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.

Bingo Night, Feb 26, 6pm-7:30pm, Port Royal Fire house

Mon., Feb. 26th, Bingo Night 6-7:30PM at Port Royal Fire Department St Peter’s is serving as a Partner in Education with the Caroline County Public Schools.

We will be providing snacks for the Caroline County. If you would like to help, please bring granola bars, individually wrapped bags of trail mix, or small bottles of water and place them in the back pew by Sunday, Feb. 25.

God’s Garden Feb 4 – March 31- The Alleluia!

The next eight Sundays of God’s Garden will include a big project!

During the first few sessions, the class will be designing and decorating a big banner with the word “Alleluia.” The banner will then be displayed in the church until the first Sunday of Lent when it will disappear.

The disappearance of the banner will be a reminder that during Lent the congregation does not end each service with the word “Alleluia,” and this will be a way to introduce lessons about Lent, Palm Sunday, and Easter. And, of course, the banner will re-appear on Easter!

Creating and Displaying the Alleluia Banner

This is a “process” Powerpoint concerning the preparation for “Burying the Alleluia”, one of many Lent events beginning Feb. 14. Today, Feb 4, the banner is being ceated. First, a background slide introduces “Burying the Alleluia”, a practice which has been traced back to the Middle Ages. Then, “God’s Garden” Sunday School class from ages 5-9 are shown finishing the Alleluia Banner in several photos. Jan Saylor created the banner and thd class finished it.

The finishing process is included along with a video excerpt of the lesson around it provided by Jan and Elizabeth Heimbach. Then, the banner is transported to the church and pictures show it being hung on the altar. Finally, there is a video during the announcements of the church service of it presented to the congregation. Next week the box will be created for it. The Powerpoint follows:

Sermon, Epiphany 5, Feb. 4, 2024

Rembrandt-The-Healing of the Mother in Law of St.Peter

Next Sunday is the Last Sunday after the Epiphany so let’s do a quick review of this season.   During the Season after the Epiphany, scripture reminds us all over again who Jesus is, the Son of God, and who we can become in the light of who He is. 

The Season after the Epiphany always starts out with the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, when the heavens are torn apart and the Spirit descends like a dove, and God speaks—“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And then the season always ends with the Transfiguration, that mystical experience on top of a mountain in which we hear God’s voice once more, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”  But that’s next week. 

In between Jesus’ baptism and his Transfiguration, scripture gives us proofs that Jesus is indeed the Beloved Son of God. 

In last week’s gospel, we found Jesus in the synagogue in Capernaum with his disciples.   Jesus is teaching with authority, not as the scribes, and then a man with a demon starts ranting and raving against Jesus—I know who YOU are—the Holy One of God!  What are you doing here?  This is our territory.”  And indeed this demon in the man makes a valid point.  Sometimes it’s easy to believe that the world has been taken over by spirits that want to keep anything holy, true, trustworthy and healing out so that they can continue to bring distrust, hatred, violence, destruction, and death to hold us all captive. 

When Jesus said that the Kingdom of God has come near, he meant it.  He came to rid the earth, and us, of the demons that hold us in thrall.  And so he casts out the demon in the man, showing the people in the synagogue, and us, that he has authority over even the demons that threaten to take us, and that he has authority over Satan himself. 

Now we come to today’s readings.  Jesus has just cast out the demon, and now he and Simon and Andrew and James and John go to Simon’s house.  All is not well here either—there isn’t a demon, but Simon’s mother-in-law is sick in bed with a fever.  The disciples tell Jesus about this at once.  Jesus goes to the woman, takes her by the hand and lifts her up.  Is any word spoken?  We don’t know.  

Read more

Sunday’s Links, Feb. 4, 2023

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany. Healing Peter’s mother-in-law

  • 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
  • Wed., Jan 31, Ecumenical Bible Study, Parish House, 10am-12pm  Reading Lectionary for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
  • Fri, Feb 2, The Presentation of Christ in the Temple
  • Sun., Feb. 4, “God’s Garden, 10:15am
  • Servers, Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Eucharist, Feb. 4, 11am
    Lector: Andrea Pogue
    Chalice Bearer: Johnny Davis
    Altar Cleanup: Jan Saylor
  • Sun., Feb 4, 12pm, Coffee Hour

  • Wed., Feb. 7, Ecumenical Bible Study, Parish House, 10am-12pm  Reading Lectionary for the Last Sunday in Epiphany
  • Coming up

  • Sun., Feb 11 – Souper Bowl of Caring to benefit the Village Harvest. Bring a can of food and a valentine card.
  • Tues., Feb 13 – Shrove Tues. Pancake Supper (5pm-6:30pm)
  • Wed., Feb 14 – Ash Wed. service, 7pm
  • Lenten Page

  • Feb., 2024 newsletter
  • All articles for Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024
  • Recent Articles, Feb. 4, 2024

    Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Feb 4
    Commentary Fifth Sunday
    Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-Law
    Old Testament reading in “Chariots of Fire’
    Visual Lectionary
    God’s Calling to us – Discipleship Issues
    Following Jesus – David Lose
    The Season after the Epiphany – the Gospels

    Candlemas, The Presentation, Feb. 2
    The Presentation and Candlemas
    Rembrandt – Story of a Painting

    A Case for Love
    Case for Love Journal – After the Movie
    The Way of Love – a summary
    How can we walk in the Way of Love?

    Creating the Alleluia Banner
    God’s Garden, Feb 4- March 31
    Village Harvest Jan., 2024
    Sacred Ground, Jan., 2024

    Black History Month, Feb., 2024
    Black History month
    Rosa Parks birthday Feb. 4
    Visit to Belle Grove, Feb. 2018

    Lectionary, Epiphany 5, Feb. 4, 2024

    I.Theme – Committed Christian Ministry

     "Jesus the Healer"- Daniel Bonnell

    The lectionary readings are here  or individually:

    Old Testament – Isaiah 40:21-31
    Psalm – Psalm 147:1-12, 21c Page 804, BCP
    Epistle –1 Corinthians 9:16-23
    Gospel – Mark 1:29-39 

    Mark – Jesus demonstrates both personal ministry to individual (fever) and group (demons). The passage revolves healing and preaching, solitude and prayer.

    Read more

    Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-law in Mark’s Gospel – 2 Views

    “Freedom For”

    By David Lose, president of Luther Seminary, Philadelphia

    “Christ Healing the Mother of Simon Peter”- John Bridges

    Jesus frees us not only from things that seek to oppress us, but also for a life of purpose, meaning, and good works. (Yes, good works, not those things that we do in the vain hope of justifying ourselves before God or others, but rather those things that we do as a response to the Gospel to serve our neighbor stemming from a sense of joy, love, and freedom.)

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    Chariots of Fire – Eric Liddell reads Isaiah 40

    From the Presbyterian Outlook and author Teri M. Ott

    There is a scene from the 1981 movie “Chariots of Fire” when Eric Liddell, a runner reading Isaiah 40:31 from the pulpit before running and winning the 400 meters in the 1924 Olympic Games. These are the motivational words which we read on Epiphany 5:

    “Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;
    But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
    They shall run and not be weary,
    They shall walk and not faint.”

    Read more

    Black History Month, Feb., 2024

    From the Diocese of West Missouri

    “Black History Month is an annual celebration of the heritage and Americans have played in our country throughout U.S. history.

    “If you don’t already know about prominent figures such as Madam C.J. Walker, who was the first U.S. woman to become a self-made millionaire; George Washington Carver, who derived nearly 300 products from the peanut; Rosa Parks, who sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and galvanized the civil rights movement; and Shirley Chisholm, who was the first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, this is a month long opportunity to learn more!

    “Black History Month began as an initiative by Carter G. Woodson, a brilliant and highly accomplished son of slaves, to honor the heritage and achievements of African Americans with a week-long celebration in 1926. Then, in 1976, President Gerald Ford designated February as Black History Month, urging all Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

    “Reasons we should all, regardless of our own heritage, celebrate Black History Month!  It celebrates diversity and honors all people. It unites us to be reminded that black history is our history. It takes us beyond the history books and helps us understand the importance of our stories. It helps us be better stewards of our privileges. To quote J. Tisby, “Racial and ethnic diversity is an expression of God’s manifold beauty. No single race or its culture can comprehensively display the infinite glory of God’s image, so we have been given our differences to help us appreciate God’s splendor from various perspectives.”

    Now for a quiz! The Diocese of West Missouri provided a page of quotes that celebrate the month.  You have to guess the author, however. But don’t despair, flip the page and you have the answer!  Link to the quotes:


    Rosa Parks birthday, Feb 4 – Black History

    From the SALT project

    “February 4 is the birthday of Rosa Parks, born in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1913. In the 1940s and 50s, she served as secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, working as a civil rights organizer and activist.  

    “In August of 1955, black teenager Emmett Till, visiting relatives in Mississippi, was brutally murdered after allegedly flirting with a white woman. Parks attended a mass meeting at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery on November 27, 1955; the meeting’s speakers addressed the Emmett Till case at length, including the news that Till’s two murderers had just been acquitted. Parks was deeply disturbed and angered by the verdict, not least because Till’s case had received such widespread public attention, far more than other cases she and the Montgomery NAACP had worked on over the years. Just four days later, she took her famous stand on that fateful Montgomery bus ride. She later said that when the driver ordered her to move, “I thought of Emmett Till and I just couldn’t go back.”

    Read more

    Black history – Visit to Belle Grove in Feb. 2018

    From a Jan 29, 2018 article

    “Catherine has reserved 10 spots after Bible Study on Feb 28 for a special tour at Belle Grove Plantation just over the river in King George to understand the slave experience there as part of Black History month. Please let her know by Feb. 7 if you would like to take this special tour. We will start with lunch at 1pm in the Parish House and go to the tour at 2pm. There is no charge – donations are accepted.

    “Here’s the background. After months of research and development, owners Brett and Michelle Darnell opened their Enslaved Experience and History Tour. Not only does the tour discuss the enslaved experience, but it also discusses how the enslaved community changed the way Americans ate with a discussion on foods and cooking techniques brought from Africa during the slave trade years. The tour runs two hours.

    “Records were sparse at Belle Grove. However, the Darnells found another source. During the 1930s, slave narratives were collected as part of the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration. At the conclusion of the slave narrative project, a set of edited transcripts was assembled as “Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.” Using three stories, she created a tour that covers experiences and history from the perspective of a former slave.

    “When the Darnells bought the home, she went to the Library of Virginia to pull death records for King George. She writes “But the hardest thing to see was the entries of slaves with just a first name. Then the cause of death to be listed as “unknown”. In some cases, the date of the death wasn’t known either. Then the ones who they didn’t know the parents or in case just to know the mother’s first name.”

    “I think this is why this part of history has become so important to me. These people were born here, lived here and died here. Nothing was recorded for most of them. There is no grave marker that say “I was here.” No newspaper announcement. No fanfare. And the only way I know about them is the meager information that was listed.”

    More Information

    1. Belle Grove blog
    2. Free Lance-Star

    Sunday’s Thoughts Feb 4, Epiphany 5

    This week is unique in how it unfolds. The message from the Gospel shows Christ during a typical day as healer to Peter’s mother, casting out demons in the community and creating wholeness during his preaching.

    But he found time for renewal – “In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” In Isaiah, “From Isaiah “but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

    This is an important lesson for all of us in our time. The Washington Post reported in April 2022.”Unlike every other industrialized nation, the United States has no mandatory paid vacation or holiday leave. Workers who have paid leave often don’t take it. And even when we take leave, many of us can’t leave work behind. The technology that lets us work anywhere, anytime, makes it hard to disconnect even when we’re supposed to.”

    Taken as a whole, last week’s Epiphany 4 prefigures Epiphany’s major themes — healing, restoration, and hope. We continue them this week (Epiphany 5) that will define the heart of Jesus’ mission.

    Healing  – The passage pivots around four key verbs:  (“to come near”),  (“to take hold”),  (“to waken, to raise”) and  (“to serve, to minister”). The first two verbs go together: Jesus “comes near” Peter’s mother-in-law, close enough to “take hold” of her hand. Throughout the Gospel, Mark distinctively emphasizes the power of touch, including the idea (as we’ll see in the weeks ahead) that Jesus is unafraid to touch and be touched by the supposedly “unclean.”

    Restoration – Having taken her hand, Jesus “raises her up.” The same word (egeiro) is used of Jesus himself at the resurrection — it’s there in the famous line, “He has been raised; he is not here” (Mark 16:6) — and so the term evokes a renewed strength, a reinvigoration, a reawakening, a restoration, a return. She is awakened – restored.

    Illness not only debilitates the body but it also can cut a person off from his or her social life and contributions to community — and this can feel like a loss of dignity or purpose.

    Hospitality was highly prized in the ancient world, and for early Christians, to be hospitable in a way that advanced the Jesus movement was both an art and an honor. in this way, for Mark, the healing in this story is not only a matter of a fever departing; it’s also a matter of restoration to community, and of participation in the movement. This social dimension of healing is a key theme to which Mark will return again and again.

    Hope – And while the episode with the possessed man in Epiphany 4 provides a sense of what this liberation is “freedom from,” this week’s story points toward what it is “freedom for.”

    What is she renewed for? For diakonos, “ministry, service,” the same root that gives us the word “deacon” (she is the original deacon!). What’s more, the word diakonos literally means “to kick up dust” — this is an active, practical, on-the-move, change-the-world sort of work. In short, she is lifted up to serve. She is freed for ministry, to kick up some dust and get some things done. She is the pioneer who blazes the trail for the anonymous woman who causes a little dust-up near the end of Mark’s Gospel by anointing Jesus (“what she has done will be told in remembrance of her,” Mark 14:3-9), and also for the group of women at the crucifixion who stay and keep watch and remain with the vandalized body, even as the male disciples panic and flee (see Mark 15:40-41; the Greek word translated as “provided for” is diakoneo).