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.

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.  

Celebrating the Rappahannock River

In Year A 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 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.

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

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.

    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

    Sunday links, Pentecost 2, June 11, 2023

  • 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

  • Jamaica Presentation for School supplies

  • Sun. June 11, 2023, 11am Holy Eucharist, St. Peter’s Trinity Sunday YouTube 823 Water St. Port Royal, VA 22535
  • Lectionary for June 11, 2023, Pentecost 2, Pentecost 2

  • The Psalms study Mon, June 12 , 7:00pm Zoom link Meeting ID: 879 7169 4710 Passcode: 803192 Participants, choose one Psalm to share with the group (Mon, June 12, Book 5 (Psalms 107-150).)
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., June 14, 10am-12pm, Parish House Reading Lectionary for June 18
  • Jamaica Fundraiser until June 18 (Amazon purchases), June 30 (monetary donations).
  • June, 2023 Newsletter
  • All articles for Sunday, June 11, 2023
  • Remembering Jim Patton

    Founders’ Day remembers and celebrates those individuals or groups that have made a difference to St. Peter’s over its history.

    This year we are honoring James Samuel Patton or better known as Jim. Jim owned Gay Mont also made a difference to the both church and community. The ironic thing is that Jim wasn’t an Episcopalian – he worked for years with the Presbyterians. We didn’t adopt him- He adopted us.

    Jim lived 88 years until Nov 5, 2007. A native of Bridgeville, Pa., he moved to Washington, D.C., in 1941 to take a clerical position with the Naval Ordnance Laboratory . At the close of World War II, he served for a short period in the Army of Occupation in Japan. Jim retired in 1981 after 36 years as financial secretary/business manager of the New York A venue Presbyterian Church, and lived for many years In Alexandria. Mr. Patton retired in 1981 after 36 years as financial secretary/business manager of the New York A venue Presbyterian Church, and lived for many years In Alexandria.

    Jim’s life outside of the church was wrapped up in three professions – a genealogist, historian and archivist. First, Jim was a genealogist untangling the family of his wife Frances Bernard Robb Upton’s family. The family had owned Gay Mont since since 1816 when Jane Gay Robertson married John Hipkins Bernard, whose family built the place in the 1790s. He undertook a detail study of her family , the Bolling family revealing descendants of a relative Col. John Bolling not known.   As a genealogists, there are countless examples online of Patton helping other researchers. 

    As a historian, Rev. Fall’s book Hidden Village, Port Royal, Virginia owes a lot to Jim’s work. Rev. Fall writes in his acknowledgments – “Mr. James Samuel Patton and the late Frances (Upton) Patton of Gay Mont, Rappahannock Academy, Va., for almost two decades have provided a limitless amount of historical research and information without which this volume would not have been possible.” Rev. Fall wanted to cite Patton as a joint author but Patton refused. Jim was detail oriented which aided understanding the changing ownership of property in this town.

    Jim’s gift was an organizer of records. He saw the importance of preserving St. Peter’s early records and so sent them to the Library of Virginia. They are now available on micro film. The current machines there can save individual pages of records. This allows these records to be saved in an environment with climate controls.

    Read more

    Remembering St. Barnabas, June 12

    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.