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.

Meyer Gallery trip for Sacred Ground

Sacred Ground will be going to the Meyer gallery in Fredericksburg on Tues Oct. 10, 10am to see the art works on display. Here is a video interview with Meyer.

The interest in Sacred Ground is Meyer’s resarch in connection with mid-19th century Afro-American artist Robert Duncanson, one of the leading landscape painters. The Free Lance-Star published a recent article on Mayer and Duncanson. Free Lance-Star article

Meyer believes “Duncanson’s works can be viewed as instruction manuals for enslaved Blacks attempting to escape north.” It might be a path and features to mark the path or obstacles to avoid. Meyer will have 40 of Duncanson’s paintings representing “the path to freedom” at his gallery at 1015 Caroline St. through Oct. 28.

Here is a Powerpoint of Duncanson’s life as well as 16 of his paintings as a warmup for the tour:

To see a full screen version, press right button to open in a new window or Click here

Creating Pet Blessings for St. Francis Day, Oct. 4

Our Christian Education class for children, “God’s Garden” explored what is meant to be a saint, today (Oct. 1, 2023) as a prelude for St. Francis day on Oct. 4. As an example they told the story of St. Francis taming the Wolf of Gubbio. Then, they made Pet blessings with treats to give out in church to make pets happy on St. Francis Day, Oct. 4.

Three videos show packing the bags, processing into church during the first hymn, and finally handing them out during the announcements. A fun activity for all with the children gaining an appreciation for this popular saint.

1. Making Pet Treats

2 Procession to the church during “Morning has Broken”

3. Distribution of the treats during Announcements.

Sermon, Oct. 1, 2023, Pentecost 18, Season of Creation V

Who can tell me what this is?  Yes, a map.  These days we mostly use GPS to map our trips, but these paper maps can come in handy as well. But when we travel, we have to have the right map to get us where we want to go.  If I’m traveling in Virginia, is this map going to help me?  Which one do I need?

We all know stories about maps that lead us to hidden treasure.  If we follow the map we will find the treasure! 

Now here’s the most important map we can have—a map that gives us the directions we need to get through our lives  without getting lost and also leads us to the treasure, which is the kingdom of God.     

This is the Bible. 

For instance, in today’s Old Testament reading, God says, “Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, (That is, stop going the wrong way!) and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God, Turn then, and live.”  (That is, turn and go the right way!) 

Head  toward safety and life rather than toward danger and death. 

Today I want to tell you the story of a person who was headed in one direction, and then he heard God ask him to turn and go in a different, better direction.  

Read more

St. Francis, Oct. 4

A Pet Blessing for St. Francis day, Oct. 4 

The blessing -“Our pets have already blessed us. On St Francis Day, we get to bless our pets.” St Francis of Assisi, who lived from 1182 to 1226, had a great love for animals and the environment. He understood the earth and everything in it as God’s good creation and believed that we are brothers and sisters with everything in creation. So on this day, we remember St Francis and thank God for the gift of our pets.

When you have a moment with your pet, offer this blessing written by Bishop Mark S. Sisk:

Live without fear. Your Creator loves you, made you holy, and has always protected you. May we follow the good road together, and may God’s blessing be with you always. Amen.

“Who was St. Francis? ” – a link collection

Brief biography

St. Francis movie on Youtube

“Brother Sun, Sister Moon”- trailer

Director Franco Zeffirelli’s “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” focuses on the early years of Francis of Assisi in this 1972 film.

Poem by Jan Richardson from the “Painted Prayerbook”

Addressing myths about St. Francis

St. Francis preaching to the birds

Paintings by Giotto on St. Francis

Rhonda Mawhood Lee: “Go a little crazy on St. Francis Day”, a sermon preached at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Durham, N.C

“It’s appropriate to go a little crazy on St. Francis Day, because during his own lifetime, many people thought Francesco Bernardone was insane.” 

St. Francis – brief biography

St Francis is probably one of the best known saints, for he captures our imaginations with his joyful and complete giving of himself to God, and his recognition of the fact that we are all God’s creation. His relationship to the rest of creation is that of radical and transforming love. He thought of all of creation as his beloved relatives. He sought to live in harmony with all of nature.

The witness of Francis’ life is also that our faith in God and our living out of that faith is a process. Franciss didn’t go from a rich, pampered young man to a barefooted wanderer preaching God’s word overnight. He grew in his faith and his understanding of God and creation throughout his life.

Francis lived from 1181-1226; his ministry was predominately in Italy, particularly Assisi. Francis was born the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. As a child and young man, he was pampered and worldly, living an indulgent life.

One day, in a church in San Damiano, he heard the Jesus on the crucifix say three times: “Francis, go repair my house which is in ruins.” Believing that this was a command to rebuild the specific church in which he stood, Francis began selling off some of his father’s things to pay for a church renovation. When his father found out, he was furious. He dragged Francis to the local bishop, to insist he be repaid. It was there that Francis removed his rich garments, renounced his father, and left his wealth. The bishop took pity on him and gave him a rough garment to wear. Sometime after that, Francis was worshiping in another church when the reading was Matthew 10:7-20. “As you go, proclaim the good news, the kingdom of heaven has come near. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. speaking through you.”
In that moment, Francis understood the words as a literal call and began his life as an itinerant: living a simple life and preaching the gospel to anyone he met—including the birds.

During his lifetime, Francis was most known for his joyful asceticism, his powerful preaching, and his service to the poor.

Francis was a man transformed by God’s grace who with dogged determination tried to put the words of the Gospel into practice. He sought to live in harmony with nature. He once preached to a flock of birds, reminding them that everything they had was due to God’s gracious gift and encouraging them to use their beautiful voices to praise God in song.

St Francis is also credited by being the person to create the first living nativity scene as a way to deepen the faith of those who would come to witness it. He included animals in his living nativity, saying that “Surely the animals praised the new Messiah just as the shepherds and the angels did.”


From the Gospel, Parable of the Two Sons- “Words are not enough”

From this article in “Journey with Jesus” Words are not enough

Key part:

“What Jesus opposed through the story of the father and the two sons was all forms of religion that stop at empty words. All forms of piety that don’t move us into the world of concrete action on behalf of justice, mercy, equality, love, and compassion. All forms of Christianity that flicker to life on Sunday morning, but then fade out between Monday and Saturday.

“We are invited to be like the first son. We are invited to be like the tax collectors and the prostitutes. But we cannot do this if we keep our faith lives tethered to abstractions. If we live a Christianity of the mind without also living one of the flesh. After all, it is with our bodies that we experience pain, anger, terror, and joy. It’s my chest that hurts when I mourn. It’s my face that burns when I’m angry. It’s my whole body that warms with pleasure when I’m happy. Our faith is meant to be embodied. To be incarnate. To be organic. To be active. In the realm of God, words — even the most beautiful words — are not enough.”

Sunday Links, Oct. 1, Pentecost 18, Season of Creation V

  • 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
  • Sun. Oct. 1, 2023, 10:30, God’s Garden — A gathering of children ages 5-9. Sunday School activities and fun, led by Elizabeth Heimbach, Jan Saylor in the Parish House
  • Sun. Oct. 1 2023, 11am Church service – Eucharist Live or YouTube St. Peter’s Page
  • Serving
    Lector: Cookie Davis
    Chalice Bearer: Andrea Pogue
    Altar Cleanup: Jan Saylor
  • Lectionary link for Oct. 1, 18th Sunday after Pentecost
  • Coffee House, Sun., Oct 1 12pm, Parish House
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., Oct 4 10am-12pm, Parish House Reading Lectionary for Oct 8, Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
  • Remembering St. Francis Wed., Oct 4

    St. Francis links

  • All articles for Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023
  • Oct. newsletter
  • Recent Articles, Sun. Oct. 1, 2023 

    Pentecost 18, Oct. 1, 2023
    Lectionary for Pentecost 18
    Commentary Oct. 1
    Vanderbilt visual commentary
    Stewardship Commentary
    World Communion Sunday
    ECW Donation & Planning meeting

    Season of Creation ends Oct. 4
    Season of Creation retrospective
    Visual Eucharistic Prayer
    5 areas of the Environment in the Season of Creation
    Part 5 – Deforestation
    Prayers ending the Season

    Remembering St. Francis…
    All About St. Francis, Oct. 4
    “God’s Garden makes pet blessings
    St. Francis in the Christmas Play in 2015
    Richard Rohr on St. Francis

    Mission and Outreach
    Village Harvest Review Sept 30
    Donations for Maui
    Jamaican mission school distribution, Aug. 26, 2023
    Sept., 2023 newsletter