Weekly Dispatch, December 28th, 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
  • Choristers/Bible Study/Evening Prayer – Wednesdays at 6:30pm at Church
    • **No Choristers/Evening Prayer on Dec. 28th but will resume next week**
  • Feast of the Epiphany (Dinner and Eucharist) – Friday, January 6th, 6:00pm at Church
  • Eagle and Child – Thursday, January 5th, 7:00pm at TBD

A Message from Fr. Joe

Dear Friends in Christ,

Once again, Merry Christmas! You heard me right; it is still the Christmas season which ends with the Feast of the Epiphany (the arrival of the Magi). One child asked their parent why they didn’t receive another present the day after Christmas Day because Fr. Joe said it was still Christmas! My apologies parents but I trust in your catechetical skills with your kids on these situations.

In this season of Christmas there are a variety of feast days to recognize, and for catechesis this Sunday we will unpack their biblical foundations. However, I want to highlight one feast day that is particularly significant for us. As I write this Dispatch, it is the feast of St. John the Evangelist, the saint whom we are named after. What is it about St. John that we are drawn towards, and what might we draw more deeply from St. John in our mission of ministry together?

First, it is important to note that we regard saints not because we pray to them for various things nor do we ask them to pray for us. We have one mediator and advocate who is Christ Jesus. In all our prayers commemorating the saints, there is a twofold layer to the prayers. It reveals Christ through the specific ministry of each saint and by God’s grace we petition the Holy Spirit to instill similar virtues within us. In other words, we see Christ being revealed to us through their ministry and we are inspired to follow their faithful examples.

In the case of John, he wrote his own Gospel, three epistles or letters in the NT, and received a revelation from our Lord Jesus Christ on an apocalyptic magnitude. He was considered the beloved disciple who leaned closer to Jesus at the Last Supper. He was part of Jesus’ core group of disciples with Peter and James. He was perhaps the one apostle who did not suffer martyrdom. Finally, he was the only apostle at Christ’s crucifixion, and who received the mother of our Lord and cared for her.

When we consider why we are drawn to St. John it has more to do with how Christ is revealed through him, particularly his writings of Holy Scripture. While all Gospels seek to reveal Jesus to be the Christ or Messiah to be believed and received, John’s Gospel contains the most explicit language of elevating Jesus’ divinity. For instance, what’s unique to John are the “I am” statements from Jesus which translate to the same name the LORD gave Moses in the burning bush. Where Matthew and Luke provide a detailed birth narrative, and Mark jumps right into Jesus’ ministry, John begins with a theologically rich prologue of the incarnation.

For us, our liturgy and preaching are all centered and grounded in the richness of Jesus Christ in all of who He is and what He came to do. In our symbol, the Victus Agnus Noster (Our Victorious Lamb) reveals who we come to worship and what we proclaim. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Also, John’s epistles provide some of the clearest reflections on the love of God and how His love shapes all our loves in this world. As a church, we are striving to be a community learning to love and serve in ways that reflect the one-way love of God in Jesus Christ. In closing, what might we draw more deeply from St. John in our mission and ministry together? I want to provide two things to think about.

In our pursuit of the love of God in Jesus Christ to love one another, let it be our continual mission to reflect the power of God’s grace. Where grace might be easy to process theologically and can check off the boxes of what I am supposed to believe about God and how He relates to me, grace can be very difficult to envision on the ground. It is risky. It puts us in vulnerable situations. Yet for anyone who has received grace they know its value and what it can mean for others. I think what will be crucial for the health of St. John’s is learning more deeply how we extend grace to each other.

Finally, towards the end of John’s Gospel he declares the purpose of his writings and I think this is something we are to lean towards in our mission. “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31). Our mission is the same as the purpose of the Gospel of John. We are to proclaim Jesus in such a way that reveals Him to be the Christ so that by believing we may have life in his name. In other words, it is the kind of belief that takes root in one’s being and births newness of life. We don’t admit to knowing everything about Jesus, but the things we do know we have come to believe and have life in His name. What’s become true for us, we seek to be true for everyone.

As we head into a new year, I hope to partner with you in new strategic ways to develop a culture of grace at St. John’s where we deepen the mission of making Christ known that you and others would believe and that by believing may have life in his name. 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

    Merry Christmas! by Fr. Joe

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." On the Feast of the Nativity, we celebrated God taking a face becoming like one of us in Jesus the Christ. While the Gospel of Luke details the birth narrative, the epistle from Titus explains what is happening underneath such a significant event. Hear again the Good News of Christ’s long-awaited arrival. Let us adore 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.

    The Feast of the Epiphany

    The Magi will finally arrive to see the Christ Child and the Holy Family on Jan. 6th! Will you join them in celebration that Christ the Light has drawn the nations, including you, to Himself? We will have a potluck soup meal at 6pm, and we are inviting folks to please bring a soup, bread, and/or dessert. There will be a sign-up sheet through email and at church. Please see Elizabeth Beer if you have any questions. The service will begin at 7pm with the procession of the Wise Men and will include singing from our Choristers. We hope you can come and keep the feast with us!

    Christmas Catechesis

    We will resume catechesis on Jan. 1st with the adults and youth coming together to discuss and reflect on the various feasts of Christmas looking at their biblical foundations. Our children will have their own Gospel Play exploring the drama of the Nativity and events surrounding it. Join us at 9am with the coffee on!

    Epiphany Catechesis

    For all ages every Sunday at 9am.

    In the season of Epiphany, adults will focus on Christ’s King and Kingdom Fulfilled in the Gospel of Matthew. We will unpack various texts from Matthew whose chief goal is to reveal Jesus as the fulfillment of the biblical narrative.

    Our youth will also focus on the Gospel of Matthew, particularly Jesus’ parables and healings throughout His ministry revealing His Kingdom to us.

    Our children continue with Gospel Play exploring various parables of Jesus all revealing Jesus’ identity, why He came into the world, and what His Kingdom is like.

    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.

    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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