Weekly Dispatch, March 29th, 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
    • **No Midday Prayer in Holy Week (April 4th)**
  • Choristers/Bible Study/Evening Prayer – Wednesdays at 6:30pm at 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 at Church
  • Easter Vigil with Baptisms – Saturday, April 8th at 8:00pm at Church
  • Easter Sunday – Sunday, April 9th at 10:30am at Church
    • **Easter Sunday – No Catechesis. Easter Egg Hunt to follow worship service**

A Message from Fr. Joe

Dear Friends in Christ,

Holy Week officially begins this Sunday with Palm Sunday. This service is meant to contain two liturgies, the first being the liturgy of the palms.
We begin outside (rain or shine!) where we wave our palm branches shouting hosanna to the highest and re-enacting Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. As Jesus processed into the city, we will process into the church with our palms singing all glory, laud, and honor.

The service then turns towards the reason why Jesus entered Jerusalem. It was not to take a throne or a crown, but it was to enter the cross. The glory of God is not revealed in being on top but going below. As we imagined ourselves to be the crowd who welcomes Jesus with words of praise, it soon turns to our shouts for his crucifixion. We will engage the Passion narrative with a variety of readers from the congregation, but we will all have a part to play. While we were not there in the crowds, it is our sin which nailed Jesus to the tree so that He would receive the curse and we would have pardon.

The liturgy of the palms and the Passion are held together both for theological and practical reasons. Practically, it was to make sure that if anyone missed the services for Holy Week, they would be sure to hear the cross before coming to the resurrection. But theologically, it speaks of our sinful complexity in relationship to our Lord. Our songs of praise are coupled with our disordered loves where we would prefer mudpies over His grace. The power of the Gospel proclaims that despite your wayward affections, by the cross of Christ you are enough. You don’t have to even get your Christian life together to approach the throne of grace. He already regards you as His own beloved son and daughter.

I heard recently of a person who felt they could never receive communion until they felt they were completely and totally cleansed from sin and everything from their conscience was cleared. Now, to be sure, we are called to examine ourselves before receiving communion. Yet the examination is to see all your sin united to the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in uniting to Him in Holy Communion is to receive all benefits of His passion. This reminds me of the song, come ye sinner. The line which comes to mind is, “Come, ye weary, heavy laden, lost and ruined by the fall; if you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all.” As much as you are able, I highly encourage you to come to every worship service made available to you in Holy Week. You will be surprised at the power of Christ’s work made known to you. Come, and do not tarry.

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

    "Look at the Bones!" by Fr. Joe

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." On the 5th Sunday of Lent, we explored Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of the dry bones, where God takes what is clearly dead and makes it alive. This paired beautifully with the raising of Lazarus from the dead preparing us towards Holy Week where Jesus will enter the darkness of death yet the grave will not hold 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 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.

    Easter Lillies

    It is that time again! If you are interested in adorning the Lord’s Table and His House with Easter Lilies, please contact Alyssa to let her know how much. I believe last year the cost was somewhere between $5-$10. Any donation is helpful to beautify and celebrate our risen Lord. Her email is Alyssagasbarre@gmail.com

    Hottel Moving Dates – Help Needed!

    The Hottels are finally moving into their new home in Doylestown, OH. They are requesting assistance from their church family in their transition. They are doing a partial self-move with the heavy boxes and all the furniture they are keeping to be taken by professional movers. The two day they are setting aside for the self-move portion are Saturday, April 15th and Saturday, April 22nd. Please reach out to them if you are able and willing to assist on either of these two days.

    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.

    Easter Catechesis

    We are starting a whole new Eastertide Catechesis on April 16th! The focus will be on Paul’s letter to the Colossians. In keeping the feast, we will continue to offer Morning Prayer for the first half of catechesis, with teaching to follow afterwards. Our youth are encouraged to stay for Morning Prayer, and they will continue their focus upstairs. Our children will continue with Gospel play with special attention on the post-resurrection narratives of Jesus with His disciples, but also special attention on the beginnings of the Church.

    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.

    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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