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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.
Our pledges are due on Sunday, October 9, 2022. Here are some thoughts on giving and stewardship from From The Evangelist, Newsletter-letter of St. Mark’s Cathedral Shreveport, Louisiana, Nov. 2021
Youth Group reorganizes around music, Sept 25.
Oct. 2, 11:00am – Holy Eucharist
Season of Creation 5, Sept 1 – Oct. 4
A Pet Blessing for St. Francis day, Oct. 4
The blessing -“Our pets have already blessed us. On St Francis Day, we get to bless our pets. St Francis of Assisi, who lived from 1182 to 1226, had a great love for animals and the environment. He understood the earth and everything in it as God’s good creation and believed that we are brothers and sisters with everything in creation. So on this day, we remember St Francis and thank God for the gift of our pets.
When you have a moment with your pet, offer this blessing written by Bishop Mark S. Sisk:
Live without fear. Your Creator loves you, made you holy, and has always protected you. May we follow the good road together, and may God’s blessing be with you always. Amen.
“Who was St. Francis? ” – a link collection
Director Franco Zeffirelli’s “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” focuses on the early years of Francis of Assisi in this 1972 film.
Poem by Jan Richardson from the “Painted Prayerbook”
Rhonda Mawhood Lee: “Go a little crazy on St. Francis Day”, a sermon preached at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Durham, N.C
“It’s appropriate to go a little crazy on St. Francis Day, because during his own lifetime, many people thought Francesco Bernardone was insane.”
Donatello – The Prophet Habakkuk (1386?-1466)
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
Today’s readings call us to believe in God’s ability to make the impossible possible. Habakkuk is called to patience and faith in the face of incomprehensible evil. Paul encourages Timothy to endure in power and love, guarding the truth of the gospel. Jesus teaches that faith thrives in simple obedience in Luke’s Gospel
Faithfulness, endurance, patience—these are the themes of walking the faithful life with God. For the people in the prophet’s time, it was to endure in faithfulness through generations in exile. In the time of Jesus, it was for the disciples to find their way to trust in Jesus, because Jesus couldn’t just give them the ability to magically trust and be faithful. For Paul’s day and following, it was for the followers to continue to live in faith by what they had been taught and had witnessed. For us, we are called to be faithful because of our tradition, our teaching, but also still, hope for the New Day, which began long ago and we can read through the prophets, through the Gospels, and through the Epistles: hope that God will continue to do a new thing, and that we will remain faithful to God.
Everywhere we turn, we see the need for reform. Sometimes our society seems like a house we can’t get clean. We get one room in order, but then another confronts us with disarray. If we improve the environment, we still have problems with education. If we manage political reform, we are still troubled by the unjust allocation of resources or the abuse of children.
Our frustration with the public scene can be mirrored in our own lives. There we find the same ups and downs: a career achievement offset by a damaged relationship; progress toward a personal goal–the setback of an illness. How does faith view this roller coaster?
In today’s gospel, Luke consoles us with the good news that even minimal faith will suffice in the face of both worldly concerns and our own particular challenges. To the apostles who picture grandiose schemes, Jesus offers the image of a tiny seed. Perhaps we won’t reform the world in our lifetime, he seems to say. What matters more is the simple service, the generous response to the demands of our particular situation. Jesus uses the ordinary example of providing food and drink, a service many people perform so often we don’t even think about it. Faith transforms duty so that even our unconscious efforts nurture many.
Peace activist John Dear writes: “Without our faith, nothing happens. The mountainous violence of the world doesn’t budge. But with our faith–behold! All things become possible. Non-violence. Disarmament. Justice.” The scriptures offer us confidence, vision, reassurance. How do they clarify our own vision?
These passages point to the importance of living in the spirit of Jesus and aiming high in our faith journeys. Aiming low leads to personal and social destruction. In contrast, a life of faithful discipleship creates circles of well-being that transform families, communities, and nations
The location has varied over the years but the format is similar – singing favorite gospel hymns on various instruments with food either before or after brought by those who attend. (This year after). It is usually sometimes in September or early Oct. just before the fall coolness arrives. It has been in the church, besides the Parish House, in Portobago Bay at the Heimbach home but returns to the church this year.
The history of the event goes back to 2007. As Helmut describes, “From our residence, we see the river front improvement here at Portobago. The Lord has created this beautiful spot for us. So, why not thank him and praise him right there in the midst of his beautiful creation.”
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
Jesus, Redeemer of the World,
Remind us to consider the lost lilies,
the disappearing sparrows;
teach us not to squander precious resources;
help us value habitats: seas, deserts, forests
and seek to preserve this world in its diversity.
Alert us to the cause of all living creatures
destroyed wantonly for human greed or pleasure;
Help us to value what we have left
and to learn to live without taking more than we give. Amen
Integrity of Creation
Spirit of the Living God
At the beginning you moved over the face of the waters.
You brought life into being, the teeming life
that finds its way through earth and sea and air
that makes its home around us, everywhere.
You know how living things flourish and grow
How they co-exist; how they feed and breed and change
Help us to understand those delicate relationships,
value them, and keep them from destruction. Amen
God, of the living earth
You have called people to care for your world –
you asked Noah to save creatures from destruction.
May we now understand how to sustain your world –
Not over-fishing, not over-hunting,
Not destroying trees, precious rainforest
Not farming soil into useless dust.
Help us to find ways to use resources wisely
to find a path to good, sustainable living
in peace and harmony with creatures around us. Amen
Jesus, who raised the dead to life
Help us to find ways to renew
what we have broken, damaged and destroyed:
Where we have taken too much water,
polluted the air, poured plastic into the sea,
cut down the forests and soured fertile soils.
Help all those who work to find solutions to
damage and decay; give hope to those
who are today working for a greener future. Amen
Anne Richards, Mission Theology Advisory Group, Resources available on www.ctbi.org.uk The Dispossession Project: Eco-House<
Oct. 2 is "World Communion Sunday" What is World Communion Sunday? Churches this Sunday all over the world celebrate oneness in Christ in the midst of the world ever more in need of peacemaking and the universal and inclusive nature of the church. The tradition originated in the Shadyside Presbyterian Church in 1933, was adopted …
St. Peter’s Art (full size gallery)
God, the master artist, is always creating anew throughout the year, and the beauty of God’s earth is apparent everywhere on the grounds of St Peter’s. The church itself, which has been lovingly maintained since its opening in 1836, is a stately addition to the earlier colonial buildings in Port Royal.
The altarpiece that graces the wall above the altar was done by an anonymous artist and installed at St Peter’s in 1853. The people of St Peter’s had this piece restored in 2016 by Cleo Mullins and her team at the Richmond Conservation Studio. Russell Bernabo, a gilt expert, restored the gold framing. The celestial blues and golds of the altarpiece once more glow and add beauty to our space.
But did you know that St Peter’s has many works of art hidden in plain sight? Find some time to take a tour of the St Peter’s art gallery, featuring several local artists. Follow this handy guide.
The Altar Door Cross . Woodworker Helmut Linne on Berg designed and constructed the wooden cross on the door behind the altar. Helmut has also created two processional crosses for St Peter’s—the blue one for young acolytes to carry , and the red Lenten cross that we use throughout the Season of Lent . In addition, Helmut created our Holy Week cross which makes an appearance at the Good Friday service . A large Easter cross, festooned with ribbons and bells, can be found in Catherine’s study in the Parish House and is often on the St Peter’s porch on Easter Sunday . Helmut also made a smaller free standing cross with a candle holder out of wood that he salvaged from the river. This cross is also in Catherine’s study.
In the Sacristy. This area features the work of four artists: Mary Peterman, Mike Newman, Helmut Linne von Berg, and Elizabeth S. Fall.
The Trinity —hanging over the printer is a watercolor of three lambs, by Mary Peterman. The lamb is an important symbol in Christian art. In the first chapter of the Gospel according to John, John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. This watercolor is from the collection of Catherine Hicks.
Mary Peterman has also created a set of watercolors for The Stations of the Cross, which will be on view during the season of Lent.
The Four Gospels—Hanging vertically, one above another, are four paintings on cardboard shields done by Elizabeth (Beth) Stamboughon Fall. She and The Rev. Ralph Fall were married on June 30, 1942. They spent most of their married life in Port Royal and raised their two children there. Elizabeth’s art studio was in the small building that we currently use as the nursery. She died Dec. 26, 1983, and is buried at Vauters Church.
These paintings depict a lion , an ox , a man  and an eagle , the four living creatures that appear in the Book of Revelation. By the first century, Irenaeus, an early church father, had already connected these living creatures to the four gospels. These creatures appear in the famous art of the Book of Kells in connection with the gospels. The man represents Matthew, the lion represents Mark, the ox represents Luke, and the eagle represents John.
Painting of the Tablet Pinnacle —On the counter is a framed oil painting on Belgium linen by Mike Newman of the design that appears on the top of each tablet pinnacle in the church. The painting is done in the same rich blue and gold as the tablets. Helmut Linne von Berg made the frame from wood that is over 100 years old. Helmut salvaged the wood from a piano in Susan Linne von Berg’s family.
In The Parish House. The Parish House features work by Elizabeth Fall, Ben Hicks, Mike Newman, Sydney King, Pete Butzner, Kristen Malcolm Berry, and Sue Moore.
In the hallway. Sycamore Tree –Enter the door closest to the kitchen. Hanging on the wall facing the door is an oil painting done by Elizabeth Fall of the magnificent sycamore tree behind the church, with the setting sun behind it. This painting is from the collection of Genevieve Davis and hung in her home for many years.
Check out the bathroom! On the wall opposite the bathroom door is a large photo — Summer on the Rappahannock  by Ben Hicks. The frame, donated by Nancy and Alex Long, gives the appearance of a window looking out on the river, adding spaciousness to this area. And on the back wall is The Duck , also by Elizabeth Fall and from the collection of Genevieve Davis.
In the Dining Room over the keyboard– Church, by Mike Newman, is a watercolor of a small colonial style church .
St Peter’s Stained Glass —This oil painting, also by Mike Newman, was purchased anonymously and given to St Peter’s. The money raised went toward the outreach work of the church.
Front Hallway—Features the many priests who have served at St Peter’s through the years . . In addition, on the wall with the photos of the bishops who are currently serving in the Diocese of Virginia, is a small reproduction of the portrait of William Channing Moore , the bishop who consecrated St Peter’s on May 15, 1836. The original portrait belongs to Virginia Theological Seminary and hung in Scott Hall for many years.
The Front Room. Portrait of The Rev. Jonathan Boucher  (artist unknown) Read more about him at https://www.churchsp.org/boucher/
St Peter’s Church. This small oil painting by Elizabeth Fall, and also from the collection of Genevieve Davis, was restored by the Richmond Conservation Studio in 2016.
Upstairs in Catherine’s study—
In addition to Helmut Linne von Berg’s Easter cross, several other works of art are in Catherine’s study, all from her collection.
The Crown of Thorns –Hanging over the prayer desk on the wall opposite the door is a small reproduction of a painting done by Betsy Meehan, an accomplished artist and musician. Betsy painted this portrait of Jesus crowned with thorns as she was dying from myeloma.
Paris Skyline —Hanging over the mantel is a woodcut by Pete Butzner, an artist from Fredericksburg.
Gathering Kindling Sydney King, local Caroline artist, did this drawing in charcoal and pastel chalks and based it on a 16th century drawing.
Greek Icon—This icon, done in colored pencil and brought from Greece, is from the estate of Cotchy Pappendrou. This icon was a gift from Ben to Catherine for the Parish House study.
For as often as you eat this bread —Kristen Malcolm Perry’s art is drawn from the images of the New Testament. Each image includes the verse on which it is based, written in Greek. Various indigenous art forms influence Perry’s work.
Gloria deum Christus Natus Est —this woodcut, by Sue Moore, one of the Winston-Salem Printmakers, is an artistic interpretation of the incarnation of Jesus. The Greek word for fish is “ichthys.” As early as the first century, Christians made an acrostic from this word: Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, i.e. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. This print is on the shelf next to the door.
Sea of Galilee —Catherine bought this photo in Jerusalem.