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.

Give to the ECM Christmas Outreach

From Ken Pogue. “Each year the Episcopal Church Men help St Peter’s provide support to those in need during the holidays.  The men coordinate with the Caroline County Department of Social Services to provide families in the area with gift cards

 “Your donations are greatly appreciated by the ECM and the recipients of the gifts in the Port Royal community, Thank you so very much in advance from a grateful community.”

If you’d like to donate for the Christmas offering, please make a check to St Peter’s with ECM in the memo line by Sunday, Nov. 12

Last year $750 was given at Christmas.

Donate to Giving Tuesday, 2023 for the Village Harvest

How we are meeting the challenge?


1. Donating online. Click the “Donate button” to donate to Giving Tuesday in honor of the Village Harvest on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.

2. You can also send a check by mail or donate on Sunday in the plate:

St. Peter’s Church P. O. Box 399 Port Royal, Virginia 22535

We thank you for your donation to support our Village Harvest Food Ministry, now beginning its 10th year in November, 2023.!

November Sundays- JUDGMENT!

Matthew concludes this Lectionary Year A with the weighty subject of judgment from 3 stories from Chapter 25:

Matthew 25:1-13 – Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (Nov. 12) Matthew 25:14-30 – Parable of the Talents  (Nov. 19) Matthew 25:31-46 – The Sheep and Goats  (Nov. 26)

The three parables in Matthew 25 examine the procedure, preparation, and intention required to enter the Kingdom of God.  Here is a Youtube video that covers these three stories.  There are some similiarities:

First, in each parable the judgment occurs at the consummation of this age. While the timing of that event is unknown, each follower is to be ready for and anticipate the coming kingdom.

Second, the judgment will render decisions that are eternal in nature,reflecting the status of each human being with regard to his or her eternal relationship to the kingdom. Phrases such as “the darkness outside,” the  “fiery furnace,” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” describe eternal separation from the kingdom. They are not simply expressions of grief over a Christian life that did not count for much in the kingdom, for they are figures and phrases representing an eternal exclusion from the presence of God.

With this in view, it has been suggested that salvation in these parables is viewed as a “whole,” not simply as a point of entry. The “sons of the kingdom” and the “sons of the evil one” (Matt 13:38) are on opposite sides of the soteriological divide. Those who are rejected are permanently excluded.

Third, the basis for this eternal judgment is the individual’s works. In some cases the emphasis is on faithfulness to a job assigned: perhaps in a picture of preparation for an event, or a picture of the fruit of the believer. But however it was pictured, works were the key to the judgment.

However, Works are not separated from the faith one exercises for entrance to the kingdom for works are evidence of that faith. A true change of heart will be reflected in a person’s life. A lack of that change is apparently enough to prevent entrance into the kingdom. Works are never ultimately separated from the faith of the individual, for it was also shown that works are not in themselves enough to impress the Son of Man positively in His role as judge.

Photos, Pentecost 24, Nov. 12, 2023

Slides 21-28 has have a * besides their title. If you look to the bottom under the caption there is a link to a video interlude. (You will need to access the “Full Gallery” option).

Some of the items in the show:
1. Recent Veterans Day at St. Peter’s
2. Beautiful fall weather on the trees and river
3. A new banner for our Village Harvest Food anniversary beginning its 10th year this week
4. Animated sermon from Tom Hughes
5. Very relevant Prayers of the People
6. Announcements had information about flowers planted here by a former parishioner, our ongoing art auction, the upcoming Advent workshop plus birthdays and thanks for parishioner “fix-ems”
7. Link to the choir anthem

(full size gallery)

How the Bridesmaid story fits into our own lives?

1. Second Coming can be participated in now From “Rev-o-lution.org 10/31/2011 resources”

"Again, this “Day of the Lord,” this “Second Coming of Christ” may not be a specific moment, but rather something that is continuing to unfold before us. Christ is entering our lives in a new way, as we understand grater our global community, our family of God, our responsibility to be good stewards of creation, and the way systemic sin corrupts our relationship with each other and with the earth. Christ is coming again. Christ is doing something new in our lives now. We don’t have to wait until an “end time.” We can participate now. Keep awake. Be alert. Don’t worry about putting out a “religious face” to the world, that you need to fit in with a particular religious-social-cultural-political identity. Follow God. Don’t be religious but do what your religion teaches you. Be prepared for Christ to enter your life in a new way, and know that you will not be the same. You will be compelled to build up the reign of Christ on earth, if you are truly ready, alert for your opportunity to participate." 

Another thought along the same path "The parousia becomes not a one-time event at some "end point" but rather a continuous event that involves us, the community of Christ, in our baptismal vocation: living in the light of the cross, in mercy not judgment. The feast to which we are invited is– the Lord’s Supper. The parousia is now not about a far-off event but Christ’s continual presence with us through all of our waiting"

Read more

Videos, Pentecost 24 Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023

1. Prelude

2. Opening Hymn – “Judge Eternal, Throned in Splendor”

3. Hymn of praise – “How Wondrous and Great”

Read more

Matthew’s Bridesmaid story – Some background on Jewish weddings

The Way of Jewish weddings!The groom and his family gather at their household (married couples tended to remain living with the groom’s parents for as long as the parents survived). The bride and her family and guests gather at her household.

The groom and his family make their way to the bride’s house to collect the bride to escort the bride to his father’s house. The dowry had to be agreed Last minute haggling between the groom and his father-in-law over the dowry was commonplace. Such haggling symbolized the esteemed value of the bride, but many times delayed the wedding.

The wedding party would take the longest route through the village to finally arrive at their home. The more houses they visited, the more well-wishes (and gifts) they received. You didn’t want to leave one home out because no one wanted ill feelings on a wedding day. That could bring bad fortune. This day was an opportunity to reach out to break down some old barriers and to be generous to the poor or forgotten. Along the way there would be much jovial visiting and exuberant hospitality.

As a result no one ever knew when the wedding party would show up at their home (where the final festivities occurred).

At this time, town criers would proclaim the arrival of the groom. Such proclamations alerted those who did not stay at the bride’s house or who waited for the ceremony to begin. Since this was an all-night celebration, napping between events in the wedding was reasonable.

One thing we need to remember about Christ’s era was that there were no street lamps. Therefore, the role of the bridesmaids was more than a cultural display of symbolism. Their lamps lit the path home for the wedding party and all the attendees. It is also important to revisit that God chose to have his Son to be born in an occupied country. The law of that time allowed no one to be on the street after dark without a lamp. To find yourself in that situation was to risk arrest—particularly for these residents of an occupied territory. The great sadness is that it is still that way in many parts of Palestine.

The Bridesmaids would literally provide legitimacy to the homecoming party so they would be safe from the occupying government. They would have to provide their own lamps. Without their lights, the party would look like an insurrection or a mob disguised in wedding attire. Certain religious zealots would have undoubtedly thought of using just such a ploy to attack the Romans.

Having your lamps ready would provide for both the safety and direction of the wedding party. To be ill prepared for the arrival of the wedding party wasn’t just a social faux pas, it meant exposing the entire wedding party to Roman attack.

Because of the political climate and the dangers of the time, once the Host’s gates were shut that is how they would remain. Furthermore, if you truly cared about a family you would not expose them to the risk of a knock on the door in the middle of the night.

Missing a wedding party would be a great loss. There was not a whole lot to celebrate for the masses of impoverished workers in Christ’s day. So a wedding was a grandiose affair generally lasting from the close of one Sabbath to the beginning of the next.

During that week all stops were pulled out and for one short week of their life the bride and groom were called prince & princess. In a life of oppressive drudgery and servitude this was their moment in the sun and everyone shared in their joy.

Photos, Patawomeck Village tour, Nov. 8, 2023, Sacred Ground

(full size gallery)

Tour notes are here

St. Peter’s Sacred Ground group had a wonderful fall tour of the Patawomeck Indian settlement just east of Fredericksburg on Route 17 on Nov. 8, 2023. The goal of the visit was to understand their history and culture as well as our role as well. They are one of 11 tribes recognized by Virginia.

There is the 1915 home originally owned by Duff Green that has two rooms of history plus an outside village that opened just this year in July. It is a “work in progress”. The tribe did most of the work to repair the house and create the village.

The tribe originally settled in North Stafford but moved south when Quantico took some of the land. The Indians played a major role in helping the Jamestown colony survive during the winter of 1609-1610 (“the starving time”). Unfortunately, the English did not return the favor but pushed them out. A group settled near us in Port Royal from 1750 to 1820 when they then moved to the Little Falls area of Stafford County and coalesced. There are 2,500 in the tribe today. Thanks to Brad Hatch, a member of tribe and Tribal Council for his tour. An excellent tour and definitely a site worth visiting!