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August, 2018 Newsletter

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10. Latest Sunday Bulletin (July 22, 2018 11:00am),  and Sermon (July 8, 2018)

July 15, 2018    
11. Recent Services: 

June 24

Photos from June 24

July 1

Photos from July 1

July 8

Photos from July 8

Mike Newmans Block print of St. Peter's Christmas

 Block Print by Mike Newman


Colors for Year B, 2017-18

Green Ordinary Time Jun 3-Oct 31



Daily "Day by Day"

3-Minute Retreats invite you to take a short prayer break right at your computer. Spend some quiet time reflecting on a Scripture passage.

Knowing that not everyone prays at the same pace, you have control over the pace of the retreat. After each screen, a Continue button will appear. Click it when you are ready to move on. If you are new to online prayer, the basic timing of the screens will guide you through the experience.

Follow the Star

Daily meditations in words and music.  

Sacred Space

Your daily prayer online, since 1999

"We invite you to make a 'Sacred Space' in your day, praying here and now, as you visit our website, with the help of scripture chosen every day and on-screen guidance."

Daily C. S. Lewis thoughts

Saints of the Week,  July 15 - July 22

[“The Righteous Gentiles”]
William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1836
[Bartolomé de las Casas, Friar and Missionary to the Indies, 1566]
Macrina, Monastic and Teacher, 379; also [Adelaide Teague Case, Teacher, 1948]
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Ross Tubman
[Albert John Luthuli, Prophetic Witness in South Africa, 1967]
Saint Mary Magdalene

July 15, 2018 Pentecost 8, Proper 10

Pictures and text from this Sunday, July 15

The Week Ahead...

July 18 - 10:00am, Ecumenical Bible Study

July 18 - 3:00pm-5:00pm, Village Harvest food distribution

July 22 - 11:00am,  Pentecost 9, Holy Eucharist, Rite II

Sunday, July 22 Readings and Servers

Village Harvest July 18, 2018 - midsummer abundance

Thanks to Andrea Pogue for these pictures

Mid-summer at St. Peter's, July 18, 2018, the monthly food distribution with the Village Harvest. The weather was much better than the rain from the previous two months. The weather was temperate with temperatures in the mid 80's under brilliant sunshine. We had a variety of help transporting and organizing the food including visiting priest Luis Garcia and his family from the Dominican Republic. He is our celebrant this Sunday

1,490 pounds of food were distributed which included a wide variety - 588 pounds of fresh produce, 463 pound of grocery items, 322 pounds of meat and 40 pounds of bakery items. While a significant number, it is under average this year's average of 1,617 pounds. Still it is 121% greater than the same period a year ago.  Parishioners are contributing school supplies this month and next.

Food went to 119 families, the largest number since April. The average food  received was 12.52 pounds of food with a value of $75. For year we have served on average 120 people a month  under last year's 142. We have been down in numbers about 15%. One difference besides weather earlier in the year is that people are not being contacted directly this year to remind them of the Harvest.

General Convention in Austin wraps up - 10 things to know

Major support in this summary came from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

The General Convention is the primary governing and legislative body of the Episcopal Church and meets every 3 years. It wrapped up a 9 day session in Austin, Texas on July 13.   Here are 10 things that came out of the meetings: 

1 . Continued use of the 1979 Prayer Book together with a look toward eventual revision

The 1979 BCP has been memorialized. It may continue to be used with no end in sight. 

Work is authorized to proceed on liturgical and prayer book revision. An important goal is to have inclusive and expansive language and imagery, and expression of care of God’s creation. Translations will be provided. 

There will be a more dynamic process for discerning common worship. A new 30-member task force on liturgical and prayer book revision with diverse voices will be formed. Bishops are to engage worshiping communities in experimentation and creation of alternative texts to offer the wider church. There will be churchwide engagement on liturgical development. 

2. New Rite II options with Expansive Language will be available 

It provides expansive language option for Prayers A, B, D expansive for trial use; Prayer C is referred back to committee for possible revision for trial use.

3. New translations for the BCP will be made

The Episcopal church recognized the need for translations and is moving quickly to provide professional dynamic equivalence translation in Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole for any new liturgies materials


 Lectionary, Pentecost 9, Proper 11 Year B

I. Theme -  God's care for us all

"Sheep in Paradise" from Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe

"Sheep in Paradise" from Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe, 549, Ravenna, Italy

The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

Old Testament - Jeremiah 23:1-6
Psalm - Psalm 23, Page 612, BCP
Epistle -Ephesians 2:11-22
Gospel - Mark 6:30-34, 53-56  

Today’s readings remind us of the care that God constantly exerts on our behalf. Jeremiah uses the image of God as a shepherd to describe how God will gather the people.  Paul explains the reconciling work of Christ, who is the peace between Gentiles and Jews. Jesus has compassion on the crowds of people, who remind him of sheep without a shepherd.With compassion, Jesus saw the multitude “like sheep without a shepherd,” and he bade them to sit down in that green pasture to be rested and fed.  The story leads up to the feeding of the 5,000 at the end of the month. The event on the hillside is a prefiguration of the messianic banquet to which all people may come to eat the bread of life. This bread, broken for us, is enough for all at present, with much left over for future throngs. 

The scripture implies that a great spiritual hunger had brought the crowd to Jesus, for “he began to teach them many things,” until it grew late. He had very likely told this people that God loved each of them and that the gates of the kingdom were open to all. Whatever human condition was their own, they were not beyond God’s care and acceptance.  

These were the crowds of people who may have been poor and sick, people who suffered and had no leadership to speak for them, to bring them hope and healing, and Jesus has seen them for who they are. Jesus and the disciples had hoped to escape the crowds and have a time of rest but Jesus saw the needs of the people were greater than the needs of himself and his disciples, for the people were sick, lonely, hopeless and hungry.  

The miracle of the loaves points to the greatest miracle of all, which is described later in Ephesians. There were no “dividing walls” at the feeding–no barriers of legal, social or religious foundation. The multitude sat at Jesus’ feet, looking to him to fill their need. Jesus was a son and teacher of Israel, the first people to whom God was revealed, the first people entrusted with God’s oracles and ordinances. We, the Gentiles, know ourselves to be those who were far off, “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel,” and “separated from Christ” in the beginning. But his peace has come for all. He is the one who unites all the families of the nations. Through him both Jews and Gentiles have access to the Father.

Read more about the lectionary...

The relationship between Psalm 23 and Mark's Gospel 

From Disclosing New Worlds - Lawrence Moore

"I find it striking that Mark groups three events that belong together (the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus walking on water and the healing of the sick at Gennesaret) in ways which carry unmistakeable echoes of Psalm 23... it is merely to point out that the movement of Psalm 23 is a useful picture of the movement of the gospel passage.

"Let’s look at the parallels. To start with, having Yahweh as Shepherd means that the flock will ‘not want’. Yahweh is the Shepherd-provider, who ‘makes the sheep lie down in green pastures’. Jesus, similarly, elects to be shepherd to the people in the wilderness (v34). Not only does Jesus begin to teach them (ie give them the ‘leading’ or direction they are lacking) but, in preparation for feeding them, orders the people to sit down on the green grass (v39). It is interesting that Mark mentions the green grass specifically: they are in the wilderness, but Jesus has led them to ‘green grass’ within that hostile environment. This is a place of peace, safety and provision: it is here that the desperate ‘sheep’ will be fed.

"Psalm 23 goes on to celebrate Yahweh’s protection, even in ‘the valley of the shadow of death’. Having been fed, the disciples in the story find themselves in life-threatening circumstances. They are trying to row across the lake to Bethsaida, but unable to make any headway because they are rowing into the wind. Mark, of course, attaches narrative symbolic significance to the lake crossings. Importantly, too, storms at sea evoke the primeval chaos of Genesis 1:2, and symbolise the power of the Strong Man. That they are ‘natural’ powers is Mark emphasising symbolically that the world (which ought to be the Kingdom of God) is in the grip of powers over which human beings have no control. This is the ‘valley of the shadow of death’.

"Psalm 23 ends with a celebration of Yahweh’s goodness and mercy. To be part of Yahweh’s flock is to live a life that is truly blessed. It is to have Yahweh’s constant presence. Yahweh is the God-who-saves. The gospel passage closes with Jesus and the disciples landing at Gennesaret; the people’s response is to rush around and bring the sick people to him for healing. ‘Goodness and mercy will trail around after me all my life’, says the psalmist. In the gospel story, those who touch the trailing fringe of Jesus’ cloak are healed. Jesus is God’s goodness and mercy incarnate.

"Why does Mark make a point of recording Jesus’ reaction to the crowds in terms of being like sheep without a shepherd? Note that his reaction is driven by compassion (Mark 6:34). ‘Compassion’ is an Exodus word. Compassion is the foundation of Yahweh’s ‘goodness and mercy’; Yahweh’s liberating salvation. The story of the Exodus itself starts with Yahweh ‘hearing the groans of the Hebrew slaves’; Yahweh’s compassion is engaged, so that Yahweh ‘looked upon the Israelites, and Yahweh took notice of them’ (Exodus 2:24). Yahweh saves because Yahweh is touched by suffering. Yahweh provides bread in the wilderness because Yahweh has ‘compassion’.

"It is difficult to miss the echoes of the Exodus story here. Mark’s Jesus is the Son of God – the one whose person and actions mirror and portray God. Jesus is presented as God’s compassion and liberating power in action. His mission of the Kingdom is a mission of liberation from all that enslaves. The subsequent feeding story – the miraculous feeding of 5,000 Jewish men in the wilderness – echoes the story of Yahweh’s provision of manna in the wilderness. Jesus is present among the needy of Israel: it’s Exodus time!"

Psalm 23 - Not just for funerals

By Emily Heath, enior Pastor of The Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire.

"Almost every time I plan a funeral, the reading of Psalm 23 is requested. It's probably the one Psalm we all know more than any of the others, and there is something comforting about reading it while we mourn: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…"

"But that Psalm 23 has been relegated mostly to funerals is a tragedy. Because, to me, this Psalm isn't about death; it's about living fearlessly and in abundance.

"The shepherd of the Psalm, God, is described as someone who can lead us through the scariest of places, all the while casting aside our fear. And God fills our cups, not just until there is enough, but until they overflow with so much goodness that we can't help but share it.

"I think churches could learn from this. Because in a time when so many churches are drawing inward, afraid of an unknown future, and clinging to the "hope" of austerity measures, the Psalm offers us a radical alternative. Don't live in fear. Live in faith. And follow the one who can lead you through the darkest valleys and make them seem like they were well-lit sidewalks."

Turning Lost Sheep into Shepherds

Article from Faith and Leadership. The story of Tierra Nueva

"An ecumenical ministry in rural Washington state helps Latin American immigrants, migrant workers, gang members, addicts, jail inmates and people who have been incarcerated become leaders in their own community."

"Tierra Nueva is headquartered in a 100-year-old former bank building in rural Burlington, Washington. The first floor, repurposed into a simple worship space and family support center, is a mishmash of sleeper couches, desks, bookshelves and cardboard boxes. On one wall, a mural depicts Jesus as a brown-skinned man channeling healing waters, which swirl around a scene filled with people -- imprisoned behind bars, entangled in ropes and chains, toiling in green fields, embracing one another, kneeling in prayer. The painting symbolizes the mission of this ecumenical ministry, which serves people on the margins of society -- Latin American immigrants, migrant workers, gang members, addicts, jail inmates and people who have been incarcerated, as well as people in the mainstream.

"Originally focused on jail ministry and immigrant assistance, Tierra Nueva’s mission has grown to encompass gang ministry, drug and alcohol recovery, job creation and theological education as well. Farming and a coffee-roasting social enterprise provide meaningful work and income for people the ministry serves.

"Founder Bob Ekblad’s hope is to see more people empowered as leaders to help liberate those in need within their very own communities.

“To me, that involves bringing together Scripture, Holy Spirit and social justice advocacy in a missional community model,” he said.

Read more

The Gospel Setting   - Mark 6:30-34 

By Debie S Thomas  for Journey with Jesus 

Icon of Christ the healer

"Mark 6:30-34 describes the return of the disciples from their first ministry tour — their inauguration into apostleship. Exhilarated and exhausted, they have stories to tell Jesus — thrilling stories of healings, exorcisms, and effective evangelistic campaigns. Perhaps there are darker stories in the mix as well — stories of failure and rejection. Hard stories they need to process privately with their Teacher. 

"Whatever the case, Jesus senses that the disciples need a break. They're tired, overstimulated, underfed, and in significant need of solitude. 

"Jesus, meanwhile, is not in top form himself. He has just lost John the Baptist, his beloved cousin and prophet, the one who baptized him and spent a lifetime in the wilderness preparing his way. Worse, Jesus has lost him to murder, a terrifying reminder that God's beloved are not immune to violent, senseless deaths. Maybe Jesus' own end feels closer. In any case, he's heartbroken. 

"Let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile," he says to his disciples as the crowds throng around them at the edge of the Sea of Galilee. "Come away with me," is how another translation puts it, and I hear both tenderness and longing in those words. Yes, Jesus wants to provide a time of rest and recuperation for his friends. But he's weary, himself; the hunger he articulates here is his own.

"...He's also like us in that sometimes, his best-laid plans go awry. According to St. Mark, Jesus' retreat-by-boat idea fails. The crowds anticipate his plan, and follow on foot. By the time he and his disciples reach their longed-for destination, the crowds are waiting, and the quiet sanctuary Jesus seeks is nowhere to be found. Maybe what he faces isn't quite the urban onslaught of Calcutta, but it's definitely a first-century wilderness equivalent.  

"Does Jesus run? Does he turn the boat around and sail away? No. As Mark puts it, "Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things." 

"But once again, according to Mark 6:53-56, the crowds anticipate Jesus' plan, and word spreads. As soon as the boat lands at Gennesaret, the crowds go wild, pushing and jostling to get close to Jesus. They carry their sick to him on mats. In every village and city Jesus approaches, swarms of people needing healing line the marketplaces. They press against him. They plead. They beg to touch the fringe of his robe and receive healing.  

"Jesus' response? Once again, his response is compassion. "All who touched him were healed.   

"Lesson One for me?  Pay more attention to the "throwaway" passages in the Gospels, those little transition verses which often precede or follow the "main events" of Jesus' life story.  Passages like Luke 5:16: "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."  Or Mark 11:12: "The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry."  Or Matthew 8:24: "Jesus was sleeping."  Or Mark 7:24: "He didn't want anyone to know which house he was staying in."

"In these "minor" verses, I see essential glimpses of Jesus' human life — the life I can relate to most readily.  His need to withdraw, his desire for solitary prayer, his physical hunger, his sleepiness, his inclination to hide.

"These glimpses take nothing away from Jesus' divinity; they enhance it, making it richer and all the more mysterious.  They remind me that the doctrine of the Incarnation truly is Christianity's best gift to the world.  God — the God of the whole universe — hungers, sleeps, eats, rests, withdraws, and grieves.  In all of these mundane but crucial ways, our God is like us."

Err on the Side of Compassion  

By Debie S. Thomas "Come Away with Me" for Journey with Jesus

Debie relates a recent visit to Calcutta, India to the Gospel reading this week 

"One of the visits my family made in Calcutta is to "Mother House," the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, and the home where Mother Teresa lived, served, died, and is now laid to rest. We saw the tiny bedroom where she slept from the 1950s until her death in 1997. We saw her tomb, now a place of pilgrimage and silent meditation for people of all faiths. We saw countless photographs of Mother Teresa out among the poor she spent her days and nights serving. Jostling crowds. Outstretched hands. Noisy and desperate petitions. An endless cacophony of need.  

"Ten years after her death, Mother's Teresa's private letters to her spiritual advisors were published in a volume entitled, Come Be My Light, and the struggle those letters revealed shocked both admirers and critics of Calcutta's 20th-century saint. Contrary to popular belief, Mother Teresa did not enjoy perpetual — or even frequent — spiritual bliss as she went about doing the "Lord's work." Instead, she experienced despair, doubt, loneliness, and the seeming abandonment of God. Her "dark night of the soul" lasted for decades.

" Often in her letters, she berated herself for this "darkness," until finally, she came to believe that God was allowing her to identify intimately with the suffering of those he had called her to serve. For Mother Teresa, compassion was neither straightforward nor comfortable. It was birthed in her at great cost. Wrenched from her through darkness and pain.

" My own in-laws have served as missionaries in Calcutta for close to five decades. My father-in-law's efforts to share Christ's love with his adopted city have been tireless. As a preacher, a mentor, a Bible School principal, and an evangelist, he has blessed more people than any of us in the family can count. Meanwhile, the needy strangers my mother-in-law has welcomed, fed, sheltered, and mothered over the years number in the thousands. Growing up, my husband often called his home, "Grand Central Station." It was perpetually full of guests.

Read more ...

Excerpts from Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the "Saint of Calcutta", Mother Teresa  

“The smile that covered a "multitude of pains" was no hypocritical mask. She was trying to hide her sufferings - even from God! - so as not to make others, especially the poor, suffer because of them. When she promised to do "a little extra praying & smiling" for one of her friends, she was alluding to an acutely painful and costly sacrifice: to pray when prayer was so difficult and to smile when her interior pain was agonizing.”

― Brian Kolodiejchuk, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the "Saint of Calcutta"

“There is so much deep contradiction in my soul. Such deep longing for God - so deep that it is painful - a suffering continual - and yet not wanted by God - repulsed - empty - no faith - no love - no zeal. Souls hold no attraction - Heaven means nothing - to me it looks like an empty place - the thought of it means nothing to me and yet this torturing longing for God. Pray for me please that I keep smiling at Him in spite of everything. For I am only His - so He has every right over me. I am perfectly happy to be nobody even to God. . . .

Your devoted child in J.C.

M. Teresa”

― Brian Kolodiejchuk, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the "Saint of Calcutta

" “Don't look for big things, just do small things with great love...the smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.”

― Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta

“Our poor people are great people, a very lovable people, They don't need our pity and sympathy. They need our understanding love and they need our respect. We need to tell the poor that they are somebody to us that they, too, have been created, by the same loving hand of God, to love and be loved.”

― Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta

Summer Diversions - "The Red Wheelbarrow"  

"so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

The poem is "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams, 1883 - 1963.

Williams called this poem "quite perfect" and since its publication in 1923 it has been a staple of classrooms.  People have wondered " Where is this wheelbarrow and who owned it ?" But now 90 years later the owner of the wheelbarrow has been identified.

On July 18, 2015, in a moment of belated poetic justice, a stone was laid on the otherwise unmarked grave of Thaddeus Marshall, an African-American street vendor from Rutherford, N.J., noting his unsung contribution to American literature.

William Logan a professor at the University of Florida has  published an essay on the poem in the most recent issue of the literary journal Parnassus It considers the poem from seemingly every conceivable angle. But also traces back the owner of the wheelbarrow. The story is the subject of a NY Times book review article.

Read more about the wheelbarrow

St. Peter's Church 823 Water Street  P. O. Box 399 Port Royal, Virginia 22535  804-742-5908.  Reverend Catherine D. Hicks, Priest-in-Charge, stpetersrev@gmail.com;    Site Map