Our Ash Wednesday services will be held in person at the church this year at 10:00 in the morning and at 7:00 in the evening on February 22nd.  All are welcome.
While it may seem odd, I’m grateful we have the experience of Ash Wednesday and Lent.  I love the festive, joyful, celebratory seasons too, of course. Still, if we have a sense that we’re supposed to be happy All The Time, that can get exhausting.  It comes as a relief to have some time set aside to bring to God our sadnesses, our griefs over the loss of other people, and our awareness of our own frailty, both the ways in which our bodies are subject to illness and injury and and decline and mortality, and the ways in which our hearts and souls are subject to pain and loss and weakness of various kinds.  Ash Wednesday is a day in which we experience God’s embrace of us when we are not always strong, not always healthy, not always holy, not always a ray of sunshine.  
In the middle of a culture of excess, Lent is a time to simplify, to return to what is essential.  I find there is something restful about it.  Overstimulation, or even overhelping others, or overdoing our attention to other people’s problems, often turn out to be ways of trying to avoid our own pain.  So instead of trying to constantly distract ourselves from our own pain or our own problems, Lent gives us the opportunity to bring them out and look at them honestly, as we remember that God looks at them with mercy and compassion.
I am grateful for the sense of rhythm of the seasons of the church year, that there is a time for high-energy exuberant rejoicing and there is a time for a quieter reflection on the things we regret and the things we mourn, all in the context of the love of God for us in every aspect of our lives.  
There are various ways we experience this.  For example, flowers are beautiful, and yet they are not essential to our worship, so we worship in the simplicity of the church without flowers during Lent, and then enjoy the flowers’ splendour even more when they return for our Easter celebrations.  And each of us can choose how we as an  individual want to participate in Lent.  If there is something that feels like excess in our lives, the tradition of giving it up for Lent or fasting from it for Lent may be beneficial.  Or if there is a practice of prayer or reading scripture that would draw us closer to God, choosing to commit to it for the 40 days of Lent is often what makes it do-able.  You may choose to participate with others in the book discussion Rev. Carol is leading on zoom for a deeper relationship with scripture. There is also a long tradition of taking on a Lenten practice of regularly giving to the poor or helping those in need, so we may choose a way to be a blessing in the lives of others.  Or there may be some other creative way God is leading you this Lent.
As the Ash Wednesday invitation in our service book says, 
“I invite you, in the name of the Lord, to observe a holy Lent,
by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, 
and by reading and meditating on the word of God.”
In the time before spring, seeds start quietly growing in the darkness underground, and Lent is often a time of germination in our souls.
May you be aware of God’s love for you this Ash Wednesday and this Lent.
Grace and peace,

Carol Langley is inviting you to join her on Zoom for a group discussion on the book, “Lent in Plain Sight: a Devotion through Ten Objects” by Jill Duffield. In this devotion for the season of Lent, Duffield draws readers’ attention to 10 ordinary objects Jesus would have encountered on his way to Jerusalem: dust, bread, the cross, coins, shoes, oil, coats, towels, thorns and stones. In each object, readers will find meaning in the biblical account of Jesus final days. Each week, from Ash Wednesday to Easter, readers encounter a new object to consider through Scripture, prayer, and reflection. Duffield’s intent is to show that God is often at work through the ordinary: ordinary people, ordinary objects, ordinary grace. It is through the ordinary that we hear God’s quiet voice.

As week 1 begins on Ash Wednesday, and week 2 begins the next Sunday on Lent 1, I’m suggesting we do this study on Monday’s from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. beginning Monday February 27th.

The book is available on Amazon for $18.00 and a download onto Kindle for $7.50.

If you are interested, please contact Carol directly at cdlangley@sympatico.ca or 905-697-3206.

Grace to you,



Planning for how a lifetime of dreams, hopes and memories is properly distributed following our passing is an important part of the legacy we leave behind.  Our estates, properly planned and distributed, can generously provide for the next generation of families, friends, the Church, and people in need who we may never have met. Join us on Sunday for a Legacy Giving Seminar and learn how your estate can help transform ministry at St. John.. All those in attendance will receive a free Estate Planning Workbook.
We will have a soup lunch and legacy giving seminar with Peter Misiaszek after church this  Sunday, January 29th, and even if you haven’t signed up in advance, you’re welcome to attend.
Grace and peace,
We are delighted to share the announcement that our theological student Paige has received official approval to move to the next stage of the process toward ordination, which is that she has moved from being a postulant to being an ordinand.  Her email to the clergy and wardens is below.  
Grace and peace,

My dear friends,

It is with a full heart that I share with you that I am now an Ordinand in the Diocese of Toronto. I have received concurrence to be ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacon. The ordination will take place at St. James Cathedral on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 30 at 4:00 pm. 
I am so deeply grateful for the support and love that I have received from each of you and from the entire St. John’s community. It has been one of the most blessed times in my life to be with you and to learn from you. Thank you!
Your prayers have helped to sustain me over this past year. Please continue to pray for me during the coming months of preparation. There is much work to do.
I give thanks to God for all of you!


For over a decade St. John’s has supported The Gathering Place, a charitable
organization that prepares a dinner for people in our community who often
struggle. It’s held the 2 nd Friday of every month [except July and August] at
St Paul’s United Church in Bowmanville.
This January 13 th it’s our turn to host this dinner and we need some help
from the parishioners of St. John’s; we need twelve servers who’ll deliver
the meal from the kitchen to our patrons. If you haven’t done this before
you’re in for a treat, it’s a fun atmosphere. And the help get fed too!
If you wish to help out please email the church.  It’s
Friday, January 13th
St. Paul’s United Church

It’s that time of year when we are readying our Christmas Hampers for distribution. This year we are preparing 24 full Hampers for 24 Community Families.  In addition, we are providing bread, eggs, apples and more for 64 families that have passed through Bethesda House in recent months. $75 supplies a full Hamper but any amount is gratefully received.

Donations, clearly marked “Hampers”, can be made via cash, cheques made out to St. John’s, the donate now button on our church website, or ETransfer.  Please also include your contact information for a tax receipt.

Thank you so much for prayerfully considering how you will support this important St. John’s outreach. Be sure and take a look at our display in the Sanctuary.

Merry Christmas from the Hamper Committee Jen, Cathie, Mavis, Sheila, Vivien, Erica and Sharon K.

December 24

3:30 p.m. Christmas Eve in-person family friendly service with music

7:00 Carol Sing in-person

7:30 p.m. Christmas Eve in-person candlelight service with music

Christmas Eve service on YouTube livestreamed at 7:30

December 25

8:00 a.m. Christmas Sunday Eucharist in person with Book of Common Prayer

9:00 a.m. Christmas Sunday service on Zoom

10:30 a.m. Christmas Sunday Eucharist in person with Book of Alternative Services


Every Sunday

Our early service at 8:00 a.m. (Book of Common Prayer)

Our service on zoom at 9:00 a.m.

Our main service with music at 10:30 a.m.


Light One Candle Advent Reflection Series
St. John’s Bowmanville will be hosting a Zoom lunchtime retreat series during the Advent season led by Paige Souter. Each week we will discuss and explore the themes of hope, peace, joy and love in Bishop Andrew Asbil’s Light One Candle Advent videos. 
The retreats will be held on Wednesdays from noon to 1pm beginning on November 30th. Please feel free to bring your lunch to our virtual retreat. You are encouraged to watch the video assigned for each session before our gathering that week .
Please email us to get the zoom link. All are welcome!
Dates and video links:
Advent I: Hope – Wednesday November 30 – video link: 


Advent II: Peace – Wednesday December 7 – video link: 


Advent III: Joy – Wednesday December 14 – video link: 


Advent IV: Love – Wednesday December 21 – video link: 


We now have a prayer labyrinth on the lawn outside St. John’s that is open to you and to everyone in the community!
Labyrinths are designed as paths to walk along as you pray or meditate.  Unlike a maze, which requires you to make decisions, a labyrinth provides a path that leads you from the entrance to the center, and then, when you are ready, the same path leads you from the center to the place you began.  

Our labyrinth is based on the 13th century labyrinth at Chartes Cathedral, France.  During the 13th century, for those who could not undertake long pilgrimages to distant places, churches provided labyrinths as a form of pilgrimage for people in their own local area, in the midst of their daily life.  Following the example of a labyrinth I saw at the Jesuit Ignatian Retreat Centre in Guelph, our labyrinth is made entirely out of grass, with the grass along the path trimmed shorter than the grass along the borders.  You can see the attached pictures of Cathie, Williette, and I mapping out the labyrinth with spray paint (similar to the one we made here in July 2019) and then trimming the grass along the path to make it more visible and longer-lasting.  
Here are some suggestions for walking a labyrinth (from the labyrinth at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, Ottawa)
Approaching the Labyrinth
Follow the path, one step at a time.  Make a prayerful preparation.  Stand at the entrance, breathe deeply a few times, relax, and still your mind….Take your time.  Find your pace.  Coordinate your footsteps with your breathing if that helps.  
Let go of any expectations you may hold, and observe your experience as it unfolds.  
You could ask yourself at each turn, “What am I turning away from in my life? What am I turning towards?”
You could ask for guidance and insight into a concern of your own, or on behalf of someone else. 
You could pose a question at the outset.  
You could fill your mind with prayer, or sing quietly to yourself.
The labyrinth works at the intuitive “soul level” of the mind: Everything that happens is a metaphor, symbol of something beyond.  Remain open to receive subtle images, thoughts, memories, or flashes of insight.  These can be fleeting, so it helps sometimes to take paper and pen with you to capture them, and give yourself time after to journal or draw.  If you wish to walk in again, feel free to do so.
Three Stages for the Walk
Release: Release and let go as you are walking towards the centre.  Release and let go of the details of your life.  This is an act of invitation and it quiets and empties the mind.  All pilgrimages begin with a first step.  It’s the act of walking that makes you a pilgrim, in life or in the labyrinth.
Receive: Open your mind and heart.  Let yourself experience the changes of direction.  You may get turned around, but you are never lost; trust that the path will lead you where you need to go.  When you reach the centre, stay there as long as you like.  It is a place of meditation and prayer.  Receive what there is for you to receive.  Relax and let the wisdom of the world come to you.
Respond: As you leave the centre and return on the same path, ponder what you have received.  Take these thoughts back out into the world in which you live.  Each time you walk the labyrinth, you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel called to do and to fully be the person you are.
We will be glad to hear of your responses as you walk and pray along the labyrinth.  Please feel free to forward this email to any friends or neighbours who might be interested.
Grace and peace,