Weekly Dispatch, June 15th, 2022
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St. John's Weekly Dispatch, v. 2

St. John's Schedule

  • Catechesis Hour – Sundays at 9:00 AM before Church
  • Holy Eucharist – Sundays at 10:30 AM at Church and via Facebook
  • Ladies Outing – Saturday, June 18th, at 6pm at Table Six
  • Vestry – Thursday, June 23rd, at 6pm at Church
  • Church Potluck – Sunday, June 26th, after church at Eastwood Park in North Canton

A Message from Fr. Joe

Dear Friends in Christ,

Can you believe that we begin what’s commonly called Ordinary Time in the Church calendar? It is also called the Season of the Church. The first half of the year, Advent to Pentecost/Trinity, is considered the Season of Christ. It follows the life of Christ going from His anticipating arrival/return, His incarnation, His ministry revealing the Kingdom, His cross, resurrection, ascension, His promise of the Holy Spirit, and His Person within the Triune God. The second half of the calendar focuses upon the continuing ministry of Christ through His Church. It is the moving forward of the Gospel, growing in the faith, and seeing the Spirit at work in and through us.

Therefore, we will see the color green expressed in our worship. Green is a color of organic growth and movement. The language describing the Church and Christ’s relationship to her is consistent with agriculture. Jesus said, I am the vine, and you are the branches. The work of the Spirit is identified as fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.). The Kingdom, God’s reign over His people, is like a mustard seed, like one sowing seeds in the field, and like yeast in making bread. These are images of growth, but growth at a pace that can be surprisingly slow. You cannot force fruit to grow faster or expect a mustard bush to sprout overnight. This is also why Ordinary Time is the longest season.

Slowness of growth can be frustrating, especially when you have your own expectations of growth. You thought you would be over the same sin. You thought you would be more consistent in your prayers. Even your own expectations of the Church may bring forth some frustrations combined with some surprising joys. I find it is not always one-sided, and if it is, then I’m not giving things an honest examen. The question we are faced with is our own sense of expectation. I want to challenge your expectations for a moment. I certainly don’t know all of them, and I am sure you are hesitant to share them with most people.

But what if the season of Ordinary Time, the season of the Church, was marked with letting go of our expectations and instead marked by the spirit of expectancy? Expectation is about your own determining ideas for the future. Expectancy is about anticipating what could happen among us and through us by the Holy Spirit. How do we approach this perspective? I want to offer two actions for us.

First, we pray. When we pray, we are communicating with the Triune God and uniting ourselves to His will and direction for our lives. It can relieve our expectations because prayer is meant to redirect ourselves back to God, especially when we pray with and through His Holy Word.

Second, we come together and listen to each other. In the book of Acts, we see God’s people coming together in council and decisions are made through listening and collaboratively observing the Spirit at work among them. Over the last several months, we experienced some forms of collaborative gatherings. There was the Vision Charette, the Parish Survey, and the Vestry Retreat bringing these things together. As the Vestry addressed all the things which came to light through the survey, they asked me to write a parish letter to bring these collaborations to light and, as your rector, provide some actions steps moving forward. The letter will be a completely separate dispatch following this one. I ask that you read it and pray alongside it.

Finally, when it comes to releasing our expectations and fostering expectancy, it involves a heavy dose of grace. Grace for yourself and for one another. When we rely upon God’s grace for growth, the ongoing ministry of the Church, and a spirit of expectancy, we can hear the promise afresh from the LORD that He who began a good work in you shall bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). Grace frees us from the burden of heavy expectations because we are holding onto the favor of God on behalf of our sinful and messy hearts. This is the only place where grace meets us, and it is the kind of grace we need from one another. Let’s share it again this 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

    The Mystery of the Holy Trinity by Fr. Joe

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." Last Sunday we explored the beauty and wonder of the Holy Trinity. The God we worship is one who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How does the Triune God communicate Himself to us? The preaching of the Word and the giving of the Sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion). It was also very fitting to baptize four new people into the life of the Triune God and His Church.

    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 finishing discussions on what our next book will be. As with many new beginnings, if you are considering joining the group, now is a great time to do so!
    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.

    The Call to Pray

    As I wrote in my opening dispatch, one of the ways we let go of our expectations and enter expectancy is through prayer and fellowship. It is on my heart to call on the men of the church to come together in fellowship and prayer. I will be reaching out to you through Breeze to confirm when and where. It will most likely be sometime in the morning before the workday. If you do not receive something from Breeze this week, please email me and I will keep you in the loop.

    Church Potluck Celebration of New Life

    What a joy for new life in God’s world and within His Church. We are overjoyed by the arrival of the Bittaker children, and we continue to pray for our other expectant mothers. This be a dual diaper shower for them. Our upcoming Church Potluck/Picnic celebrates life, but also our need for each other in fellowship. On June 26th, immediately after church, we will meet at Eastwood Park in North Canton. The grilling meat will be provided. We ask that you bring a side to share with each other, and it will be BYOB (Bring your own beverages).

    Summer Catechesis

    We are starting a whole new summer catechetical focus for adults and children. Adults will prayerfully and thoughtfully engage the Canticles of the Prayer Book. Each week we will study specific canticles in their place for prayer and their context in Holy Scripture. We also hope to learn how to sing some of them.

    Our children will hit the pause button on Gospel Play and begin a new summer curriculum called Storymakers. Each child will have their own booklet of activities and engagement with a biblical narrative. This summer we will focus on the Exodus. If you miss a week, you can totally bring your booklet home with you and engage at home or on vacation.

    Volunteers Needed

    As baptized members of Christ’s Church, we are called with the responsibility of passing down the faith to each other, but especially our children. We are in need of volunteers who can teach children’s catechesis throughout the summer. We will provide everything you need and you will be surprised how rewarding and fun it can be. Please contact Fr. Joe or Maggie if you have interest or any questions. Thank you.

    Evening Prayer and Bible Study

    Since many people are traveling throughout the summer, we will discontinue our weekly Wednesday Evening Prayer and Bible Study. However, throughout the summer we will have opportunities to pray and read the Scriptures together more sporadically in each other’s homes. If you are interested, please see Fr. Joe.

    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.

    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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