Weekly Dispatch, December 22nd, 2021
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St. John's Weekly Dispatch, v. 2

St. John's Schedule

  • Catechesis Hour - Sundays at 9:00am before Church
  • Holy Eucharist - Sundays at 10:30am at Church and via Zoom
  • Evening Prayer - Wednesdays at 6:30pm at Church
  • Catechesis Community Group – Wednesdays at 7:00pm at Church
  • Candlelight Christmas Eve Service – Friday, December 24th, 6:00pm at Church
  • Christmas Day Eucharist – Saturday, December 25th, 10:30am at Church
  • St. John the Apostle/Evangelist Feast Day – Sunday, December 26th at 10:30am at Church
  • The Feast of the Epiphany – Thursday, January 6th, at 5:30pm at Church
  • Vision Charette – Sunday, January 23rd, after church (lunch provided)

A Message from Fr. Joe

Dear Friends in Christ,

This week we approach the high feast of our anticipation and wonder: the feast of The Incarnation, what we commonly call Christmas. Yes, it is still early, but I wish you a Merry Christmas. For many people, this is another challenging year. As I write that statement, I feel uncomfortable and frustrated but that is probably because it is true. The pandemic seems to not get any better and giving into the news doesn’t help one bit. Perhaps we are anxious to visit particular family members who want to heighten political conversations. There may be sadness within some of us who can’t see certain loved ones or ones who have died. Can we hear any good news this year? Despite what makes us uncomfortable and frustrated, anxious, and sad, there are tidings of comfort and joy still for us year after year. It is the message of the angels declared to shepherds in the fields. We will hear it in our upcoming services but hear it now for you.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Fear not? Am I not supposed to be fearful with all that’s going on? A common response to “fear not” is that such an exhortation is simply foolish. We think there are political undertones filled with various conspiracies. But to fear not is to say that I am choosing not to let my circumstances dictate the divine objective reality of good news and great joy. Remember the sermon on joy and happiness? Happiness is based on our circumstances and subjective feelings, but joy is rooted in an objective reality that is unchanged by our feelings and received by faith.

This Good News and great joy is two-fold. It is for all people. Not that everyone will believe it, but the message is not limited or capped off. And this announcement of joy contains a face. The face is our Savior who is Christ the Lord. The news we bring isn’t empty words but filled with flesh and blood. Our Savior, our Lord, our Christ, and our Messiah took a face, and it is Jesus.

The eternal Son of the Triune God took flesh, and by taking our flesh He is fully acquainted with our fears, anxieties, frustrations, and discomfort. He not only understands these things, but He entered the very depths of these areas. He entered them so that in His own flesh He might reconcile us to the Father and the Father to us, that He would not weigh our merits but pardon our offenses, and for the Spirit to dwell within us who gives us peace and faith to endure. Fear not. There is good news and great joy. God has entered your flesh, He is with you, and He is coming again. Merry Christmas.

Grace and Peace,
Fr. Joe

If you would like to support St. John's during this time, you can give online by clicking the button below. You may also send a check to the following address:

PO BOX 36591, CANTON OH 44735

    The God Who Rescues Us by Fr. Joe

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." When asked my favorite book, one of them was the most obvious, The Runaway Bunny. In this very short homily for our children (and adults), I shared this classic story and explored how we are very much like the Runaway Bunny, and how God would go through any and all means to find us. This is what the incarnation is all about: God becoming one of us to rescue us.

    Read more
    Join us every second and fourth (usually) Thursday night for our Eagle and Child reading group! This is a group that meets to discuss and apply classic works in Christian theology from the likes of Lewis, Augustine, Bonhoeffer, and other important authors. Currently, we are reading The Love of Wisdom by Andrew Davison to discuss the history of philosophy as it relates to Christian theology and practice.
    Cana Vox is a discussion group that meets every other Friday where those, married or unmarried, who support a classical understanding of marriage can explore the controversial issues in a calm, deliberative setting that is not subject to the hostilities often found in today's public discourse on the topic. We seek to discuss thoughtful and gospel-oriented responses to the confusion surrounding marriage in our culture.


    There is NO catechesis this Sunday.

    Join us on January 2nd for a special intergenerational catechesis with both children and adults. We will share our experiences with Advent and Christmas, interact with the 12 days of Christmas, and highlight particular feasts in the season. We seek to spiritually deepen the relationships between adults and children, and what better way than through Christmas!

    Beginning on January 9th, the Catechesis Community Group will meet on Sundays. Lord willing, we will have fellowship opportunities throughout the new year, too. In the Epiphany season, we will focus our catechesis on the historic creeds of the Church. What are we professing, and why it matters? Come and see.

    Our children will also begin a new catechesis curriculum on January 9th called “Gospel Play.” It is a highly interactive and engaging way of entering into the biblical narrative alongside the Church calendar. Our goal is for the Gospel to be the consistent word for all of us, especially for our children.

    The Feast of Epiphany

    The Wise Men will finally arrive to see the Christ Child! January 6th is the feast day where we recognize their visitation. We plan on keeping this feast day on that day with Holy Eucharist and a meal together. The wise men may actually arrive singing their classic carol, “We Three Kings.” We will gather for dinner at 5:30pm with the service to follow. However, we need assistance with food. If you are willing to cook, the church can cover the costs. Please contact Fr. Joe if you are interested. Also, to prepare the right amount of food, please RSVP through e-mailing Fr. Joe with your total family number attending. Let us keep the feast!

    Evening Prayer

    This Wednesday, the 22nd, will be our final Advent Evening Prayer and Catechesis on the Lord’s Prayer (6:30pm). Due to the Holiday travels and keeping the Feast of the Epiphany, we will suspend Evening Prayer until January 12th.

    Time Away

    Fr. Joe and his family will be away seeing family for Christmas, Dec. 27th -Jan. 1st . They will be here for the Jan. 2nd service.

    The Daily Office

    Interested in a simple way to pray the daily office from the Book of Common Prayer? Follow this link for text and audio versions of the morning, noon, and evening prayer services taken directly from the 2019 ACNA BCP.

    Contact Fr. Joe

    I am here for you. If you would like to grab some coffee or other beverages, or would like a home visit, please don’t hesitate to contact me at: frjoe@stjohnscanton.org

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