Weekly Dispatch, March 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
  • Monthly Potluck – Sunday, March 26th after church
  • Eagle and Child – Thursday, March 30th, 7:00pm at Dan McWilliams'
  • Palm Sunday – Sunday, April 2nd, 10:30am at Church
  • Holy Week Simple Eucharist – April 3rd, 4th, and 5th at 12:00-12:30pm at Church
  • Maundy Thursday – Thursday, April 6th at 6:30pm at Church
  • Good Friday Services – Friday, April 7th at 12:00pm (Dying Words of Jesus) and 6:30pm
  • Easter Vigil with Baptisms – Saturday, April 8th at 8:00pm

A Message from Fr. Joe

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we commit ourselves to keeping a holy Lent, we have focused our reflections upon the three main spiritual practices of Lent: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. In my own prayers, I am rediscovering the beauty and formation of my own prayers with all the collects of Lent. In terms of a season, I think they may be the richest of all collects in the Prayer Book. I know, pretty bold statement but for this dispatch. I want to reflect on our upcoming collect for Sunday:

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

First, we acknowledge that only God can bring order to our unruly wills and affections. God is not chaotic but seeks to bring order in our lives. We are the chaotic ones! We are unruly because we seek to be our own rulers. The culture clearly affirms self-actualization, and therefore self-justification which can only lead to chaotic anxiety, heartache, and disorder.

Our wills are self-serving rather than submitting to the only good will of God. Our affections or loves are disordered and bent inwards. When we think our love is going out towards God and neighbor, we often find it bending back towards the self. The prayer turns to what we ultimately need for such order and re-orientation. We need God’s grace.

We need His unfitting favor towards us to love what He commands and desire His promises. Notice how grace flips things. The unruly wills are now loving the LORD’s will for our lives in His commands. Our sinful affections are now desiring the promises of God, which always pull through versus the unreliability of the empty promises of the world, the flesh, and the devil. This sanctifying work of God’s grace is going on amid the swift and varied changes of the world. The chaos and inconsistencies of the world reveal the need for what or who can be constant in our lives.

Grace is what fixes our hearts upon the true joys found through Jesus Christ our Lord. Grace is our constant despite our inclination against it. It is always seeking us out, invading our desires, finding us, wooing us, and drawing us into the goodness of God’s ways. As we come closer to the end of Lent, let us hold onto the grace that is already holding onto us. And may we see such grace given and revealed throughout the upcoming Holy Week. It is closer than you think!

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 Feast of St. Joseph by Fr. Joe

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." A feast day in Lent?! Yep, March 19th is always the feast day of St. Joseph. We remembered the significance of his calling to be the husband of the Virgin Mary and the guardian of the Incarnate Son, Jesus. Hear how his calling bears significance for us as well.

    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 and classical literature 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 where those who support a classical understanding of marriage can explore the controversial issues in a calm, deliberative setting that is not subject to the hostilities found in today's public discourse on the topic. We seek to discuss thoughtful responses to the confusion surrounding marriage in our culture. We are not meeting currently, but if you have interest, contact Dcn. Chad about starting up another session.

    March Monthly Potluck

    Join us for our monthly potluck on March 26th after church. We will celebrate the birthdays of March and enjoy fellowship with one another. There will be a sign-up sheet emailed out to let us know what you plan on bringing, or you can connect with Elizabeth Beer or Megan Tennant.

    Holy Week Offerings

    Holy Week is coming upon us! It is certainly the most significant week of the whole year, and I encourage you to participate as much as you are able. Please consider the following services:
    • Palm Sunday (April 2nd): We will gather our bulletins and palms to begin outside (rain or shine), then process our way into the church reenacting Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem. As we enter into the worship space, our reenactment continues with the dramatic reading of the Passion of our Lord.
    • Simple Holy Week Eucharist (April 3rd, 4th, 5th): Please consider fasting your lunch these days and join us for a very brief and simple Eucharist the next three days of Holy Week. They will begin at 12:00pm and wraps up within half an hour.
    • Maundy Thursday (April 6th): A moving service focusing upon the last hours between Jesus and His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion. We will experience the Stripping of the Altar signifying Jesus being arrested, stripped and beaten, and sent away to be crucified.
    • Good Friday (April 7th): We are offering two services on Good Friday, and each are unique. The first will be Reflections on the Dying Words of Jesus at 12:00pm. This hour-long service will include prayers, silence, and reflections from various parishioners of St. John’s. Our second service will be our classic Prayer Book Good Friday service at 6:30pm.
    • The Great Easter Vigil (April 8th): One of the most significant services of the whole Church calendar. We begin in darkness where we hear the mighty works of God throughout Holy Scripture, bring those seeking baptism to the fount, and usher light into darkness with our first alleluias! It will be a grand service starting at 8:00pm.

    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.


    If you or your children would like to be baptized, please contact Fr. Joe to receive pre-baptismal catechesis. Our next date for baptisms will be the Easter Vigil on April 8th. Lent is a significant time to prepare for the sacrament. Please let us know if you have any interest.

    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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