Office Thought

I know that there are a lot of different reasons why your average Episcopal/Anglican lay person (not to speak of clergy…) don’t pray the Offices. I wonder, though, if it might be worth creating and desseminating an “instructed” Office. That is, a version of the Office with explanatory interpolation designed to de-mystify things and to make it easier for people to catch on. I’m thinking of something that could be used in Christian Ed classes as an introduction to what the Offices are and how to do them.

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About Derek Olsen

I'm a layman within the Episcopal Church with a PhD in New Testament and an interest in most things medieval, monastic, and liturgical. My chief job is keeping up with my priestly wife and our two awesome kids. In addition to that, I earn a living, run the St Bede's Breviary, listen to loud goth/industrial music, and do some stuff for the church. I currently serve as Secretary to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music where I'm also co-chair of the Calendar committee and chair of the Digital Publications committee.
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12 Responses to Office Thought

  1. *Christopher says:

    Sounds good. It might be good to have an on-line version.

  2. Derek the Ænglican says:

    I was actually thinking of a download-able PDF…

  3. Lutheran Zephyr says:

    Maybe . . . I know of a high church pastor who thinks that “teaching liturgies” are the key to Christian Education and formation, and that these should be done up to a few times per year to education about the liturgy, church year, etc.. I’m not so sure.

    Learning about liturgies, offices, etc. is a great thing, and good curricula should be available about such things. But I hesitate – in most circumstances – to turn the liturgy into a teaching event itself. I think on a retreat setting or some other intentional formation experience that such a thing could be valuable, but otherwise I would be cautious/hesitant.

  4. Anastasia says:

    I think anglicans over paper folks. honestly. I think you’d have to get people to understand it by actually praying it, not by papering them.

  5. Anastasia says:

    i hope that made some kind of sense.

  6. Annie says:

    I like the idea! De-mystifying anything helps a lot.

  7. Derek the Ænglican says:

    Anastasia/Lutheran Zeph,

    I agree–but parishes aren’t doing a good job of teaching people. It’s really easy to learn if you’ve got folks there who do it with you, but that’s not the reality in most places. Honestly, even any random parish decided to have a retreat on it, I don’t know if there would be anyone but the clergy (and I’m not sure about all the clergy) who would have the lived experience to teach it…

  8. Anastasia says:

    hmmm that’s true, I guess. I have the feeling though, that you ought to paper the clergypeople into an understanding of the thing and let them introduce it into their parishes.

    I realize this is very impractical. But I stand by my overpapering comment. honestly…maybe it’s just my parish, but ya’ll please stop with the paper…

  9. Derek the Ænglican says:

    As much as I like drilling things into clergy, I’d like to see *laity* start agitating for more MP/EP at places and times where average folk can actually attend and just for general use overall. I’m trying to think what sort of resources might encourage some grass-roots appreciation for the Office

  10. bls says:

    I just proposed starting a service of Vespers at my parish (actual Vespers, meaning everything sung). I’d even do it completely myself, if need be. I think MP/EP is more attractive when sung, and of course the services are practically unknown at this point, so maybe the novelty will attract people.
    I’m thinking I’ll want incense, too.

    😉

    I think maybe, too, people need a little background about what these prayers actually are. I don’t think folks know anymore. So maybe a little intro section on the parish website would help?

    Anyway, it really does take a while for the service to get “into your blood,” if you know what I mean. And I particularly like Rite I MP and EP – the language is more beautiful – so if it’s Rite II, I think it should be sung. We’ll see how it goes. Or if.

  11. bls says:

    (BTW, here’s a post I wrote a long time ago about a weekly service of Vespers I’ve attended a few times. There’s a jpg of the service bulletin with all the music. It’s short – only 20 minutes or so – and the parish that does it has an organ recital afterwards. They do this on a Sunday, which is good for the organ recital, but why couldn’t we do it midweek and offer a Eucharist afterwards, or just have it for people who come to meetings and choir rehearsals? (I really like the Eucharist, though. I actually think that’s a problem, too – we should have Eucharist much more often in TEC, I think.)

  12. Derek the Ænglican says:

    Very cool–let us know how it goes! Honestly, I think that what they do at StMV ought to be what most large churches should do–public MP/EP everyday and a noon mass. Certainly with a small church with only 1 clergy person this is not feasible–but for folks like them who have 3 people on staff and additioanl affiliated folks…

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