Daily Office in Parishes
In 2015 and 2016 several parishes with OA members acted to establish, or expand, a public saying of the Daily Office. In most case that went along with opportunities for parishioners to be trained and coached in saying the office on their own at home or at work.
Chapels: Two of the parishes had to work on long neglected chapels. St. Catherine's and Saints Andrew & Matthew's removed storage items and acted to unclutter the space. Saint Paul's has been using its chapel for decades for the Office and St. Andrew's has had a member doing Morning Prayer in the chapel on his own for several years.
At Saint Catherine's it started with Mother Susan Latimer, OA issuing an invitation for people to join teams that would take responsibility for the Office for a day each week. The message went out to the whole paish -- Deepening our Prayer Life, as Individuals and as a Parish. Susan wrote,"What a wonderful thing to know that, beginning in September, every Monday through Thursday some of us will be gathered in our newly beautified chapel to join in the daily prayer of the church. What a wonderful thing to know that when we are unable to be there, the prayer will go on, others will be praying for us. What a wonderful thing to know that as we participate, at home or office or at St. Catherine's, we are participating in the great unending prayers of the worldwide Anglican communion!"
At Saint Paul's, Fayetteville, AR the parish has maintained this schedule: Monday thru Friday -- 8:00 a.m. Morning Prayer followed by Centering Prayer and Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Evening Prayer. In the afterword of Fr. Grisham's booklet, "Practicing Prayer: A Handbook", Michelle Heyne, OA, notes - In his own parish, Lowell has consciously and carefully grounded community life in the Eucharist, Office, and Personal Devotions. It is a traditional approach in a vibrant, open-minded, and decidedly innovative parish. Quite the opposite of stodgy and quite the opposite of flighty. The parish is both connected to the past and open to God’s call in the present and for the future.
In Wilmington, DE at the Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew on several Sundays Fr. David Andrews, OA invited members to stay after the Eucharist if they were interested in learning to say the Office. David later wrote, "Just wanted to let you know that the for the last three weeks I have introduced the Daily Office on Sunday mornings between the 8 and 10:30 Liturgies. It was an amazing experience as 23 folks came and now we begin noonday and evening prayer after Labor Day."
In Louisville Saint Andrew's Church does Morning Prayer every weekday at 7am. The office has been prayed for well over a year, started by two, but now primarily by one faithful parishioner, who is currently senior warden. In addition to prayer, prayerful movement is incorporated as well. The service is public and advertised as part of the regular worship schedule. Bill Parker, OA is the rector. Bill's hope is to build on this office by getting more involved parishioner's. He notes that the 7am time creates a problem for most and the need to reevaluate that. As an altrenative they may look at introducing Evening Prayer.
At Saint Paul's, Seattle Michelle Heyne, OA and Bob Gallagher, OA serve on teams that offer Evening Prayer. A year ago the Office was done four days each week and suspended during summers. In the fall of 2015 after Bob polled others on the teams we discovered that there was a desire to continue through the summer and then to expand doing the Office to a Monday through Saturday schedule. With the arrival of Mother Sara Fischer as the new rector she offered support by having a couple of dinner meetings with those serving and writing this in her weekly message that Advent, This Sunday, often called “Mary’s Sunday,” features the Song of Mary, the Magnificat, as our Gospel reading. This is a favorite text of mine for too many reasons to list here. The Magnificat first got into my bones when I was lucky enough to attend a seminary that offered Evensong of Evening Prayer every day. Over my first few months in that community a different facet of this jewel of a text jumped out at me each time we sang or recited it. The Song of Mary came to be for me the keystone for evening worship. The Daily Office has long been part of my personal rule of life. (More on rules of life another time.) One of the joys of being at St. Paul’s is the opportunity, once again, to pray the office with others. Episcopal parishes that offer daily morning or evening prayer are rare in these parts. At St. Paul’s, prayers, psalms, and texts are interwoven with silence, stillness and—sometimes—song. In a short time I have become fairly addicted to evening prayer in our lovely chapel. My life and work are the better for it. You can learn more about our Daily Office offerings on our website. The office is led by members of teams, each committed to at least one day a week. New team members are always welcome. Please contact me to learn more. In the meantime, I wish you blessings as we enter the last week of Advent.
ALSO - See resources for the Office at the bottom of this page