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.

Ascension – Start of the Mission of the Church

The Ascension is the beginning of the church’s mission.

  1. It is powered by the Spirit 

  2. It is a call to be witnesses 

  3. It is worldwide is scope  

The Ascension holds the promise of Christ’s return.

WHAT? What Happened to Jesus.

A. He ascended to a place invisible to the mortal eye

1. Acts 1:9 “A cloud received him out of their sight”

2. He did not go up into some mountain that was covered with clouds as some men have speculated.

B. Luke 24:51 “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.”

1. He is on the right hand of God

2. I Peter 3:22 “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him.”

Where is heaven ? When the early church confessed that Jesus had ascended into heaven, the emphasis was not so much on a place – the emphasis was on God’s immediate presence. The church was confessing that Jesus had entered into the divine glory – that the risen Jesus now dwelt in the immediate presence of God. This may explain the meaning of the phrase, "a cloud took him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). Oftentimes in scripture, a cloud represents the shekinah glory of God, the sign of God’s presence (cf. Exo. 33:7-11; Mark 9:7).

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Ascension Art

The Ascension has always been a challenge to understand through the scriptures. Artists have played a role in giving us a visual depiction of the event. They have been doing this for over a 1000 years.

By the 6th century the iconography of the Ascension had been established and by the 9th century Ascension scenes were being depicted on domes of churches.   

There are many traditions in Ascension art.

In some representations there may be no mountain and he may be climbing a mandorla, or be lifted towards Heaven in a mandorla by angels.

In the Eastern Church and in some western paintings, the Virgin Mary is at the center of the group of Apostles (representing the Church) who look upwards towards the ascending Christ.

In Romanesque depictions sometimes just the feet of Christ are shown as he disappears up into the clouds; this depiction became the most popular in Northern Europe, where it lingered in provincial wood reliefs until well after the Reformation.

Ascension scenes fall naturally into two zones, an upper heavenly part and a lower earthly part. The ascending Christ may be carrying a resurrection banner or make a sign of benediction with his right hand. The blessing gesture by Christ with his right hand is directed towards the earthly group below him and signifies that he is blessing the entire Church. In the left hand he may be holding a Gospel or a scroll, signifying teaching and preaching. From the Renaissance on the angels may not be present.

The earthly part of the Ascension depictions do not only represent those believed to have been present at the Ascension, but the entire Church. In some Ascension depictions both Apostle Paul and the Virgin Mary may be present. Given Paul converted to Christianity after the Ascension, and that the New Testament does not directly place the Virgin Mary at the Ascension, these depictions represent "the Church" rather than the specific individuals

More modern views often omit the disciples focusing on Jesus. The sky in many cases is not specifically shown and he is alone. One of the most radical is Dali’s horizontal Jesus.  Another type of image is a three dimensional space emphasizing Christ’s movement, accompanied by brilliant colors.  

Ascension, May 9

Ascension Mantegna

The New Testament treats the Ascension as an integral part of the Easter event. 

It is the final appearance Jesus’ physical and resurrected presence on earth. It is the final component of the paschal mystery, which consists also of Jesus’ Passion, Crucifixion, Death, Burial, Descent Among the Dead, and Resurrection.

Along with the resurrection, the ascension functioned as a proof of Jesus’ claim that he was the Messiah. The Ascension is also the event whereby humanity was taken into heaven.   There is a promise he will come back again.

So when is it ? The Ascension in Luke 24 is on Easter Sunday evening or, at the latest, the next day; in John 20, sometime between the appearance to Mary Magdalene (who is told not to touch the risen One because he has not yet ascended) and the appearance to Thomas (who is invited to touch him); in Acts 1, after the forty days (which, however, are symbolic of the time of revelation; there may be no intention to suggest that the ascension actually “occurred” on the fortieth day).  We celebrate Ascension on the 40th day.

The main scriptural references to the Ascension are Mark:16:19, Luke:24:51, and Acts:1:2 and vvs. 8-10. Luke 24 says  "While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven". In Acts " he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen." Jesus commissions his followers, rather than simply blessing them; and we have an appearance from two men in white robes.

Mount Olivet, near Bethany, is designated as the place where Christ left the earth. The feast falls on this Thursday, May 9 and it is one of the most solemn in the calendar, ranking with the feasts of the Passion, Easter and Pentecost.

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Ascension Week

  • Web site
  • YouTube St. Peter’s Page for viewing services
  • Facebook St. Peter’s Page

  • John Singleton Copley – “The Ascension”


  • The Psalms study Mon, May 15, 7:00pm Zoom link Meeting ID: 879 7169 4710 Passcode: 803192 Studying Psalms 19,20,21,24,25. Please join us for this hour’s discussion
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., May 17, 10am-12pm, Parish House Reading Lectionary for May 21,
  • Village Harvest, Wed., May 17, 3pm-5pm. Please email Andrea to volunteer at wakepogue.public@gmail.com, or (540) 847-9002. Pack bags 1-3PM, Deliver food to clients’ cars 3-5PM.
  • Thurs., May 18, The Ascension. Regional Ascension Service at St George’s, 7PM
  • Fri., May 19, Shred-It. Truck will be at St. Peter’s at 11am.
  • Sun. May 21, 2023, 11am Holy Eucharist, St. Peter’s Live and on YouTube 823 Water St. Port Royal, VA 22535
  • Lectionary for May 21, 2023, Seventh Sunday in Easter, Seventh Sunday in Easter, Rogation Sunday

  • Coming up!

  • Sun., May 14, UTO Boxes distribution
  • Mon., May 15, 187th Anniversary of St. Peter’s
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., May 17, 10am-12pm, Parish House Reading Lectionary for May 21,
  • Wed., May 17, Village Harvest, 3PM – 5pm
  • Thurs., May 18, Vestry, 2PM
  • Thurs., May 18, Regional Ascension Service at St George’s, 7PM
  • Shred-It. is scheduled for Fri. May 19, 10:40 AM.

    Dispose of sensitive documents safely and securely, and free up needed space at home or work.


  • May, 2023 Newsletter
  • All articles for Sunday, May 14, 2023
  • All articles for Rogation
  • All articles for Mother’s Day
  • All articles for Ascension
  • UTO Spring Ingathering to be collected May 28 at Pentecost

    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. 

    Here is a recent video on the UTO

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    Recent Articles, May 15

    Easter 7, year A

    I.Theme –   The Ascension and its implications for the church

     "The Ascension" – Catherine Andrews

    The lectionary readings are here  or individually:


    Old Testament – Acts 1:6-14
    Psalm – Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36
    Epistle –1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
    Gospel – John 17:1-11

    The New Testament treats the Ascension as an integral part of the Easter event. It is the final appearance Jesus’ physical and resurrected presence on earth.  

    The Ascension is the final component of the paschal mystery, which consists also of Jesus’ Passion, Crucifixion, Death, Burial, Descent Among the Dead, and Resurrection. Along with the resurrection, the ascension functioned as a proof of Jesus’ claim that he was the Messiah. The Ascension is also the event whereby humanity was taken into heaven.

    The Ascension is the beginning of the church’s mission more so than Pentecost:

      1. It is powered by the Spirit 

      2. It is a call to be witnesses 

      3. It is worldwide is scope  

    The Ascension holds the promise of Christ’s return

    The Ascension also effectively connects the story of Jesus with the story of the church .

    The early church recognized the significance of the Ascension. It is found in every major creed. For example, the Apostles’ Creed states: “On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.”  

    The risen Jesus now sits in a position of authority ("the Father’s right hand"). With Jesus at the Father’s right hand, we can never think of God in the same way again, that is, apart from Jesus. 

    Ascension is all about direction. 

    1. Looking upwards

    Where is heaven ? When the early church confessed that Jesus had ascended into heaven, the emphasis was not so much on a place – the emphasis was on God’s immediate presence. The church was confessing that Jesus had entered into the divine glory – that the risen Jesus now dwelt in the immediate presence of God. This may explain the meaning of the phrase, "a cloud took him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). Oftentimes in scripture, a cloud represents the shekinah glory of God, the sign of God’s presence (cf. Exo. 33:7-11; Mark 9:7).

    2. Heading downwards

    Apostles are grouped together in Jerusalem awaiting their next step. "Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying…l these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer

    3. Setting outwards.   

    This is an opportunity to reflect on the mission imperative of the church, the dangers of the church looking inward and the strength we gain from a Jesus now in the heavens who equips us for service 

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    “Thy Kingdom Come”

    “Thy Kingdom Come” is celebrating its 7 year anniversary in 2023. Since May 2016, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the people of Thy Kingdom Come have been bringing the world together in prayer. St Peter’s has been part of this international prayer initiative for several years. Here is the website. Check out their new mobile app.

    In the gospel according to Luke, before Jesus ascended, he told the disciples to go to back to Jerusalem and await the coming of the Holy Spirit. They did as he asked, spent ten days absorbed in prayer as they waited, and the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost.

    Through these prayerful disciples, the Holy Spirit brought the Church to birth. Following the example of these disciples, we can spend time in intentional prayer praying for people around the world to be filled with the Spirit and to come to know Jesus more fully.

    So what we can do to participate?

    1. Review the 2022 Play list

    The 2021 Video Series is also available

    Here is their Impact Report from 2022 and before.

    2. Pray for 5 people

    From the Archbishop of Canterbury:

    Download the card. This card will easily fit inside your wallet, purse or book. Choose five people you would regularly like to pray for and write their names down onto a list. If you’re not sure who to pray for, ask God to guide you as you choose. Once you have settled on 5 names, commit to praying for them regularly. Use this card as a daily reminder to pray for them.

    Once you have settled on 5 names, commit to praying for them regularly by praying the following: Loving Father, in the face of Jesus Christ your light and glory have blazed forth. Send your Holy Spirit that I may share with my friends [here, name your friends] the life of your Son and your love for all. Strengthen me as a witness to that love as I pledge to pray for them, for your name’s sake. Amen.

    3. Go deeper with a 2023 Prayer Journal

    Each day there are a few things to read, a prayer to offer and then an invitation for you to make your own reflections on what it means to follow in the way of Christ. You don’t have to write anything down, but you may find it helpful.

    4. Prayers from Ascension to Pentecost

    The nine days from Ascension Day to the Eve of Pentecost are the original novena–nine days of prayer.

    Before he ascended, Jesus ordered the disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. After his Ascension, they returned to the upper room in Jerusalem where they devoted themselves to prayer. These last days of the Great Fifty Days of Easter can be a time for us to prepare for the celebration of Pentecost. 

    They have also published their 2023 Novena and exploration of 1st John

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    Praying Differently this Summer

    1. With Clenched Hands

    Close your eyes and clench your hands tightly.

    Imagine all the pressures and worries and tensions you carry here today. We hold on to a lot of things.

    Then, in your own time, turn your gripped hands over so that they are facing down. Imagine God’s hands underneath yours and slowly open your hands so that the things you are carrying fall into God’s hands.

    You may wish to repeat this several times. Turn your hands face up, but this time with the palms open and ask God’s Spirit to fill you afresh everything.

    2.Worry Knots

    As you think about these things, tie a knot in the rope to represent each worry and how it ties you up inside.

    Matthew 6:25-34 reminds us, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”.

    Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.

    As you untie each knot you made ask God to help you problem-solve when and how you can.

    Videos, Easter 7, May 21, 2023

    1. Gospel and Sermon – The Rev. Thomas Hughes

    Some of Tom’s themes in his sermon follow. Life is a process. Jesus leaves this before us and we are called to become one of the people to glorify God because we are one of God’s people. This means we are called to a deeper conscious awareness of God in our lives, sorting out God’s presense in my life and God’s presents to me.

    We begin to have a deeper awareness of the meaning of things and presence of God. This is how we glorify God in how we live. People see God moving through our lives, we show it and this is how they come to know God as well.

    We live a life where evil doesn’t dominate our lives since it has no ultimate power. We live in the love of God which is the ultimate power that is permanent and that all will be well. Presence of God in your life opens up of understanding of God and gives you a sense of purpose and direction in life that the world can’t give you. We should live a life process of becoming more we were. The purposes of God that are already within us will be unfolded

    2. Prayers of the People

    3 UTO Introduction

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    SALT Commentary Lectionary Ascension

    Ascension Sunday (Year A): Luke 24:44-53 and Acts 1:1-11

    Big Picture:

    1) This is the seventh of the seven weeks of Eastertide (poetically one more week than the six weeks of Lent), and the fourth of four weeks exploring Jesus’ teachings about faith, discipleship, and living in intimacy with God. This Sunday is often celebrated as “Ascension Sunday,” marking the risen Jesus’ departure after 40 days of dwelling with the community of disciples. Next week is Pentecost, the birth of the church!

    2) Bethany was a village about two miles east of Jerusalem, on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives — and the Mount of Olives was the place God was expected to appear on “the day of the LORD” to reign “over all the earth” (Zech 14:4-9). It’s the same place from which Jesus begins his Palm Sunday procession into Jerusalem (Luke 19:29-40).

    3) For Luke, who also wrote Acts, the bookends of Jesus’ ministry are baptism and ascension, “the baptism of John until the day he was taken up from us,” and Acts is about the birth and early work of the church (Acts 1:22). Thus the Ascension serves as a key turning point in the overall two-volume story, the hinge between Part One and Part Two. Indeed, the Book of Acts could be subtitled, “Jesus Ascends, the Holy Spirit Descends, and the Church is Born.”

    4) Many in Luke’s audience would have understood the details of Jesus’ ascension to mirror Elijah’s (2 Kings 2) — though here there are no chariots or horses of fire, but rather simply an enveloping cloud, the ancient symbol of divine presence (for example, see Exodus 24:15-18). Elijah’s departure includes a succession (his protege, Elisha, takes up his mantle), and Jesus follows the same pattern: he bequeaths his mantle to the church. The figures in white robes add to the atmosphere of heaven-on-earth, recalling the “two men in dazzling clothes” the women encounter at Jesus’ tomb (Luke 24:4).

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