Virtual Daily Office in a Time of Viral Pandemic

For Anglicans and other liturgical Christians around the world, Lent is normally a time for penitence, spiritual discipline, and reflection. At the same time, in the face of an increasingly hostile culture, various Christian writers have advocated that an increased spiritual discipline is required today to inculcate and nourish a faith that can withstand the culture.

This year’s Lent brought a new challenge to the faith with the unexpected coronavirus pandemic, prompting a nationwide disruption of economic activity, community, and all other aspects of American life.

As in previous years, many began Lent this year by saying or singing the “Great” Litany in corporate worship. Whether from the 1928, 1962, 1979, or 2019 Book of Common Prayer, North American Anglicans prayed “Good Lord, deliver us” from “plague, pestilence, and famine.” This language dates from Thomas Cranmer’s 1544 Letany written for Henry VIII, five years before the first Book of Common Prayer compiled under Edward VI. While the medieval plagues known to Cranmer were caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis — with pre-antibiotic fatality rates[1] nearly 100x that of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) — the principle remains unchanged.

Beyond the Litany, the BCP provides another opportunity for spiritual discipline in the form of the Daily Office, the services of Morning and Evening Prayer created by Cranmer. This Anglo-Benedictine Office is not limited to penitential seasons, but (theoretically) can be maintained seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. At the same time, like other self-imposed secular disciplines, it is easier to do while surrounded by like-minded others.

Fortunately, while online worship mandated by social distancing has diminished the experience of corporate worship on Sunday morning, it has made it easier to share a corporate experience of Morning and Evening Prayer.

Our diocese has found that these conditions have provided a unique opportunity for introducing the Daily Office as a twice-daily virtual prayer service through the use of existing videoconferencing technologies and the Book of Common Prayer — one that is continuing beyond Lent into Eastertide. We have found that the convenience of such virtual Daily Office can broaden its observance within a parish, and thus supports our existing program for growing mission and evangelism within our diocese.

We believe our experience provides a model of how any Anglican church can both fulfill Cranmer’s vision of simplifying the monastic office for lay use, and also apply the principles of Martin Thornton to create a faithful Remnant whose life of prayer benefits the entire parish and community.

Virtual Worship in a Season of Social Distancing

While liturgical churches retain their historic liturgy, the pandemic has brought unprecedented disruption to how these churches use that liturgy. For perhaps the first time since Old Saint Peter’s was completed in the 4th century, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Week without his flock, a previously unimaginable scene being repeated at a smaller scale among billions of Christians worldwide.

In the past month, North American Anglicans have become adept at logging onto YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and other platforms to watch live broadcasts of their Sunday services. Their parishes have become proficient at livestreaming worship with a fixed camera, filming a tiny socially distanced congregation, and providing bulletins via PDF rather than paper booklets.

Having “attended” 10 Anglican churches in the first three Sundays of compelled online worship, some have done a better job than others of simulating normalcy. Still, there are aspects that cannot be simulated by virtual worship. One is the tangible — not only receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord, but also being in a physical place performing physical actions — kneeling, standing, sitting, turning. The other noticeable omission is the corporate experience of worship — both when the nave resonates with the collective recitation of a creed or prayer, and when we collectively lift our voices in song.

Beyond worship, what is also missing on virtual Sunday mornings has been fellowship — jokingly referred to as the Anglican sacrament of coffee hour. Our family has consciously created virtual lunch dates with specific friends, but that doesn’t replace the series of 2-5 minute conversations after church that would allow us to create and maintain connections with our fellow congregants. As with universities, a church can utilize online tools to provide content, but such tools can only deliver a greatly watered-down version of the experiential and relational aspects of how we meet in ordinary times — precisely those aspects that (as in secular formation) are essential to transforming lives.

The Daily Office: From Benedict, Cranmer, and Thornton

While virtual worship thus diminishes the experience of Sunday worship, at the same time it can make the Daily Office more accessible. This season of temporary disruption has provided a unique opportunity to instill the Office into the daily rhythm of life as intended by Cranmer but imperfectly realized since.

The Anglican model of daily prayer has its earliest antecedents in the three- and four-fold daily prayer common in the third century Alexandrian church.[2] By the 6th century, this model was regularized in the eight-fold Liturgy of the Hours established by the Rule of St. Benedict, or the Regula, which set the monastic model for the next ten centuries.[3]

When Cranmer created the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, the former Catholic priest intentionally simplified the monastic liturgy by reducing the eight offices to two. The services of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer combined elements of the earlier medieval English and Spanish liturgies, in a form suitable for lay worship.[4] Each service selected from three parts of Scripture with excerpts from the psalms combined with Old and New Testament passages; this is a pattern continued in all subsequent editions of the BCP.[5]

These offices were the most distinctive and formative aspects of the Anglican prayer book; as Alan Jacobs writes

Although many of the most heated … debates for the Reformation concerned the events of the Mass … the Anglicanism that developed from the Book of Common Prayer would be centered on the regular enactment, by millions of laypersons, of these simplified forms of the ancient Daily Office.[6]

With Cranmer’s services for Morning and Evening Prayer, even a Catholic theologian would concede that “the Anglican communion alone of all Western Christian Churches” has preserved a regular daily pattern of corporate prayer.[7]

While the preface to the 1552 Book of Common Prayer mandated that clergy “say daily the Morning and Evening prayer, either privately or openly”, it also encouraged them to “toll a bell” to announce these services so that interested parties “may be come to hear God’s word, and to pray with him.”

Even so, by the early 21st century, the Daily Office had largely been forgotten by laity across North America. A few churches continue a practice that was the norm in mid-20th century America, one of alternating Morning Prayer and Holy Communion for the main Sunday service.[8] Meanwhile, an occasional Choral Evensong allows elite choirs to demonstrate how well they can channel English Cathedral music — imitating what most of their congregations had only heard in recordings, radio broadcasts, or later Internet webcasts.[9] But only a handful offer Morning (or Evening) Prayer three, five or seven days a week.

In the mid-20th century, Martin Thornton sought to revive not only lay participation in the Daily Office, but the Benedictine spirituality encapsulated in it. In bestowing his prayer book upon future generations of Anglicans, Cranmer intentionally emulated the monastic spiritual discipline encapsulated by Benedict’s Regula. As Thornton notes:

Both systems are designed for an integrated and united community, predominantly lay. Ch. 62 of the Regula makes it clear that there is no distinction between priest and lay-brother “except with regard to his office at the altar”. The Rule is for everyone within the united community, while the priest is exhorted to set a good example of obedience to it, to encourage the others.[10]

Adapted from the Regula, Thornton proposed a threefold Rule of life to be regularly observed by faithful Anglicans: the Mass, private prayer, and the Daily Office. The latter is central to his concept:

The Office is opus Dei of St Benedict, the objective prayer of the Church of Christ to the Father, and it is the foundation of corporate religion; the ascetic mediator between private devotion and the Mass and between the Mass and devotion recollected in life. In essence it is corporate, and its volitional emphasis is objective.[11]

For Thornton, those who keep such an ascetical discipline are the “zealous minority”, the most devoted of the three levels of participation found in any parish. He terms this group the “Remnant”, and sees them fulfilling the longstanding pattern of how God deals with His people:

It must be insisted that the “Remnant” is a highly technical term with roots embedded in Hebrew prophecy and—as will appear later in this book—branches spreading through the Christian tradition. The principle is held and the term used successively by Elisha, Amos, Micah, First Isaiah, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Joel, and Ezra; reaching its fullest consummation and clearest exposition in the Deutero-Isaiah.[12]

At the same time, in the Old Testament the Remnant was never a particular tribe or clerical group:

It would be tempting to identify the Remnant with a special group or class called to fulfill Israel’s historic mission. But in the Bible we do not find this. Jeremiah sought in vain for such representatives (5.1-5). The Rechabites, a minority group with great influence, are nowhere regarded as the Remnant. Nor does a body of refugees who have made their way to safety become entitled to make this claim. The existence of the Remnant must be conceived in the light of the Biblical witness to the redemptive activity of the God of Israel. It is called into being by God acting in judgment and grace, not by secular condition or accident of history.[13]

Instead, the Remnant pursues salvation on the behalf of the remainder of God’s people, the people of the Old Covenant, and (later) the New Covenant. As Thorton summarizes:

Israel is his chosen race, the peculiar people, the elect, the priestly caste; set over against the Gentile world. Yet through sin and apostasy, its mission and even salvation is delegated to, and depends upon, the faithful Remnant, and the faithful Remnant is typified by purity in worship and loyalty in faith: religious or ascetical, rather than directly ethical, qualities. Thus the salvation of the world depends upon the faith of Israel the chosen instrument, which in turn revolves around the faithful Remnant. …

The Remnant, far from being an amputated segment— the clique detached from the whole — is at the centre of the parochial organism and of power extending beyond it. It is the very heart which recapitulates and serves the whole; the heart of the Body of Christ in microcosm… This palpitating heart pumps the blood of life to all the body.[14]

In Thornton’s conception, the vicarious benefits of the prayerful Remnant accrue not only to the remainder of a given congregation, but to the broader surrounding community. To fulfill this role, the Remnant must remain faithful in its spiritual discipline to set an example for the entire congregation:

[P]arochial worship must always remain at its highest possible level, consonant, that is, with the needs and capacity of the Remnant. Whatever place is given to the parish second stratum-or third stratum-whatever welcome they are accorded to Mass and Office, they must aspire to Remnant standards and not ask the Remnant to descend to theirs.[15]

Cultivating a 21st Century Remnant

How does Thornton’s idea of Remnant from mid-20th century England apply to 21st century America? For the past five years, the Diocese of the Holy Trinity has been working on this exact problem. In 2020, we began sharing our experience with other traditional Anglican churches.

At the January joint meeting of the G-4 Continuing Anglican provinces, our Bishop Ordinary, the Rt. Rev. Stephen Scarlett, explained the imperative for prayer in Anglican congregations:

I want to urge and exhort us to change our priorities and place prayer for mission and dialogue about mission at the top of our agenda from now on. …

Because we do not know what to do, we need to establish a corporate practice of fasting and praying for the mission of our church. In Acts, the early church waited and prayed in the upper room before the Holy Spirit came and led them into ministry (Acts 1:12-14). We need to enter into an extended season of church-wide prayer and fasting for the development of our mission. …

As we fast and pray, we need to listen for God’s voice and guidance and discuss the new things we might do; the new doors we might open into our churches; the new ways we might reach out to those who are not now our members; the new good works we might do. Prayer for mission and discussion about church renewal and mission need to be regular, weekly activities of our church. [16]

Today, our diocese is emphasizing a relational model of evangelism, one that builds upon the medieval Celtic model,[17] particularly that aspect known as “belonging before believing”. This is an answer to the postmodern skepticism of absolute truth claims, which means that many today will only consider a Christian message from individuals or a community with which they have a strong and credible relationship.

This relational approach impacts evangelism and mission in at least two ways:

First, the mission used to be to try to get people to come to our church to fill that compartmentalized, atomized part of their lives—come to our church on Sunday to fill your need for the church part of your life. Our mission field no longer consists of people who are trying to determine where they will “go to church.” We will have to show how faith impacts all of life. If faith doesn’t touch everything it isn’t worthy of a full commitment, and it won’t get the average person away from football, shopping, youth sports, or more sleep on Sunday.

Second, mission will now be centered on relationships rather than programs and doctrines. We used to advertise our programs to the church shopper. We will now have to display our community. If people connect with us and find us plausible, they will be willing to learn what we are doing and how they can participate. But if they do not connect with us relationally, most will not be interested in our doctrine or our programs.[18]

To achieve these goals, Bp. Scarlett has articulated his vision of a 21st century Remnant, one he termed a “Mission Community”:[19]

In the logic of a Mission Community, the focus on the interior lives of the community members connects directly with the outward oriented mission. A Mission Community can continue to exist for extended seasons of time by living its common life of prayer without a particular need to make new converts—though it will always be seeking to bear witness to Christ. … A Mission Community will call people to spiritual maturity and holiness. For this reason, a Mission Community can have influence with people who are nominal members of other churches, calling them to a deeper life of prayer and experience of community.[20]

To prepare laity to join and lead these communities, in the Fall 2015 the diocese created a pastoral ministry training program, and launched its fourth cohort of students lass fall. The program is intended to help students identify and prepare to lead their unique ministries, whether in their church, work, neighborhood or family.

The program consists of three year-long courses that include a series of books on ascetical and pastoral theology, as well as other aspects of spiritual discipline. Each session begins with the Office, followed by a discussion of the book and of each student’s individual ministry. The cohort program both creates and models the experience of what a lay-led Mission Community can provide.

Those who complete the program are installed to the initial office of the Order of the Holy Trinity, the diocese’ order for licensed lay ministry. We expect to install our second class into the order this summer, assuming that public health restrictions have been relaxed enough to allow us to organize a ministry retreat.

However, forming a Remnant requires more than just classes. Participants are expected to commit to the threefold corporate Rule of life as conceived by Thornton, including regular observance of the Daily Office. This program alone has dramatically increased the depth and breadth of lay observance of the Office in our diocese.

Practical Challenges of the Corporate Office

Our lay ministry candidates celebrate the Office with their cohort once or twice a month, but the rest of the time do so alone or with their family. This reflects an inherent challenge of realizing Cranmer’s vision of a twice-daily corporate Office in today’s society, given the dispersed and fragmented body of worshippers for most U.S. Anglican churches.

In a pre-industrial English village, many (if not most) in the town were at least nominally Anglican, and town residents could walk to any service; the Oxford Movement later created an analogous worship opportunity for urban parishes in Victorian London. This proximity allowed the widespread public participation in the Daily Office originally envisioned by Cranmer; as the late Marion Hatchett wrote, “The intention of the 1549 Prayer Book is clearly that both Morning and Evening Prayer be corporate services.”[21]

This village church model doesn’t work in today’s sprawling North American metropolitan areas, with clogged freeways slowing rush-hour travel. Anglicanism (liberal and conservative) today remains a niche religion, with regular congregants accounting for less than 1% of the population.[22] With such sprawling congregational boundaries — particulary for parishes of the post-ECUSA Anglican denominations — almost every day of the year those observing the Daily Office are doing so alone or within their household.

Among those newly adopting Thornton’s Rule, most Anglican laity are familiar with weekly Mass and personal prayer, but few would be ready to lead Morning or Evening Prayer in their family or a small group. Thus, forming laity to this Rule requires teaching the Daily Office. By incorporating Morning or Evening Prayer into every meeting of our lay ministry classes, over time we are able to habituate participants to the rhythms and application of the Daily Office.[23]

Online Corporate Worship

As with other forms of 21st-century worship, in the observance of Daily Office, the physical Book of Common Prayer can be supplemented by online resources. In particular, there are sites (and often smartphone apps) that disambiguate the sometimes daunting process of identifying today’s proper liturgical date, given potential overlaps between the fixed and movable holy days.[24]

Existing sites provide the readings from the Daily Lectionary from the lectionaries for the 1662, 1979, 2019 editions of the Book of Common Prayer, the Church of England’s Common Worship, and the Revised Common Lectionary used by many Episcopal churches.[25] For Continuing Anglicans and others who use the 1928 BCP, those online resources include CommonPrayer.org, AnglicanHours.com, and the Anglican Hours app.

Until last month, the only opportunity I’d found online for corporate Daily Office came from Cradle of Prayer, with its recorded Morning and Evening Prayer services available 365 days a year via podcast or on-demand website. While commuting on LA freeways in recent years, reciting the lay responses with Cradle of Prayer has provided a predictable rhythm for my day and week. An added bonus is the opportunity to sing the canticles — along with site founder Stacy Stephens — to a wide variety of melodies.

However, this season of social disruption has enabled an even richer form of virtual corporate worship. As with work and school, churches found that March’s escalating government restrictions forced them to switch to online delivery of their formal Sunday morning services. At the same time, it created an opportunity for a less formal but more regular daily worship. Rather than the one-way broadcast platforms used on Sunday mornings, such a small-scale virtual Daily Office is best observed using the same videoconferencing technologies being used during this crisis by businesses and universities.[26]

Halfway through Lent, I joined others in the Diocese of the Holy Trinity as we began online observance of the Daily Office. The service is hosted by St. Matthew’s Newport Beach, where most of the diocesan lay ministry classes have been held.[27] What started as a weekday Evening Prayer quickly added Morning Prayer, and by the end of the first week had become twice a day, seven days a week. For the first time, we can fulfill Cranmer’s vision of a regular corporate worship in today’s fragmented and dispersed society.

Rather than the anxiety of racing across LA freeways, participants each day join in place, whether from work, home or on the road. On weekdays, our services have attracted 30-50 each, with 15-30 present on a weekend. As with other aspects of our congregational worship, small children are listening in as their parents form their faith through the liturgy. However, unlike the physical service, every day also includes former members from out of state who have no equivalent where they live now.

How do Cranmer’s 16th-century principles of corporate Daily Office translate to this century? Many aspects are similar. The service can be led by clergy or (in modern practice) by a trained lay reader. With a large enough potential pool of the congregation observing the Rule, the leader assigned to a given service can draft lay readers from among those who arrive early. As with a conventional service, the lessons, psalms, and extra collects can (and should) be called out to the congregation.

There are a few important differences. First, the time lags inherent in current Internet conferencing software make it impossible to have the virtual congregation synchronize their responses. Instead, one (or more) representative(s) of the congregation speak on behalf of the whole, and those participating recite alongside what they here — a pattern familiar to those of us who already use Cradle of Prayer.

Unlike in church, there are no prayer books in the pews or service leaflets. As a practical matter, the daily psalms either need to be provided in advance (via email or one of the online lectionary sites), or read simultaneously from the same edition of the prayer book, psalter, or Bible. In our diocese, we use our own personal 1928 editions of the Book of Common Prayer, while allowing the lay readers to read from their own Bible edition or an online Bible website of their choosing.

This widespread attendance allows us to cement the Daily Office into the daily rhythm of life, whether for those (perhaps irregularly) already observing the Daily Office for years, and those just beginning to learn it. By practice, all can learn the shorter and longer options within the service, and gain the confidence to lead their own service at home or in a small group. In our first three weeks, the service usually runs 15-20 minutes, plus another eight minutes during Lent for the Litany. In the second week, we added a 5-6 minute — an impromptu reflection on the lessons — for weekdays and some weekend services.

In normal times, we pray at the end of the service for Mission or Christian Service, as part of our broader goals of mission and evangelism. However, in this season we are praying the eerily appropriate prayer “In Time of Great Sickness and Mortality” from the 1928 BCP, a streamlined version of a prayer created for the first American prayer book:[28]

O MOST mighty and merciful God, in this time of grievous sickness, we flee unto thee for succour. Deliver us, we beseech thee, from our peril; give strength and skill to all those who minister to the sick; prosper the means made use of for their cure; and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is, we may apply our hearts unto that heavenly wisdom which leadeth to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thus, this crisis has allowed us to bring our Remnant together twice daily for corporate Daily Office, using a technology unimaginable in 1549 (or 1928) to fulfill Cranmer’s vision. After the temporary disruption ends, we plan to apply what we’ve learned to continue such corporate daily worship, whether online, in person, or using some hybrid format.

Conclusion

More than any time in American history, Christians today must be formed to resist the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. As Bp. Scarlett summarized earlier in this journal:

A generation [ago] our country was hospitable to Christian faith and morality. We now live in a country in which both face significant public opposition. To be a committed Christian now is to be part of a distinct minority. We are much closer to the situation that characterized St. Paul’s time, when the small Christian community was surrounded by a prevailing idolatry. To be sure, the idolatry of consumerism looks different than the idolatry that sacrificed animals in pagan temples. But both are gods of the belly [Phil. 3:18-19].[29]

Thus, even before the current pandemic, contemporary writers have advocated increased spiritual discipline to better form Christians to the ways of God rather than those of the world. For example, students have read books by Schmemann, Smith, and Dreher in our lay ministry program.[30]

The need for such discipline is even more salient in a season of global disease, disruption, and turmoil. As N.T. Wright wrote on Palm Sunday:

Rationalists (including Christian rationalists) want explanations; Romantics (including Christian romantics) want to be given a sigh of relief. But perhaps what we need more than either is to recover the biblical tradition of lament. Lament is what happens when people ask, “Why?” and don’t get an answer. …

At this point the Psalms, the Bible’s own hymnbook, come back into their own, just when some churches seem to have given them up. [31]

The psalms are but one part of the services for Morning and Evening Prayer prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer. Nearly five centuries ago, Thomas Cranmer provided his Benedictine-inspired Office to Anglicans — lay and cleric — even though its subsequent observance has been spotty at best. While Martin Thornton sought to revive and re-instate the discipline of the Daily Office, in the years since Thornton wrote, Anglican clergy and theologians have struggled as to how to institute this as a regular discipline in local parishes.

But the reality is that we humans do not change when we are comfortable: we only change when we are discomforted and challenged – whether lost, troubled, disquieted, or searching for answers. Such discomfort was rare in postwar America, during decades of one of the most comfortable eras of human history, and a time when science, technology and the forces of modernism claimed to provide all the answers that anyone might need.

Most Americans alive today thus had no prior experience or preparation for the discomfort and challenges of the past two months. Meanwhile, our greatest experts continue to search for answers that would ensure the detection, containment, cure and prevention of this newest coronavirus.

Fortunately, Cranmer gave us a simple and practical way to practice Anglo-Benedictine spirituality through the Daily Office. During the remaining weeks or months of this season of forced separation, individual churches can offer this gift to existing and potential members, by utilizing the latest online technologies to enact these offices with and for a virtual congregation.

By utilizing such discipline, these churches inculcate an experience of the faith largely forgotten in the Western Church, expanding the discipline of liturgical worship beyond one hour on Sunday morning. As Jamie Smith concluded:

Worship is the arena in which God recalibrates our hearts, reforms our desires, and rehabituates our loves. Worship isn’t just something we do; it is where God does something to us. Worship is the heart of discipleship because it is the gymnasium in which God retrains our hearts.[32]

Together with the Mass and personal prayer, those committed to a Rule of life fulfill Thornton’s vision of a faithful Remnant, praying for the health of their local parish and community.

Unlike previous Lents, this year we don’t know when will leave the wilderness. Ever-obedient to the Father, Jesus didn’t stop praying when he left the wilderness, and neither should we. If we are to obey Him, we have a ready model for daily prayer provided by our prayer book — and can share the collective virtual observance of such prayer with our neighbor. This is part of how the Church is called to witness to a broken world, both in ordinary times and in times of great sickness and mortality.

Footnotes

  1. As late as the 20th century, plague fatality rates were 66% before the introduction of antibiotics, dropping to 11% after such introduction. See “Plague: Frequently Asked Questions,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 26, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/

  2. Robert F. Taft, The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press), 14-16.

  3. Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary (New York: Oxford University Press, 1950), 1.

  4. Taft, Liturgy of the Hours in East and West, 323.

  5. While the lectionaries differ, the English editions of the BCP from 1549 to 1662 include two passages, as do the Episcopalian BCP from 1789 to 1928 and the 2019 ACNA edition. Only the 1979 BCP uses a two-year lectionary with three daily readings and a formula for mapping three readings onto two services. All will occasionally specify a passage from the Apocrypha instead of the Old Testament.

  6. Alan Jacobs, The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2013), 30.

  7. Taft, Liturgy of the Hours in East and West, 323.

  8. Leonel Mitchell, “The 1979 Prayer Book and Liturgical Change in the Episcopal Church,” Liturgy, 19, 2 (2004), 39-47.

  9. Martin V. Clarke, “‘O Lord, open thou our lips’: listeners’ experiences of BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong on The New Radio 3 Forum,” Open Research Online, The Open University, 2019, http://oro.open.ac.uk/66674/

  10. Martin Thornton, English Spirituality (London: SPCK, 1963), 258.

  11. Martin Thornton, Pastoral Theology: A Reorientation (London: SPCK, 1956), 209.

  12. Thornton, Pastoral Theology, 22.

  13. J.C. Campbell, “God’s People and the Remnant,” Scottish Journal of Theology 3, 1 (1950), 78-85, at 80.

  14. Thornton, Pastoral Theology, 22-23.

  15. Martin Thornton, “Some Second Thoughts on the Remnant,” in Feed My Lambs: Essays in Pastoral Reconstruction (Greenwich, Conn.: Seabury Press, 1961), 99-113, at 105.

  16. Stephen Scarlett, “Mission Possible,” The Continuum (weblog), January 20, 2020, https://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2020/01/mission-possible-in-fact-gods-will.html ; also R. R. Tarsitano, “The 2020 Anglican Joint Synods: Commentary from the Continuing Anglican Jurisdictions,” North American Anglican, January 29, 2020, https://northamanglican.com/the-2020-anglican-joint-synods-commentary-from-the-continuing-anglican-jurisdictions/

  17. See John Finney, Recovering the Past: Celtic and Roman Mission (London: Darton Longman and Todd, 1996), and George G. Hunter, III. The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West…Again (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000).

  18. Stephen C. Scarlett, “The Idea of a Mission Community,” Diocese of the Holy Trinity, Anglican Catholic Church, September 2016, 3; https://bit.ly/MC-Essay-2016

  19. For more information, see “Mission Communities” at http://thedht.org/MC

  20. Scarlett, “The Idea of a Mission Community,” 1.

  21. Marion J. Hatchett, Commentary on the American Prayer Book (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), 97.

  22. Nominal Anglican/Episcopal membership was estimated at 1.2% of the US population in Pew’s 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study (“America’s Changing Religious Landscape”, Pew Research Center, May 12, 2015, http://www.pewforum.org/files/2015/05/RLS-08-26-full-report.pdf). However, the Annual Table of Statistics of The Episcopal Church has consistently shown average Sunday attendance is about 1/3 of overall membership. By my own calculations, of these Anglican or Episcopalian Sunday worshipers, TEC accounts for about 85% and “Anglican” parishes outside the Episcopal Church account about 15%.

  23. Under diocesan policy, this three-year program and observance of the Rule are now mandatory for anyone seeking ordination.

  24. Such disambiguation can also be done using the 20th century technology of a printed Ordo Calendar accurately resolves these moveable feasts and thus makes it easy to identify the lessons of the day.

  25. At least one site uses its own lectionary, which makes it incompatible with corporate worship with those who use another site or the rules from the physical prayer book.

  26. Conveniently, the Office can usually be completed within the 40-minute limit imposed by the free version of the most popular videoconference application.

  27. Our lay ministry classes also moved online, using the same videoconferencing technology.

  28. The 1928 BCP includes a shorter version of the prayer in the 1789 and 1892 American prayer book; the prayer is not included in the 1979 TEC, 2019 ACNA or 1962 Canadian editions of the Book of Common Prayer.

  29. Stephen Scarlett, “Heavenly Citizenship,” North American Anglican, November 5, 2016, https://northamanglican.com/heavenly-citizenship/

  30. Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy (Crestwood, N.Y.: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1973), James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos Press, 2016), and Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation (New York: Penguin, 2017).

  31. N.T. Wright, “Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It’s Not Supposed To,” Time, March 29, 2020, https://time.com/5808495/coronavirus-christianity/

  32. Smith, You Are What You Love, 77.


Joel W. West

Joel is director of Mission Communities for the Diocese of the Holy Trinity of the Anglican Catholic Church, and also serves on the Continuing Forward task force for mission & evangelism of the G-4 Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. A researcher on Anglican and ecumenical hymn singing, he is the author of the Anglican Music weblog, and is currently a seminarian at Cranmer Theological House.


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