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.

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.!

Importance of the Village Harvest Food Ministry, 2023

A sermon by the Rev. Evan Garner highlighted why Church food ministries are so important in our time:

“Because feeding them is our job. As followers of Jesus, it is our calling to feed these people, indeed to feed all hungry people. The kind of people who left their homes to walk out into the wilderness and hike up a mountain to see Jesus are the kind of people who were desperate to be fed. Some of them may not have needed physical nourishment, but most of them did. For most of them, their spiritual crisis was born out of an economic crisis. We know that because usually the kind of people who had enough on their own weren’t very interested in Jesus. The rich and the powerful ignored him or laughed at him or, sometimes, plotted against him.”

“It is our job as the leaders of the church, as the stewards of the resources entrusted to us by God and by our parish, to count costs and estimate resources. But it is never our job as the people of God to allow an attitude of scarcity to overcome a theology of abundance. “

The Village Harvest addresses the Food Insecurity issue in surrounding counties and is one our key ministries. The definition of Food insecure is “those households who not have access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.”

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Advent Workshop, Nov. 26

Jan Saylor organized an Advent Workshop on Nov. 26 from 3:30pm to 5pm. This was our first such workshop for the entire congregation.

It was a wonderful intergenerational event with 16 people participating. It was a good kickoff for Advent, creating items to be taken home.

Jan had organized the Parish House into 4 stations:

1. Creating a block based nativity scene. The characters were drawn on small blocks of wood.

2. Bird feeder made with pine cones covered with peanut butter and bird seed.

3. Advent wreath intended for tables with candles and greenery.

4. Decorated Christmas trees that started with sugar cones and were covdred with different frostings, white and green, decorated with assorted sprinkles.

People flowed between the stations as they liked. The timing was ideal as they easily worked through four stations.

Here was a sampling of what was created in the above order:

Here is Jan describing making the Christmas trees:

Videos, Last Pentecost, Nov. 26, 2023

1. Opening Hymn – Come, ye thankful people, come

2. Hymn of Praise – Praise to God, immortal praise

3. Sequence Hymn – Where cross the crowded ways

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Sermon, Christ the King Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023

Rancho Cielo helps kids find and develop meaningful lives and avoid jail.

The word for today is “gathering,” an appropriate word for this last Sunday of the church year.  This Sunday brings to a close the week of Thanksgiving, when we gather with our families, coming home to those who are near and dear to us.   This is also the season of gathering, of harvest, of preparing the gardens and the fields for their winter rest, before the next season of planting and growing begins once more. 

In today’s opening hymn, the familiar “Come, ye thankful people, come,”   “all is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.” Throughout the year, we have gathered the blessings that God has provided, and so today, we come to raise the song of harvest-home, with great gratitude for God’s goodness.   

Today’s reading from the Old Testament is all about God gathering in God’s lost and scattered people.   The Prophet Ezekiel pronounces an oracle of restoration to the people of Israel, who have been scattered far and wide, separated from one another, taken into exile, and now are like lost sheep without a shepherd. 

“Thus says the Lord God:  I myself will search for my sheep and I will seek them out…I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered…I will bring them into their own land…I will feed them with good pasture…they shall lie down in good grazing land.”   God says, “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep….I will seek the lost and bring back the strayed, I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak.” 

What hopeful words!  No matter how far we are scattered, or how far we have strayed, God is always working to gather us back in, back into God’s love, care, healing, and safety.  God comes looking for us, and for all the lost.  “I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.”  God’s goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives.  God gathers us in, and we dwell in God’s love forever. 

God also says, “I will feed my sheep with justice.”

And so the Apostle Matthew presents the great judgement scene in his gospel, another great scene of gathering, one with which we are probably all familiar.  In the scene, Jesus, Christ the King, has come in his glory, all the nations are gathered before him, and Jesus will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  The sheep are the ones who have provided love, care, healing and safety to the least of these.  “Truly, I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you have done it to me.”

Those who have done for others what God has already done for us are the ones God invites into eternal life.  For when we care for the least of these, we too become shepherds, searching and seeking, rescuing and providing. 

In his time among us, Jesus, the Good Shepherd,  gathered his followers in from tax collector’s booths, gathered them in from lives of oppression and hopelessness, gathered them out of their old lives into new life, into hope and healing. 

And then he gives to his followers the disciples, and to us, the authority to go out and to seek the lost, and to be God’s love and light in the world through our actions, to enter into God’s very heart, and to become part of the eternal flow of love that God constantly pours out into creation.

Because we have been gathered in by Jesus, in gratitude we go out to gather in the lost, the scattered, the strayed, the injured, and the weak ones of this world, the ones that Jesus calls “the least of these” into God’s healing love.

Maybe some of you have read this article online, an article from USA Today, written by Elizabeth Weise, entitled “Jobs, not jail:  A judge was sick of sending kids to prison, so he found a better way.”    I share it today because it is such a fine illustration of a person seeking out and gathering the least of these, and in doing so, transforming their lives.

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Village Harvest 9th Anniversary, Nov., 2023

Psalm 107:37 “And sow fields and plant vineyards, And gather a fruitful harvest.”

The Village Harvest celebrated its 9th anniversary and began its 10th year in November. The October, 2014 newsletter read as follows “In an effort to make fresh food more available to those in our area in need of food, the ECW is going to head up a new project.” Credit goes to Eunice Key for conceiving the name “Village Harvest.”

St Peter’s provides an opportunity for people in the area to come get fresh produce, meat, and assorted non-perishable items on the third Wednesday of each month.   The offerings change from month to month, depending on what’s available at the food bank. 

Thanks to the generosity of St Peter’s, not only are we able to provide food, but Catherine has also been able to use her discretionary fund to help these people in other ways.  

Over the past 9 years, we have distributed 121,795 pounds of food  to 11,010 people which equates to 11.1 pounds per person. The earlier years were lower at under 9 pound per person with 2018 onward being over 12 pounds.

November, 2023 was a spectacular month serving 110 people, the largest number since Jan, 2022 with 115. The pounds provided were 1,270 second largest in 2023 behind April, 2023 at 1,365.

During the first  11 months of 2023, we fed 951 people compared to 970 in the previous year during the same period.  The amount of food provided is lower in 2023 than 2022 – 12,516 pounds for 2023 compared to 13,834 for 2022. Pounds per person, were also lower in 2023 at 13.16 compared with 14.26 in the previous year

2023 does not compare well with 2022 and other years due to the poor first quarter of 2023. In the first quarter of 2023 (Jan-March), we served 218 people compared to 296 in 2022 and 295 in 2021. Food available followed a similar pattern: 2,913 pounds in 2023 and 4,196 in 2022 and 4,342 in 2021.

Rancho- Ciello – “God shall come, and take his harvest home”

Catherine’s sermon on “Last Pentecost”, Nov. 26, 2023 took the “gathering” theme in the opening hymn and the Old Testament reading and wove it into the story of a judge (John Phillips) in California who became a shepherd to troubled youth in Salinas Cal in a project known at Rancho Ciello. This was an inspiring story of how one person (Judge Phillips, pictured below) can make a difference and provide an alternative to long sentences in prison for youth.

From the sermon Nov 26, 2023

“The word for today is “gathering,” an appropriate word for this last Sunday of the church year. This Sunday brings to a close the week of Thanksgiving, when we gather with our families, coming home to those who are near and dear to us. This is also the season of gathering, of harvest, of preparing the gardens and the fields for their winter rest, before the next season of planting and growing begins once more.

The sermon was based on an article in USA Today by Elizabeth Weise,

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Lectionary, Christ the King, Year A

I.Theme –   Images of Christ the King– Shepherd (one who guides, takes care of restores, rules), Arbiter of justice

The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

Old Testament – Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm – Psalm 95:1-7a Page 724, BCP
Epistle – Ephesians 1:15-23
Gospel – Matthew 25:31-46

We have 4 key images this week in “Christ the King Sunday” – God as Shephard (Ezekiel, Matthew), God as rescuer and restorer (Ezekiel), God as King (Psalm), God as judge (Ezekiel, Matthew)

Ezekiel describes God as a shepherd whose love embraces most particularly the lean and oppressed among the flock. God will gather them up, restore them to health, and liberate them from all persecution.

Ezekiel 34 reminds us that while all people are the sheep and God is the shepherd, while God is seeking all of the lost, the least, and the scattered, God will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep; in other words, the judgment is on us, now.

Ezekiel’s words are particularly threatening to those who practice economic and relational oppression. They feast on green pastures now, but will eventually receive divine judgment.

But in this passage of judgment, the sheep are not cast out, but rather, made “right.” In other words, judgment in this passage is not about punishment but about putting right what has been wrong. It is about lifting up the poor, not punishing the rich. It is about all having enough to eat. This is the judgment Ezekiel shares, after all the people of Israel have been through, after their leaders failed and the poor were forgotten, all suffered, and with God’s Good Shepherd, all will be restored. This is the reign of the Good Shepherd.

Matthew also uses a shepherd image but rather than restoration, there is separation, in this case the sheep from the goats. On judgment day the righteous, the blessed ones, will be separated from the unrighteous, the cursed ones, the goats. The righteous are blessed because they are compassionate, a compassion that is theirs in Christ. The righteous receive their reward because of their faith and not of their works (living).

However, we should be careful how we live that faith. We are called to a living faith, a way of life that embodies our relationship with God in all that we do. It’s about discipleship. We do not do good works to get into heaven, nor do we simply pray a prayer of salvation to get into heaven. Rather, it is about a transformation that takes place, and that transformation is manifested in us when we see Christ in the needs of others–in the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized. , Jesus declares that there is a judgment, and the judgment is based on how we live out our faith. We separate ourselves based on our actions

Do we live our lives as participants in the reign of God now or are we fattening up for a future time? Are we doing our part to also seek the lost, the least, and the scattered, or are we concerned with our own well-being only?

Psalm 95:1-7a is a psalm of thanksgiving, remembering that God is the Good Shepherd. As congregations in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday, we give thanks to God for all of creation. We give thanks for all God has done and continues to do in our world. Psalm 100 echoes almost word for word this song of thanksgiving and understanding of God as shepherd, and the people being the sheep of God’s pasture.

In Ephesians 1:15-23 Christ is the ultimate ruler, the fulfillment of all things. Christ is above any authority ever conceived and is the ultimate authority, and all things fall under Christ, and yet the church, the body of Christ, is the fulfillment of Christ on earth.

We are part of the body of Christ, we are the Church. We are part of God’s Pasture, for we are God’s sheep. And so are all people on the earth, part of God’s Pasture. We are called by Christ the King, the Sovereign, the Good Shepherd, to be part of one body. We are called to seek restoration and healing to look after the “least of these”. We are called to seek justice that is restorative, not retributive, as God’s justice is not in part, but in whole. God is redeeming and restoring the world.

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Christ the King Sunday, Year A

Last Sunday in Ordinary Time -We celebrate Christ the King Sunday as the last Sunday of Ordinary Time just before we begin Advent. It is the switch in the Liturgy between Years A, B, and C. Year A focuses on Matthew, Year B on Mark and Year C on Luke. The Gospel of John is included in each year in the Easter time frame.

The readings for the last Sunday after Pentecost are full of references to the return of Christ, when evil will be defeated and Jesus will begin his final reign as King of kings. In Advent, the Church year begins with a focus on the final restoration of all creation to its original glory. In preparation, on the last Sunday of the Church year, we proclaim the advent of the Lord of lords and King of kings.

The earliest Christians identified Jesus with the predicted Messiah of the Jews. The Jewish word "messiah," and the Greek word "Christ," both mean "anointed one," and came to refer to the expected king who would deliver Israel from the hands of the Romans. Christians believe that Jesus is this expected Messiah. Unlike the messiah most Jews expected, Jesus came to free all people, Jew and Gentile, and he did not come to free them from the Romans, but from sin and death. Thus the king of the Jews, and of the cosmos, does not rule over a kingdom of this world.

Christians have long celebrated Jesus as Christ, and his reign as King is celebrated to some degree in Advent (when Christians wait for his second coming in glory), Christmas (when "born this day is the King of the Jews"), Holy Week (when Christ is the Crucified King), Easter (when Jesus is resurrected in power and glory), and the Ascension (when Jesus returns to the glory he had with the Father before the world was created).

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“Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.” Amen.

Sunday Links, Last Pentecost, Nov. 26, 2023

Scriptures about End Times.

  • Web site
  • YouTube St. Peter’s Page for viewing services
  • Facebook St. Peter’s Page
  • Location – 823 Water Street, P. O. Box 399, Port Royal, Virginia 22535
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., Nov. 22, 10am-12pm, Parish House Reading Lectionary for Nov. 26, Last Pentecost, “Christ the King”
  • Art Auction for Mary Peterman’s paintings – Round 2 Nov 19-Nov. 25 (6pm). Bid here.
  • Sun. Nov. 26, 2023, 11am Church service – Eucharist Live or YouTube St. Peter’s Page
  • Lectionary link for Nov. 26, Pentecost 26

  • Serving – Holy Eucharist
    Lector: Ben Hicks
    Chalice Bearer: Andrea Pogue
    Altar Cleanup: Jan Saylor
  • Sun., Nov. 26, 3:30 PM Advent workshop. Families, come make a family Advent wreath. Kids can make nativity scenes, pinecone bird feeders and decorate cookies
  • Mon., Nov. 27, 2:00PM memorial service for Trenton Schnakenberg followed by a reception in the Parish House.
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., Nov. 29 10am-12pm, Parish House Reading Lectionary for Dec. 3, 1st Sunday in Advent

  • ECM Christmas Donations due Dec. 3
  • Write a check to “ECM Christmas”

  • All articles for Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023
  • Nov., 2023 newsletter
  • Looking ahead…

  • Advent begins, Sunday, Dec. 3
  • Recent Articles, Sun., Nov. 26, 2023

    Last Pentecost, Nov. 26, 2023
    Christ the King Sunday
    In the Footsteps of Paul, Ephesus
    Visual Lectionary
    Hymns sung at this time of the year
    Christ has no body but yours

    Advent Workshop makes 4 projects
    Art Auction for Mary Peterman’s, Round 2
    Donate to Giving Tues, Nov. 28
    The Village Harvest, Oct. 2023, the end of 9 years
    Importance of the Village Harvest
    ECM Christmas donations due Dec. 3
    Mutual Ministry Review, Nov. 14

    Fall photos
    Flashback to a Thanksgiving Service, 2017
    Autumnal Tints
    Photos Mid-Nov
    Golden Days of early Nov.

    In the Footsteps of Paul: Ephesus

    The western quarter of Turkey was called Asia Minor during the Roman period, and Ephesus was its largest city and the center for criminal and civil trials. The city’s theater sat facing the sea at the head of the main road from the harbor into the city. Ephesus had a troubled history with Rome. In the first century BCE, Roman tax collectors and businessmen had run roughshod over the province, outraging the locals with their exploitation and extortion. The Ephesians welcomed the challenge to Roman hegemony posed by an invading eastern king, and with his capture of the city in 88 BCE, its citizens joined in the massacre of the city’s Italian residents. Rome responded with a characteristically firm hand, exacting huge penalties and taxes to keep the city without resources. The economy did not recover until the reign of Augustus.

    And, as in Jerusalem, Corinth and Athens, Ephesus attracted a large number of tourists, though smaller than modern standards. Pilgrims came to Ephesus to see the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This temple had been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries. The temple Paul would have seen was erected in the fourth century BCE; a forest of marble, it had 127 columns measuring 1.2 meters in diameter, standing 18 meters high. It was a refuge for runaway slaves, and was outside the city proper. The form of Artemis worshipped here was unlike anywhere else, perhaps because she had been assimilated with a local Anatolian earth goddess. Unlike the virgin huntress and twin sister of Apollo most familiar in the stories of the Greeks, Artemis at Ephesus was a fertility goddess, and her physical manifestation was a statue of the goddess festooned with oval protuberances — probably representing testicles of sacrificial bulls — and she wore a stole of bees. Acts repeats a story of how Paul’s success threatened the livelihood of those citizens who relied on proceeds from visitors to the Temple of Artemis.

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    Flashback! Hymns sung at this time of year

    Here are selections of three of them from 2020:

    1. Hymn 680 – “O God, our help in ages past” (40 seconds)

    2. Hymn 9 – “Awake Awake” (48 seconds)

    3. Hymn 490 “I want to walk as a child of the light” (55 seconds)