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.

What is Juneteenth and Why Do We Celebrate on June 19?

Because the Southern Confederacy viewed themselves as an independent nation, the Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately free all of the enslaved population because the Rebel governments would not enforce Lincoln’s proclamation. Texas became a stronghold of Confederate influence in the latter years of the Civil War as the slaveholding population ‘refugeed’ their slave property by migrating to Texas.

Consequently, more than 50,000 enslaved individuals were relocated to Texas, effectively prolonging slavery in a region far from the Civil War’s bloodshed, and out of the reach of freedom—the United States Army. Only after the Union army forced the surrender of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith at Galveston on June 2, 1865, would the emancipation of slaves in Texas be addressed and freedom granted. On June 19, 250,000 enslaved people were freed.

The issuing of General Order No. 3 on June 19, 1865, marked an official date of emancipation for the enslaved population. Nonetheless, those affected faced numerous barriers to their freedoms. General Order No. 3 stipulated that former slaves remain at their present homes, were barred from joining the military, and would not be supported in ‘idleness.’ Essentially, the formerly enslaved were granted nothing beyond the title of emancipation. The official end of slavery in the United States came with the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865.

After becoming emancipated, many former slaves left Texas in great numbers. Most members of this exodus had the goal of reuniting with lost family members and paving a path to success in postbellum America. This widespread migration of former slaves after June 19 became known as ‘the Scatter.’

The Connection – Juneteenth (June 19) and World Refugee Day (June 20)

Juneteenth is related to World Refugee Day.

Juneteenth and World Refugee Day are times to celebrate what has been done to make our world better for all and reminds us to recommit ourselves to the healing work we need to do before we can all truly be free. It also reminds us to attend to the systemic forces that prevent change, keep oppression in place, and distract us with the falsehood that one person’s freedom must be another person’s loss. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”—Ruth Frey

Jesus disturbed the comforted and comforted the disturbed – Ryan W. Clayton

Junetenth is about personal freedom. World Refugee Day also proclaims the value of each person as a unique child of God and commit ourselves to the healing and wholeness of all persons.

There is a community element as well. As the Bishop of Atlanta writes “God rejoices when we celebrate the truth-that we were made for each other and for God’s glory. “How good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters and siblings to dwell together in unity.”

Juneteenth also preserved the integrity of the family by allowing families to stick together without the possibility of being sold. World Refugee Day remembers and honors the families and individuals made homeless by disasters, wars, poverty, and intolerance around the world.

Why we should welcome refugees ?

Business Insider has written.."Immigrants can strengthen nations. A UK study found migrants boosted the British economy, deepened its labor force, raised wages of native workers, and boosted tax revenues.

"An influx of refugees into Denmark in the 1980s created increased competition for jobs, which encouraged native Danish workers to boost their skill sets. A German economist said immigration would quickly boost economic output in the EU (Euractiv).

"Many thriving entrepreneurs are also immigrants, such as Elon Musk of Tesla, Google’s Sergey Brin, and WhatsApp’s Jan Koum. Oh, and Steve Jobs’ dad was a Syrian immigrant."  Enterpreneur Magazine has said the same thing. Plus refugees bring their own skillset – "By bringing their unique perspectives and skill sets to a new country, refugees are more than capable of finding new ways of doing business." Many are not trying to take jobs but create jobs.

Moreover throughout the Bible there are numerous statements from the Old to the New Testament on welcoming the stranger."Deuteronomy 10: "You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." The in Hebrews 13: "Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."

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.  

Midsummer’s Night – June 21-24

Midsummer’s Night, Celebrate Light and community-  

We pass Midsummer’s Night in June . European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on a day between June 21 and June 24, and the preceding evening

 The Midsummer’s night celebration began in pre -Christian times when it was believed that forces could slip between this world and the next at a time when there was more light than at any time of the year. Fires were lit to ward off the evil spirits.  

We may think of Midsummer’s Night in terms of Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Ironically, most of the play takes place in a dark forest in a wild, mysterious atmosphere, rather than in the light, in which the magical elements of Shakespeare’s plot can be played out. One of the subplots involves the brawl of the ferries, Oberon and Titania which creates a disturbance in nature.  

Midsummer’s Night is the pagan celebration of the solstice. The Compline service is the Christian celebration. It is more general and can and is said daily by many in the world.

Read more

Background to Compline

Compline is one of the 8 services for the day in the Catholic “Liturgy of the Hours”. It was added to the Episcopal Prayer book in 1979

Compline is a service to close the day, an opportunity to give thanks for the joys and graces experienced, a chance to confess the (many) sins committed throughout the day, and the perfect moment to close the day the same way it started: in prayer and asking for God’s protection during the night to come. It is descended from the night prayers said before bed at the end of the monastic round of daily prayer and can be traced back to the 4th century and referenced by St. Benedict, St. Basil, and St. John Chrysostom.

St. Benedict had this to say about the simplicity of Compline: “Let Compline be limited to the saying of three psalms, which are to be said straightforwardly without antiphons, after which let there be the hymn of that hour, a lesson, a versicle, the Kyrie, and a blessing to conclude.”

Read more

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.

    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

    Connecting Sundays, June 11, 18, 2023

    Last week’s sermon’s (Jun 11) key phrase was “Press on to know the Lord.” The knowledge and love of God bring peace and a deeper knowledge and love of God and is a circular turning that promotes more of the same and our own spiritual growth.

    Today’s sermon (June 18) “As we receive God’s peace, as we come to know God’s love more and more personally, we also find that our hearts fill with joy. And that is the theme of today’s sermon! Rejoice! To rejoice in God is our reason for being! “

    That is our point of rejoicing for religious reasons. But there is also political freedom that intersects the religious. Today, June 19 is Juneteenth the second of three documents during the Civil War promoting freedom for black slaves – Emancipation Proclamation, Juneteenth, and the 13th Amendment. This one extended the Emancipation Proclamation to Texas. This one also must have caused rejoicing since an army came with it to enforce it. And this rejoicing is for all. The first institution that the emancipated people of Galveston established legally was a church . As Time magazine recently wrote “We should care because the very fabric of our society depends on our shared religion of inalienable rights. A celebration of freedom for any American is a celebration of the ideals that make our country what it is today.”

    In honor of Juneteenth, two of our hymns on Sunday, June 18 were “We Shall Overcome” and “Go Down Moses” The bulletin contained a background of both hymns. We Shall Overcome” began as a folk song, a work song. Slaves in the fields would sing, ‘I’ll be all right someday.’ It became known in the churches. A Methodist minister, Charles Albert Tindley, published a version in 1901: “I’ll Overcome Someday.” As it spread it became a political message and one looking for eventual progress. With “Go Down Moses” slaves related their experiences under slavery to Moses and Israelites who were enslaved by the Pharaoh. It was used by Harried Tubman to communicate with fugitive enslaved people.

    Juneteenth was kept alive by black populations despite the pushback. They were the fruits of their rejoicing. As historian Henry Louis Gates recounts about Juneteenth “For them, Juneteenth was, from its earliest incarnations… a past that was “usable” as an occasion for gathering lost family members, measuring progress against freedom and inculcating rising generations with the values of self-improvement and racial uplift.”

    Links for Juneteenth
    1. Here is Henry Louis Gates on Juneteenth

    2. A recent program from PBS

    Videos, Pentecost 3, June 18, 2023

    Prelude – We Shall Overcome

    Opening Hymn – Go Down Moses

    Sequence Hymn – Tis the Gift to Be Simple

    Gospel and Sermon – Gospel and Sermon – Rev. Catherine Hicks

    Fathers Day Prayer

    Blessing

    Read more

    Sermon, Pentecost 3, Proper 6, June 18, 2023

    Exodus 19:2-8a; Psalm 110; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-10:8

    First, I’d like to thank Ben for preaching the sermon I had planned to share with you last week before I unexpectedly had to be absent. 

    The theme of that sermon was “Press on to know the Lord.” 

    As God’s people, we are to press on throughout our lives to grow in our knowledge and love of God,

    for that knowledge and love of God brings us peace

    and God’s peace brings us into a deeper knowledge and deeper love of God, a never ending circular exchange,

    an eternal turning toward love that is essential to our spiritual growth. 

    As we receive God’s peace, as we come to know God’s love more and more personally, we also find that our hearts fill with joy. 

    And that is the theme of today’s sermon!  Rejoice! 

    Read more

    Midsummer’s Night – June 21-24, 2023

    Midsummer’s Night, Celebrate Light and community-  

    We pass Midsummer’s Night in June . European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on a day between June 21 and June 24, and the preceding evening

     The Midsummer’s night celebration began in pre -Christian times when it was believed that forces could slip between this world and the next at a time when there was more light than at any time of the year. Fires were lit to ward off the evil spirits.  

    We may think of Midsummer’s Night in terms of Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Ironically, most of the play takes place in a dark forest in a wild, mysterious atmosphere, rather than in the light, in which the magical elements of Shakespeare’s plot can be played out. One of the subplots involves the brawl of the ferries, Oberon and Titania which creates a disturbance in nature.  

    Midsummer’s Night is the pagan celebration of the solstice. The Compline service is the Christian celebration. It is more general and can and is said daily by many in the world.

    The ancient office of Compline derives its name from a Latin word meaning ‘completion.’  Dating back to the fourth century, and referenced by St. Benedict, St. Basil, and St. John Chrysostom, Compline has been prayed for continuously since then.

    The practice of daily prayers grew from the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at set times of the day known as zmanim.

    Catholics set up official prayers at the times of the day during the middle ages. The monastic prayer cycle was designed as a means of devoting the whole of one’s daily life to the LordIt is called the liturgy of the hours. Compline was at 7pm

    The compline service is documented in the Prayer book, one of the additions of the current book.  It can be done in many  ways, particularly bringing prayers from other sources, such as the following.

    Prayers at the Close of Day

    There are many Anglican prayer books in the world- at least 50.  The Prayer book is a treasure trove of spiritual richness.  Each has unique prayers as we conclude our day. Here are a sample:

    From the New Zealand Prayer Book:

    Support us, Lord, all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work done; then Lord, in your mercy, give us safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last. God our judge and our companion, we thank you for the good we did this day and for all that has given us joy. Everything we offer as our humble service. Bless those with whom we have worked, and those who are our concern. Amen”

    “Holiness; make us pure in heart to see you; make us merciful to receive your kindness and to share our love with all your human family; then will your name be hallowed on earth as in heaven. 

    “It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be. “

    From the Book of Common Prayer (1979)

    “O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    “Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.” 

    “Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.”

    From the Celtic tradition

    “Renew me this night in the image of your love, renew me in the likeness of your mercy, O God.” – Celtic Benediction, J. Philip Newell

    “May the peace of the Spirit be mine this night; may the peace of the Son be mine this night; may the peace of the Father be mine this night. Amen” –  Celtic Worship Through the Year  

    From the Canadian Prayer Book

    “Merciful God, we have not loved you with our whole heart, nor our neighbours as ourselves. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, forgive us what we have been, accept us as we are, and guide what we shall be. Amen”

    “To you before the close of day, Creator of all things, we pray that, in your saving constancy, our guard and keeper you would be. Save us from troubled, restless sleep; from all ill dreams your children keep. So calm our minds that fears may cease and rested bodies wake in peace. A healthy life we ask of you: the fire of love in us renew, and when the dawn new light will bring, your praise and glory we shall sing. Almighty Father, hear our cry through Jesus Christ, our Lord, most high, Whom with the Spirit we adore forever and for evermore. Amen.”

    The June, 2023 solstice

    The June solstice occurs on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at 10:58 A.M. EDT.

  • We will have compline at June 21, 7pm : Zoom Meeting ID: 816 7390 5299 Passcode: 945108
  • This solstice marks the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring when Earth arrives at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt (about 23.5 degrees) toward the Sun, resulting in the longest day and shortest night of the calendar year. (By longest “day,” we mean the longest period of sunlight hours.) On the day of the June solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives sunlight at the most direct angle of the year.

    In Fredericksburg we will have 14h 50 minutes of daylight from 5:47am to 8:37pm

    An advertisement in 2020 for a compline around the solstice.

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