Weekly Dispatch, July 6th, 2022
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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 Facebook
  • Men’s Morning Prayer – Tuesdays at Variety’s at 7:30am
  • Eagle and Child – Thursday, July 7th, at 7:00pm at the Beer's House
  • Evening Prayer and Bible Study – Wednesday, July 20th at 6:30pm at TBD
  • Holy Eucharist and Celebration for the Hollons – Sunday, August 7th, at 10:30am at the Archibald/Weaver Farm

A Message from Fr. Joe

Dear Friends in Christ,

A wise and former colleague in ministry described his church as a relatively healthy church. He was careful not to simply say, “healthy” church but emphasized “relatively.” He used his words carefully because while things were going well in the life of the church, he knew that no one operated as fully healthy Christian members of the Church. We are still sinners who need the Church to be for the sick versus the healthy. Perhaps this is a “healthier” understanding of ourselves and the ministry of the Church.

It reminds me of Jesus’ teaching on the one who goes home justified. He notices a “righteous” person entering the Temple, looking up to heaven in confidence of all the right things he does. He gives, he obeys, and he makes it known to God how he is not like other “unhealthy” people. But Jesus also notices a tax collector coming into the Temple who probably has taken advantage of his Jewish brother and sisters with their money. He comes in, cannot look up into heaven, beats his breast, and can only say, “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner.” Jesus says, this man went home justified. The word, “justified”, is the same word Paul uses in the book of Romans where God justifies the ungodly. In other words, God declares/imputes His righteousness toward the wrong kinds of people, people like you and me (sinners/the unhealthy).

One can conclude, and say, perhaps the healthiest place we can be is in a place of transparency, honesty, and repentance. My father loved Westerns. At his funeral, I opened the homily stating that I wanted to know the whole truth about my dad, “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” By the way, that’s a Western reference. But from time to time, it is good for us to recognize the good, the bad, and the ugly amongst ourselves within our own local context. Some of these things came out in our parish survey, and even some areas in our Vision Charette.

I say all these things because our diocese is requiring all churches to experience a church health assessment. What does this look like? In this dispatch, you will see a link that will direct you to a robust questionnaire where you are free to consider the good, the bad, and the ugly about ourselves. Perhaps those are not the best kind of identifiers, but the invitation to be honest about St. John’s can lead us towards a healthier path and mission together. It is my contention, and what’s clear among all churches, is that a relatively healthy church builds upon our worship of the Triune God, our catechetical formation for all ages, our fellowship and love for one another, and our mission to declare the Gospel to all peoples everywhere.

I hope this assessment might deepen your love, prayers, and even inspire your sense of calling to St. John’s. Pray for the Holy Spirit to direct you to areas where you might be able to support, serve, and take your place in the life of the church. It can be very easy to identify the problems or unhealthy signs in a church. However, areas of healing can take place through the power of the Spirit working through you and me. But the same is true in areas of health. How can I, through reliance upon the Spirit, contribute to what is healthy about our church? Again, I hope this can be a moment to move further up and further in our calling together. If any areas of the assessment speak to you in any way, I would love to imagine with you how to build upon our health and/or seek the Lord’s healing for the life of the church.

Here is the Assessment Survey: https://remissioning.com/church-health/?church_id=d7ebf7d04c

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

    Conclusion of Galatians but Not the Gospel by Fr. Joe

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." On this Sunday, we concluded Paul’s letter to the Galatians, yet we know the Gospel is continual. The letter concludes reminding the Galatians, and us, of the fruit of the Gospel in the ministry of the apostles against any false, Gospel-Plus preachers/teachers.

    Read more
    Join us every first and third (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. We are about to begin reading Confessions by St. Augustine. This is a classic work of Christian spirituality and will make for great fellowship and discussion together!
    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.

    Evening Prayer and Bible Study

    In our summer flow of things, we will offer Evening Prayer/Bible Study/Fellowship to once a month in various parishioner’s homes. Our July gathering will be July 20th, 6:30pm, the location is TBD. We will gather to pray Evening Prayer, discuss the appointed psalm(s) for the evening, and fellowship. All are welcome to attend.

    Men’s Morning Prayer

    Every Tuesday morning, 7:30am at Variety’s, the men are invited to pray Morning Prayer together. The prayers typically last for about 30 minutes, but guys are certainly encouraged to stick around for fellowship, coffee, and even some bacon.

    Celebration for the Hollons

    As many of you already know, Fr. Bryan was called to be the next Dean and President of Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA. We are so grateful for him and his family in their commitment to the planting of St. John’s. Before they transition, we are going to have a celebration for them. We will announce this as much as possible, but please save the date on August 7th at the Archibald residence. But also, we are going to have church at their property at 10:30am and not at St. John’s. Immediately following the service, we will have the celebration. The Hollons have requested no gifts from parishioners. They look forward to celebrating your presence with them. More details will follow, but please spread the word and let us honor the Hollons with feasting and much rejoicing!

    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.

    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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