Weekly Dispatch, February 15th, 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
  • Midday Prayer – Tuesdays at 11:00am in Malone University's Cafeteria
  • Choristers/Bible Study/Evening Prayer – Wednesdays at 6:30pm at Church
  • The Burning of Palms/Conclusion of Creeds/Evening Prayer – Wednesday, February 15th at 6:30pm at Church
  • Eagle and Child – Thursday, February 16th, 7:00pm at the Semelsberger's
  • Women’s Gathering – Friday, February 17th, 6:30pm, at the Swank's (RSVP by 16th)
  • Ash Wednesday – Wednesday, February 22nd at 6:30pm at Church
  • Monthly Birthday Potluck – Sunday, February 26th after church

A Message from Fr. Joe

Dear Friends in Christ,

We are arriving at the end of another season in the Church calendar, which means the beginning of a new one. This, of course, is the season of Lent. Next week, the season begins with the historic practice of the imposition of ashes upon our foreheads. I’ll share more on this service for next week’s dispatch, but today I wish to encourage you to prepare yourself for the new season.

One of the ways we are preparing involves the burning of the palms to produce the ashes we will receive. These palms are withered, frail, and will no doubt burn very easily. Its own frailty will prepare us to see our frailty for the new season. What was once waved with glorious shouts of hosanna will be consumed and used for the mourning of our sins, remembering our mortality, and the journey towards the cross. It is fitting to burn these palms in the context of evening prayer where our prayers are intertwined with our Lenten preparations. Next week we will be exhorted to various ways to enter the season, and I find it helpful to prepare yourself with whatever you choose to practice.

First, Lent is the chief season of preparation for those entering Holy Baptism. If you or your child are interested in pursuing baptism, please see me right away to help guide you in the catechetical process.

Second, if you are reading this and find yourself separated from the Body of Christ due to your notorious sins, Lent is a season to prepare yourself towards reconciliation, by penitence and forgiveness, to be received back into the life of the Church. Lent can be a season where you hear again and again of the absolving word of our Savior over you, increasing your own faith and repentance. One of the ways to pursue and prepare would be to come to me or another priest and ask for a time of confession and enter what’s called the Reconciliation of Penitents. This is a private, sensitive, and pastoral session where you confess your sins, receive pastoral guidance, and hear of the explicit forgiveness of sins for you.

Finally, we are exhorted to practice a variety of spiritual disciplines such as self-examination and repentance, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and reading/meditating upon Holy Scripture. The first Sunday of Lent and the Sundays following, our catechesis will include Morning Prayer leading into discussion/reflection on the Scriptures. This might be a good practice to consider for the season. As we heard from our Annual Meeting, various parishioners will be fasting and praying throughout the day on Wednesdays in which all are invited to participate. This might be something tangible the whole church can experience together. If you need any assistance reflecting on what you can practice, please see one of the clergy and we would love to assist.

This Sunday, the last Sunday of Epiphany, is always focused upon the Transfiguration. It signifies a turning point for Jesus and for the Church calendar. As Jesus comes does the mountain, He sets His sights towards Jerusalem, not for glory or to be king, but to be crucified and raised. Ultimately, Lent is to journey towards the mighty, saving acts of God and our various practices are to help us be caught by this divine reality. Let us prepare ourselves for a new season, get all your alleluias out of your system, and get ready for some serious kneeling in prayer.

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

    Preparing for the Mission of the Church by Dcn. Chad

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." Christians tend to have a very proscribed view of mission. We have all kinds of assumptions about what mission is, who is sent on mission, and where you are supposed to go. Deacon Chad's sermon on Sunday addressed some of these caricatures of biblical mission, all for the sake of clarifying three things: the grace which God gives each of us for mission, worship as a preparation for mission, and the magnitude of the mission. When we understand the singular mission of the church, we begin to get a better idea of how each of us play a part and how we should prepare for such a glorious and weighty calling.

    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 currently reading Chesterton's The Everlasting Man and discussing his interesting case for the uniqueness of humans, and in particular, Jesus Christ.
    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 Burning of Palms – Preparing for Ash Wednesday/Lent

    On Wednesday, Feb. 15th, included with our regular time of Evening Prayer we will also burn the palms to prepare ourselves for Ash Wednesday. You may join us at 6:30pm to conclude our discussion on the Apostles’ Creed, and/or evening prayer/the burning of the palms will be begin around 7:15pm. Please bring any palm branches with you to throw in the pile!

    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!

    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 Update

    We are taking a pause on Men’s Morning Prayer on Tuesdays. However, we will offer Midday Prayer on Tuesdays, 11am, at Malone’s Cafeteria. All are welcome to join.

    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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