This Lent the diocese is invited to participate in a six week journey into a deeper intimacy with Jesus, by praying with the words from the Evangelist John. Our guides for this pilgrimage will be the Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist – fondly known in Algoma as The Cowley Fathers. On January 15th, the church honours the memory of Richard Meux Benson who was the founder of this Anglican religious community. He once told a young priest in the community that he didn’t believe that the object of their association was to equip them to be missionaries, “But rather with the desire first of all to be converted ourselves.” (For All the Saints pg.408) He saw himself as someone who had, amongst other things, ‘a heart of flame towards God.’ (FAS pg.54) My hope is that through this Lenten program we will also yearn for a conversion of the heart and a heart of flame towards God.
SSJE have prepared a journal, “Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John”, which may be used in Lent either in small groups or individually for participants to record their reflections and prayers. Additional resources will become available online and folks are urged to sign up for the daily videos and group resources at www.meetingjesusinjohn.org
Copies of the journal have been given to the Archdeacons for distribution in the deaneries. It is my hope that you will promote this resource in your congregations and encourage parishioners to use it during Lent. We all know that ‘one size doesn’t fit everyone’ when it comes to growing in our faith. Meeting Jesus in John is a very simple way to draw nearer to Jesus.
I will be offering opportunities for each deanery to gather with me for quiet time, reflection and prayer using themes from John’s Gospel during the Lent or Easter season. The dates for these gatherings have been set – Muskoka (afternoon on February 17th in Gravenhurst); Algoma (morning of February 24th in Bruce Mines); Temiskaming (morning of March 3rd in North Bay); Sudbury/Manitoulin (afternoon of March 24th in Espanola), and Thunder Bay/North Shore (morning of May 26th in Thunder Bay).