Weekly Dispatch, March 16th, 2022
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St. John's Weekly Dispatch, v. 2

A Message from Fr. Joe

St. John's Schedule

  • Catechesis Hour – Sundays at 9:00 AM before Church
  • Holy Eucharist – Sundays at 10:30 AM at Church and via Zoom
  • Eagle and Child – Thursday, March 17th, 7:00 PM, location The Semelsberger's
  • Cana Vox – Friday, March 25th, 7:30 PM, at Church
  • Vestry Retreat – Saturday, April 9th, 10:00 AM at The Archibald's
Dear Friends in Christ,

In our Ash Wednesday service, one of the spiritual disciplines we are encouraged to consider is the practice of almsgiving. In the season of Lent, it does not receive much attention as prayer and fasting, but I believe we are at a point in our world where it is needed now more than ever.

Almsgiving is specifically giving towards the poor, the helpless, and charity among those in dire need. I find almsgiving to be far more difficult than other spiritual disciplines. I think about the money I should be saving, especially when I look at the gas pump and go to the grocery store. We are all in a crisis of saving money, and it seems unwise to even talk about giving money to the poor.

As Christians, we are citizens of heaven and our practices do not look like the wisdom of the world. According to St. Paul, the true wisdom and power of God takes the shape of the cross. I was discussing giving on a holistic level (talents, treasure, and time) with another parishioner. I asked, how much do you think people should be giving. He said, “until it hurts.” I wasn’t sure I was convinced at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much that response takes the shape of the cross. Our giving involves a degree of pain because we are letting go of what we have worked hard to produce. Whenever I heard the words from St. Paul, God loves a cheerful giver, I sometimes would feel even more pain because my heart was still holding onto my checkbook.

I say these things considering the terror and war happening in Ukraine. Archbishop Foley Beach, our Archbishop of the ACNA, has called for churches to consider partnering in prayer and financial giving with the Anglican Development and Relief Fund (ARDF) in these efforts to support Ukrainians in their time of need. Specifically, the fund is providing basic needs of water, shelter, and food as many Ukrainians are being displaced and homeless. They are partnering with those inside Ukraine and those working in bordering countries being overwhelmed with refugees.

ARDF has received a $100,000 challenge gift to match dollar for dollar the first $100,000 received. This, of course, means your gift can be doubled. Please prayerfully consider the discipline of almsgiving in partnership with ARDF. Check out ardf.org where you can contribute and learn more about their ministry partners on the ground for Ukraine. Also, beginning this Sunday, we will include a collect to pray for Ukraine throughout the rest of the season of Lent. I encourage you to take the time to pray how almsgiving can be integrated in your Lenten practices, and for the LORD to grant eyes to see the opportunities He puts in front of you to give.

Consider the words from 1 Chronicles, which I pray every time the offering plate is received on Sunday; “All things come from you, O LORD, and of your own have we given you.” Hope to see you Sunday!

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

    Imitators of Grace by Fr. Joe

    Screen Shot 2022-03-15 at 7.06.14 PM
    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." St. Paul exhorts the Philippians to imitate him and the good examples they have received. The imitation, of course, is not about St. Paul, but the grace communicated through his cross-centered ministry among them. What does an imitation of grace look like, and what doesn’t it look like?

    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 Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis to discuss Lewis' layered text pointing us to the great truths which underlie the Christian faith.
    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.


    We are starting a new Lenten series which will include Morning Prayer and a brief discussion/teaching on the Ten Commandments. In order to respect our time, we will start promptly at 9am If you have children and are arriving late, please use the black doors located to the right of the red doors. This will open to the stairs for the kids. Then, please enter through the red doors. I highly encourage everyone to attend this unique catechetical experience that connects both process (prayer) and content (teaching) together in our formation.

    Our children will also enter a new catechetical season with Lent in our Gospel Play formation. They will lean more into the season which includes learning about the imposition of ashes, the temptation of Jesus, the Ten Commandments, Jesus’ ministry pointing to the cross, and the reality of sin in our lives.

    How Can I Serve at St. John's?

    There are plenty of ways to serve at St. John’s and we would love for you to join in on what God is doing in the church. Below you can see all the different ways to serve. No special skills required, simply a willingness to learn and grow in service.

    Acolyte Ministry – Carrying the cross, assisting at the table, and learning more about the Anglican Way.
    Altar Guild – Preparing the Lord’s Table for Holy Communion before the service and developing a sense of holiness in worship.
    Readers – Approaching God’s Word with boldness and declaring it to the people.
    Hospitality – Providing food, setting up and cleaning up the area, and making space for all people to feel welcome and belong. We also hold special events throughout the Church calendar preparing feasts together.
    Gospel Play – Experience catechesis with our children with interactive materials enhancing biblical narratives within the liturgical calendar. It is a lot of fun!
    Ushers/Greeters – Welcome people as they come to church, especially newcomers, handing out bulletins, and passing the plates for the offering.
    Music – We would love to expand our music ministry with your various gifts. Do you play an instrument? Are you a gifted singer? Come join the team!

    We hope to develop these ministries with more lay leadership. In the meantime you can contact Fr. Joe, Dcn. Chad, or Maggie if you interested in participating or even taking leadership in these various ministries.

    Evening Prayer and Bible Study

    We continue our Wednesday Evening Prayer at 6:30pm in the church. Our Lenten focus will be discussing the relationship and connection between the OT and Gospel Lesson in the Sunday Lectionary. All are welcome to attend and hope this can be spiritually formative for you in the season of Lent.

    New Furniture

    Last Sunday was our first time experiencing the new church furniture which included pews, baptismal font, chairs, and pulpit. Some of the words from people coming in were, “Now this feels like church!” People were taking pictures and there was overall sense of wonder at what the LORD us doing among us. It is amazing how much we need the physical to catch a vision for ministry moving forward. Please continue to pray for the Vestry and leadership of the church. Especially for our upcoming retreat in April. As we sang last Sunday, grant us wisdom, grant us courage; for the facing of this hour and lest we miss thy Kingdom’s goal.

    Interested in Becoming a Member of St. John’s?

    Fr. Joe would love to take you out for coffee discussing your interest in becoming a member at St. John’s Anglican Church. Membership is wonderful step forward in affirming your sense of calling to the local and even wider church. If you have any interest in becoming a member or seeking discernment of membership, please reach out to Fr. Joe.

    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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