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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.
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.
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.
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.
Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost, honors the Holy Trinity—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although the word “trinity” does not appear in Scripture, it is taught in Matthew 28:18-20 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 (and many other biblical passages). It lasts only one day, which is symbolic of the unity of the Trinity.
Trinity Sunday is one of the few feasts of the Christian Year that celebrates a reality and doctrine rather than an event or person. The Eastern Churches have no tradition of Trinity Sunday, arguing that they celebrate the Trinity every Sunday. The Western Churches did not celebrate it under the 14th century under an edict of John XXII
Since that time Western Christians have observed the Sunday after Pentecost as a time to pause and reflect on the Christian understanding of God
The intention of the creeds was to affirm the following core beliefs:
-the essential unity of God
-the complete humanity and essential divinity of Jesus
-the essential divinity of the Spirit
Understanding of all scriptural doctrine is by faith which comes through the work of the Holy Spirit; therefore, it is appropriate that this mystery is celebrated the first Sunday after the Pentecost, when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit first occurred.
The Trinity is best described in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, commonly called the Nicene Creed from 325AD.
Essentially the Trinity is the belief that God is one in essence (Greek "ousia"), but distinct in person (Greek "hypostasis"). The Greek word for person means "that which stands on its own," or "individual reality," but does not mean the persons of the Trinity are three human persons. Therefore we believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are somehow distinct from one another (not divided though), yet completely united in will and essence.
The Son is said to be eternally begotten of the Father, while the Holy Spirit is said to proceed from the Father through the Son. Each member of the Trinity interpenetrates one another, and each has distinct roles in creation and redemption, which is called the Divine economy. For instance, God the Father created the world through the Son and the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters at creation.
This was written by Bill Gaultiere published by Trinity Episcopal
“Andrei Rublev painted “The Hospitality of Abraham in 1411” for the abbot of the Trinity Monastery in Russia. Rublev portrayed what has become the quintessential icon of the Holy Trinity by depicting the three mysterious strangers who visited Abraham (Genesis 18:1-15).
“In the Genesis account the Lord visits Abraham in the form of three men who are apparently angels representing God. Abraham bows low to the ground before his three visitors and they speak to Abraham in union and are alternatively referred to by the Genesis writer as “they” or “the Lord.” Abraham offers them the hospitality of foot washing, rest under a shade tree, and a meal and they offered him the announcement that God was going to give he and his wife Sarah a son, though Sarah was far past the age of childbearing.
“Rublev was the first to paint only the three angelic figures and to make them of equal size. Rublev depicts the three as One Lord. Each holds a rod in his left hand, symbolizing their equality. Each wears a cloak of blue, the color of divinity. And the face of each is exactly the same, depicting their oneness.
“The Father is like the figure on the left. His divinely blue tunic is cloaked in a color that is light and almost transparent because he is the hidden Creator. With his right he blesses the Son – he is pleased with the sacrifice he will make. His head is the only one that is lifted high and yet his gaze is turned to the other two figures.
“The Son is portrayed in the middle figure. He wears both the blue of divinity and reddish purple of royal priesthood. He is the King who descends to serve as priest to the people he created and to become part of them. With his hand he blesses the cup he is to drink, accepting his readiness to sacrifice himself for humanity. His head is bowed in submission to the Father on the left.
“The Spirit is indicated in the figure on the right. Over his divinely blue tunic he wears a cloak of green, symbolizing life and regeneration. His hand is resting on the table next to the cup, suggesting that he will be with the Son as he carries out his mission. His head is inclined toward the Father and the Son. His gaze is toward the open space at the table.
“Did you notice the beautiful circular movement in the icon of Father, Son, and Spirit? The Son and the Spirit incline their heads toward the Father and he directs his gaze back at them. The Father blesses the Son, the Son accepts the cup of sacrifice, the Spirit comforts the Son in his mission, and the Father shows he is pleased with the Son. Love is initiated by the Father, embodied by the Son, and accomplished through the Spirit.”
From Henro Nouwen, Dutch priest (psychology professor, writer, theologian) writing more than 500 years after this painting, “The more we look at this holy image with the eyes of faith, the more we come to realize that it is painted not as a lovely decoration for a convent church, nor as a helpful explanation of a difficult doctrine, but as a holy place to enter and stay within.”
1.Opening Hymn – Holy, Holy, Holy
2.Offertory from the choir
3.Andrea Pogue talks about the Jamaica Project
4.Jim and Elizabeth Heimbach, Wedding Anniversary
A wild Pentecost – Holy Spirit, Bluegrass and Preaching
The core belief
The doctrine of the Trinity is the Christian belief that there is One God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Other ways of referring to the Trinity are the Triune God and the Three-in-One.
The Trinity is a controversial doctrine; many Christians admit they don’t understand it, while many more Christians don’t understand it but think they do.
In fact, although they’d be horrified to hear it, many Christians sometimes behave as if they believe in three Gods and at other times as if they believe in one.
Trinity Sunday, which falls on the first Sunday after Pentecost, is one of the few feasts in the Christian calendar that celebrate a doctrine rather than an event.
A fundamental doctrine
The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most difficult ideas in Christianity, but it’s fundamental to Christians because it:
-states what Christians believe God is like and who he is
-plays a central part in Christians’ worship of an “unobjectifiable and incomprehensible God”
-emphasises that God is very different from human beings
-reflects the ways Christians believe God encounters them is a central element of Christian identity
-teaches Christians vital truths about relationship and community
-reveals that God can be seen only as a spiritual experience whose mystery inspires awe and cannot be understood logically
Unpacking the doctrine
The idea that there is One God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit means:
-There is exactly one God
-The Father is God
-The Son is God
-The Holy Spirit is God
-The Father is not the Son
-The Son is not the Holy Spirit
-The Father is not the Holy Spirit
An alternate way of explaining it is:
There is exactly one God
There are three really distinct Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Each of the Persons is God
The Trinity is not
-Three individuals who together make one God
-Three Gods joined together
-Three properties of God
1 From Ruth Frey at Trinity Episcopal, NY
What matters about the Trinity is that God is a relationship. God is a relationship within Godself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (or Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer). Just as God is relational within Godself, we are called to be in loving relationship with God and one another.
However, what matters about the Trinity is that God is a relationship. God is a relationship within Godself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (or Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer). Just as God is relational within Godself, we are called to be in loving relationship with God and one another.
2 From the SALT Project
Accordingly, the idea of the Trinity casts a vision of God as deeply, irreducibly relational: the one God is constituted by three ongoing relationships. And if we take Genesis 1 seriously, and human beings are created in the imago Dei, then in our own way, we must be fundamentally relational, too, constituted by our relationships with God and one another. This is an important message to proclaim in an era too often dominated by individualism, loneliness, racism, and other forms of division. First, the doctrine of the Trinity insists that God is “up there, down here, and everywhere,” even in the shadows of grief and violence, calling all of us toward justice and love. And second, the doctrine of the Trinity reminds us all that relationships — even and especially relationships across differences — aren’t just something we “do.” Relationships are who we are. If our relationships — person-to-person, and also neighborhood-to-neighborhood, group-to-group — are healthy, then we’re healthy. If they’re not, then we’re sick, and require healing and restoration.
3. Here’s one more practical vision of the Trinity, this one from C.S. Lewis. Imagine “an ordinary simple Christian” at prayer, Lewis says — his voice crackling over the airwaves in one of his famous radio addresses (the same reflections he eventually collected into the book, Mere Christianity). Her prayer is directed toward God — but it is also prompted by God within her in the first place. And at the same time, as she prays she stands with and within the Body of Christ (recall how Christians typically pray “in Jesus’ name”).
In short, as this “ordinary simple Christian” prays, God is three things for her: the goal she is trying to reach, the impetus within her, and a beloved companion along the way — indeed “the Way” itself. Thus for Lewis, “the whole threefold life” of the triune God “is actually going on” around and within her — and as she prays, she “is being caught up into the higher kinds of life,” which is to say, into God’s own life, three and one, one and three (Lewis, Mere Christianity, 4.2).