Weekly Dispatch, August 31st, 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
  • Vestry – Thursday, September 8th, at 6:00pm at the Church
  • Eagle and Child – Thursday, September 15th at 7:00pm at TBD

A Message from Fr. Joe

Dear Friends in Christ,

I find myself more convicted than I anticipated from our Gospel lesson this past Sunday.

Jesus attends a party with a bunch of religious people, heals somebody that creates an awkward silence among the party-goers, and then teaches what the Kingdom of God looks like. He describes the Kingdom of those exalting themselves to be humbled, and those humbling themselves, taking the lowly places, to be exalted. If that didn’t make them uncomfortable, he goes on to describe the Kingdom in such a way that looks like inviting the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind to your parties and to do such things to not be repaid. Jesus puts us all on equal playing fields, and I think this is something many of us would all nod our heads to, but in practice we are probably more hesitant. This is where I sense conviction from the Holy Spirit.

If I am honest, I do not see myself equally with other people. Sure, I want them to come to church and I generally think we are all sinners together, but do I actually want them to belong here? If we truly believe in grace meeting us in our ungodliness, how can such grace land upon people we might feel uneasy being around?

I find it interesting the choice of words Paul uses when talking about his proclamation of the Gospel. He says, I am not ashamed of the Gospel. Many people have interpreted this to mean his bold stand for the Gospel to preach this message to all who hear and receive it. And of course, this is true. But is there something shameful about the Gospel that leads Paul to say he is not ashamed of the message?

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul notes how the message of the cross is foolishness to Greeks and a stumbling block for the Jews, yet to those being saved it is the power and wisdom of God. It is foolishness to the Greeks because why should we follow a Messiah who got himself crucified? It sounds foolish to accept the cross as the chief wisdom of God. It is also a stumbling block to the Jews because in one single event all the Law is fulfilled, and such a faith even receives pagan Gentiles into the fold without any Jewish customs required. It sounds like a stumbling block to accept the cross as the full power of God. Yet to those being saved, both Jew and Greek, the cross is the power and wisdom of God. The cross confronts all people groups to see themselves as the weak, the poor, the crippled, the lame, or more generally to be people of need.

I can see my desire to proclaim the essence of such Good News, but my conviction is for the Holy Spirit to open my heart to the implications of the Gospel. I think a good place to start, and perhaps the chief place, is to extend rich belonging, grace, and hospitality towards people inviting them not only to church but in some measure into a relationship. I write these words as I am about to meet up with a man from the apartments behind us who was a former convict, starting up his own business, and trusting in God to turn his life around. As I get to know him, I am learning more deeply of the implications of the Gospel and the kind of faith the LORD seeks to grow within me. While he may not be as theologically astute as many of us, he expresses such faith on the ground that inspires and reveals the power and wisdom of God. Let us pray for God to put all kinds of people in our path so that we might see His power and wisdom at work in the world. Grant us, O LORD, courage and wisdom to pursue such implications of your Gospel so that we would not be ashamed of it but to see it truly as your wisdom and power in the lives of ordinary and needy people like us. Amen.

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

    Message: "Take the Lowly Place" from Fr. Joe Gasbarre

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." Jesus loves going to parties, but especially loves disrupting parties with grace. In this three-course sermon of Good News, we encounter a Messiah who breaks all the religious rules with the Sabbath, cuts through the hearts of the self-promoters, and reveals the Kingdom to be full of the needy, poor, crippled, lame and to seek those people for in God’s eyes we are in the same camps in need of Him.

    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 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.

    Parents’ Night Out

    Join us for our monthly Parent’s Night Out! There will be pizza, snacks, and drinks along with fun activities for all of the church youths. Please let Maggie Archibald know if you have any questions and how many will be attending so she can plan accordingly.

    Choristers/Adult Bible Study/Evening Prayer

    We are very excited to announce the beginning of a new ministry with our children along with a new Wednesday night pattern! Our children will begin their own choir aka choristers. Alyssa and Karen will be the leaders of this ministry. The adults will have an informal Bible Study discussing the upcoming Lectionary texts for Sunday, and the night will conclude with Evening Prayer together. This new “rule of life” group will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 21st and continue every Wednesday at 6:30pm at the church. If you have any questions, please contact Alyssa or Karen.

    Fall Cetechesis (Adult and Children)

    Over the summer we have spent significant time studying the canticles of the Prayer Book, which is essentially Scripture set to singing. We even experienced some moments singing the Scriptures together. We have two weeks left of the canticles and will begin a new Fall series on Sept. 18th. This series focuses on praying the biblical narrative of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation. It will include sharpening our biblical theology with various texts, and also imagining how the Scriptures can form our prayers with the various collects of the Prayer Book to be our guide.

    On the same date, our children will return to their catechetical formation of Gospel Play. This is an interactive approach where we are helping our children catch the Gospel throughout the biblical narrative and experience it through the Church calendar.

    Parish Health Assessment

    Thank you to everyone who participated in the parish health assessment. Again, we hope these results can keep the conversation moving forward in our ministry efforts. According to the numbers of those participants, it looks like we need more people to take the assessment to provide an honest account for ourselves. Please take the time to prayerfully fill this out. Thank you again for your love of St. John’s and caring for her welfare.

    Take the assessment here.

    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.

    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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