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.

“God’s Garden” Begins

A new ministry debuts 9/17/2023! God’s Garden for 5 to 9 year olds began with 4 children and two experienced teachers, Elizabeth Heimbach, the originator of the class and Jan Saylor. With this age range the pace is fast. The lessons included a song which will be weekly and then the focus was on water. This was apropos since we are celebrating the Season of Creation during September. After a song on creation, the class looked at why water is necessary through agriculture, people, and nature. The teachers next asked for examples of water in the Bible. With a little prompting the children brought up Noah’s flood and Jonah being swallowed by a whale. Water is necessary but there are hazards!

An engaging segment demonstrated how Moses life was shaped by water in multiple ways. Miriam is the sister who watches over her baby brother Moses among the bulrushes on the banks of the Nile. Their mother had hidden Moses in a basket on the riverbank to protect him from Pharaoh’s decree to throw all Hebrew baby boys into the river. Pharaoh’s daughter finds the floating basket on the Nile River with a helpless baby inside. She adopts him and calls him Moses. What a way to start your life!

Both the children and teachers were enthusiastic in the class, which made for good learning and the conversations flowed in both directions.

Images left to right top to bottom. Taking about creation (the big world!), a song, water in our time, and story of Moses

Kickball in Port Royal, Tues Sept 26

Tuesday, September 26 5:30-7PM at St Peter’s Caroline County Kickball in conjunction with the Caroline County Public Schools and in celebration of National Family Day is on!

The Heimbach field will be the kickball field, and St Peter’s will be contributing snacks and water for the event by Sun, Set. 24 . If you would like to help, please donate granola bars, small boxes of raisins, and other healthy snacks, and water for those coming out to play. Last year’s event was a big success!

Here is what was collected on Sept 10:

Matthew, Sept. 21, Apostle and Evangelist

Sept. 21 is the day we celebrate the life of the author of the Gospel of Matthew, both Apostle and evangelist due to the Book he wrote.

The meeting between Jesus and Matthew is told in Matthew 9:9–13:
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew was one of the 12 apostles that were with Jesus Christ throughout His public ministry on earth. The consensus among  scholars is that this book in the Bible was written in the  mid-70’s, 40 years after the resurrection. It was the second Gospel written after Mark, 10 years earlier. 

Matthew was a Jewish tax collector who left his profession to follow Jesus. As an apostle of the Lord, he dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel and leading the early church. Matthew gives a personal witness account of many miracles that Jesus performed prior to being crucified on a Roman cross.

He wrote  after the destruction of the temple by the Romans and massacre of the Jewish priests. Many thought they were in the end days. He was a Greek speaker who also knew Aramaic and Hebrew. He drew on Mark and a collection of the sayings of the Lord (Q), as well as on other available traditions, oral and written. He was probably a Jewish Christian and we think the book was written in Antioch in Syria where a community had developed.

The purpose of this book is to prove to readers that Jesus is the true Messiah that was prophesized in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Kingdom begins with us . The author of the Gospel of Matthew, more than the other synoptic writers, explicitly cites Old Testament messianic writings. With 28 chapters, it is the longest Gospel of the four.

It begins by accounting the genealogy of Jesus, showing him to be the true heir to David’s throne. The genealogy documents Christ’s credentials as Israel’s king. Then the narrative continues to revolve around this theme with his birth, baptism, and public ministry.

The Sermon on the Mount highlights Jesus’ moral teachings and the miracles reveal his authority and true identity. Matthew also emphasizes Christ’s abiding presence with humankind

The Gospel organizes the teachings of Jesus into five major discourses: the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7), the Commissioning of the 12 Apostles (chapter 10), the Parables of the Kingdom (chapter 13), the Discourse on the Church (chapter 18), and the Olivet Discourse (chapters 23-25). The emphasis corresponds to the 5 great books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch .

He preached the Gospel in Judea before embarking on missions to other lands, with Ethiopia often cited as one of his destinations. One notable tradition associated with Matthew involves his encounter with King Hirtacus in Ethiopia. Matthew’s steadfast devotion to his faith led him to confront the king for lusting after Ephigenia, a nun consecrated to God. Matthew’s rebuke, delivered at a Mass, ultimately led to his martyrdom, solidifying his commitment to his faith

Videos, Pentecost 16, Season of Creation 3 Sept. 17, 2023

1. Prelude – Larry Saylor

2A. Opening Hymn- “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”

2B. Opening Hymn- “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” – First procession in 3.5 years (COVID)

3. Song of Praise- “A Scottish Blsssing”

4. Sequence hymn – “Bless the Lord, my soul”

5. Gospel and Sermon

6. Offertory – Larry Saylor Guitar

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Sermon, Proper 19, Season of Creation 3

Psalm 103; Romans 14:1-12, Matthew 18:21-35

Practicing forgiveness is part of the art of  living fully, joyfully, and peacefully in this world.  Last week, Tom provided us with that unforgettable image of a person standing in the ocean trying to hold a beach ball under the water—and how that effort meant that the person was not free to do anything else.  Not forgiving, he pointed out, is like trying to hold that beach ball under the water. 

In today’s gospel, Jesus tells a story about a king who forgave a slave in tremendous debt to the king. That slave, having been forgiven his debt, went out and refused to forgive one of his fellows who owed him money.  In fact, the forgiven slave had the person in debt to him thrown into jail until the man could pay his debt to the slave the king had so generously forgiven.     

The others who witnessed all of this went and told the king, who called the forgiven slave in.  The king said, “You wicked slave!  I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?”

And the king hands over the slave to be tortured until he pays his original debt. 

And then comes this zinger from Jesus.

“So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” 

That is, we suffer the consequences when we continue to be unforgiving people.  

So I’m wondering—are there, in the end, limits to God’s limitless mercy? 

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Sunday Links, Sept 17, 2023, Pentecost 16, Season of Creation III

  • 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. Sept 17, 2023, 10:30, God’s Garden — A gathering of children ages 5-9. Sunday School activities and fun, led by Elizabeth Heimbach in the Parish House
  • Sun. Sept 17, 2023, 11am Church service – Eucharist
  • Serving:

    Lector: Cookie Davis
    Chalice Bearer: Elizabeth Heimbach
    Altar Cleanup: Linda Kramer
    Lectionary link

  • Sun. Sept 17, 2023, Hildegard celebrated
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., Sept 20 10am-12pm, Parish House Reading Lectionary for Sept 24, Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
  • Village Harvest, Wed., Sept 20, 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.
  • Remembering St. Matthew Wed., Sept 21
  • Coming Up!

  • Sun., Sept 24, Last day to bring snacks for kickball Place in the backrow.
  • Mon., Sept 25, ECW Tea in the Parish House, 3pm. Meeting is to welcome Jean Devitt, to choose where to send ECW money for outreach, and to plan upcoming activities.
  • Tues., Sept 26, Kickball at the Heimbach’s, 5:30-7pm. Sponsored by Caroline County Public Schools
  • All articles for Sunday, Sept 17, 2023
  • Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) – musician, writer, prophetess – and saint

    We celebrate Hildegard’s life on September 17.

    Accounts written in Hildegard’s lifetime  (1098-1179) and just after describe an extraordinarily accomplished woman: a visionary, a prophet (she was known as “The Sibyl Of The Rhine”), a pioneer who wrote practical books on biology, botany, medicine, theology and the arts. She was a prolific letter-writer to everyone from humble penitents looking for a cure for infertility to popes, emperors and kings seeking spiritual or political advice. She composed music and was known to have visions

    Here is what Gay Rahn, former Associate Rector at St. George’s Fredericksburg, wrote about her several years ago – “Hildegard of Bingen was a twelfth-century mystic, composer, and author. She described the Holy One as the greening Power of God. Just as plants are greened, so we are as well. As we grow up, our spark of life continually shines forth. If we ignore this spark this greening power, we become thirsty and shriveled. And, if we respond to the spark, we flower. ”

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    Lectionary, Sept 17, 2023, 16th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 19

    I.Theme –   Forgiveness, the basis for reconciliation.

     "The Unforgiving Servant – 1973. Jesus MAFA. JESUS MAFA is a response to the New Testament readings from the Lectionary by a Christian community in Cameroon, Africa. Each of the readings were selected and adapted to dramatic interpretation by the community members

    The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

    Old Testament – Genesis 50:15-21
    Psalm – Psalm 103:(1-7), 8-13 Page 733, BCP
    Epistle –Romans 14:1-12
    Gospel – Matthew 18:21-35 

    There are two interwoven themes:

    •The power and importance of story and the role of story in developing identity

    •The recurring Biblical theme of forgiveness and the related theme of resisting our tendency to judgment.

    Both themes have intertwined in and through them God’s presence, always available and always working in and through the life of an individual and the life of a group of people.

    The other connecting thread is that of healing or becoming whole as Christians. This way of looking at healing embraces both our formation as Christians, the building up of our identity in faith; and challenges us to allow ourselves to be reformed through forgiveness.

    Genesis looks at forgiveness from the victim. The Gospel looking at forgiveness in terms of grace.

    The story of Joseph in Genesis 50: 15-21 describes a very human situation with which most of us can identify. It deals with guilt of Joseph’s brothers in their treatment of him, selling him into slavery. Joseph father may have prevented Joseph from getting even. But now the father was dead That thought of getting even consumed them, even more than the loss of their father. They tell Joseph that Jacob’s dying wish was that he forgive them. We do not know if that is true. At least, it shows how desperate they were to use every device they knew to persuade Joseph to forgive.

    The family that has known disruption,  favoritism, hostility, and deceit all through the book of Genesis may finally get its act together. There is hope for reconciliation after this forgiveness. One marvels at the graciousness of Joseph who is actually able to forgive after all of this.

    As a response to the first lesson from Genesis 50, these verses from Psalm 103 could provide hymn texts for Joseph and for Joseph’s brothers. Verses 1-7 would be the song of pious Joseph who suffered deep wrong at the hands of his envious brothers and had ample reason to question God’s sovereignty

    Instead, the singer remembers "all God’s benefits": forgiveness of sin (pride for Joseph), deliverance from the grave (the pit and then slavery); crowing with mercy (not to mention the literal "crown" of Pharaoh); and vindication — to the point that Joseph can find God’s hand at work in the evil deeds of his brothers.

    Verses 8-13 would be the song of Joseph’s thankful brothers when they hear Joseph’s words of pardon. Joseph’s forgiveness bears witness to the God who is full of compassion and slow to anger and who does not deal with us according to our sins or repay us according to our iniquities. And as Joseph draws his father and brothers west toward Egypt, the memory of their sins is blown as far to the east as can be imagined.

    Romans gives some practical examples of forgiveness of others and ourselves. Here it is more of a group conflict. Differences in lifestyle, however, were the attitudes that were dividing the church. Paul’s commands toward both groups make it pretty clear that the "strong" were despising the "weak," while the "weak" were judging or condemning the "strong. God judges; we shouldn’t. Each Christian is answerable to “the Lord” and should not be criticized.

    Paul’s goal for the church is presented in his benediction in Romans 15:5-6, that instead of using our words to despise or judge others in our fellowship, we glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ "with one voice!"

    The Matthew story is all about forgiveness from the perspective of those who give it. Jesus sets before us an ideal, namely that we be forgiving as God is forgiving. Yet, at the same time we are reminded that the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is not the good person who is good at forgiving, but the sinner whose sin is forgiven.

    This is the story of the unmerciful servant. The king forgives a servant who owes him more than could be repaid in a lifetime. However, in turn the servant fails to forgive other who owes much less to the servant. He fails to imitate the forgiveness of the king. When the king hears about this, he retracts his forgiveness and has the first slave tortured – probably for ever.  

    Two key thoughts.

    1. Forgiveness in this parable is both an extravagant and a precious thing.  

    2. Forgiveness in the Gospel of Matthew is not only relational it is reciprocal and reliant. When teaching his disciples to pray Jesus would have us say, "Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). It is a change in attitude. Members of the community must treat one another as God has treated each of them. However, it does not mean that the sin involved is forgotten or overlooked.  

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