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.

The Shape of Advent in Scriptures, Year B

Each week in Advent has a specific theme:

Week 1- The End of Time / Remaining Awake
Week 2 – God promises for Peace and Justice / John the Baptism
Week 3 – Rejoice (Gaudete Sunday) / John the Baptist
Week 4 – The Messiah

Advent comes from a Latin word – “advenire” – which means to come to/ During Advent. There are three comings:

• The Coming of God to the world as a human baby
• The Coming of God to the world in His glory at the end of time where God’s purposes will be fulfilled. The second coming
• The Coming of God into the world today. Jesus comes to us now in word and sacrament, in prayer and praise, in his Body, the Church

Advent causes us to remember that we are a people who live “between.” We live between the incarnation and the parousia, the day of the Lord.

Advent is a journey, a pilgrimage of watching and waiting. We are not ready for the Christ Child as we have work to do.

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St. Peter’s Endowment Fund – An end of the year gift to the Church

Consider a gift to the St. Peter’s Endowment Fund this year by Dec. 17. If you have not taken your IRA minimum distribution, this would be a good fund to consider. It’s tax deductible These funds, which are invested, will help assure financial security for St Peter’s for years to come. Money from the fund can be used for the future maintenance of the buildings in the future and also for outreach projects that the church may take on. On your check, just designate the “Endowment Fund” in the memo line.

Giving to the Endowment Fund also offers some tax advantages. You can donate stock which is sold by the church with the proceeds going into the Endowment Fund. There are no capital gains for you and you can get a deduction for the appreciated value of the stock. Supporting St Peter’s in this way can increase your tax deduction and not your tax bill.

You can also go further and add a percentage of your estate which is taken off the total estate when computing estate tax.

For details consult one of the trustees, Johnny Davis, Ken Pogue or Ben Hicks.

Advent Season Resources

An online Advent potpourri in 6 categories of things to do in Advent – Read, Watch, Learn, Listen, Pray and Reflect and Make. There is something for everyone!

An Advent Collection

Read includes key points of Advent, the beginning of Advent, and waiting

Under Watch there are  videos –Nativity: The Art and Spirit of the Creche and The Story of Silent Night .

The Learn tab has the classes we have had at St. Peter’s including Luke’s Canticles, Matthew’s Infancy Stories, Christmas Carols and Dickens.

Listen includes Lessons and Carols from National Cathedral as well as an exploration of Antiphons .

Pray and Reflect features Advent meditations  a workshop involving prayer, scripture, candlelight and an adaptation of the Way of Love for Advent.

Finally Make has all sorts of crafts from Advent calendars, cooking and wreath creation.

Advent Online Learning

Many of these courses were part of Christian education in earlier years before COVID classes were before church.-

https://www.news.churchsp.org/courses/

No login or password is needed. You can start and stop the courses as desired. 

  1. Dickens A Christmas Carol and the Bible A deep read into the Christmas classic for references to the Bible and Dickens’ religious beliefs.
  2. Handel’s Messiah, Prophecy and Birth of the Messiah. The story of the Christmas part of the Messiah together with the music.
  3. Luke Canticles – Based on a book which examines 4 canticles in the Gospel of Luke, including the infancy story. A favorite!
  4. Matthew’s Infancy stories – Comparable to Luke but with a decidedly Jewish character and an emphasis on Joseph.
  5. The Twelve Days of Christmas Carols – 15+ carols for the days leading to Christmas. The background and musical selections are included.
  6. The new one this year is Renaissance Art and the Christmas Story. The Renaissance was the first period where art came into its own depicting the stories we know and love. The study is divided by subject and includes about 15 art examples.

Advent Meditations – Living Compass

Living Compass produces a book of daily meditations for Advent- “Living Well through Advent which begins Dec. 3

https://shop.livingcompass.org/collections/advent-and-lent-resources   The printed copy is $1 and the download is free.  (We have purchased 20 copies.)

The Living Compass Model for Well-Being offers us guidance in four dimensions of our being: heart, soul, strength, and mind and focus on how they are interconnected. The goal is wellness and wholeness

The theme this year is “Practicing Wonder as we move toward Christmas.”  Each week has an example of it demonstrated by the lives of the author

Week 1 is the connection between wonder and love. Through time and space, adversity and divide, love remains. Love is a constant. Like love, wonder opens the heart and touches our soul.

Week 2 is the connection between wonder and stories. Stories so often help us remember the One whose love we are preparing to celebrate, and those who have taught us so much about wonder and love through the years. Think of the diverse family members in your family

Week 3 explores the connection between wonder and thin places, be they physical, spiritual, emotional, or relational.  . A thin place is a location where the distance between God and Heaven and the Earth is thin. It is a place where deep transformation can happen as we strengthen our personal connection to God.

Week 4   is  the wonder of  God as made manifest in Mary’s faith and courage described in Luke, the birth of Jesus, and the reverent response of the shepherd

Advent Compline

Join us online for the 20 minute service on Zoom , Dec. 7, 14, and 21 at 7PM.

Link Meeting ID: 863 3487 7905 Pass 868383

Compline was a service to close the day, an opportunity to give thanks for the joys and graces experienced, a chance to confess sins committed throughout the day, and the perfect moment to close the day the same way it started: in prayer. If Morning Prayer is designed to start the day off right then Compline is designed to end it well. It frames you for sleep and puts the day in perspective. It helps you recommit yourself to prayer during Advent. Give it a try!

Sermon summary, Rev. Tom Hughes, Advent 2, Dec. 10, 2023

Prepare the way of the Lord – What does it mean for us?  These lessons chart a course for us, what is expected of us, understanding how life works. “The wilderness inside takes a whole lifetime to cross.” This is what Isaiah is talking about preparing the way of the Lord in the desert. Where is that desert? Those that live in the Middle East is what comes to your mind – barren land, dryness. It also has to do with our life course – walking across this life span we are given. Sometimes it is not easy –  sometimes things happen along the way we would never have wanted to happen or anticipated. However, if you are on a course with a particular destination, things don’t trip us up as much.

It’s just the idea of a container. Say you have a bucket with paint in it. It’s not the bucket what is important, it’s what’s in the bucket. It is the paint, not the container. That’s the way it is in our lives. We live in these containers. It is what’s inside what God looks at that’s important. We need to be mindful of what’s inside of us.

We have markers of where we are in Kronos time, such as the calendar date and lectionary date. But where do you think you are on the road? That’s a rhetorical question, we all would do well to ponder.  Where are we in our path through the Wilderness because the wilderness is the perfect metaphor for life in that we don’t know exactly where we’re going, we don’t know what the terrain is going to look like and we don’t really have much of an idea about where we’re going to wind up.  But we’re given some help with that in understanding our path and where we’re going to wind up too because that’s what the Gospel our Lord Jesus Christ proclaims unto us.

We need not be afraid of the wilderness even though it’s an unknown.  We need not live in fear of the place of our souls in creation – that’s already taken  care of.  The way that’s taken care of is very interesting too because we have that presented to us in the Gospel where it talks about John’s baptizing in the wilderness. He baptized people and what happened was that in  those days the understanding of baptism was an ancient Jewish custom which wasn’t new The idea was that he bathed in the River Jordan and your sins were washed away. It was a physical thing – your bodies became clean. What Jesus did was take that beautiful Jewish tradition that John embraced and what Jesus did was embellish it , transform it, elevate it to something brand new which is it is the revival of our souls.

At Christmas time we sing songs about the birth of Christ. But I want to tell you that I believe this that every time one of us makes the decision to seek a deeper life, to search more aggressively for that which is internal in our lives, the child is born again in us and we are born again. 

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Videos, Second Sunday in Advent, Dec. 10, 2023

1. Advent 2 – Candle Lighting –

2. Opening Hymn – Comfort, comfort ye my people

3. Hymn of Praise – Soon and very soon

Read more

Music of Compline Dec. 7, 2023

The compline service is in the prayer book but there are several opportunities for variations. One being the prayers, akin to the prayers of the people which will change with services. There is also an opportunity to the congregation to add their own prayers.

The second main variation is in the music which changes for the service.

There were three main pieces for this service:

1. O Come O Come Emmanuel. Performed by the “Piano Guys”, in this case a pianist and cellist. From their website “What do you get when you mix up a marketing genius that does video, a studio engineer that writes music, a pianist that had a successful solo career, and a cellist that does pretty much everything? The Piano Guys: a miraculous meeting of “guys” with the same intrinsic purpose – to make a positive impact in the lives of people all over the world through music videos…Our story is a miracle. We’re just a bunch of ordinary “guys” playing classically influenced instrumental music in videos that showcase incredible locations.”

2. Give Thanks. Performed by Michael Eldridge who writes “I’m a pharmacist with a passion for singing.” All the parts! “I’ve been blessed by God with the opportunity to share my love for the classic acapella hymns I grew up singing, and still sing today.”

3. Come Divine Messiah – Advent at Ephesus From their website “We are a religious community of women seeking to emulate the hidden life of Mary as love in the heart of the Church.” They were founded by Sr Mary Wilhelmina Lancaster OSB, in Gower, Missouri.

“The nuns are also recording artists, and their first two albums of recorded chants and hymns reached number one on the classical traditional Billboard charts. They were thereafter named Billboard’s Classical Traditional artists of the year in 2013, the first order of nuns to win an award in the history of Billboard…Their album sales have been used to improve the monastery and pay off the abbey’s debt.”

ECW takes dinner to “The House” at Mary Washington

(full size gallery)

The House is a combined ministry of the Episcopal/Lutheran churches focusing on campus, Young Adult, and Intergenerational Ministry centered around The University of March Washington and Germanna. The Rev. Ethan Lowery is the missioner who is supported and sponsored by by Trinity Episcopal, St. George’s Episcopal and Christ Lutheran.

St. Peter’s ECW signed up to provide dinner to one of their regular weekly meetings on Tuesday between 5pm. They have a dinner business meeting and program. We had 8-10 students for the dinner. (The students were in the midst of “crunch time” with exams next week).

Thanks to Elizabeth, Catherine, Linda, Alice and Robin who cooked the food and Jim Heimbach and Andrea who supported St. Peter’s at the event. St. Peter’s provided both regular and gluten free chile, corn bread and brownies as well as a vegetable tray.

Joining us was the Rev. Rosemary Beales who is a specialist in Godly Play and presented the story of Abraham with all the objects in a tray of sand. (Catherine took Godly Play under Rosemary prior to St. Peter’s implemented it several years ago. Rosemary works with Godly Play at St. George’s.)

We learned the House is conducting one of their main fund raising events this Sun Dec. 10 which is a crafts fair with items donated. Customer will not pay a price set by the House but one they believe is fair.

Advent 2

Explore Advent, Part 2

“Advent is a time to look for “desert places”: the place of solitude, the place of true silence in which we can become fully awake to our sin and God’s forgiving grace which alone can heal it.”-Br. Robert L’Esperance

This week we focus on John the Baptist through scripture, art and commentary. Let’s move to  Advent 2.

John the Baptist      

John the Baptist in art

 

John the Baptist Presentation

 
St. Nicholas      

St Nicholas Day is December 6. 

 

Here is a presentation that provides the background of this saint who has had a colorful and varied history over 1800 years.

 

Advent 2 – Peace

The Second Week of Advent is the week of Peace. This verse tells us that Jesus came to be the Prince of Peace. The word peace is the Hebrew word shalom which means completeness or well being. Jesus did not come just to end wars, but to make us complete by saving us from our sinfulness.

One of the hallmarks of the Christmas story is when the angels appear to the shepherds and proclaim, “Peace on earth,” in Luke 2:14.

Jesus brought about peace, in the most unexpected ways, when he arrived. The Jews, particularly the zealots, wanted a rebellion. They wanted their Savior to overturn the oppressive rule of the Romans and bring about peace in a violent way.

But Jesus had something else in mind. Jesus brings us peace in a number of ways.

First, he gives us inner peace. Because of his work on the cross, we have a chance to receive salvation and be indwelled by the Holy Spirit. This grants us an inner peace (John 14:27). Not only do we have the peace that comes from our assurance of salvation, but we also have the peace of mind knowing God will heal this broken world and will come again.

Second, we have peace with others. We put aside our differences (Galatians 3:28), especially with other believers, because we belong to the same family. We have the same purpose: to let others know about the peace of Christ.

The Hebrew word for peace: Shalom, goes far beyond not fighting with others or peace as we know it. Shalom which means completeness or well being. Jesus did not come just to end wars, but to make us complete by saving us from our sinfulness. As pointed out in the book Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, shalom is, in essence, how things are meant to be: a slice of heaven.

The peace of God allows us to look at others through heaven’s eyes and help guide the world to see God’s here and not-yet here kingdom.

Peace from God, biblical peace, allows us to trust in God’s promises (Proverbs 3:5), through restful, tranquil faith, despite the dark, scary world around us.