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.

Jamaica Mission – School Supplies distribution, Aug 26, 2023

Photo Gallery

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The sun came up after a drizzle on Sat., Aug 26, 2023 which fit the mood of the day. Light did shine on the Victoria Primary School – parents, teachers and students as well as the mission team from St. Peter’s Episcopal. From Mark 15:15 – “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news[a] to the whole creation.”

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!

Collage -From left to right, top to bottom – Leaders of the mission including Andrea Pogue (St. Peter’s) middle and Annette Steele (Victoria School principal), Laura Carey gives a certificate of merit to a deserving elementary school student, Footballs provided for the staff, Tablet given to student for answering questions, View on the way to Victoria School, Proud parents of a student, Two days before the event organizing the supplies, Parent who won a bag full groceries.

Jamaica Mission – School Supplies setup, Aug 24, 2023

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The Jamaica team, Andrea and Ken Pogue and Laura Carey arrived in Jamaica on Wed, Aug 23. Thursday Aug. 24 was a work day preparing for Sat’s distribution of school supplies. See the gallery, above.

The supplies included drawstring backpacks, sharpeners, pencils, pens, toothpaste, toothbrushes, erasers, crayons, pencil cases, and rulers. Also six tablets were contributed as sell as seven used computers to the school.

The work involved sorting pencil case holders by colors for boys or girls and then placing supplies in them, organizing school books, packing backpacks and readying certificates noting achievement. It was a full day but now they are ready.

St. Peter’s donates to Maui wildfire recovery

The church collected $2,000 to purchase supplies for relief efforts from the wildfires. The $2,000 we sent will help Episcopalians to continue to go about the island handing out badly needed supplies to those displaced by the wildfires through their organization, A Cup of Cold Water.

A Cup of Cold Water (ACCW) is a community Care-Van outreach program on the Island of Maui, formed by a group of 4 committed Episcopalian churches from Good Shepherd, Holy Innocents, St. John’s and Trinity By-the-Sea. The program is a food and clothing distribution service for the poor and needy in the community, and uses the care-van to deliver essential food, hygiene and clothing items throughout the island.

Lectionary, Pentecost 13, Aug. 27, Proper 16

I.Theme –   Finding identify, confronting power of leaders and molding the growing church.

 "Keys to the Kingdom" – Hermoleon

The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

Old Testament – Isaiah 51:1-6
Psalm – Psalm 138 Page 793, BCP
Epistle –Romans 12:1-8
Gospel – Matthew 16:13-20 

This week is about identity, power and authority of leaders, people and within the growing church. In fact there is little action – we step back, examine ourselves, ask questions and interpret where this is leading us.

This section marks a turning point in both Roman’s and Matthew’s Gospel.

In three prior chapters, Paul has figured out how God will bring all peoples into the grace of Jesus Christ, even the Israelites who, by rejecting Jesus, seem to have given up their status as the Chosen People. Now Paul focuses on what life as one body with diverse gifts looks like as he blends both Jew and Gentile. And with one body comes worship. We must adopt a new mind set, in order to recognize God’s will for us.

Paul insists that we should offer our bodies and minds to God, open to actively being used and changed – thus our whole lives become “spiritual worship.” There is a wonderful promise that in doing so, we may discern the will of God.

He identifies core activities in his Kingdom though in his time the actual churches were far more dispersed. Note that the gifts listed here are focused not on the “institution” of the church, but on the core activities of the Christian community with each other and on mission in the world—proclaiming God’s living word, serving others, teaching, coaching, giving, leading, and offering mercy . The body only functions when everyone’s gifts are being exercised. The image of the church as the body strongly challenges giving excessive authority in the church to particular individuals or positions, as the body only functions when everyone’s gifts are being exercised.

In the Gospel, up till now Jesus has been teaching the crowds the mystery of the Kingdom in the face of growing hostility from the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus now withdraws with the disciples to begin forming them into his ‘church’.

The gospel text poses a challenge to the authority that comes from Roman might, or divine rule by their gods. And it is happening in their backyard – in Caesarea Philippi . So who is Jesus to challenge the foundation of society ? “Who do others think I am and who do you think I am?”

Jesus’ identity is composed in the context of God’s interaction with Israel as well as the power of Jesus’ own time. When Peter declares Jesus to be the Messiah or the anointed one of God, images of political independence are certainly in the air.

In his words to Simon Peter, Jesus gives authority to him and the other disciples – to a bunch of fishermen, tax collectors, rebels and others, who misunderstand him 9 times out of 10, and do not fit anyone’s conventional notion of leaders.

In doing so, however, the Gospel writers are not just interested in correctly defining who Jesus is but also in shaping a community molded in light of his actions and teachings. And so these questions of identity are not just a matter of definition but of formation, not just doctrine but discipleship.

There are two key symbols present here. "The rock" is the symbolic anchor for the church and is could be Christ or Peter’s insight of Christ. Christ gives Peter "the keys", the ability to unlock the mysteries of the Kingdom; they may also be a symbol of authority over the Church Originally, when one came to seek the king’s help or counsel, the servant’s job was to open the door to the king’s house and assist him in reaching the king. Christ’s servants, the ministry, have a similar responsibility to assist those God is calling in coming to their King, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah is not about the identity of leaders or churches but the people themselves.

In the Isaiah passage it is not the leader whose identity is under scrutiny, but the people themselves, as the prophet asks them to look to their own heritage. Although this passage points to several moments in Israel’s story, the most overt reference is to Abraham and Sarah.

In the Psalm identity comes in the context of praise, the psalmist continuing the words of thanks, this time to the “name ” of god, because of God’s “steadfast love and faithfulness. “Name” was an important concept in the ancient Near East. Names reflected the natures and characters of the person who bore them and were conceptually equal to the essence of ones being. The Psalmist is providing identity to God, one how provides “love and faithfulness;” who “increased my strength within me” , “cares for the lowly”, keeps him safe and confronts the psalmist’s enemies. 

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Videos, Pentecost 13, Aug. 27, 2023

Welcome- Opening Hymn and sentences -“Come, we that love the Lord”

Gospel, Hymn “In my life, Lord be glorified and Sermon

Announcements, Offertory


Concluding Hymn

Sunday Links, Aug. 27, 2023, Pentecost 13

This week is all about identity, who are are as Christians and people of St. Peter’s. In the lectionary, Peter is called upon to give testimory about Jesus and who he is. This time he gets it right!

  • Web site
  • YouTube St. Peter’s Page for viewing services
  • Facebook St. Peter’s Page
  • Location – 823 Water Street, P. O. Box 399, Port Royal, Virginia 22535

  • Good luck to the Jamaican Mission Team on Sun Aug. 20, 2023

  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., Aug. 23 10am-12pm, Parish House

    Reading Lectionary for Aug 13, Thirtenth Sunday after Pentecost

  • Remembering St. Bartholomew, Aug. 24
  • Sat., Aug 26, Jamaican Mission Team’s school supplies distribution, 10am.
  • Sun. Aug. 27, 2023, 11am Morning Prayer YouTube 823 Water St. Port Royal, VA 22535
  • Lectionary Aug. 27, Pentcost 13, Lectionary lnk
  • Remembering Augustine of Hippo, Aug. 28
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., Aug. 30 10am-12pm, Parish House

    Reading Lectionary for Sept 3, Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Season of Creation I

  • All articles for Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023
  • Village Harvest, Aug. 16, 2023

    Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, the day before the Harvest is a work day. 3 main tasks:

    This month for Wed’s distribution we had:

    • meat and fish (whole chickens, salmon or pork chops),
    • fresh vegetables ( lettuce, eggplant, corn)
    • canned goods (corn, string beans, pears, beef stew).
    • cooked chicken in packs

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    What we wear on our hearts should be just as obvious to the world as what we wear on our bodies. Our T shirts may say “Harvard”, but our hearts should say Jesus. Our jeans may say “Levis”, but our hearts should say Jesus.” -Br. James Koester, SSJE

    “God wants us to become fully the person he created us to be and not to settle for anything less: to become so alive that when people see us they actually see something of God radiating through us and glorifying God.” – Br. Geoffrey Tristram, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

    SSJE is a monastic community of The Episcopal Church & The Anglican Church of Canada.

    “St Peters as our rock”

    From a sermon Aug 24, 2011

    In July of 1833, three of our ancestors here in Port Royal, William Gray, Charles Urquhart and George Fitzhugh, placed an ad in the Virginia Herald for builders.

    To Builders— “The Subscribers, Commissioners for building a church in Port Royal, will receive proposals for erecting the same—they would prefer to have the whole work undertaken by a single individual, but will contract for the Brick work separately, if necessary. A hundred thousand Bricks, it is supposed will be about the number required for the church.”

    And this church is built of bricks. Bricks, made from the earth itself, are a strong building material, much like rock. In many places in the Old Testament, the rock is a symbol for God.

    …Here we are, in a brick church named after St Peter, the man that Jesus called a rock.

    And Jesus asks each and every one of us the same question he asked the disciples.  “But who do you say that I am?”

    When we are able to answer this question as Peter did, “You, Jesus, are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” we experience a cosmic shift in our lives. When we recognize that God IS the solid core within us—our inner rock.

    We profess our faith every Sunday in the words of the Nicene Creed—our belief in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

    But how do we know when God really is at the center of our lives? Paul provides some help with this question in the passage from the letter to the Romans that we heard today.  We find that rather than being conformed to the world, we are being transformed by the renewing of our minds. And our minds are made new when we can wake up every morning and hand ourselves over to God. “God, please be the rock in my life today, and please help me serve you by serving my neighbors. Please help me to do whatever it is you give me to do today, to your glory.”

    Recent Articles, Sun. Aug 27,

    Janine Shepherd – “A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person”

    Australian Cross-country skier Janine Shepherd hoped for an Olympic medal — until she was hit by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Her message: you are not your body, and giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar.

    She writes, “The philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “When you let go of what you are, you become what you might be.” I now know that it wasn’t until I let go of who I thought I was that I was able to create a completely new life. It wasn’t until I let go of the life I thought I should have that I was able to embrace the life that was waiting for me. I now know that my real strength never came from my body, and although my physical capabilities have changed dramatically, who I am is unchanged. The pilot light inside of me was still a light, just as it is in each and every one of us.

    “I know that I’m not my body, and I also know that you’re not yours. And then it no longer matters what you look like, where you come from, or what you do for a living. All that matters is that we continue to fan the flame of humanity by living our lives as the ultimate creative expression of who we really are, because we are all connected by millions and millions of straws, and it’s time to join those up and to hang on. And if we are to move towards our collective bliss, it’s time we shed our focus on the physical and instead embrace the virtues of the heart.”

    This is a wonderful  TED Talk.  Read the transcript  

    “Who am I” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a professing Christian who kept the Christian faith alive during the Adolf Hitler’s rule in Germany. At St. Peter’s we read part of Life Together in Adult Ed.

    He was implicated in the bomb plot against Hitler in 1944. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote “Who Am I” just one month before he was executed.

    “Who am I? They often tell me I stepped from my cell’s confinement Calmly, cheerfully, firmly, Like a squire from his country-house. Who am I? They often tell me I used to speak to my warders Freely and friendly and clearly, As though it were mine to command. Who am I? They also tell me I bore the days of misfortune Equably, smilingly, proudly, Like one accustomed to win.

    “Am I then really all that which other men tell of? Or am I only what I myself know of myself? Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage, Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat, Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the 88voices of birds, Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness, Tossing in expectation of great events, Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance, Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making, Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

    “Who am I? This or the other? Am I one person today and tomorrow another? Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others, And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling? Or is something within me still like a beaten army, Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved? Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!”

    March 4,1946

    Augustine of Hippo, Aug. 28

    Augustine’s writing provides his greatest legacy to the Church and the world. After his conversion, the quick, insatiable intellect he had applied to rhetoric and philosophy turned to theology and ethics. Augustine answered God’s call to “love the Lord your God with all your mind,” and fulfilled it well. Yet Augustine’s writing and thought were not dry and detached but passionate and evocative, engaging the heart as well as the mind.

    Augustine’s Confessions is one of the earliest and most well-known examples of spiritual autobiography. In Confessions, Augustine tells the story of his life and faith: the good, the bad, and the ugly. 350 sermons and 100 works also survive Augustine did not hide his past sins and early debauchery but confessed them freely. In Confessions, he admitted that, as a young man he prayed, “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.” And in a letter to some bishops, he once wrote, “I too have sworn heedlessly and all the time, I have had this most repulsive and death-dealing habit. I’m telling your graces; from the moment I began to serve God, and saw what evil there is in forswearing oneself, I grew very afraid indeed, and out of fear I applied the brakes to this old, old, habit.”

    Augustine of Hippo is commemorated in The Episcopal Church’s calendar on August 28.

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    Peter assumes a new identity

    This week is about identity, power and authority of leaders, people and within the growing church.   Middle Eastern people were always concerned about how other people regarded them. So identity was important.

    Matthew begins his Gospel with a complex, genealogy.  That’s another way to get to your identity  Genealogies are not just simple accounts of past ancestors. They are ways that we construct identity, ways in which we relate to our past. Jesus knew he was through Matthew’s genealogy. His identity is inextricably linked by Matthew’s genealogy with Abraham and David, with exile and deliverance, with kings and extraordinarily faithful women. 

    Back to this Sunday’s passage. In the Gospel, up till now Jesus has been teaching the crowds the mystery of the Kingdom in the face of growing hostility from the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus now withdraws with the disciples to begin forming them into his ‘church’. 

    To have a church he would have to have a congregation. The questions of identity are not just a matter of definition but of formation, not just doctrine but discipleship.  In regards to discipleship and church, he needs to know what he has to work with through their understanding of him. He asks  who do they think he is in regard to identity. What authority does he have in their minds?

    The identity issues needs to be confronted and confirmed. Next week Jesus goes to the predictions of suffering, death, and resurrection.

    The reading takes place in  in Caesarea Philippi a Roman area. Caesarea Philippi was the site of a Temple built in honor of Caesar Augustus by Herod. On one corner was a shrine to Caesar Augustus. Not far from there you could view statues dedicated to the Roman heroes of old.

    The setting is important.. By engaging the disciples he offers a challenge to Roman society. 

    First, Jesus asks a question, posed all in the 3rd person. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And the answers point to radical prophets who prepare the way for the promised Messiah.

    Jesus asks the disciples the same question (v. 15), but this time to the disciples. “Who do you think I am “

    It’s another way of saying, “Why are you following me? Why have you left everything you have known?

    Peter answers, and in this immediate response we can begin to see the role that Peter plays, for it is not his abruptness that is witnessed here, but rather his primacy. He is the first to understand, know, and confess Jesus as Messiah.

    Now, Jesus promptly interprets his answer not as evidence of Peter’s great intelligence, insight or faith, but rather as a gift of grace.

    As John Calvin wrote in his commentary, Peter’s “confession is short but it embraces all that is contained in our salvation.” It is all about faithful service.

    There are two key symbols present here. “The rock” is the symbolic anchor for the church and is could be Christ or Peter’s insight of Christ. Christ gives Peter “the keys”, the ability to unlock the mysteries of the Kingdom; they may also be a symbol of authority over the Church. Originally, when one came to seek the king’s help or counsel, the servant’s job was to open the door to the king’s house and assist him in reaching the king. Christ’s servants, the ministry, have a similar responsibility to assist those God is calling in coming to their King, Jesus Christ

    This is the first time that one of Jesus’ followers calls him “The Messiah,” and the first time he acknowledges it. This passage also adds the connection to the Church”

    The turning point of the story is rather that Jesus would build his church on the cracked foundation of a flawed disciple. Jesus gives authority to a group of misfits who more than not don’t get it right   

    The story doesn’t simply end triumphantly, however, but with a charge for the church to live according to this new kingdom. The church is not to simply stand in victory but is given the power “to bind and loose,” perhaps unleashing the power of forgiveness and grace in the world or heralding the prophetic role of the church in fighting oppression.” “To bind and loose” is a phrase that means to forbid or permit something by an indisputable authority. I

    In this passage, Petter has also assumed a new identity. Peter becomes the representative of all the disciples. 

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    Aug 24 – The Feast Day of St. Bartholomew

    St. Bartholomew

    Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and is usually identified as Nathaniel and was a doctor. In Mark 3:18 he is one of the twelve Jesus calls to be with him. He was introduced to us as a friend of Philip, another of the twelve apostles as per (John 1:43-51), where the name Nathaniel first appears. He is also mentioned as “Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee” in (John 21:2).

    He was characterized by Jesus on the first meeting as a man “in whom there was no guile.” The Catholic News Agency wrote this. “We are presented with the Apostle’s character in this brief and beautiful dialogue with the Lord Jesus. He is a good Jew, honest and innocent, a just man, who devotes much time to quiet reflection and prayer – “under the fig tree (1:48)” – and has been awaiting the Messiah, the Holy One of God.”

    His day is remembered on August 24. After the Resurrection he was favored by becoming one of the few apostles who witnessed the appearance of the risen Savior on the sea of Galilee (John 21:2).

    From Eusebius history, Bartholomew went on a missionary tour to India, where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew. Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, and Lycaonia.

    Along with his fellow apostle Jude, Bartholomew is reputed to have brought Christianity to Armenia in the 1st century. Thus both saints are considered the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. He is said to have been martyred in in Armenia. According to one account, he was beheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward. He is said to have converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity. His brother consequently ordered Bartholomew’s execution. The 13th century Saint Bartholomew Monastery was a prominent Armenian monastery constructed at the site of the martyrdom of Apostle Bartholomew in what is today southeastern turkey