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.

Origin of Mother’s Day

In the photo – Anna Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe who in the 19th century promoted the idea of mother’s day. Then 3 men who wrote about their moms, Lincoln, Edison and Churchill

Today, May 14 is Mother’s day as well as being Easter 6 and Rogation Day. Originally Mother’s day was less about Mom but the conditions she faced in being Mom. In wartime it became a peace movement. Finally, it became about Mom herself in our time.

In the late 1850s, Ann Jarvis established Mother’s Work Day, a day dedicated to teaching mothers how to better prepare food and clean so as to prevent disease. The mission was to improve sanitary conditions. This mission was driven by personal experience, as seven of her eleven children died before adulthood. Though personal, this experience was anything but unique in a time before vaccines and a widespread understanding of germ theory. They raised money for medicine and helped families with mothers suffering from tuberculosis, among other supports.

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On Mothering

“God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.” – A Jewish Proverb

“There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. – Chinese Proverb

“A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.” -An Irish Proverb

“As truly as God is our Father, so truly God is our Mother.” -Julian of Norwich

“A mother understands what a child does not say.” -Jewish proverb

“The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children. -Elaine Heffner

Mother’s Day Prayers

Mother’s Day prayer – “We give thanks and pray for our mothers and for all who have loved and cared for us as mothers in this life. We pray for mothers who rejoice; shield them. We pray for mothers who are weary, frustrated and overwhelmed; give them rest. We pray for those who have lost children; comfort them. May we love one another with your own tender compassion. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.”

Mother’s Day prayer – BCP 829 #46 (adapt for “mothers”) Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give to all mothers calm strength and patient wisdom as the bring them up, that they may teach them to love whatever it is just true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

Mother’s Day prayer – “Dear Lord, we come before you today to thank you for those who have brought new life into this world. We thank you especially for Mary , the mother of our Savior Jesus Christ, who brought to birth your Son who shared our human nature and lived and died as one of us. Give us the grace, all of us, to welcome you into our hearts and minds and spirits and bring your love to birth in this world. In the name of your song and through the power of the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen”

Organic Suburbs- Rogation re-defined

Smithsonian in the May, 2015 issue writes about a new trend in planned living involving farm life. Housing is connected not to golf courses or lakes but to gardens.and farm land. Interconnectively is the key concept. In some developments, apartments and homes are wedged together to make use of limited space and encourage social interaction.

There are already dozens of agritopian developments and, fueled by the local-food movement.  There is highly planned housing together with an environmental focus .  Waste water, for example is filtered in a biological treatment system and reused for irrigation. There as much focus on providing bike and hiking paths as streets.  Parks become common meeting grounds.

Serenbe is perhaps the country’s most popular and profitable “agritopia,” outside Atlanta. It tries to combine what it would term the “good life.” – arts, agriculture, education.

At Serenbe, there is a 25-acre organic farm. Plus there farmlands  all of which produce enougth vegetables to supply a number of restaurants, a farmers’ market and a  Community-Supported Agriculture program

Their website provides an attractive description “Year-round cultural events include outdoor theater from Serenbe Playhouse, culinary workshops and festivals, music events, films and lectures, boutique shopping, art galleries, a spa and trail riding, plus a robust Artist in Residence program featuring dinners and talks. “ Currently there are 400 homes

Links 1. Serenbe  2. Smithsonian article

Connecting the dots – Mother’s Day, Rogation and the Gospel this week

By Ruth Fray. Ruth is Director, Community Program and Public Life, Faith Formation & Education at Trinity Church Wall Street. 

“The Gospel this week seems to be made for Mother’s Day: it is all about love. Jesus embodies love and teaches love. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

“When we imagine a mother’s love, we often think of it as unconditional, steadfast, and unwavering. Of course, we know that isn’t always the case. But when we try to envision a human way of loving that gives us a glimpse of what Jesus is calling us to, a mother’s love is a good place to start.

“The origins of Mother’s Day also resonate with the Gospel and our world today. Before the Civil War, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, a faithful Christian in West Virginia, organized Mothers’ Day Work Clubs that sought to improve sanitary conditions. They raised money for medicine and helped families with mothers suffering from tuberculosis, among other supports.

“During the war, Ann Jarvis made sure the Mothers’ Day Work Clubs provided relief to both Union and Confederate soldiers. After the war, with tensions still high between those who fought on opposite sides, she “organized a Mothers’ Friendship Day…to bring together soldiers and neighbors of all political beliefs.” It was a great success despite the fear of violence.

“As we sort through the loss and pain from the pandemic amidst intense political and social division in our country, I often wonder, “What do we do now?”

Ruth’s question, “What do we do now ?” is to celebrate what has remained true, a source of inspiration and devotion. That is creation and in particular, the Land. God created the earth out a void without form and is the foundation of our life.

On this Rogation Sunday, we recognize our dependence upon the land for our food and most importantly upon our dependence of God for the miracles of sprouting seeds, growing plants, and maturing harvest.

And like the Pandemic there were disasters. The Rogation Days, the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day, originated in Vienne, France in 470 after a series of natural disasters had caused much suffering among the people. Rogation takes place in the springtime, when there is a renewing of the earth. It takes place after the resurrection which also emphasizes renewal.

The Latin word ‘rogare’ means “to ask”, thus these were “rogation” processions. The tradition grew of using processional litanies, often around the parish boundaries, for the blessing of the land. These processions concluded with a mass. The Rogation procession was suppressed at the Reformation, but it was restored in 1559. The poet George Herbert interpreted the procession as a means of asking for God’s blessing on the land, of preserving boundaries, of encouraging fellowship between neighbors with the reconciling of differences, and of charitable giving to the poor. The tradition of ‘beating the bounds’ has been preserved in some communities.