Home Oratories

whole duty

Necessary for Families

This post is partly a response to a few requests I’ve had about my attempt at making a Home Oratory with my family: Queen Anna’s Prochapel. Posts at Anglican Rose are coming to a trickle with Post-Brockton being one of the last (of regular frequency).  At minimum, I’ve chosen to postpone further commentary until developments in pan-Anglicanism become more settled. Meanwhile, study resources will be added at this post (and elsewhere) that expand upon the idea of building “Little Giddings” in Anglican households.

The emphasis of the Home Oratory will be the use of older catechisms, collects, songs, and family prayer (some of which is out of print) as a means to solidify Anglican history and identity. Anglican Rose will issue a few posts over the next couple years, but it will be less output. Hopefully, more energy will be put to finishing studies.

The Oratory idea is really an extension of extraordinary lay ministry and the family as a ‘domestic church’. To further flesh out their significance, a couple subject heads are beneficial. Thankfully, Anglicanism is blessed with a rich devotional tradition, with the 17th and early-18th century contributing heavily. Oratories and family prayer were often cited as a means of reformation in England. Bp. Chandler’s sermon preached at St. Mary-le-Bow in 1724 made notice of Godly homes,

“It went far towards keeping up the face of Virtue and Piety, and the preventing of much wickedness, when formerly a man’s house was a little Oratory, where the master himself prayed with all his family, and read a portion of Scripture to them, when he took his Children and Servants to church with him on Sundays, when his example taught them how they ought to walk, and his authority was exerted upon them that walked disorderly. It went well with this City when masters thus governed their families”  p. 13

Likewise, the 19th century saw not only widespread growth of evangelical societies, like the Methodists (sadly becoming independent of the church), but a gradual revival of antique and primitive lay-offices such the clerk (aka. sub-deacon) and the lay-deaconess, respectively, within the established church. Both have affinities with pragmatic theology, viz. ‘holiness’, good works, and exhorting functions. J. W. Legg dates the subdiaconate to the late-sixth century, “The clerk, a church minister inferior to the deacon and priest, has been known in England since the days of St. Augustine and King Ethelbert”. Tractarians later experimented with a partial return to “religious life” somewhat accommodating the prayer book by inserting hours whereupon Compline made headway.

Though we are partial to lay-evangelicalism of the 18th century–  drawing a fairly strict line between the religious societies at that time and those communities later preferred by Anglo-Catholics– both kinds generally represent the debut and trial of lay agency. Meanwhile, below is a short reading-list sprinkled with a couple links to notable pdfs. I hope to add further titles soon, but these seem the most helpful in getting an Oratory, or manner of practice, off-the-ground. Most can be downloaded from Google books or internet archives, etc.:

Lay Ministry
John Wesley  “On the Ministerial Office” Sermon 115
Jeremy Taylor A Discourse on the Liberty of Prophesying. 1646
Josiah Woodward An Account of the Rise & Progress of Religious Societies. 1695
J. Wickham Legg, The Clerk’s Book of 1549. London 1903

Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living, Holy Dying. London 1650 & 1651
Richard Allestree, The Whole Duty of Man1658
Jean Taffin, Of the Marks of the Children of God. 1590
Lewis Bayly, Practice of Piety 3rd ed. London 1613
Robert Nelson, The Practice of True Devotion. 1715
William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. London 1728
________  A Practical Treatise on Christian Perfection. London 1726

John Lewis, The Church Catechism Explained London 1751
William Beveridge, The Church-Catechism Explained Asaph 1705
Thomas Bray, Catechetical Lectures on the Church-Catechism. London 1703
Thomas Ken, The Practice of Divine Love. London 1685
George Innes, Principles of the Christian Religion Edinburgh 1765
Andrew B. Clarke, The Articles Catechetically Explained London 1860.

Homilies and Exhortations
James Griffiths (ed), Book of Homilies Regents 2008
George Whitefield, “The Necessity and Benefit of Religious Society”, Sermons
Various, A Serious Address to God-Fathers and God-Mothers, London 1707.

Family Prayer & the Closet
Various, The Christian Duty of Family Worship London 1856
Edmund Gibson, Family Devotion. London 1858
John Wesley, “On Family Religion” Sermon 94
Nathaniel Spinkes, The England-man’s Closet Companion, London 1870

Isaac Watts, Divine and Moral Hymns for Children London 1715.
Charles Wesley, Family Hymns Bristol  1767.

Arthur Middleton ‘The Flame of Prayerful Living’ AA 2012
Charles Erlandson  Parents as Pastors(.mp3) GUTD 2014
Kevin Donlon ‘Oratory Movement’ AMiA
Ralph Winter Two Structures  PCMS
Anon Independent Sacrament Movement Wiki
Various Lectures on Catechism and Formation(.mp3) AWI 2012

There are more links in the right-hand column under the head “monasticism” as well as “methodism”. 

I really appreciate patient readers who’ve taken time visit and comment, wading through long articles, etc.. Future writings between 2012 and 2016 will be slow coming. Please contact me if you wish to discuss anything in detail. Godspeed brothers+

4 responses to “Home Oratories

  1. Looking forward to what you share about this topic in the future. Home worship is an essential part of the Christian family’s faith–and an historic tradition of Anglicans. I also think this could be particularly helpful for those Anglicans who find themselves with no traditional church to attend in their vicinity.


  2. AnAwkwardAardvark

    Great collection of resources and I’m going to hold you to your promise to more blogging at the end of 2016. Blessings brother.


  3. In 2014 the Oratory was received as a Chapel in the United Episcopal Church. Without the benefit of a parish, we are using the lay agency of the Wesleyite church methodists as a model. You can visit our enlarged home oratory at William E. Littlewoood UE Chapel.


  4. Pingback: Penitential Office in the 1928 BCP | Anglican Rose

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