Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist


Read the new issue of Cowley online

The fall issue of Cowley magazine is here. In its pages, the Brothers take up the theme we’ll be teaching and praying on all year: Praying with the Fourth Gospel. Our Society takes its name from John the Evangelist because John’s Scriptures are at the heart of our experience of God and our shared life. We look forward to reflecting more on our love of this Gospel in our upcoming Lenten series, Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John. For now, we hope you’ll explore the articles in this issue. Be sure to check out Br. Keith’s profound and personal reflection, “Behold What You Are,” about how reading and praying with John’s Gospel can allow each of us to see the ordinary, challenging, and even painful events of our lives as signs imbued with meaning.

Behold What You Are

“A Person – the Son of God – was making himself known in my heart, taking the driver’s seat after years of quietly looking out the back window as a passenger, so quietly that I often forgot he was there.”

We’re delighted to share with you the latest Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Living reflection: Behold What You Are: Seeing Jesus & Ourselves in the Gospel According to JohnBr. Keith Nelson reveals through his own experience how reading and praying with John’s Gospel can allow each of us to see the ordinary, challenging, and even painful events of our lives as signs imbued with meaning. This theological reflection is available as an online magazine and a printable PDF download.

This reflection accompanies the Brothers’ 2018 Lenten series, “Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John”. Learn more and subscribe here.


Volunteer Appreciation: Nourishing the North Shore

For several years now, the Brothers have been delighted to partner with Nourishing the North Shore. This organization’s mission is to provide food and food education to low income families in the Newburyport area. Volunteers keep several gardens on the Emery House property. It enriches our life and our stewardship of this property to share the land with them. On October 5, we gathered together for a festive harvest celebration to honor the volunteers’ hard work all summer long.



Brothers Welcome New Postulants

We’re delighted to welcome two new postulants to the Monastery this fall, Nate Richardson and Sean Glenn.

Nate was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition and is new to the Episcopal Church.  He earned a B.A. degree from DePauw University and an M.F.A. in English-Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina.  He has worked in higher education for the past several years, most recently at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont.

Sean’s background is in music and theology.  He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Cornish College of the Arts, a Master of Arts in Music from Queens College (CUNY), and a Master of Theological Studies from Boston University.  Most recently he served as Music Program Assistant at Christ Church, Cambridge, just a few blocks from the Monastery.

MIT Students Search for “Meaning of Life” at SSJE

Students from the popular MIT Anthropology Course, “The Meaning of Life” made a visit to SSJE near the end of the term. The story of their experiences has come out in the MIT News.

For first-year student Loewen Cavill, the rhythm of the prayers, the ornate high ceilings, and the incense thick in the air get her thinking about religious services she attended with her family back home. When they chat with the brothers after the service, Cavill notes quietly, ‘I notice a difference in myself. I see that I’ve changed.’

(Photo: Lillie Paquette / MIT School of Engineering) 

Read the whole story >

Monastic Wisdom: Simplicity

Today we are overwhelmed and inundated with too much of everything: too many possessions, too much food, too much stimulation, too many activities, too much work, too much information, too many choices. Br. David Vryhof invites you to discover the freedom of simplicity.

Explore the topic of simplicity through David’s reflection, suggested spiritual practices to try today, reflection questions, and further resources.

Spots Available in “Spiritual, Not Religious” Retreat

A Retreat for Young Adults (20’s and 30’s): October 20-22, 2017

In these modern times people are more apt to identify as ‘spiritual’ rather than ‘religious.’ But what does that mean for those of us who feel called to follow ‘the Way’ of Jesus? In this retreat we will explore the dichoto- mies between soul and spirit, religion and spirituality, discipline and discipleship, while studying the words of Jesus in scripture and enjoying a rhythm of worship, prayer and retreat.

Location: The Monastery in Cambridge
Friday 5:00 pm – Sunday 2:00 pm, October 20-22, 2017
Leader: Br. Jim Woodrum, SSJE

Reserve a place today.

FSJ Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Announcing a 13-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land
for members of the Fellowship of Saint John.
From May 28 through June 9, 2018.

The SSJE Brothers will be leading a 13-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land for members of the Fellowship of Saint John, from May 28 through June 9, 2018.  We believe that this pilgrimage could be a life-changing experience for you.  Visiting the Holy Land will help you to understand the land and the culture in which Jesus lived and in which many of the Bible’s stories take place.  Having a visual memory of these places will forever change the way you read and understand Scripture, and will transform your relationship with Jesus.  In addition, you will gain insight into the present-day situation in the Holy Land and be better able to understand its complexities.  We believe this trip will transform you in significant ways.

Four of our Brothers – David Vryhof, Jonathan Maury, Nicholas Bartoli and Keith Nelson – will be leading this pilgrimage along with our friend and guide in Jerusalem, Canon Iyad Qumri.  We are certain that the travel within Israel/Palestine, the teaching, the shared worship, the gracious Middle Eastern hospitality, and the fellowship will be a wonderfully enriching experience for you.

Download an 8-page flyer describing the pilgrimage, and a registration form.

Br. David at Berkeley

This week, Br. David Vryhof visited with students at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University in New Haven. He led an hour-and-a-half class on discerning vocation, in addition to presiding and preaching at the students’ Tuesday morning Eucharist. It was wonderful to meet with students individually, as well as in small groups over meals, and to share together in the service of evening prayer.