and call for all ministers (lay and clergy) to be accountable for it.” St. Peter’s had not scheduled one for several years.
Check the link for the foods that were prepared for it – crepes, muffins, soup and fruit.
Nov. 2023 – Largest number of people in 2023 and 1,270 pounds of food goodness, second highest pounds in 2023!
Over the past 9 years, we have distributed 121,795 pounds of food to 11,010 people which equates to 11.1 pounds per person. The earlier years were lower at under 9 pound per person with 2018 onward being over 12 pounds.
November, 2023 was a spectacular month serving 110 people, the largest number since Jan, 2022 with 115. The pounds provided were 1,270 second largest in 2023 behind April, 2023 at 1,365.
Jan Saylor organized an Advent Workshop on Nov. 26 from 3:30pm to 5pm. This was our first such workshop for the entire congregation.
It was a wonderful intergenerational event with 16 people participating. It was a good kickoff for Advent, creating items to be taken home.
Jan had organized the Parish House into 4 stations:
1. Creating a block based nativity scene. The characters were drawn on small blocks of wood.
2. Bird feeder made with pine cones covered with peanut butter and bird seed.
3. Advent wreath intended for tables with candles and greenery.
4. Decorated Christmas trees that started with sugar cones and were covdred with different frostings, white and green, decorated with assorted sprinkles.
People flowed between the stations as they liked. The timing was ideal as they easily worked through four stations.
Here was a sampling of what was created in the above order (click the image for a larger one): Link
Many thanks to Mary Peterman for the three works of art that she donated to help raise money for the ECM’s Christmas project. After several rounds of bidding, the happy art owners are Alice Hughes, “On the Rappahannock,” The Felicianos, “Autumn Still Life,” and “Sundays at St Peter’s,” Catherine Hicks. A total of $475 goes to the ECM! Thank you to all who bid.
The 2023 collection on Giving Tuesday of $955 was the second highest Giving Tuesday figure since 2019. This should help to pay for about 4 months of the Village Harvest in 2023. We serve about 100 people a month. Wonderful! Many thanks to those who contributed