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.

Notebook Paper Collection for Caroline’s Promise School Supply Distribution

Sunday, July 16th is the deadline for St Peter’s to collect 8.5”looseleaf, hole punched notebook paper for Caroline County school children, to be distributed by Caroline’s Promise on Saturday, July 29th.   Our goal is 200 packs of 8.5×11 looseleaf notebook paper, 3 hole punched .  There is no specific quantity (200, 500 sheets, etc) to purchase. Most of them have been 150 sheet packs

[As of July 9 we have collected 37 packs of notebook paper. One week to go. ]

Bring your donation to church and place it in the back pew.  If you’d like to make a monetary donation toward this project, write a check to St Peter’s and put Notebook Paper/Outreach on the memo line. 

We have frequently partnered with Caroline’s Promise for school supplies. (Last year it was markers). Caroline’s Promise works to help young people in Caroline County to succeed by providing a healthy start and future, one of their five promises.  You can read more about Caroline’s promise at

this link.  https://www.carolinespromise.org/

Their distribution July 29, 10am-12pm

Caroline Middle School
13325 Devils Three Jump Road
Milford VA 22514

Anything but Ordinary! Ordinary Time

Ordinary TimeBeginning on Pentecost 2, we enter the Church year known as Ordinary Time. After Easter, Jesus’s ascension into heaven, and the coming of the Holy Spirit to us at Pentecost, we accept responsibility for being and becoming Christ’s body in the world. We are called by Jesus to live in community, our lives together guided not only by the example of Jesus, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Basically, Ordinary Time encompasses that part of the Christian year that does not fall within the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter. Ordinary Time is anything but ordinary. According to The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, the days of Ordinary Time, especially the Sundays, “are devoted to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects.” We continue our trek through the both the Gospels of Luke and John- through parables challenges, healings – some great stories and teachings.  

Vestments are usually green, the color of hope and growth. Green has long been associated with new life and growth. Even in Hebrew in the Old Testament, the same word for the color “green” also means “young.” The green of this season speaks to us as a reminder that it is in the midst of ordinary time that we are given the opportunity to grow. 

Ordinary Time, from the word “ordinal,” simply means counted time (First Sunday after Pentecost, etc.). we number the Sundays from here on out in order from the First Sunday after Pentecost, all the way up to the Last Sunday after Pentecost The term “ordinary time” is not used in the Prayer Book, but the season after Pentecost can be considered ordinary. 

The Church counts the thirty-three or thirty-four Sundays of Ordinary Time, inviting her children to meditate upon the whole mystery of Christ – his life, miracles and teachings – in the light of his Resurrection.

You may see Sundays referred to as “Propers”. The Propers are readings for Ordinary Time following Epiphany and Pentecost, numbered to help establish a seven day range of dates on which they can occur. Propers numbering in the Revised Common Lectionary begins with the Sixth Sunday in Epiphany, excludes Sundays in Lent through Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, and resumes the Second Sunday after Pentecost (the first Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday), usually with Proper 4. 

In some ways, it might be right to think of this time as “ordinary”, common or mundane. Because this is the usual time in the church, the time that is not marked by a constant stream of high points and low points, ups and downs, but is instead the normal, day-in, day-out life of the church. This time is a time to grapple with the nuts and bolts of our faith, not coasting on the joy and elation of Christmas, or wallowing in the penitential feel of Lent, but instead just being exactly where we are, and trying to live our faith in that moment.  

It is a reminder of the presence of God in and through the most mundane and ordinary seasons of our lives. . It is a reminder that when God came and lived among us in the person of Jesus Christ, he experienced the same ordinary reality that we all experience. And that God, in Christ, offered us the opportunity to transform the most ordinary, mundane experiences into extraordinary events infused with the presence of God. God is there, present in the midst of the ordinary, just waiting for us to recognize it.  

Only when the hustle and bustle of Advent, Easter, and Lent has calmed down can we really focus on what it means to live and grow as Christians in this ordinary time in this ordinary world. It is a time to nurture our faith with opportunities for fellowship and reflection. It is a time to feed and water our faith with chances for education and personal study. It is a time to weed and prune our faith, cutting off the parts that may be dead and leaving them behind. And we have a lot of growing to do, so God has given us most of the church year in which to do it.  

Jamaica Project Update – Supplies left to purchase As of June 16

Donate school supplies for the children at the Victoria School in Jamaica. Two ways to do it:

  • 1. Purchase the actual supplies through Amazon. Ship the supplies to P.O. Box 385, Port Royal Va 22535. Purchases due on June 18, 2023

    Here are the current items left as of June 16 which are left to purchase.

  • 2. Make a check to St Peter’s with Jamaica/Victoria School on the memo line. This will cover remaining costs – computer supplies and shipping of school supplies. As of June 11, we had collected $1,500!
  • Checks are due by the end of June. Checks are needed in two areas. (We do not have the costs yet). 1. Cost of the monitors, keyboards and mice for 7 computers. The computers are being donated. The school does not have any computers, currently. 2. Cost of shipping- the school supplies and computers.

    Thank you for your donation.

    Celebrating the Rappahannock River

    We recently celebrated Trinity Sunday. The first reading is taken from the creation story in Genesis, Genesis 1:1-2:4a. There is a portion which deals with the waters.

    “And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.”

    “And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.”

    It led me to think of the Rappahannock River, a portion which flows by St. Peter’s and Port Royal. We celebrate the river in a yearly celebration “Gospel on the River” and on Easter Sunday in the Sunrise service.

    We usually sing “Shall We Gather at the River”, a hymn of the River which was written one afternoon in July, 1864, when Robert Lowry, the author, was pastor of the Hanson Place Baptist Church, Brooklyn, N.Y. The weather was oppressively hot, and the author was lying on a lounge in a state of physical exhaustion. His mind raced through various symbols of life – the heavenly river, the throne and the saints.

    The river is a constant factor today as it was in the past. It was the reason why Port Royal was created in the 18th century. Today it is celebrated for its beauty, peace, and recreation.

    The King Singers released “Down in the River to Pray”, recorded acapella from their homes during COVID-19 which was the basis for our video. The original album it was on goes back to 2005. They write, “From our homes during isolation, we recorded a song which has been very special to us ever since it was arranged by our former baritone, Philip Lawson, in 2002.” The song is much older. The earliest known version of the song, titled “The Good Old Way,” was published in Slave Songs of the United States in 1867.The song (#104) was contributed to that book by George H. Allan of Nashville, Tennessee, who may also have been the transcriber.

    This video was put together as a another means of celebrating the river. It was created 3 years ago for Trinity Sunday in 2020. Photographs of the Rappahannock river in various seasons at various events (Gospel on the River) were combined with their vocal adaptation to create a video celebrating the peace and spiritual nature of that river.

    Back to Jamaica in 2023

    In 2021, St. Peter’s fundraising contributed $3,000 for the school project. Here is the presentation from that trip.

    A mission trip was organized to setup the school distribution. The supplies were sent ahead of the distribution.

    In 2023 we are refreshing the supplies as well as moving to supply additional items, like computers. This year only Andrea, Ken and Laura will be going to deliver the supplies.


    Donate here

    Victoria Primary School, formerly Victoria All-Age is located in North West St. Catherine about two (2) miles from the major town of Linstead in the farming community of Victoria. Victoria, along with the adjoining community of Banbury, where most of the children are from, has a populace of over 20,000.

    Approximately 10 % of the adult population is dependent on farming for a living, some of the produce from this activity is sold at the Linstead Market and the remainder kept for domestic use. Another 30% depends on vending as their main means of livelihood, 40% is employed while the remaining 20% is unemployed.

    The current parent population is very young with the average age being about 25 years. Most of them have attained secondary level of education but have not moved on to tertiary learning but instead have acquired a skill in order to become employable.

    The school was originally a shift school, an elementary. It was built to house about 200 children. At the time of the 2021 mission trip school population it was 330

    At the beginning of each school year, some parents often have financial challenges in purchasing items to send their children back to school. Some of these include the purchasing of school bags, writing books, pencils and uniforms etc. There are times when past students will assist in purchasing some of these items.

    UTO spring ingathering completed June 4

    We completed the Spring, UTO ingathering on June 4. The total was $330.50 which compares well with the past but was still 15% under 2022.

    This is a recent history

    Fall, 2021268.87
    Spring, 2022384.88
    Fall, 2022484.73
    Spring, 2023330.50

    The United Thank Offering (UTO) is a ministry of The Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole church. Originally it was started in the 1880’s to support missionary work. Through UTO, individuals are invited to embrace and deepen a personal daily spiritual discipline of gratitude. UTO encourages people to notice the good things that happen each day, give thanks to God for those blessings and make an offering for each blessing using a UTO Blue Box. UTO is entrusted to receive the offerings, and to distribute the 100% of what is collected to support innovative mission and ministry throughout The Episcopal Church and Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

    The UTO was able to fund 22 grants, including two historical grants in 2022. They had $1,051,154.14 available to award in 2022.

    Over the next 3 years, The United Thank Offering, in the spirit of Matthew 25:36, will focus on areas of ministry that serve those who society has left out and left behind. Therefore, the UTO grant focus for 2023 will be on innovative mission and ministry projects addressing all aspects of the worldwide incarceration crisis, specifically:

    •preventative programs and intervention;
    •prisoner support outreach;
    •prison reform work;
    •or post-prison re-entry.

    Sermon, Proper 5, Pentecost 2, June 11, 2023

    Sermon, Proper 5, Year A 2023
    Hosea 5:15-6:6, Romans 4:13-25, Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26

    Please look at your bulletin cover.  The device in the photograph shows a person in a wheelchair, and underneath the image is this statement.

    “Press to operate door.” 

    I usually don’t use these devices, even when they are available, because I believe that I am self-sufficient enough to open the door myself. 

    But think about it.  On some level, every one of us here today is that person who stands in front of a door and can’t get it open.  The door isn’t stuck, we are!  All of us need God’s help in some way or another.  Maybe your belief system has you stuck, or you are devastated by grief and can’t get up, or you are physically sick and can’t stand.  All of these ways of being stuck keep us from pushing open the door into the glorious freedom of life in God.

    Give it some thought! 

    What keeps you stuck?    

    Read more

    Remembering St. Barnabas, June 11

    St. Barnabus Curing the Poor – Paolo Veronese.

    Collect for his day -"Grant, O God, that we may follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well­being of your Church, gave generously of his life and substance for the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

    Who is St. Barnabus and why do we celebrate a feast day for him ?

    Three reasons why Barnabas is a famous saint:

    1. He was one of the most highly respected leaders in the early church. Born on the island of Cyprus (which means “copper” because of the mines there), his name was Joseph, but the apostles called him Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”).

    2. When Saul (as Paul was still known) appeared in Jerusalem after his conversion, he was spurned by the Christians he had persecuted. Yet when Barnabas “took him by the hand, and brought him to the Apostles”, and spoke up for him, Paul was immediately accepted (Acts 9:27).   

    He was Paul’s mentor and advocate and was the leader when he and Paul were sent off on the first missionary journey. But Paul’s personality and fervor soon dominated.

    Where it had been “Barnabas and Paul”, it was now “Paul and Barnabas”. (See Acts, Chapter 13.)

    3. Barnabas was so vital to the spread of the Gospel that he earned the highest accolade that any Christian can receive; “. . . . he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith”. (Acts 11:24) 

    Around 49, at a council in Jerusalem, St Peter helped to carry the argument of Paul and Barnabas that Gentile Christians need not be circumcised.

    It is odd, therefore, to discover Barnabas and Peter siding against Paul in refusing to eat with the Gentiles (Gal 2:13). Was this a matter of personal sympathy? The last we hear of Barnabas is of his falling out with Paul over the latter’s refusal to accept John Mark as a travelling companion.

    “So sharp was their disagreement, that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed off to Cyprus.” (Acts 15:36-40)

    So Barnabas passes from the written record. Tradition holds that he preached in Alexandria and Rome, before being martyred at Salamis.

    SALT Commentary – Gospel Pentecost 2, June 11, 2023


    1) Jesus has been on the move throughout the countryside, and here he comes across Matthew sitting in his “tax booth” (or “toll booth”) (Matthew 9:9). Matthew was likely a kind of customs official, charging a “toll” or “tax” on goods being transported to market; for example, such booths were sometimes set up along roadsides near fishing villages. Tax collectors were widely unpopular, not only because the taxes themselves were onerous, and not only because such funds supported the Roman Empire and its collaborators — but also because tax collectors were often suspected of charging more than required, and pocketing the difference.

    2) It’s striking, then, that Jesus would call such an “undesirable” to be his twelfth disciple; it certainly raised eyebrows among some Pharisees, as did Jesus’ custom of eating with “tax collectors and sinners” (Pharisees were a local religious group, in many ways similar to the movement gathering around Jesus, and therefore a key rival in that local context). But it’s also worth thinking about that Jesus’ other disciples — many of whom, after all, were fisherman! — likely didn’t care much for tax collectors! Indeed, the gist of the overall story suggests that by calling Matthew, Jesus is driving home a point intended not only for outside observers, but also for his own followers.

    3) And what is that point? In a nutshell, that no-one is disqualified from becoming part of the movement — and indeed that Jesus is most interested in people who need help, just as a physician is most interested in people who are sick. As Matthew has been making clear all along in these opening chapters, Jesus is a healer: he comes not to reward those who are already well, but rather to help us become well in the first place.

    4) But not, please note, to “make us well” without our active participation. A woman Jesus meets on the road serves as a definitive, iconic role model: she has been bleeding for twelve years (and so likely has been ostracized for twelve years), and yet she approaches Jesus with a fierce form of hope, saying to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well” (Matthew 9:21). The underlying word here — translated as “be made well” in the NRSV — is the Greek word, sózó (pronounced “SODE-zo,” rhymes with “ROAD-so”), which can also be translated, “save,” “heal,” “preserve,” or “rescue.” And in pursuit of this salvation, this healing, this rescue, the woman is nothing less than audacious. Not only does she make her way through the entourage of disciples in order to touch Jesus’ garment, she pushes through the words of Leviticus, too, the ancient ideas that not only is she “unclean,” but anything she touches will become “unclean” — including the one whose clothing she reaches out to touch!

    5) It’s worth pausing here to let this sink in: a supposedly “unclean” outcast, a woman, boldly touches a Holy Teacher without his permission, apparently desecrating him in the process. The disciples must have been wide-eyed, stunned. Will Jesus be angry? Has he been defiled? Jesus stops, turns around, and confronts the woman…

    Read more