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.

Take heed from the Gospel this week!

Luke 18:9–14

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus compares two individuals in the temple. One person views himself as good and righteous, believing his personal faults to be minimal. He sees his rote adherence to piety as enough to justify himself before God and neighbor, and he lives his life in a posture of judgement towards others. The other man, a tax collector who would certainly have been deemed a despised member of society in Jesus’s time, understands himself to be deeply flawed. He feels the sting of conviction in his own heart and humbles himself before God and neighbor.

As Irene Maliaman notes in her retelling of this passage, Christians today should take heed of the parable’s lesson. She asks us to consider “a model Christian and a criminal [who] went to church to pray. Without hesitation, the Christian entered the church, dipped his fingers in the stoup that holds the holy water, made the sign of the cross, genuflected, and headed straight to his favorite pew in front of the altar. It is obvious that he knew what he was doing and was familiar with the place. Looking up, he lifted up his hands and prayed, ‘Thank you, God, for blessing me and making me unlike those corrupt and miserable sinners who cannot tell good from evil, who live their lives separate from you, who do not come to church, like that criminal over there. I read the Bible daily, I never miss church, I pray for the less fortunate, I fast twice a week, I advocate for justice and human rights, I support Episcopal Relief & Development and other non-profit organizations that are helping the poor, and I give my tithes.’”

Maliaman reminds us of the dangers of considering ourselves righteous in our own context. As Christians, we are called, like St. Paul notes in his letter to the Philippians, to “in humility regard others as better than yourselves.” God, who searches our hearts and motivations, calls on us to enact a posture of repentance. In such a posture, we open ourselves to God in full awareness of who we are. We can then experience God’s mercy and kindness as a gift of grace.

—Summerlee Staten

Stewardship, Pentecost 25, Oct 23

The Many Varieties of Stewardship

From Tens.org – By The Rev. Carolyn Woodall

Check out our Stewardship page

"I suspect that when people think about stewardship most think about their pledge. There is nothing wrong with that as churches certainly need money to survive and flourish – generally more than they have. But that isn’t the end of it because stewardship encompasses so much more. Being a steward requires that we carefully and responsibly manage or care for something that has been placed in our care.

"That could certainly be the finances. After all, the rector and staff must be paid. There are also a few other expenses, such as the gas, electricity, water, garbage collection, phones, office supplies, flowers, wine, wafers, linens, perhaps a mortgage, and — as everyone who has ever been on a vestry knows — a thousand and one maintenance projects. These must be carefully managed. But paying the bills and keeping the campus in repair constitute only limited aspects of stewardship. As members of a congregation we are all responsible for these things through the donation of our Time, Talent, and Treasure – the three “T’s” we hear so much about. Our buildings and grounds are important as places from which to reach out and do our real work. The Church is the people both inside — and outside — the walls.

"So we have to ask, What else has been placed in our care? How about the other members of our respective congregations? Most certainly we must support each other if our congregations are to function. Our fellow parishioners are certainly to be counted among our neighbors whom we are to love as ourselves. What about our families? Is there any question there?

Read more…

Diocessan Reflection – Luke 18:9-14, (Oct 23 Gospel)

When I first read this passage from Luke, I was reminded of a quote by Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensker. The prominent Hasidic thinker wrote:

I am sure of my share in the World-to-Come. When I stand to plead before the bar of the Heavenly Tribunal, I will be asked, “Did you learn, as is duty bound?” To this I will answer, “No.” Again, I will be asked, “Did you pray, as is duty bound?” Again, my answer will be, “No.” The third question will be, “Did you do good, as is duty bound?” And for the third time, I will answer, “No.” Then judgment will be awarded in my favor, for I will have spoken the truth.

I have always loved this quote, because I can easily imagine myself defensively answering “No, but…” to each question. “I wasn’t always willing to listen and to learn, but I was already in the right, wasn’t I? Maybe I didn’t do good all the time, but I was polite! I voted for so-and-so! I even recycled, for crying out loud!”

Similarly, when I feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, often at the most inconvenient moments as She is wont to do, my instinct is to remind Her, like the Pharisee in Jesus’s parable, that I am not a robber, an evildoer, an adulterer, a bigot, an extremist, or a racist. In fact, I smile at cashiers and tell them to have a good day. I’ve never yelled at another person in traffic. When I call my mother, sometimes I don’t even ask her for anything. I read articles (or at least, parts of articles) by people with whom I disagree. When I see something that makes me angry on Facebook, I keep scrolling, usually. I am a good person.

All of that may be true, but I know that it is not the whole story. It is dishonest of me to respond to the Spirit’s nudges with anything other than humble reflection. Deep down I know that I, like the tax collector, must beat my chest and ask God for mercy, for compassion, and for grace. And though this introspection and repentance is difficult and uncomfortable, I am reassured by the promise of grace, which God offers as freely as conviction.

May we strive to meet conviction with humility, and may the guidance of the Holy Spirit always be accompanied by an outpouring of God’s grace.

Lectionary, Pentecost 25, October 23, 2022

I. Theme –  Seeking Virtue in Lowliness 

“The Pharisee and the Tax Collector”- Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872)

The lectionary readings are here or individually:  

First Reading – Sirach 35:12-17   OR
First Reading – Jeremiah 14:7-10,19-22
Psalm – Psalm 84:1-6
Epistle – 2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18
Gospel – Luke 18:9-14 

Today’s readings define lowliness and celebrate its virtue. Jeremiah speaks for God’s people, confessing their sin and pleading for God’s mercy. Paul looks forward to the reward of his many humble labors for the faith. In Jesus’ parable, two men come to pray but only the humble man leaves justified by God.

Our life of faith can be trying, at times seeming even meaningless. We feel the pressures around us and wonder where God is. Sometimes our own choices have taken us away from God; but God remains faithful to us. But it is up to us to turn back and see that God has been with us all along. We may leave God, but God cannot leave us. And if we stick with it, we will see that God has seen us through, all along.

Anne Lamott asserts that the essential elements of prayer are “Help, Thanks, and Wow.”  Today’s readings involve a litany of praise – a spiritual “wow” at the many ways God moves in our lives and the world.  God is always at work faithfully in the microcosm and macrocosm and the human and non-human.  The only response we can make to God’s ubiquitous grace is praise.

II. Summary

First Reading –  Jeremiah 14:7-10,19-22

Jeremiah 14 shows two voices: the first is the people, pleading for God’s deliverance because God is their God. The second is the Lord, who declares that since the people have left God, God has left the people, allowing them to experience rejection . The reading is preceded by six verses that describe a horrible drought that affects both rich and poor alike

Jeremiah uses the liturgical form of the communal lament, found in many psalms. He first describes his suffering, then confesses past sins. Israel is aware that she has done something wrong in light of the on-going drought.  The petition is interesting.  God is not asked to look at Israel’s repentance, but rather at God’s own reputation, “act O Lord, for your own name’s sake”! 

 Often there is a plaintive questioning of God, then an appeal to God’s own honor. ”!  This questioning suggests that God has been absent, or even silent.  God is described as a stranger, a visitor, someone who is confused.  This unusual psychological approach is interrupted by an ejaculation of praise, “You, O Lord, are in our midst.” In the communal laments of the psalms, such an appeal seems to have been answered by an oracle of divine assurance. Here, however, the lord responds with a declaration of judgment.

Jeremiah intercedes on behalf of God’s people, not as an official spokesman or temple prophet (for he was rejected by the established religious authorities), but as one whose individual calling involves him in the fate of the nation. In verses 19-22, the people come back, asking God for mercy, acknowledging that they have fallen away and that the punishment they experience is their pwn rejection of God, entering into the absence of God. Now, they acknowledge that it is God who is the Creator, God who restores, and God who is the promise of hope.  God is acknowledged, and the people can make their petitions about rain (salvation).

Israel confesses to a dependency upon God.  How can God ignore them ?

First Reading –  Sirach 35:12-17

The book of Sirach, also called Ecclesiasticus in older Bibles, reflects the teachings of Judaism in the second century BC. The author, Ben Sirach (50:27), describes himself as “one who devotes himself to the study of the law of the Most High” (38:34). Apparently, Sirach ran a religious school, a “house of instruction” (51:23), for those whose wealth afforded them such leisure. He set down in writing the content of his oral instruction about 180 BC. His grandson translated the work into Greek sometime after 132 BC.

By this time in Israel’s history  Israel’s great theological battles about monotheism are over, the kings have come and gone, and the Exile is a distant memory. The prophets have been silent for a long time, and many Jews are living in cities where pagans are the majorities (although Sirach was written in Jerusalem). In these circumstances, writers asked how one should live a good life, what moral and spiritual choices should one make, what behavior is honorable in a religious person?

It was included in the Greek translation of scripture (the Septuagint, usually abbreviated LXX). Although not a part of the Hebrew canon of scripture, the work was highly valued both in Jewish and Christian circles. Thus it acquired its Latin title, Ecclesiasticus, “of the Church,” that is, to be read in church. It is the last major product of the tradition of wisdom literature (such as Job, Proverbs and many of the Psalms), and is an early example of the teaching that developed into the rabbinic schools of Judaism.

The central theme to this reading is justice, and impartial justice meted out by a righteous God

God stands in the midst of all of our pieties and mores and looks away from them to the true righteousness of justice

What are a  worthy of sacrifice to God?

1 Keeping the law, observing the commandments (verse 1),

2 works of charity, giving alms (verse 2),

3 refraining from evil and avoiding injustice (verse 3).

What are unwelcome on the altar of God (the physical altar or any figurative one)?

1 Bribes and the fruits of extortion (verse 11).

2  Believing that if you are poor you will be shown partiality

Psalm – Psalm 84:1-6

This psalm resembles the songs of Zion (see Psalms 46, 48, 76 and 87) and the pilgrim Songs of Ascent (Psalm 120–124). Likely composed on the occasion of a pilgrimage to the temple, the psalm express the strength of the psalmist’s longing for the temple and the trials and rewards of the journey.

Psalm 84:1-7 sings praise of God who is our home, God who is our shelter, God who is the one who is our strength. God is the God of Creation, and in God we find our joy, our contentment, our being.

All find a home in the temple, even the humble bird, and all who make pilgrimage to come there.  They are happy.  The image is of the pilgrim making a journey to the temple, the pilgrim’s every thought being of the Temple.  They journey across mountains, but it is Mt. Zion where they will find a home and see God

Epistle-  2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18

Paul loved the young churchman Timothy and gave him encouragement and various instructions in at least two letters. Today’s is the last passage we’ll read from this source this year. It’s a kind of farewell from the senior apostle. He speaks of himself as one whose life is ebbing away, “poured out as a libation” (v. 6). 2 Timothy proclaims the grace of God’s protection.

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 contains familiar words of perseverance, of keeping the faith and finishing the race. Wreaths and crowns were worn by Jews as a sign of honor and joy at feasts and weddings; for Greeks they were a sign of a victorious athlete.

God is the source of protection and deliverance.  The grace of God has protected the apostle in the “many dangers, toils, and snares” of life and God will “lead him home” to the heavenly kingdom  From divine protection and sustenance, grace abounds.

When we see our faith through, sticking through with God when everything else around us fails us, we know that God will see us through to the end. Similar to the psalms of old, the writer shares that God will be their defender, their strength, and their endurance

The “lion’s mouth” (v. 17) is a common Old Testament metaphor for violent death; thus figuratively for the imperial power. Verse 18 seems to echo the lord’s Prayer. Paul acknowledges that his work is finished, and he looks forward both to God’s reward and Jesus’ return.

Gospel –  Luke 18:9-14 

In last Sunday’s sharp divide between a pompous and unrighteous judge and a persistent widow (two aspects of the social spectrum)  Luke’s again lifts up the poor and the lowly by offering a commentary on prayer – prayer that comes from both ends of the spectrum. 

Jesus uses the example of a Pharisee and a tax collector, figures that would have been common in his day—a Pharisee would have been someone who was respectable and a tax collector would have been despised; he uses these figures and flips the stereotype—the Pharisee ends up being the one who is self-righteous, looking pleased with himself and it is the tax collector who is humble, looking for forgiveness from God

Jesus’ parable contrasts two styles of prayer: the first, by the Pharisee, is loudly self-righteous. The second, by the tax collector (another social reject), is a plea for God’s mercy to a sinner. The prayers themselves are distinctive with the one emphasizing the innate righteousness of his situation, and the other recognizing his sinfulness.  The Pharisee’s biddings all begin with “I am”, while the Publican simply acknowledges that he is a sinner.  The Pharisee’s behavior is typical, attempting to outdo what the Mosaic Law required. 

The Pharisee in today’s story seems truly thankful. According to the beliefs of the times, he shows an honest and laudable desire to contribute to the coming of the kingdom by fulfilling the law. Indeed, he exceeds the demands of the law. Fasting was required only once a year on the Day of Atonement. The Pharisees, however, fasted twice weekly, on Mondays and Thursdays. Likewise, the law required a tithe of all produce of grain, fruit and herd. The Pharisee extended his tithe to include all his income.

The tax collector, whose occupation branded him as an extortioner and traitor, knows he has no merits of his own. Using the language of Psalm 51, he throws himself on God’s mercy. It is he who is “justified” (v. 14), that is, accepted, made right with God.

Caught up in his self-made goodness, the Pharisee closes the door to the grace of interdependence on a power more loving than himself.  In contrast, the Tax Collector knows that he cannot survive apart from divine gracefulness.  He throws himself on God’s mercy, knowing that mercy alone can save.

Another distinction between the praying styles is the amount of time each gives to listening. The Pharisee is so busy extolling his virtues that God would be hard pressed to get a word in edgewise. The tax collector’s simple sentence leaves plenty of silent spaces in which God can speak.


Beau Soir concert videos Oct. 14, 2022

1. Catherine’s Introduction

2. Introduction to Dubois’ – “Terzettino”

3 Selection from “Terzettino”

4. Introduction to Eduardo Anguilo’s “Los Mensajeros de Otono”

5. Introduction to “The Chasing Tale” by Martyn Adams

6. Introduction to “Bacanal” by Eduardo Angulo

Sermon, Pentecost 18, Oct. 9, 2022 – Jesus and the Ten Lepers

Today’s scriptures remind us that faith and gratitude go hand in hand when we respond to God’s healing power at work in our lives. 

In today’s gospel story, Jesus is in the region between Galilee and Samaria, heading for Jerusalem.  Both Jews and Samaritans must have lived in the village that Jesus entered.  But even if they did live together in the same village, they probably stuck to their own groups.  After all, the Jews looked down on the Samaritans, and I would imagine that the Samaritans did not care to be around the Jews either.  

But all of them, both the Jews and Samaritans, avoided the lepers and stayed away from them.  Jewish law required that these people with a fatal skin disease that slowly stole away their bodies and finally their lives had to stay away from those who were well.  The lepers were avoided by everyone.    

A Samaritan with leprosy must have felt doubly cursed and outcast. 

Maybe the Samaritan leper in today’s gospel lingered in the back of the group as the others called out to Jesus asking for mercy.  The Samaritan must have wondered if this Jewish healer would extend mercy even to him, a despised Samaritan.    

Maybe he was surprised when Jesus did not cull him out because he was a Samaritan, unworthy of healing.     

But Jesus sees all the lepers  and tells them all to “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”  It was on the way to the priests that all ten lepers were made clean.  I suppose the other nine went to the priests as Jesus had told them to do, because they wanted the priests to examine them and to formally declare them clean.  With the priests’ blessing  they could return to whatever was left of their former lives.  

The Samaritan did not ever make it to the priests.  When he saw that  God had healed him, he needed no other validation.   He was free at last, and so he turned back to thank Jesus,  shouting out his praise and thanksgiving to God.     

Out of the group of the ten lepers, only the Samaritan recognized that God and Jesus were part of the same healing fabric of love and mercy that had just enfolded him and made him clean, and his gratitude knew no bounds.  

As the leper threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him, Jesus took note that the other nine had not returned to say thank you.    Only the Samaritan had made the connection that Jesus, the healer, was doing God’s work and had returned to give thanks to God for the healing he had received through Jesus.  

In the parallel Old Testament reading, Naaman, a commander in the Syrian army, cursed with leprosy, is washed clean when he follows the prophet Elisha’s instructions and bathes in the Jordan River.  

After his healing, Naaman returns to the prophet to say thank you before he returns home.   Like the leper that Jesus healed, Naaman realizes that the healing power that came to him through Elisha is the healing power of God.  Out of gratitude, Naaman becomes a follower of the God of Israel, the One who has brought him healing. 

But what about offering faithful gratitude to God when life brings hardships our way—when pain slows us down, or when we don’t get the physical healing we had hoped to receive, or when our lives don’t play out in the ways that we had expected.  

There’s one more person in today’s Old Testament lesson that I just have to mention because she is one who must be full of faithful gratitude to God even though her life has taken an unexpected turn and she has ended up in slavery. 

Although she only has a bit part in the story, without her, Naaman may never have been healed of his leprosy and come to know God. 

This is the young girl serving Naaman’s wife, who says to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria!  He would cure him of his leprosy.” 

This young girl, unnamed in the story, has certainly endured hardship.  Imagine being snatched from your family, taken from your familiar surroundings into a foreign land, and then being made to work for the family of the commander of the army that has carried you into captivity. 

And yet, despite these hardships that have been imposed on her, this young girl willingly shares the information that will lead to the healing the person who is ultimately responsible for her hardships! 

Scripture doesn’t tell us anything else about the girl, but I believe that her faith in God and her gratitude to God that she was even alive allowed her to give thanks in her current circumstances and to be generous toward a person  that she could have chosen to hate.      

The girl sees beyond her own difficulties and sees and cares that Naaman is a person in need of healing.  She can see that Naaman’s healing will not only benefit him, but also his whole household as well. 

Wouldn’t you love to know more about this young girl and her story?  I would!  But scripture, as it does with so many of the people that inhabit its pages, leaves the details of this girl’s story to our imaginations. 

But her faithful gratitude, which has led to her incredible generosity toward her captor is obvious.    

That’s the kind of faithful gratitude I want, the gratitude toward God even in the hard times, that encourages me to share God’s merciful love with those around me. 

We have all endured rough times and find that gratitude can be in short supply when we are suffering.   

And yet—when we have faith that God is with us, then gratitude for God’s goodness will well up in us like a healing balm, even in the roughest times of our lives.         

Hank Dunn, a hospice chaplain, writes that “if there is one attitude that can sustain us through the most difficult of circumstances, it is ‘the attitude of gratitude.’  This is the ability to give thanks for the gifts in one’s life, not necessarily because of the hardships, but in spite of them.  In other words, we are not grateful that we have a life-threatening illness (or whatever the hardship is), but we are able to give thanks while we have a life threatening illness”  (or whatever the hardship is that we are enduring).  

Cultivating gratitude reminds us that a power greater than ourselves is at work in this world, a power working on our behalf.  We can depend on this power to sustain and heal us even in the hard times.  

Studies have shown that specific activities can help us to cultivate gratitude. The writers of  an online article about gratitude published by Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School,  list some common sense things that we can do to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis—to thank others who have blessed us by expressing our gratitude for what they have done; keeping a list of blessings we’ve received each day in a gratitude journal; counting our blessings; praying and meditating.  

And most important—to remember to give praise to God for our blessings, both great and small, to acknowledge God as the source of our blessings.  

So today, as a way of practicing gratitude right now, let’s pray together the General Thanksgiving found on page 836 in The Book of Common Prayer.   The Rev. Dr. Charles P. Price, a long time professor at Virginia Theological Seminary, wrote this beautiful prayer of gratitude for our current edition of The Book of Common Prayer.    

Let us pray.  

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know Christ and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things.   Amen. 

Resources:  The Book of Common Prayer 

Hatchett, Marion J.  Commentary on the American Prayer Book.  New York, New York:  The Seabury Press, 1981.  

Dunn, Hank.  Light in the Shadows:  Meditations while living with a life threatening illness.  Copyright 2005 by Hank Dunn.  


Stewardship is…

Stewardship IS..

“The Vestry needs your pledge by Oct. 24. From the Sept 26 sermon, “When I fill out my pledge card this year, I’m going to try to remember that all that I have is a gift—as Richard Rohr says, “It’s all a gift!” –and that I can share my financial gifts freely with not only St Peter’s, but with many other groups as well, the groups that are doing what I would consider to be God’s work out in the world.”

Stewardship is … Everything I do after I say, “I believe.” Stewardship is our thankful and intentional response to the question, “What is God calling me to do with the gifts God has entrusted to me?”

Why pledge ? The pledges are the major way to support what St. Peter’s values – food distribution and meals in our community, education, outreach to those in need, Christian education and fellowship for all.

We are stewards, caretakers of God’s gifts. Everything we have was a gift from God, and God asks us to use it all for God’s purposes. Generosity flows naturally out of our gratitude for the gift of love, family, and life itself.

Stewards promote the Shalom of the Kingdom: blessings of life, health, growth, harmony, justice, abundance, fulfillment, joy, praise of God

In the church, we are stewards of the good news of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.We are called to share that good news with new generations. But we live in a world where sharing that news is becoming ever more challenging. In order to share the good news, we need financial and other resources.

Our worries about stewardship tend to focus on money. But stewardship is all about mission. It’s those gifts which help St. Peter’s ministries thrive – food distribution and meals in our community, outreach to those in need, Christian education and fellowship for all.    

Convince people that the church is doing God’s mission and that it will truly transform our lives and our communities … and each of us is an integral part of that mission … heart, mind and body … and the money will follow.

Stewardship is …

+ Sharing in God’s mission with a glad, generous and grateful heart.

+ Transforming lives in our community.

+ Prayerfully responding to God’s call.

+ A deeply spiritual matter.

+ Something that blesses the giver more than the receiver.

Stewardship is discipleship; it is a complete reorientation of our lives toward God, who calls us through Jesus Christ.

Stewardship thoughts from Canterbury Cathedral

This week Canterbury Cathedral iin south England is celebrating their first Generosity Week between Sunday Oct. 3 – Oct.10. As they write, “The aim is to help us in our journey of faith, to consider the significance of generosity as Christians, and to reflect on what we can each do to demonstrate our gratitude for God’s love.”

“Throughout Generosity Week, we will be sharing links to information and reflections on this theme.”

This video which deals with “Giving Time” is part of their reflections and part of the of the Church of England stewardship teachings for this week

“Generosity is at the heart of Christian faith. God gave the world his only Son because he loved it so much. The generosity we show is testament to our lived out faith and our generous God. Each day we can be a generous disciple. Whether that’s giving to those in need or helping a neighbor, generosity lives through these everyday acts of kindness that make a huge difference to people’s lives. This harvest we invite you to join us for Generosity Week as together we will celebrate the generosity of those who have helped us through these difficult times, reflect on God’s generosity to us, and explore how we can grow generosity in our Cathedral community.”

Saint of the Week – Teresa of Avila

Poem – "Christ Has No Body"  

"Christ has no body but yours,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world.
 Christ has no body now on earth but yours  "

Teresa of Avila (1515–1582), mystic, reformer, writer

Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada (later known as Teresa de Jesus) was born in Avila, Spain, 28 March 1515, one of ten children whose mother died when she was fifteen. Her family was of partly Jewish ancestry. Teresa, having read the letters of Jerome, decided to become a nun, and when she was 20, she entered the Carmelite convent in Avila. There she fell seriously ill, was in a coma for a while, and partially paralyzed for three years. In her early years as a nun, she was, by her account, assiduous in prayer while sick but lax and lukewarm in her prayers and devotions when the sickness had passed. However, her prayer life eventually deepened, she began to have visions and a vivid sense of the presence of God, and was converted to a life of extreme devotion.

In 1560 she resolved to reform the monastery that had, she thought, departed from the order’s original intention and become insufficiently austere. Her proposed reforms included strict enclosure (the nuns were not to go to parties and social gatherings in town, or to have social visitors at the convent, but to stay in the convent and pray and study most of their waking hours) and discalcing (literally, taking off one’s shoes, a symbol of poverty, humility, and the simple life, uncluttered by luxuries and other distractions). In 1562 she opened a new monastery in Avila, over much opposition in the town and from the older monastery. At length Teresa was given permission to proceed with her reforms, and she traveled throughout Spain establishing seventeen houses of Carmelites of the Strict (or Reformed) Observance (the others are called Carmelites of the Ancient Observance).

Sunday Links for Pentecost 18, Oct. 9, 2022

Harvest Scene

Oct. 9, 11:00am – Holy Eucharist
Pentecost 18

  • Holy Eucharist, Sun. Oct. 9 Zoom link Oct. 9 Meeting ID: 869 9926 3545 Passcode: 889278
  • Lectionary for Oct. 9, 2022, Pentecost 18
  • Bulletin, Oct. 9, 2022
  • Sermon, Oct. 9, 2022
  • Compline, Sun, Oct. 9, 6:00pm Zoom Link Meeting ID: 878 7167 9302 Passcode: 729195
  • Morning Meditation , Mon, Oct. 10, 6:30am Zoom link Meeting ID: 879 8071 6417 Passcode: 790929
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., Oct. 12, 10am-12pm. Reading lectionary of Oct. 16
  • Wednesday, October 12, Village Dinner, 4:30-6 PM. Eat in or take out. Pork Tenderloin, Rice, Veggie Medley, Dessert Call Susan Linne von Berg to make your reservation. 804-742-5233
  • Friday, Oct. 14, 7pm Beau Soir Concert. (Reception 6:15pm)
  • October, 2022 newsletter
  • All articles for Oct. 9, 2022

  • Stewardship FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about Stewardship at St. Peter’s

    What is stewardship? Stewardship is an expression of gratitude and thankfulness for the blessings of life that come from God. It is love shared and love returned. A life lived in gratitude is a life lived in love

    Why does St. Peter’s call stewardship a spiritual practice? Any spiritual practice is based on faith – faith that the act repeated regularly will increase our awareness of the presence of God and will gradually remove from our lives walls we erect that block God’s grace. Spiritual practices include worship, prayer, silence and meditation, contemplation, reading scripture, and giving. Giving (financial stewardship, in our focus here) has numerous spiritual benefits. Here are just three: First, stewardship reduces our attachment to things material. We learn that by giving away something we “have” really does not diminish us at all. Our needs continue to be met by God. Second, giving chips away at our belief in the concept of “mine” and “yours”. Giving helps us better experience truth that we are indeed one in spirit. And finally, in some mysterious way, our willingness to give determines our willingness to receive. No doubt all of us know someone who would never give anything to someone else and, in turn, would never accept a gift. We must be willing to give in order to be open to receiving. And God is giving to us every moment of the day. Our willingness to give enhances our ability to accept God’s gifts.

    Is my stewardship defined only by the money I give to the church? Absolutely not. Time and service given to others is a critical component of stewardship. Our church can’t function without these gifts of time and service.

    Why is making a pledge important? Pledges have two purposes. One is between you and God.  Pledging yourself to any spiritual practice increases the likelihood you will actually do it. In the fall each year we ask you to commit to the practice of giving. We’re most concerned with your commitment to this practice, and less concerned with how much you give.   For many of us, a pledge to give money to the church is a way that we say thanks to God and practice our faith.

    Second, the vestry does its best to operate the church on a sound financial basis, and having a good handle of how much people plan to give in the coming year enhances the vestry’s ability to plan responsibly.   

    What percent of the church’s annual budget is supported by pledges? About 83%. The rest of the operating budget is supported by cash offerings and donations,. It’s simple – our programs depend on pledge support.

    What happens if I make a pledge and find I cannot fulfill it? Your pledge is not a contract. It is a spiritual commitment. You need to inform the treasurer if you cannot meet or to need to adjust your pledge so that we can make adjustments to operations as needed.

    How much should I give? Am I expected to tithe? If you asked ten different members of the church this question you would likely get ten different answers. We encourage you to give a gift that is meaningful. For someone like Bill and Melinda Gates, who could likely live an extravagant lifestyle on 1% of their income, a tithe of 10% of their income may or may not be meaningful. To the contrary, a single parent with several children in college who has a budget down to the last dollar, a pledge of one-tenth of one-percent may be meaningful. To quote the lyrics from the song “One” by U2 (which started as a Christian rock band), “We’re one, but we’re not the same, we get to carry each other, carry each other”. If we can all give a gift that is meaningful to us, we will be able to reach our goals.

    Practicing Generosity in an Age of Anxiety

    From Penny Nash at St. Stephens, Richmond.

    “We live in anxious times. I receive daily invitations to worry. I am susceptible to anxiety, both free-floating and specific. Loved ones traveling, Ebola, terrorists, my children, the economy. Discord among friends. And money. Especially money.

    “Over the years, I have tried to practice generosity as a response to anxiety.

    “This only works if I first can remember how generous God is to us-and to me. I remember our stories: how God provided manna in the wilderness; how Jesus made gallons upon gallons of wine at Cana; how the disciples/fishermen caught so many fish their nets nearly broke; how many people Jesus fed on the mountain and how many he healed in every town and city; how the oil and flour never gave out for the widow of Zarephath; how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

    “If I truly believe in God’s generosity, then perhaps I can let go of my anxiety and try to be generous myself. But this has to happen not only in my head but also in my actions. And that’s where we get to the part about money.

    “A wise mentor told me that when he starts feeling anxious about money, that means he needs to write a check. He needs to give money away so that it will not have control over him, feed his anxiety, and make him grasping and hard-hearted. He needs to give money away so that he will realize he is fine, he has what he needs, he can trust God. His kids will still be able to go to college even if he gives generously to God’s mission on earth through the church.

    “God is good. We have more than enough. So in the face of anxiety, be generous. I’ve tried it. And it works.”

    Village Harvest, 9 months 2022 boosts totals over 2021

    Through, Sept 2022, St. Peter’s has fed 794 people exceeding the 9 month period in 2021 which saw 723 come to the Harvest. Food distributed has been less, however, at 10,848 vs. 10,976 pounds, a 1.1% decline.  Pounds per person fell in the last year from 15.2 to 13.7.  However, 13.7 is still ahead of the years before 2020.

    The  selections of food was concentrated in produce 35%, grocery 31% and meat 34%. The produce percentage was the largest since May at 43% 1,089 pounds were distributed in Sept.  compared to 915 in August, the low for 2022.  1,089 pounds is still under the 12 month average of 1,181.