Short Course: Officiating the Daily Office for Public Worship

Together with Holy Eucharist, one of the oldest and best traditions of prayer in the Episcopal Church is the Daily Office: Morning and Evening Prayer. These ancient monastic services can be offered as private devotions or public worship. Leading the Daily Office is not difficult, but a skilled and trained officiant can make the prayer deep and rich for all involved. Lay officiants licensed by the bishop to lead public worship are an enormous help in any congregation, especially when a tradition of very regular – even daily – Morning or Evening Prayer becomes part of the rhythm of regular prayer life. And when a priest is unavailable, licensed officiants even can, in consultation with the bishop, officiate the Daily Office as needed for Sunday and other worship.

The Daily Office is not a clergy-driven mode of prayer: It’s the rhythm and prayer of the whole People of God.

Each session will, of course, include actually praying the Daily Office together. The first session will focus on the basics of the Daily Office. What it is, how to find it, how to choose prayers and readings, and how to pray it alone or publicly. The second session will delve more into the history and spirituality of the Daily Office and also cover aspects of leading public worship that are different from private devotion. We’ll ask students to work with the priest in their parish to plan and officiate an actual service of Morning or Evening Prayer (the “practicum”) under the priest’s supervision. The third session will be a review of lessons learned in the practicum, and additional resources that can expand the creative potential of Daily Office prayer. Participants will receive a certificate of study, which, together with your rector or vicar’s recommendation, and successful completion of Safeguarding God’s People training, is a strong basis for requesting licensing from the bishop as a Worship Leader.

We’ll make videos of the sessions available for those who need to miss one. You’re welcome to participate even if you can’t make each session, though your participation (or lack thereof) may have a bearing on the bishop’s decision to grant a license.

NOTE: “The Holy Eucharist [is] the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day and other major Feasts.” (BCP p. 13.) The Daily Office it not a substitute for regular Holy Eucharist and other major Feasts. Any such use under special circumstances, including the absence of a priest, should be discussed in advance with the bishop.

Last updated: March 8, 2017 at 16:21 pm