15 Significant Events of 2017 (in no certain order)

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Title:15 Significant Events of 2017 (in no certain order)

2017 had many wonderful smaller events unlike 2016 when there were large events that changed the face of the church, such as the renovation of the kitchen and the altar.  These events were chosen to tell our story.

There is no one theme that connects all of these events in 2017. However, the environment is possibly one connecting link. We celebrated God as the creator of the environment in September and early October in the Season of Creation.  We added "bee culture" which played itself out in St. Francis day. The Prayer Walk reached out into the environment on the nature preserve and the river. We enjoyed playing in nature with stations of the cross on Good Friday and with the scavenger hunt in the fall. 

Nature can be a destructive force as seen in hurricane season this past fall. We rose to the occasion by contributing to the Episcopal Relief fund.  Life and death are all part of nature, the latter we felt as we lost a one of the large sycamore trees near the graveyard.  And now to the events:

  1. Hurricane Relief, September . Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texas, the 4th largest city in the US in September. Florida was hit by Hurricane Irma.   The church sent off a check in September to Episcopal Relief and Development for $3,145 for flood relief for Harvey and Irma. Thanks to all for helping provide substantial relief for those in need.

  2. Prayer Walk June 25.
  3. “Prayer changes things!” says Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Life at St Peter’s is living proof that the power of prayer is alive and well in our parish and that the Holy Spirit is Energy in our midst, continuing to form and to shape us into Christians who are witnessing to God’s transforming power all around us.

    Bishop Shannon came to visit on Sunday, June 25th. The Bishop joined us on a prayer walk through Port Royal early that morning. We visited 11 stops in Port Royal for about an hour. The beauty of the early morning captivated all, especially the nature stops This walk allowed the Bishop to see the context and setting in which we Christians work in our community. He blessed our town and surroundings. We all got to pray with members of Shiloh Baptist and Memorial Baptist. A fisherman joined us as we prayed out on the pier. What a witness to those in town to see our processional cross, our banner, our Bishop, and our parishioners praying for them in their own spaces.

    When we went down to the pier, people started telling all those wonderful stories about Jesus and abundant catches of fish—our shared story of revelation, transformation, resurrection and Jesus right there with us as we looked out over the water and prayed.

    We talked about the history of the places visited. It was an event of interest to all ages. We had all 3 orders present – Deacon, Priest and Bishop. 

    Here is the link to the full story of the prayer walk and to the Bishop’s visitation on June 25.

  4. Magical Strings, April 22. Their performance was the 5th year of concerts at St. Peter’s. Magical Strings, a duo of Philip and Pam Boulding, played Celtic music on Celticharps, dulcimers, guitar, pennywhistles and Irish Accordion. Philip made the dulcimers, harps, and guitar used in the concert! The soft ethereal music captivated all who heard them. 

    Here is the link to the concert page.

  5. Village Harvest, Nov 15.We celebrated our 3 year anniversary of our food ministry, the Village Harvest in a big way by serving 191 people, a new record. Later on Giving Tuesday Nov. 28 we helped support this key outreach ministry by raising $1,010 which should provide food for 1,000.


    The Village Harvest was part of the Season of Giving , a series of donations from Oct. 29- Dec. 10. These were 4 projects that provided for others in the spirit of Christian charity. There were international (Samaritan’s Purse), national (UTO) and local projects (Village Harvest, ECM Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  6. Season of Creation, Sept. 3 – Oct. 5. This is a new lectionary for us in the midst of Pentecost over 5 weeks.

    The central focus of the month was to deepen our understanding of God as Creator, to celebrate God’s role as Creator, and to examine and deepen and widen our own relationships with God, creation, and with one another.  The Vestry do it again and like to broaden the focus beyond worship and into specific actions which will help St Peter’s make a positive difference for the environment

    Related to the Season of Creation was Andrew Huffman’s work with the Bees. On April 23, St. Peter’s (and Port Royal) grew by 20,000 creatures. Andrew Huffman brought his gift of bees to St. Peter’s. They were placed in a specially designed hive in the back of the church yard. There was also the process smoking the bees to keep them less agitated and add combs to the hive as well as food of sugar water to help their growth. There was a problem in the first group with a lack of a queen bee. A second group brought in did have a queen. The expectation is that they will have honey and wax ready for production in a year. By the fall, Huffman reported that the St Peter’s busy bees are multiplying quickly, so quickly in fact that he needs to keep them fed with sugar water to keep them full and productive as winter approaches. We had a campaign to help with the sugar water and mason jars.

    Introductory link. Sermon for Season of Creation, Week 2, Sept. 10.

  7. Cookie and Johnny return to the Dominican Republic, June, 2017

    They have been helping a young student Luis Garcia for a decade. Cookie met him while on the ECW Board. Her first mission trip to the Dominican Republic was in 2005 with Bishop Frank Gray.

    He visited St Peter’s in Christmas, 2011 where we had two readings of Luke 2, one in Spanish from Luis and one in English from Catherine. His passion was to be a priest and he entered seminary. Cookie writes of her relationship. "When I met him his grandmother who raised him had died and he was staying with the priest and his family. He still considers us his family too since Johnny and I have been helping him along the way." He now has graduated from seminary. A description of his current work is described below.

    "His current assignment is in Santana Bani, where he is in charge of a school, four churches (one under construction) and a dormitory that can house 30 people. He is ordained, but lacks his college diploma. This means that he is a provisional priest and must finish his education to be formally declared a priest."

    We sent Cookie and Johnny out on the mission trip. They began two tasks. They are collecting funds for him from St Peter’s ministries to be able complete his education. It will take 2 years and $4,000 to complete his education. Much of the funds are for travel to a distant school and support while in school since he is now married and has his own family.

    They will be working on mission projects within his churches. This is the first St Peter’s mission trip by parishioners since Roger and Eunice Key helped out a Moravian clothing distribution in Staten Island, New York and then helped in hurricane relief in a succeeding year.

  8. Vacation Bible School attracts the largest number of children in several years.

    Thanks to Becky Fisher for conceiving the idea of using Harry Potter with VBS , for the extensive amount of work in gathering materials and other tasks to make it work at St. Peter’s. Of course, she was the lead teacher also! Thanks to Catherine for handling the music, borrowing the labyrinth and other details and to all the helpers for lunch and other needs.

    And most of all for the Class of 2017 – the largest number of children served (17) in several years. See the "best", here

  9. July 4 – The celebration is back at St. Peter’s

    The Port Royal 4th of July celebration was back at St. Peter’s. Last year it was abruptly moved here due to weather.

    Numerous members of the church participated this year – Cookie Davis as President of Historic Port Royal spoke; Mike Newman, Town crier, read the Declaration of Independence; Ken, Johnny and Ed selling hotdogs and melons; Sylvia Sellers and Elizabeth Heimbach pushing libraries in the town; Nancy Long, Marilyn Newman (harpist) and Tom Guthrie presenting the hymn sing and organ concert after lunch; and John Gilliland of the militias who brought the Declaration to be read.

    Our rector also helped to dedicate a new fire engine #3 at the fire house and learned of traditions when bringing in a new engine.

    Link to the story and pictures.


  10. Oct. 4 – A different type of St. Francis celebration.

    This year we had a variety of activities – art, a scavenger hunt, the blessing and then following it the Village Dinner. In attendance were 7 dogs, 3 hermit crabs, a wounded vulture and 2,000 bees. The people came at different times so the service was repeated several times. Usually the people gather for one service Catherine also had "treats to go" that she gave out at the Village Dinner 

    Thanks to all who participated in particular for Susan  Tilt’s art project, Andrew Huffman for his wonderful explanation on our bees and for gathering the bees in a separate glassed container so all could see, Catherine for the scavenger hunt (for both children and adults), the helpers with the Village Dinner and of course those who brought their animals. There was much more diversity from just having dogs.

    Link to the story and pictures.

  11. May 3 – Shred-it. The best year in 6.

    A beautiful spring afternoon, no more than 70 degrees under brilliant sunshine with a gentle wind.

    We donated over 100 boxes with monetary donations of $560. After paying for the truck, we made $335 for St. Peter’s outreach ministries. This was the best year in 6. Andrea Pogue conceived of the project and has directed it each year.

    Andrea scheduled Shred-It in conjunction with the Village Dinnner. Eunice, Cookie, Betty and Cheryl cooked an enchilada dinner with vegetables and flan cake.

    Link to the story and pictures.

  12. A Creative Good Friday, April 14, 2017.

    In the past few years the weather has been cloudy and dark. This year, it was brilliant sunshine with warm temperatures. Nature was abuzz – the birds looking for nesting, squirrels looking for food and others. It was the type of day you sit outside and feel the wonderful breezes. Not very characteristic of the day Jesus had but conducive to two special events – the children’s art project and the scavenger hunt.

    A. A new activity this year on Good Friday was an art project afternoon thanks to Susan Tilt. The children made the Stations of the Cross that were used that night in the Good Friday service.

    Here is a photo gallery of their creations

    B. A second activity involved stations of the cross. Catherine organized stations of the cross so that children and adults could make a spiritual pilgrimage by following the path of Jesus to the cross. All in St. Peter’s yard! At the end were hot cross buns and cookies.

    See the photo gallery.

  13. Christmas Play, Dec. 17, 2017.

    This play was different than in the past. It was exclusively performed by children but this time with speaking lines rather than involving the adults with the speaking parts. The play was inserted in the service rather than the service inserted into the play. This year Advent 4 and Christmas Eve are the same day so Advent seems shorter. Thus, the decision to make it an Advent 3 Sunday as much as the play.

    The play was written by Catherine around the Gospel reading for this Sunday starting with John the Baptist. It continued with a mixture of the traditions from Luke and Matthew. We had 58 people in the service including 11 children in the play.

    Becky Fisher as the director deserves credit for rehearsing the children over several weeks with their lines, organizing the costumes and getting the PA system. The props had to be purchased and blocking had to be done.

    See the videos of the play and the photos and description of Sunday

  14. Restoring the Campanile.

    The campanile is the structure that used to house the bell tower from 1868-2010. It had become weak through deterioration over the years. It was threatened by a sycamore that had to be taken down in 2016. Adding to it woes, the structure by 2017 was leaning significantly and its structural integrity was in doubt. The siding also needed work. Apparently it was built without a foundation. The Pitts brothers were hired to lift the structure and place a concrete foundation for the campanile and repair the structure, including painting.


    See the story of the campanile. 

  15. Shrine Mont retreat, May 5-7

    Our Shrine Mont weekend with Christ Episcopal was May 5-7 with 10 going this year. This was the 4th year Christ Episcopal has invited to share in the wonder of Shrine Mont. The theme was Celtic Christianity which was presented by Catherine on a very rainy weekend. This prayer was prayed both congregations in Port Royal and Shrine Mont

    More pictures are here.

  16. A Dual Baptism, April 2, 2017

    April 2, Lent 5 was a dual baptism – Kathryn Davis, the daughter of Johnathan and Odessa Davis, and Dorian Huffman, the son of Andrew and Felicia Huffman. And we had First Sunday Social to welcome them prepared by Cookie Davis with help from family members which had ham biscuits, barbecue, vegetables and two baptism cakes. Cookie also did all the flowers which adorned the congregation – the lilies and the red bud on the altar.

    Baptism certainly fit the lectionary as we celebrated their new lives in Christ as Lazarus returned from the dead for new life. A wonderful day for a baptism – warm spring day with abundant sunshine. The two families brought their extended families so that we had 76 in the congregation! And we had plenty of children to bless the water.

    The story and photos are here.

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