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.

St. Michael and the Angels, Sept. 29

Michaelmas, or the Feast of Michael and All Angels, is celebrated on the 29th of September every year. St Michael is one of the principal angelic warriors, protector against the dark of the night and the Archangel who fought against Satan and his evil angels. It is the “mass of Michael.” As it falls near the equinox, the day is associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days. It used to be said that harvest had to be completed by Michaelmas, almost like the marking of the end of the productive season and the beginning of the new cycle of farming.

Read more

When the Sermon stopped – blame it on Jonah!

Art Linkletter had a phrase from his TV show many years ago – “Kids say the darndest things!! We had a Linkletter moment at St. Peter’s today.

The children in Sunday School on Sept 24 had a lesson on water and the story of Jonah and the whale was included. Later, during the sermon in Church, the Rev. Tom Hughes mentioned Jonah as part of Old Testament lessons and stressed that it demonstrated the grace and forgiveness of God. Then, a child raised her hand and a discussion began which led to a rapid end of the sermon in a good way. The children had paid attention in Sunday School!

The video has part of the Sunday school lesson on Jonah, about 4 minutes 25 seconds. Then after 4 blank seconds the end of Tom’s sermon is spliced in. The children did not have a microphone but in the end, it didn’t matter!

Videos, Pentecost 17, Season of Creation 4, Sept. 24, 2023

1. Opening Hymn- “Not here for high and holy things”

2. Song of Praise- “A Scottish Blessing”

3. Sequence Hymn- “Amazing Grace”

4. Gospel and Sermon

Read more

Sunday Links, Sept 24, 2023, Pentecost 17, Season of Creation IV

  • 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. 24, 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. Sept. 24, 2023, 11am Church service – Eucharist
  • Serving:

    Lector: Jennifer Collins
    Chalice Bearer: Andrea Pogue
    Altar Cleanup: BJ Anderson
    Lectionary link

  • 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 ; Cancelled due to inclement weather
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., Sept 27 10am-12pm, Parish House Reading Lectionary for Oct 1, Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
  • Remembering St. Matthew Wed., Sept. 21
  • Remembering St. Michael and all the angels, Fri., Sept. 29

  • All articles for Sunday, Sept 24, 2023
  • Sept. newsletter
  • Recent Articles, Sun. Sept. 24, 2023

    Pentecost 17, Sept. 24, 2023
    Lectionary for Pentecost 17
    Lectionary commentary
    Visual Lectionary
    Season of Creation Podcast on this Lectionary
    God’s Garden 1st week review
    Matthew remembered, Sept. 21
    St. Michael and all the angels, Sept. 29
    Sept., 2023 newsletter

    Focus on the Season of Creation, Week 4
    The Season of Creation, 2023
    Keys to the Season of Creation, 2023
    5 areas of the Environment in the Season of Creation
    This week is food waste
    IPCC – Lowering emissions
    Project Drawdown
    Climate Change – Reduce

    Mission and Outreach
    Donations for Maui

    Andrea Pogue reported on St. Peter’s 2023 Jamaican mission trip Sept. 3, 2023 during church. This was our second mission trip after 2021 with the next trip planned for 2025. Thanks to Andrea and the entire mission team for a job well done serving 300 students with school supplies and prizes.

    Jamaican mission setup, Aug. 24, 2023
    Jamaican mission school distribution, Aug. 26, 2023
    Village Harvest

    Lectionary Pentecost 17, Proper 20, Year A, Sept 24, 2023

    I.Theme –   Grace to all who ask. However, we often covet God’s power to forgive and God’s control over who is forgiven and how.


     "Late Arriving Workers" – Jesus Mafa (1973)

    The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

    Old Testament – Jonah 3:10-4:11
    Psalm – Psalm 145:1-8 Page 801, BCP
    Epistle –Philippians 1:21-30
    Gospel – Matthew 20:1-16 

    The scriptures focus on God’s gift of grace in the Old Testament and Gospel readings. We should not covet it or second guess and we may wait on the promise. As the Psalm emphasizes, praise God’”wonderous works” and celebrate the mercy, compassion and goodness of God.

    There is a sense of unity that should prevail as Paul stresses in the Epistle to the Philippians. They are bound together with Paul in a mutually supportive relationship — they share his conflict and suffering, because their entire struggle is a sharing in the sufferings of Christ. They are to live as free citizens — not of Rome, but of God’s coming rule on earth and stand firm in the face of adversity and to be loving and unselfish in their behavior towards one another.

    In the Old Testament reading, Jonah, has run away to avoid delivering the message of forgiveness that God has sent him to proclaim. Jonah complains about God giving grace to those in Ninevah "for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing," and surely this cannot be for them? Jonah regarded God’s "steadfastness" and grace as the unique, covenantal possession of Israel. However, it was not unthinkable that God would "change his mind" with regard to the nations.

    Ancient Nineveh was well known for its lawlessness and violence. Nineveh was the capital of Israel’s greatest enemy, Assyria. Assyria would later depose Israel sending them to Babylonia.

    Yet Nineveh also represents second chances to hear and obey the Lord. However, Jonah becomes angry, deserts Ninevah . God then caused tree to grow over Jonah but then sent a worm to attack the bush and then sent the heat and wind against Jonah.

    In the Gospel’s parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to a foreman who hired laborers early in the morning, then successively throughout the day at the third, sixth, ninth, and eleventh hours. A twelve-hour day of manual labor, with the "burden of the work and the heat of the day" is a long day. That evening the foreman settled accounts, paying those who had worked a meager one hour the same as those who had worked twelve hours.

    The repeated visits to the marketplace by the landowner to look for laborers is a warning to anticipate some other unexpected behavior from him. He is looking for the many to bring into the kingdom. In the Gospel, grace comes to those who work many or few hours. God’s grace is open to all.

    For Jesus the parable teaches that the gift of eternal life is not the reward of human merit, but a free gift of divine grace. The sacrifices of the followers of Jesus will be honored by God, but the reward will so far outstrip the sacrifice that it can only be called sheer grace, something God gives us or brings about in our lives that we cannot earn or bring about on our own steam.

    In an article in the The Chautauqan Daily, lecturer Amy-Jill Levine writes:

    "Many of the people in Jesus’ audience would have been day laborers and identified with the people in the story.  

    "Equal wages for workers, no matter what time of day they were hired, was not an unfamiliar aspect to Jewish law.  

    "The shock of the parable so far is not that everybody was paid equally; it’s how they were paid and the expectation that the first hired would actually receive more,” Levine said.  

    “The problem is not about economics; it’s about social relations,” Levine said. “They’re thinking in terms of limited good. … They’re thinking in terms of what they think is fair, but the landowner is thinking in terms of what he thinks is just.”

    "..perhaps the parable helps us redefine our sense of what good life, abundant living, means. We might have thought that the most important thing in life is to be fair, which means to be impartial. But perhaps the more important criterion is to be generous.”

    The parable is part of the great reversal – first will be last and the last will be first.

    Those who begrudge the landowners generosity were those who felt that they had earned what they received, rather than see their work and wages as gifts. The wages at stake (even at the moment of Jesus’ first telling of the parable) are not actual daily wages for vineyard-laborers, but forgiveness, life, and salvation for believers.

    The scandal of this parable is that we are all equal recipients of God’s gifts. The scandal of our faith is that we are often covetous and jealous when God’s gifts of forgiveness and life are given to other in equal measure.

    The reversal saying is also a word of challenge to the disciples in their attitudes toward women and children, and other "unimportant" people with whom Jesus chooses to mingle and eat, whom he heals and restores. The disciples could be among the last.

    The disciples, hearing this strange saying about reversal of status probably identified with the last who would become first. But Jesus was using the saying to caution them that, in a spiritual sense, they are in danger of becoming the first who would be last. Jesus’ followers are to beware of spiritual arrogance that makes them the self-appointed elite of others of lower degree.
     

    Read more

    Climate Change – and you – the big items

    Home owners

    Renters

    • A house with a furnace is like a car that idles all day. Swap your furnace for a heat pump, which works by extracting heat from one location and transferring it to another (Tax Credit : 30% of the cost paid by the consumer, up to $2,000/year,)
    • Swap your gas stove for an electric stove, which will also lower indoor air pollution (rebate amount has not been publicized year)
    • Install a programmable thermostat model to turn off the heat/air conditioning when you’re not home.
    • Get a home or workplace energy audit to identify where you can make the most energy-saving gains.  ( Tax credit – 30% of the cost paid by the consumer, up to $150)
    • Consider Solar- This is  a significant expense but can vary depending on the company you choose.

    30% federal tax credit via Inflation reduction act. State – – A property tax exemption for the increase in home value after going solar.

    Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECS), which are financial incentives for generating clean electricity.  You gain one SREC for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours generated by your solar panels, and you can sell the credits to local electricity providers and other organizations that are subject to renewable energy mandates. As of 2023, each SREC can be sold for around $45 to $70.

    Solar alternative – Even if you can’t install solar panels, you can still be a part of the clean-energy economy. Check out – Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) odec.com. ODEC has entered several long-term purchase power agreements for energy generated by wind, solar, and landfill gas resources. .

    Your home – other

    • Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you’re not using them
    • Turn off lights you’re not using and when you leave the room. Change to energy-efficient LED bulbs
    • Wash clothes in cold water. Hang-dry your clothes when you can
    • Draft proof.
      Drafts waste five to 30 per cent of energy. Those from basements and roofs cool the most. Seal doors, windows and chimneys in those areas first. Try testing with incense. Where the smoke wavers, a draft is blowing in.To seal leaks, make or buy a “door snake” and caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows. Look for non-toxic, eco-friendly caulks. You can also add small insulating covers underneath electric outlet wall plates on outside walls or beside cold basements and crawl spaces.
    • Insulate windows.
      Hang heavy curtains to keep the cold out and the cozy in. A cheaper solution: insulation film, available at most hardware stores. This plastic shrink film is easy to apply and keeps in much of the heat that would otherwise escape.
    • Reverse ceiling fans.
      Many ceiling fans have a reverse mode. When they turn clockwise, they push down warm air that pools near the ceiling and circulates it through the room.
    • Change furnace filters.
      Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase your furnace’s energy demand by making it work harder. Replace filters at least every three months during the heating season.Better indoor air quality is a nice side benefit of this energy-saving tip. Consider switching to a washable filter, which reduces waste and is more effective.
    • Check your thermostat.
      Every degree you turn it down can save between 1.5 and five per cent of your heating bill. A programmable thermostat will help you get efficient and consistent.Turn down the thermostat when you’re sleeping or out. It’s is the most efficient way to reduce your heating bill — and your eco-footprint.

    Transportation

                    Carpooling

    • Combine errands to make fewer trips. Remove excess weight from your car. Use cruise control.

                    Consider electric or hybrid or low carbon vehicle for your next car

    Speeding and unnecessary acceleration reduce mileage by up to 33%, waste gas and money, and increase your carbon footprint.

    • Properly inflated tires improve your gas mileage by up to 3%. It also helps to use the correct grade of motor oil, and to keep your engine tuned

                    Fly less and take alternate transportation

     

    Season of Creation – Food waste

    1. Food Waste

    The local food banks and other distributors have worked out agreements with restaurants to help eliminate waste by taking foods they cannot sell due to sell by dates and redistributing the foods. Globally, the issue of waste is a large one.

    World Wildlife Federation has covered the topic in its fall magazine.

    “Today, 7.3 billion people consume 1.6 times what the earth’s natural resources can supply. By 2050, the world’s population will reach 9 billion and the demand for food will double.

    “So how do we produce more food for more people without expanding the land and water already in use? We can’t double the amount of food. Fortunately we don’t have to—we have to double the amount of food available instead. In short, we must freeze the footprint of food.

    “In the near-term, food production is sufficient to provide for all, but it doesn’t reach everyone who needs it. In fact, one-third of the world’s food—1.3 billion tons—is lost or wasted at a cost of $750 billion annually. When we throw away food, we waste the wealth of resources and labor that was used to get it to our plates. In effect, lost and wasted food is behind more than a quarter of all deforestation and nearly a quarter of global water consumption. It generates as much as 10% of all greenhouse-gas emissions. As it rots, it pollutes water and soil and releases huge amounts of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases.

    “Another negative aspect of food waste is its connection to species loss. Consider this: Food production is the primary threat to biodiversity worldwide, expected to drive an astonishing 70% of projected terrestrial biodiversity loss by 2050. That loss is happening in the Amazon, where rain forests are still being cleared to create new pasture for cattle grazing, as well as in sub-Saharan Africa, where agriculture is expanding rapidly. But it’s also happening close to home.

    “These wasted calories are enough to feed three billion people—10 times the population of the United States, more than twice that of China, and more than three times the total number of malnourished globally. Wasted food may represent as much as 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is a main contributor to deforestation and the depletion of global water sources.

    “By improving efficiency and productivity while reducing waste and shifting consumption patterns, we can produce enough food for everyone by 2050 on roughly the same amount of land we use now. Feeding all sustainably and protecting our natural resources.”

    South Korea has a system that keeps about 90 percent of discarded food out of landfills and incinerators, has been studied by governments around the world. But the country’s mountainous terrain limits how many landfills can be built, and how far from residential areas they can be built.

    Since 2005, it’s been illegal to send food waste to landfills. Local governments have built hundreds of facilities for processing it. Consumers, restaurant owners, truck drivers and others are part of the network that gets it collected and turned into something useful.

    In the case of a restaurant when it gets to a plant. Debris — bones, seeds, shells — is picked out by hand though most facilities are automated. A conveyor belt carries the waste into a grinder, which reduces it to small pieces. Anything that isn’t easily shredded, like plastic bags, is filtered out and incinerated.

    Then the waste is baked and dehydrated. The moisture goes into pipes leading to a water treatment plant, where some of it is used to produce biogas. The rest is purified and discharged into a nearby stream.

    What’s left of the waste at the processing plant, four hours after Mr. Park’s team dropped it off, is ground into the final product: a dry, brown powder that smells like dirt. It’s a feed supplement for chickens and ducks, rich in protein and fiber, said Sim Yoon-sik, the facility’s manager, and given away to any farm that wants it.

    For consumers, at apartment complexes around the country, residents are issued cards to scan every time they drop food waste into a designated bin. The bin weighs what they’ve dropped in; at the end of the month they get a bill.

    Read more

    Climate Change, More Book, Part 3 Reduce, Sept. 24

    The first two chapters of the MORE book were required material to get to Part 3 – Reduce.

    Understanding the significance of our need to reduce greenhouse gases from Part 1, led to calculate our carbon footprint in Part 2. We meet to strive towards net zero emissions by 2050. Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans and forests for instance. Part 2 focuses on reduction to get to net zero.

    How much do we need to reduce our carbon footprints? For Americans, that number is about 90 percent.The United Nations’ intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that if we don’t act now, we’ll be facing the severe effects of a warming planet as early as 2040.  One example? 50 million people around the world, will be affected by coastal flooding.

    This chapter lists 26+ ways for us to act.

    Click this button on the bottom right of the PowerPoint window to enlarge

    Forgiveness over two Sundays, two ministers

    The Gospel passages from Sept 10 and 17, 2023 work well together as demonstrated by Tom’s (Sept 10) and Catherine’s (Sept 17) sermons.   Both were about forgiveness and mostly the failure to practice it. And both used the same symbol – an inflated beachball that had to be held underwater which symbolized the lack of forgiveness.

    Video Links – 1 The Rev. Tom Hughes (Sept 10)
    2.The Rev. Catherine Hicks (Sept 17)

    Tom preached that forgiveness is one of the critical issues of life. Without it, you limit yourself and are constantly frustrated. It derails your life in God. It keeps you in the past and keeps you from flourishing in the present and future. It keeps a hold on you – chaos is the only winner in that situation. It keeps you from loving God.

    Forgiveness is an important place to start creating a new life and living in a different way.  New life is part of  the Season of Creation which we are celebrating.

    Tom brought up a metaphor of a beachball that you are being forced to hold underwater.  You can’t do anything else -your hands are occupied. That’s the case of not forgiving.

    If we expect God to forgive us we have to be open to forgive others.  In many cases, we are not prepared to receive it. We cannot understand it If  we hold out on our unforgiveness to others who have hurt us.

    Tom described his method for forgiveness. Go find a quiet place and go over every detail of the “crummy’ incident = what is haunting us, where you have been wronged or have wronged others. Finally, you pray “O Lord take this from me.” I will not think of it again. It is done with. I forgive and let go and accept and give forgiveness.

    Tom believes it is important both to forgive and forget to restore your life. Both you and the other person are set free though you may have to repeat this process more than once to be truly effective.

    On Sept. 17, Catherine described the Gospel story where a slave fails to practice forgiveness. “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?  The answer to that question is yes, there are limits to God’s mercy—the limits to that mercy that we create through the exercise of our own free will. 

    “So let’s do a thought experiment.  Go back to Tom’s beach ball image for a moment.  Imagine that you are at the beach in the water, right beyond the breakers, holding down the ball under the water. 

    “Jesus comes walking by, sees what is going on, wades out to you and says, “Hey, let me hold that beach ball underwater for you.”  You gratefully agree because you’re tired,  and you hand Jesus the beach ball.  Jesus holds the ball underwater for a minute with you still standing there, amazed that someone would do this for you. 

    “And then Jesus laughs and says, “Listen,  there’s something I’d love to do for you.   I’m going to free you from this ball forever so you can go live your life. Is that ok with you?” You reluctantly agree.     Jesus takes the ball and hurls it far out into the ocean, and the currents quickly carry it out to sea.

    “For a moment you are relieved, but then you think to yourself, “Wait, I can’t let that ball go! What am I going to do if I can’t hold this ball underwater?”    You ignore Jesus, who continues to stand next to you, hoping that you will go with him back to shore,  and you start swimming out toward the ball.   Jesus stands there in the water weeping, as you swim far, far out into the ocean, swimming after the ball that was already robbing you of life, and ultimately you drown. 

    “What ball are you chasing today that Jesus has ALREADY taken away from you?  What is it that you can’t forgive or let go, that you keep taking back, even though you have been forgiven and freed by God and by others for your sins toward them over and over and over? 

    “The unforgiveness that you hold onto, the unforgiveness toward others or even toward yourself that you keep holding onto because you think you can’t live without it, because it’s become such a part of you,  is going to kill you in the end.

    “Here’s the good news.  No matter how many times we take that ball out into the ocean and try to hold it underwater, Jesus will come out to us and offer to take the ball away.  Seventy times seven, and then on and on, through infinity.  In that way, God’s forgiveness is limitless

    “As St Augustine says, “Sins that have been forgiven return when there is no brotherly love.”  And that is the whole point of this story.   Our sins return because WE keep making space for them, and even actively taking them back, even after we’ve been freed of them, when we choose not to forgive and to love one another from our hearts.   

    “Paul asks the people of the church in Rome, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister?  Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister?  For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” We all stand before the judgment seat of God all the time.  Jesus is next to us in the water all day long, hoping to take away that ball of unforgiveness that is distracting us and potentially killing us once and for all.

    “Last week, Tom reminded us that when are tempted not to forgive someone or when we are tempted to continue carrying a grudge, to go to a quiet place and after thinking about all that has happened, let that thing go.  Yes!  

    “Another important thing about these lessons is the reminder that once the ball is gone, we need to replace the ball with something else, or we will start longing for the ball again, because it’s what we know, and we’re comfortable with it, even if we don’t like it. 

     “Replace the thing you’ve released with praise for our almighty Lord, our healer, redeemer, our advocate, the one who loves us through eternity. And the one who frees us, once and for all, to live free, joyful, and loving lives.”

    “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