Weekly Dispatch, February 22nd, 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
  • Ash Wednesday – Wednesday, February 22nd at 6:30pm at Church
  • Monthly Birthday Potluck – Sunday, February 26th after church
  • Eagle and Child – Thursday, March 2nd, 7:00pm at the Bittaker's

A Message from Fr. Joe

Dear Friends in Christ,

Lent is finally here! This evening we will experience the beginning of Lent with the unique service of the Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion. This is a powerful service emphasizing our mortality, frailty, and weakness. Yet at the same time marveling at the mercy of God for us.

These next 40 days we are called to embrace our weakness and deepen our necessity for our Savior. The various practices of Lent are to journey us further towards the cross. The imposition of ashes holds this wider vision of Lent together.

As the priest marks you with the ashes, he says, ‘remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’ Remember one of our hymns from last Sunday? We called ourselves frail children of dust. We are to remember that we are not as powerful or strong as we think we are. We are dusty. But we don’t simply smear ashes on your forehead. We make the sign of the cross upon you. It is through remembering that you are dust that you are also brought to the mercy of God in the cross of Christ. His Body was broken for you. His blood was shed for you. It was broken and shed for your dusty hearts. In other words, the mercy of God pursues you not because of your strengths, intelligence, or capabilities, but because He remembers that we are but dust. It is mercy for our weakness. It is His pursuit of us because we are weak. This is what makes Lent both challenging and liberating.

It is challenging to admit your limitations, and practice humility with grace. Yet it is liberating because we can be honest with ourselves. God already sees through us, and in Christ there is now no condemnation. Lent provides a whole season to challenge us in our frailty, to expose the areas that need healing, and that even through the pain we would come to the cross. We journey ahead because we know that through such challenge, which will be our own death to self, Sunday is coming. But Wednesday comes first. Hope to see you tonight.

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

    The Transfiguration – Who, What, Where, When, Why? by Fr. Joe

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." Every last Sunday in the season of Epiphany focuses upon the event of Jesus’ Transfiguration. Much is being revealed about Jesus and how we relate to Him, bringing the season to a close, but also moving us forward in the new season of Lent. Explore a bit more on what’s going on here.

    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.

    Monthly Birthday Potluck and Hottel Diaper Shower

    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 Lent will be reading John Donne in Lent. Specifically, we will discuss his holy sonnets which cover the breadth and beauty of the LORD’s presence at work in the human experience. If you would like a book, please let me know. Also, every purchase of the book gives a portion of the proceeds to the Anglican Development and Relief Fund for the ACNA. Finally, the evening culminates with a time of Evening Prayer together. Everything begins at 6:30pm and we hope to see you!

    Breeze Online Giving and Giving to Chad’s Curacy

    Thank you to all who give to St. John’s Anglican Church. We are so grateful for your support to continue the mission of the Church. As an update to online giving through Breeze, you may or may not know that they charge a processing fee whenever you give online. It is a small percentage of your gift. However, there is an option for you to cover the processing fee in your giving if you so choose. This allows St. John’s to keep 100% of what you give online. You should be able to see the option when you choose to give on the website or on Breeze. Also, there is an option on our website to give to Chad’s Curacy. Simply click donate and you should see the option. Thank you again for your generosity!

    Midday Prayer at Malone

    All are welcome to Midday Prayer on Malone’s campus at 11am. We will meet in the cafeteria for lunch and prayers. We are typically done within the hour.

    Lent Catechesis

    For all ages every Sunday at 9am (sharp)

    Our Lenten discipline for catechesis will begin with Morning Prayer with both adults and youth together. Afterwards, our youth will continue their catechesis upstairs and adults in their conversations. The focus for both is entitled “The Dusty Narratives of Genesis: Our Dust and God’s Mercy Revealed.”

    Our children continue Gospel Play focusing on the season of Lent and biblical texts related to the heart of the season.

    A Note about Fasting & Prayer during Lent (from Daniel Semelsberger)

    As a reminder: all who wish to do so are invited to join in a time of fasting and prayer on Wednesdays during Lent (beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 22nd), with a special emphasis on praying for the life and mission of our parish.

    Most of us will be fasting breakfast and lunch, but all are welcome to participate as they are led and able. You are also very welcome to participate anonymously. My assumption is that most, if not all of us have been routinely engaged in prayer for St. John's and its people. The purpose of this endeavor is simply for us to gather in spirit as a local church, knowing that we have intentionally set aside time to pray alongside one another.

    For those that wish, I will be offering reminders and brief encouragements via email each Wednesday morning during Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday. If you'd like to receive those emails--or if you have specific prayers or petitions that you'd like me to share in those emails--please let me know at dbsemels@gmail.com.

    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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