Weekly Dispatch, January 4th, 2023
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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
  • Feast of the Epiphany (Dinner and Eucharist) – Friday, January 6th, 6:00pm at Church
  • Eagle and Child – Thursday, January 5th, 7:00pm at the Semelsberger's
  • Vestry Meeting – Thursday, January 12th, 6:00pm at the Church
  • Women’s Gathering – Friday, January 20th at the Swank's, TBD
  • Men’s Breakfast – Saturday, January 28th, TBD
  • Annual Meeting – Sunday, February 12th, after Church

A Message from Fr. Joe

Dear Friends in Christ,

We have entered a new year, this Friday we will enter a new season in the life of the Church, and Lord willing, we will receive a new member of Christ’s Church in Holy Baptism. Briefly, I wish to provide some words on these three new areas.

First, we have entered a new year. The gyms will be fully stocked with aspiring new year’s resolutions that typically last before the month is over. While there is nothing wrong with setting personal goals for the new year, and I think the pursuit of healthy habits is always a good thing, but these things can be self-defining where we measure ourselves by such accomplishments or failures. Also, in our sinful nature we cannot help but draw comparisons. Some may say this is immature, but it is where many of us operate. However, the real threat is when we moralize the faith once delivered in our new lists. We reduce the Gospel from announcement of God’s disposition for us, to “God has done so much for you, what have you done for Him lately?” God is not concerned with your lists for the new year. What He desires is your heart, your affections, and your loves. How does He catch our hearts so that by such grace we are transformed by His power? This is where we turn to the Feast of the Epiphany and the new season we find ourselves approaching.

The word “Epiphany” means “revelation.” Now that the light of Christ has come into the world through the incarnation, the Light is being revealed to all peoples, even to the Magi. The Magi are wooed by such a light where they believe it will reveal a new King. When they finally come to behold the Christ child, Matthew tells us they not only bear their gifts, but their response is to worship the Child. When we behold Christ, our hearts are brought towards worship and adoration where our hearts are laid bare. Why? It is because such a Child is God in the flesh whose incarnate flesh and blood was poured out to reconcile us back to God. For the Magi, something cut them straight to the heart where they beheld one worthy of worship. Like the disciples when they were first called, there was something to behold about Jesus that compelled them to drop everything and follow Him. The more Jesus is revealed to us, the more we are compelled to drop everything and give ourselves over to Him and His Kingdom. Where does Jesus promise to reveal Himself to us? How do we behold Him and become compelled towards Him? It is through His Holy Word and Holy Sacraments.

This Sunday we will be receiving Easton Sprunger under the waters of baptism where Christ will claim him as his own and his identity will be grafted under the Name of the Triune God. I invite your prayers this week for the Sprunger family. As we participate with the child through the liturgy, our own baptism is brought to bear with all the promises that come with it. Jesus gave us water, bread, and wine to be signs of the divine reality we struggle to see in our lives at times. It is the reality that our lives are not our own but belong with body and soul in life and in death to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all our sins with his precious blood and has set us free from all the power of the devil. Therefore, I am compelled to care for my body and the welfare of my soul because in my baptism God has claimed it all through the mediating work of Christ.

As we enter a new year and a new season of the Church, I pray for Christ to continually be revealed to you. And as He is revealed to you, I pray He is also revealed through you. The heart of Epiphany is that such revelation doesn’t exist in a vacuum but draws all people to Christ. There is a missional outlook to the season. Let us look outward and make Christ known as He makes Himself known to us.

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

    What’s In a Name? by Dcn.David

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." Deacon David shared his reflections on the appointed feast day of Christ’s Holy Name and His Circumcision. The name of Jesus is far more significant not only revealing His identity, but also revealing salvation unto us. Come and hear the wondrous name of our Savior and why it matters.

    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!

    Wednesday Choristers/Bible Study/Evening Prayer

    Join us every Wednesday where our children are invited to learn to sing unto the LORD and adults gathered to discuss the faith once delivered to the saints. Our focus throughout the season of Epiphany will be on the Apostles’ Creed reflecting on what we believe and why we believe it. Finally, the evening culminates with a time of Evening Prayer together. Everything begins at 6:30pm and hope to see you!

    Annual Meeting (2/12/23)

    Please mark your calendars for our Annual Meeting on Feb. 12th after church. All are welcome to attend, but only members are allowed to vote. We will be presenting some reflections on the past year and what we are anticipating for the new year, our financials from 2022 and expectations for 2023, and finally giving thanks to God for our outgoing Vestry members and voting for two new Vestry members. Nominating forms will be available soon, and if you have any questions on the process, please see Josiah Spencer or Daniel McWilliams.

    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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