Ordination to the Diaconate – Angie Wisk-Nowell

The Apostolic Johannite Church is pleased to announce the upcoming ordination of the Rev. Mrs. Angie Wisk-Nowell to the Sacred Diaconate.

Angie was raised in a non-religious family but has been captivated by spirituality for as long as she can remember. She has practiced in a variety of forms of Christianity ranging from Evangelical, Mysticism, and Gnosticism.  When she discovered the concept of the feminine divine in Christianity she was hooked and has been exploring this deeply since 2006.  Angie has been a member of the Parish of St. Joseph of Arimathea since 2017. She holds a B.A. in History and an MBA. She lives with her husband and two small children in, Calgary, Alberta.

The Rev. Mrs. Angie Wisk-Nowell will be ordained to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate during a socially distanced celebration of the Liturgy of the Apostolic Johannite Church with additional precautions, by the Patriarch of the Apostolic Johannite Church on Sunday, Sept 20th, 2020 for service with the Parish of St. Joseph of Arimathea in Calgary, Alberta. 

AJC Statement on Racism

To all people of grace and goodwill, greetings and blessings from the Apostolic Johannite Church:

All across the world, we continue to struggle with the legacies of hatred, structural racism and white supremacism. Despite the extraordinary strides that have been made, this fight is far from over. Each nation faces unique challenges in regards to the marginalisation and oppression of black and indigenous people of colour. In Canada, Australia, the United States, and elsewhere we continue to see the damage wrought by slavery and colonialism; black, aboriginal, and First Nations peoples pay the price for the mistakes of our history and the continuing mistakes of our institutions, leaders, fellow citizens, and ourselves.

The Johannite Statement of Principles specifically states, “We recognize the Sacred Flame to be present in all Beings…without discrimination on the basis of gender, race, social status or sexual orientation.” Nothing could be more clear. And yet we will say it again. The Apostolic Johannite Church recognises, stands with, and supports oppressed communities globally, and is dedicated to the principles of the universal presence of the Sacred Flame and the equality of all peoples without exception. We reject utterly the ideas of white supremacism and all other forms of hatred, exclusion, and oppression. We find these doctrines to be fundamentally incompatible with the teachings of the Christ and the Holy Gnosis.

We ask that you and all people of good will join us in combatting hatred in all its forms, by prayer, by speech, and by action. We pray to the Divine Beloved to heal our hearts and our lands, so that we may all be one even as the Beloved is one. We remain

Your devoted servants before the Sacred Flame:

+ The Most Rev. Shaun McCann, Ep.Gn.
Sovereign Pontiff of the Apostolic Johannite Church
Primate of Canada

+ The Most Rev. William Behun, Ph.D, Ep.Gn.
Primate of the United States

+ The Most Rev. Timothy Mansfield, Ph.D, Ep.Gn.
Bishop of New South Wales, Australia

Easter Blessing 2020

Companions of the Sacred Flame,
This night we gather in vigil, to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ, recalling with it, the history of our spiritual path, seeing in it, our own journeys from life to death, and experiencing through it, the initiation from death to life.

Divine Beloved, out of the tomb of separation you have called us, to rise into the Kingdom of God. The ancient mysteries of sacrifice speak to our journey.

Incarnate in each one of us, the Sacred Flame is transfixed upon the cross of space and time, May we never fear to descend into our lowest reaches, like the Logos and the harrowing of hell, to reconcile the lower with the higher- that we may rise transformed in this very life, and in the fullness of time ascend into perfect union.

Easter Vigil of the Apostolic Johannite Church

These are the opening words of the Easter Vigil ritual that our communities undertake each year at this most solemn time. This year, our physical vigil is one that can only be conducted individually but its spirit is still carried in the hearts and minds of each Johannite, and in that spirit and trust, I offer my Easter blessing to each one of you.

My blessings, good wishes and prayers for all the Johannite Parishes, Narthexes, Missions, Oratories and Chapels, our solitary sisters and brothers who keep the flame burning in distant places, and all those who call the Apostolic Johannite Church home, deepening and sharing their journey here.

My thanks and gratitude on behalf of the Apostolic Johannite Church to the Johannite Bishops, Priests, Deacons and Seminarians, the Grand Master and Initiates of the Friary, the Prior, Oblates and Knights of the Order of the Temple and Saint John, and the Gnostic Wisdom Network team, for all their hard work and dedication- not only to the people we work on behalf of, but also in their own spiritual paths and in their service to each other. At all times, but especially in this most difficult of times.

Blessings and good wishes also from the Apostolic Johannite Church to the many Churches and spiritual communities of good will, especially the Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum, Ecclesia Gnostica, Ekklesia Neoplatonismos Theourgia, and l’Eglise Gnostique Apostolique (New York), as well as the many Martinist Orders and Lodges, Ordre Martiniste, Ordre Martiniste of North America, Ordre Martiniste Souverains, and our Masonic sisters and brothers, and also the many individual friends, family, laity and clergy of good will.

May the coming year find your work and paths rich and rewarding with fruitful challenge and blessing, and balanced with rest and reflection. May your work be noble, your spirits be humble, and your hearts always full. Most of all, may you each come through this time of trial with happiness and health.

Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch
The Apostolic Johannite Church

The Catacombs of the World

Dear Friends,

Many times through the Church’s history, one or other of our priests, in discussing theology has talked about the nature of God as being both at once transcendent and imminent. They are concepts that go hand in hand with the panentheism (not to be confused with pantheism) alluded to in the Apostolic Johannite Church’s Statement of Principles. 

Panentheism, pan-en-theos (‘All in God’) is the view that the Divine is present in all there is, while still being beyond space and time- our Statement of Principles #1 references the ‘while the universe is contained within this Divine Godhead, the Godhead transcends it’. God is present in all things, but is not limited to all things and is beyond all things. 

We cannot readily or easily reach or touch that infinite part of the Infinite which is beyond space and time, being finite creatures pinned down by the gravity of a thousand real concerns that keep us fastened and rooted to and in materiality.

Thoughts of ‘ultimate concern’ as theologians smarter than myself have called it, weave in and out of the background or on the blurred edge of the periphery when there’s bills to pay, clocks to punch and the Rorschach tests of modern culture and life. 

So how to we turn our gaze, mind and hearts to the focus of the Infinite when we are hip deep in the darkness of the finite? Particularly now, when ignorance, fear and illness and where are we going to find some toilet paper, are a part of the thousand real concerns fastening us to the world. 

For as long as any of us has been alive- hundreds of times over in fact of years, Christianity has occupied a dominant role in society and culture. Many times unjustly, heartlessly and cruelly. You know the history- persecution of science, crusade against heretic and infidel alike, the list is long.  The list of the good it has done is also equally long, and is as impressive as its negative points are depressing.

Neither of these ends however is the point of these written thoughts. I mention this only to say that it has been around long enough where it has existed in a variety of conditions, with a variety of dispositions- that defy typecasting it as either the greatest good, or the darkest evil. It is, as it has been from the beginning, made up of regular human beings- with their attendant difficulties, blessings, gifts and ignorance. 

And once upon a time, it was not the globe spanning infighting cultural backdrop of Western civilization so-called. 

It was on the run for its life. Hiding in the catacombs in places like Rome, to places as far afield as Turkey. Under persecution by authority. 

We’re used to seeing church as something that either plays out in the vaulted ceilings, iconography and architecture of the Western and Eastern Churches, or even more sterile worship houses of evangelical disposition, with its iconography being that of the Pastor on a large screen near an unadorned cross of some sort or other (don’t forget some guy with a guitar).

But in the earliest times of Christianity, its spirituality was intimate, familial, huddled and anxious. Ultimate concern was in the hearts and on the minds and lips of all who gathered in these dark, hidden spaces- and fear nipped at its heels if not outright played in its sanctuaries. 

What lay beyond the boundary of human life mattered a great deal, because what roamed beyond the boundary of the nearest doorway, mattered a great deal.

Huddled there, amidst the resting places of Pagans and Christian alike- they made their devotions. God was not an image reflected in architecture, art or hymn, so much as it was reflected in the presence and eyes of one’s own brothers and sisters.

We are in the middle of the Season of Lent- a time of purification, simplification and reconnection with the Divine. A time when so many give up comforts of life in an effort to refocus their attention on matters spiritual. That giving up can be simple items such as chocolate, or an extra hour of TV, or it can be in the sacrifice of time, adding on an extra 20 minutes of mediation, visiting a neighbour who is in difficulty, or sticking around after church to help clean things up. Lent is associated scripturally with the period of days in which Christ went out to the desert, willingly.

I have said it many times before that God desires not our suffering and difficulty isn’t a test, and we’re not having the world taken away just to enhance or refine our faith or test our gnosis, or give us either of these things. The world will always supply us an abundance of lead- it is its nature, but it is through our spiritual practice, and our care for each other, that it can be transmuted into the gold of the spirit.

Like Lent, it is not a Divine test, it is an opportunity. It will come whether you wish it or not, it will come whether you deserve it or not. It is your opportunity to examine the things that are important and the choices and care you make about them- or not.

In the present moment, we find ourselves in an analogous time.

Not of persecution, or heresy vs orthodoxy or pagan vs Christian but a time of danger none the less. The danger of severe illness, the danger of lack, the danger of disregard for our fellow sentient beings, the danger of ignorance. Like COVID-19, many of things on their own are not fatal to us as individuals, indeed, we can carry any one of these things and possibly not be affected by it- but our neighbour can, our society has, and our humanity will, when they are all put together.

In the present moment, the catacombs have become the world, both in the myriad and unclear sounds and information that echo back upon us, or in the danger that lies beyond the corner of our sight in the form of fear, illness and ignorance.

The material world recedes but the image of God remains- reflected in the faces of our fellow human beings. How we honour that matters. We may have the catacombs of the world for some indefinite time from now until who knows, but the cathedral of the heart remains and you stand at that doorway. Open it. 

I asked- how to we turn our gaze, mind and hearts to the focus of the Infinite when we are hip deep in the finite? Touching the Infinite that is beyond time and space is difficult, especially now. 

We can do this by recognizing the presence of the Infinite in the Finite- not the Infinite which lies in the beyond but in the Infinite which is as near as anything can be. The sacred flame that burns in hearts of your fellow humanity. Our ability to meet in a building may be hindered but the church of God remains reflected in the community of humanity even as the world falls away for a time.

It is established one stone at time with every check-in phone call, its sanctuary lit one candle at a time by each gesture of support, the beauty of its music resonates more deeply with each attending ear to the concerns of another’s difficulty.

The catacombs of the world circumscribe the boundaries of our physicality, but the cathedral of the heart can unfetter the boundaries our spirit.

Open that door.

Before the Sacred Flame,

Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch
The Apostolic Johannite Church

Conclave 2020 – Cancelled


If you’ve been following the news to any degree over the last few weeks, this decision probably feels inevitable. It didn’t feel that way for us or rather, we did our best to make sure that it wasn’t – for as long as we were able

Conclave 2020 has been cancelled.

I chose to cancel rather than postpone because of the timeline for planning. With COVID-19 and the situation of the world changing fast in response with no anticipated end-date- there is a risk that we will end up planning two Conclaves at the same time, before we know for sure that the dust has settled from the situation we face today and in the foreseeable future.

The well-being of our friends, families, members and clergy is our first priority, and why the Apostolic Johannite Church undertakes the work it does- and why we’ve made the decision we’ve made, in the way that we have made it.

The ordinations and consecrations that were planned for Conclave 2020 will go forward individually where possible- saving where health, safety and government restriction take priority- and failing that- at the soonest opportunity when both health and peace prevail.

For the Sacred Flame,

Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch,
The Apostolic Johannite Church