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, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Easter Sunday

From David Lose

“The story of what God is doing in and through Jesus isn’t over at the empty tomb, you see. It’s only just getting started. Resurrection isn’t a conclusion, it’s an invitation. And Jesus’ triumph over death, sin, and hate isn’t what Mark’s Gospel is all about. Rather, it is all about setting us up to live resurrection lives and continue the story of God’s redemption of the world.”

From Lawrence

“It is nothing less than a brand new future for the whole of creation. On Good Friday, the entire old world order of fallenness, despair, decay and death triumphs over Jesus. It is the end of Jesus’ mission and is the human race’s verdict on God’s salvation in Jesus: “Crucify him!” The Word of Resurrection that summons Jesus from the tomb is the freshly uttered Word of God that summons a new creation into being out of the ashes of the old.”

“The resurrection of Christ is no mere pledge of a future resurrection. It is a principle of resurrection now going on within us, and in which we must act, moment by moment.” – Richard Meux Benson, Brothers of St. John the Evangelist

The important truth of Easter Sunday is that God said “Yes” to Jesus even though on Good Friday the empire said “No”. If nothing else, the survival of the Easter stories is proof that Jesus has continued to become very real to Christians that never met him in the flesh.

The resurrection joy of Jesus escapes the clutches of death because it’s the joy of the new creation, a joy broken free from the evil of this fallen world.

And this makes Easter breathtaking. As Jonathan Edwards boldly declared: “The resurrection of Christ is the most joyful event that ever came to pass.” The resurrection of Christ will bring the most spectacularly joy-filled event because it ignites an eternally abiding and forever unconquerable joy.

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Holy Week Introduction

Various Holy Week links

Holy Week Summary

Holy Week between Palm Sunday and Easter is the most sacred time of year.. The purpose of Holy Week is to reenact, relive, and participate in the passion of Jesus Christ, his triumph, suffering and resurrection. Ultimately it’s about ours. From our Baptism liturgy- “We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.” Every Sunday is an Easter.

From early times, Christians have observed the week before Easter as a time of special prayer and devotion. As the pilgrim Egeria recorded in the late fourth century, numerous pilgrims to the holy city of Jerusalem followed the path of Jesus in his last days. They formed processions, worshipped where Christ suffered and died, and venerated sacred sites and relics. The pilgrims took the customs home with them. Holy week observances spread to Spain by the fifth century, to Gaul and England by the early seventh century. They didn’t spread to Rome until the twelfth century. From this beginning evolved the practices we observe today on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

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Holy Week – summary of the days

Source

Palm Sunday

  • Jesus, at the Mount of Olives, sends two disciples to secure a donkey and a colt; makes his “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem; weeps over Jerusalem.
  • Jesus enters the temple area, then returns to Bethany.

Monday

  • On Monday morning Jesus and the Twelve leave Bethany to return to Jerusalem, and along the way Jesus curses the fig tree.
  • Jesus enters Jerusalem and clears the temple.
  • In the evening Jesus and the Twelve leave Jerusalem (returning to Bethany).

Tuesday

  • Jesus’ disciples see the withered fig tree on their return to Jerusalem from Bethany.
  • Jesus engages in conflict with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.
  • The Disciples marvel at the Temple.
  • Jesus delivers the Olivet Discourse (in which he predicts the future) on their return to Bethany from Jerusalem.

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The Good Friday service

The Good Friday service is under the section in the Prayer Book “Proper Liturgies for Special Days” which contain key services in Lent – Ash Wednesday,  Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, the Great Vigil.  Good Friday is good because the death of Christ, as terrible as it was, led to the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, which brought new life to those who believe. 

The service has 6 parts 1.  an entrance in silence,  2. readings which include the John 18:1-19:42 Passion reading, 3  the Solemn Collects, 4 The Entrance of the Cross, the Veneration of the Cross,5 Musical Meditations and 6 Conclusion. 

The first reading is from Isaiah, the ever present Psalm 22, Hebrews, and John Passion Gospel reading, John 18:1-19:42.

Photos from 2022

Videos from 2022

This service continues our worship through the Triduum, the last three days of Holy Week.  It was the day of the execution of Jesus . This service begins and ends in silence. Since the fourth century, Christians have commemorated the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior on this day.  

The Good Friday service is under the section in the Prayer Book “Proper Liturgies for Special Days” which contain key services in Lent – Ash Wednesday,  Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, the Great Vigil.  Good Friday is good because the death of Christ, as terrible as it was, led to the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, which brought new life to those who believe. 

The service has 6 parts 1.  an entrance in silence,  2. readings which include the John 18:1-19:42 Passion reading, 3  the Solemn Collects, 4 The Entrance of the Cross, the Veneration of the Cross,5 Musical Meditations and 6 Conclusion. 

The first reading is from Isaiah, the ever present Psalm 22, and Hebrews. Catherine  John Passion Gospel reading, John 18:1-19:42.

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Maundy Thursday, 2023

The service is known for:
1. The Last Supper and the institution of communion
2. Washing of feet.
3. Stripping of the altar in preparation of Good Friday.

The top pictures show those scenes and the music, a major part of this service. (Thanks to Mary Peterman for taking the candle picture). From left to right, top to bottom – reading of Psalm 22, sermon by Susan Mitchell, communion, Duet on “When you prayed beneath the trees”, candle at the end of the service, Larry Saylor’s prayer mediation, and foot washing.

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Stations of the Cross in Holy Week

The Stations of the Cross began as the practice of pious pilgrims to Jerusalem who would retrace the final journey of Jesus Christ to Calvary.

Later, for the many who wanted to pass along the same route, but could not make the trip to Jerusalem, a practice developed that eventually took the form of the fourteen stations currently found in almost every church. This allowed people to follow the way in their hearts as they meditated on the last hours of Jesus’ life.

Our Stations features 14 paintings of our talented parishioner Mary Peterman and the work of Creative Color in Fredericksburg to create the posters. They are hung outside in our graveyard to increase visibility. Visit it in person or with this link. The images are in order, left to right and top to bottom. Arrows appear on the right (“next) and left (“prev”) to advance the photos.

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.

This is the second version of this presentation with better photography. We also have the brochure created by Jan Saylor and the signs in front of the church.

Best of Holy Week – Words

Palm Sunday

1. Choir “Let the same mind be you”

The choir performs this beautiful, unpublished piece almost every Palm Sunday. Bill Roberts wrote this for the Phillipians class at Virginia Theological Seminary a decade ago.

2. Palm Sunday Passion Reading

Jan Saylor recruited and did a fine job to direct the members of the congregation to read this extended passage

3. Palm Sunday Sermon – Rev. Catherine Hicks

From the ending – “How often we come before God in this life with the events of our lives, with all of our sins and weaknesses interwoven into a thick tapestry of our own creation, a barrier that we believe blocks our way to God forever.

“But if we remember this story of all that happened the day Jesus died, we can recall that as Jesus breathed his last, God ripped the curtain of the temple in two, and destroyed every barrier that has ever blocked our way to God. ”

Maundy Thursday

4. “When you prayed beneath the trees” – Denise Gregory, Mary Peterman

Vocal duet that is appropriate for Maundy Thursday with Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane combining the ‘tree’ theme found in many Scriptures about the cross.

Good Friday

5. “Were you there when they crucified my Lord” – Helmut linne von Berg, Larry Saylor

First male duet at St. Peter’s, acappella!

6. “O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded”- Denise Gregory, Mary Peterman

Both the arrangement and the performance of this well known melody make this memorable. Mary’s flute is ethereal.

Easter Sunday

6. Offertory-“God’s Right Hand and Holy Arm”

An ambitious piece for Easter. Kudos to Denise Gregory for her direction of this piece. The glockenspiel was purchased for this performance.

7. Sermon- Rev. Thomas Hughes

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.

Good Friday videos, April 7, 2023

The service has 6 parts 1.  an entrance in silence,  2. readings which include the John 18:1-19:42 Passion reading, 3  the Solemn Collects, 4 The Entrance of the Cross, the Veneration of the Cross, 5 Musical Meditations and 6 Conclusion. 

The first reading is from Isaiah, the ever present Psalm 22, and Hebrews. John’s Passion Gospel reading, John 18:1-19:42.

Entire service

Selections from the service:

1. Opening Acclamation

2 “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” – Larry Saylor, Helmut Linne von Berg

3. Passion Reading

4. Sermon – The Rev. Catherine Hicks

5. “O sacred head, sore wounded”- Denise Gregory, piano. Mary Peterman, flute

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Tenebrae

Tenebrae is the opening of the Holy Week services for the church. Due to Covid, we have not scheduled this service since 2019.  The 2019 bulletin is here.  The description of this day in Holy Week with the Bible readings and commentaries is here.  The background of the service is here.  A photo gallery of the day from 2019 can be found here.

This was our introduction to the service:

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Sermon, Good Friday, April 7, 2023

Can you imagine being Mary, the mother of Jesus, that day? 

Mary stood there with her sister, with Mary the wife of Clopas, with Mary Magdalene and with the beloved disciple on that dusty, horrid hill, Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.  The most sordid of deaths, Roman crucifixions, took place there.  Criminals hung on crosses and gasped out the last hours of their lives, and finally, agonizingly, suffocated and died.

Now, Mary is watching her own son hang on the cross.  This is the man that she had carried in her body for nine months, and given birth to,  loved and cared for as a child.  She loved him as he grew up into the man in whom she had complete confidence.  She is watching him die an ignominious death on a Roman cross. 

What must she have been feeling? 

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