We saw the future yesterday on a Zoom webcast, and it looked awfully bright.
HD video. High quality sound. Lower cost and less broadband usage. And without trying, we shaved 8-10 minutes off the length of Morning Prayer. That’s big!
As soon as we were done, the recording was ready to go on our fledgling internet radio station. The audio comes already separated, just plug and play.
In fact, very soon we’ll be able to fill up to 11 hours a week of radio programming, just with what we already do: prayer. But we plan to offer so much more.
And that’s just the start of our good news. Our 2017 budget goal has now been met, thanks to a generous gift of $10,000 from a member in Arlington, Virginia. (His name appears at the bottom of this post; I don’t want to embarrass him but I do want you to say a prayer for him.) We are most grateful. Surpassing our budget goal will have immediate effects:
• Technology – It’s well past time to replace our main computer, before the current one coughs, smokes and dies. It’s 7 years old, I had to start it three times just for this session, and we budgeted to replace it this year.
Using our new webcast technology, we will start live streaming on Facebook, in addition to our main site, on June 5.
The live version on our site will remain your best option because members will be able to join us interactively; Facebook comments stay on Facebook. But we very much want more people to be able to experience the incredible joy we receive from gathering every morning to pray. The version available on Facebook will make our lively, faithful congregation accessible for people looking to be part of a worshiping community in addition to Sunday church.
People who make the Prayer Book Office part of their daily spiritual lives reap untold rewards. No, we don’t get rich in money; but we get wealthy indeed in loving and understanding God. The so-called “prosperity gospel” is all wrong; God is not here to pad your bank account. But God never fails to speak to those who will listen, and that’s what the Daily Office teaches us to do, to listen to God, whose word has every power to heal the broken heart.
• Mission – I have authorized payment to our mission partners in Haiti, Liberia, Brazil and the Rosebud Episcopal Mission in South Dakota. Over 10% of our budget goes to support Episcopal Church nursing schools in Liberia (Cuttington University) and Haiti (Episcopal University); Lunches and Lessons at St. André’s School in Mithon, Haiti; the children’s after-school program at the Anglican Social Center in Brasilia, and the inspiring ministry on the Rosebud of Mother Lauren R. Stanley, her parishioners and volunteers from all over the United States.
Thank you, donors large and small, on behalf of all of these kids, elders, pupils, students, teachers and professors. Our partners are all about keeping the hope of Jesus alive in some of the world’s most suffering places, and your money does a lot of practical good. All the nurses that we help train add to the health of everyone around them. All the children that we help learn to read, and read better, will grow up with more power to determine their own future.
And every fire we keep alive on the Reservation – I mean literal fires now, in homes, in churches, in meetings and sacred rites – spreads the warmth of God’s love to people who know it when they see it, and when they don’t.
It’s tremendous work we’re able to accomplish together; and donors, you are the Daily Office Network.
Now a little reflection on what all this is leading to. All through the fundraising campaign, I’ve called these essays Evangelism Updates. It’s a loaded word to Episcopalians, who are never going to do evangelism the way other churches do it. It’s manipulative, if not coercive, and it turns off millions of people.
That’s precisely our issue: if evangelism means twisting Jesus to appeal to the popular culture, or uses pressure tactics to make people conform to a dominant set of beliefs about him, we think they’re right not to fall for it. But we don’t want them to “throw out the baby with the bathwater” and reject God because they have no faith in his self-appointed messengers.
But millions of people do, because there is no other effective media voice for mainstream Christianity besides fundamentalists and Pope Francis.
Jesus is cool, but much more than that, more than anyone imagines; he’s worth a lifetime of following, and then you still won’t comprehend his goodness and love. This is the Jesus we want people to know about, and to experience; the Jesus we want to give voice to, the one we meet in the Prayer Book Office and the Sunday Eucharist.
So I talk about these amazing live Daily Office congregations (7 and 9 a.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday) as an eye-opening spiritual experience. I want more people to know about our congregations – because they’re representative of you – and to discover them first-hand.
I’ve never been closer to parishioners in any church than I am to our webcasters. We have become, in some essential and surprising way, a Beloved Community as the New Testament writers describe. I’m frankly astonished by this. Praying together is transformative for all of us. Day by day, year by year, we become the more loving persons that Christ and his Apostles urged us to be. All the officiant does is convene us; members take it from there.
Here’s a good way to put it: you should hear Gwen chant, and Yvonne proclaim, and Martha pray, and Steve and Br. John and our Deacons Susan and Maria, and Fr. Michael plays his recorder sometimes, and… Clint, I haven’t even mentioned Clint yet!
That’s what it’s like. We get to know these people really, really well, and they make God’s love known to us by praying with us, sharing what they know, and just being themselves.
In this world of 24/7 media vituperation we live in, every morning is like a little trip to the Holy Land.
For those of you with a Methodist background, it’s like that moment when you first cry out, “Hey, Lordy, this Method stuff works!” The Wesley Brothers were big fans of the Daily Office, and we are big fans of theirs.
Beyond that is the evangelical imperative of the unreached audience: the last century’s undiscovered tribe along the Amazon or in the South Pacific is today’s audience on Facebook, YouTube and beyond: most have never heard the authentic Jesus, and most of what they think they know about God is wrong.
But we already have thousands of followers on Facebook, and we especially want them to know about the genuine community we find on our webcasts. We hope, with an improved product and wider distribution, they will draw others in as well.
The Holy Spirit blesses us with her presence every single day, and she’s a wonder to behold. Come and see.
Our plans are proceeding for Daily Office Radio, too, though the days are peeling by fast to our July 3 premiere. We have allocated half the $10,000 donation to our current operating budget and the other half to our radio network. Fundraising for Daily Office Radio, which is separate from our published and streamed services, is an ongoing priority. We hope to film our introductory video this week.
Startups are a lot of work, but we’re building slowly with what we know best: the prayers. Once we master that step, we’ll start adding programs, including “Noondays with Tom,” Evening Prayer and Compline. These new things may not all go as smoothly as today’s Morning Prayer on Zoom did, but stick with us as we learn, because the Holy Spirit is showing us everything we need to know. We’re not doing a big buildup over our start dates, because we want to build up the Church over time, day by day.
The Daily Office organization has come a long way in our first 13 years, and our next 13 will grow from here. What I saw on today’s webcast, that glimpse into the future, was closer than ever to what I think we’re going to look like eventually; websites, radio and internet television. To get there we will have to really scale up – and how to do that sometimes baffles me – but I take comfort in this: Jesus took a bunch of ragtag fishermen, tax collectors and kid brothers, and made something great out of them, so I, and we, are not without massive precedents. (Plus we can all read!)
For all you Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented, as the Facebook group puts it so well, we want to provide the authentic voice of Jesus in everything we do – including when we have fun, which we do often.
Now join with me one last time this year as we present the complete list and pray over the names of the following beloved members who bring you The Daily Office in 2017.
as of 6.29.17
Acolyte – under $50
Sarah Adams, in memory of Flo Anne Moore; in honor of Dora Mazzola
The Rev. Michelle Boomgaard
Mark Bradley Cappetta, in honor of the Very Rev. Fr. John David van Dooren
Nancy C. Deutsch
Rachel Diem, in honor of the Community of the Gospel & the Order of Julian of Norwich
Nancy Jean Eggert
√ Steven Ellis
The Rev. Elizabeth Fowle
The Rev. Debbie Graham
Anonymous, in memory of Fr. Bill Steuber
Sarah Hartzell, in memory of Bob Burgess
Pr Dave Heckler
Sandy Hudson, in honor of +Cate Waynick
Kammy and George
Nick Kuchcinski, in memory of all beloved family now enjoying eternal rest
Glenn, in honor of Margie McCaslin
Br. Jonathan Maury, SSJE
Medicine Tree Institute
The Rev. Robert C.V. Morris
The Rev. Roberta Morris
Stephen Oakes, in honor of Mr. & Mrs. M. Wayne Oakes
Claude P. Ragan
The Rev. Deacon Leslie Scoopmire
Gary L. Short, in memory of Isaac Allen Tabler
Daniel Smith, in honor of Asta Smith; in memory of Alfred V. Battista
The Rev. R.F. Solon, Jr.
The Rev. Canon Mort Ward
Will Wauters, TSSF
Intercessor – $50 – 99
Grace M. Barge
Leslie Bryan, in memory of Billy Bryan, in honor of Connie Bryan
The Rev. Norman C. and A. Patricia Burke
The Rev. Denise Cabana
Stephanie & Don Curtis
May B. Daw
The Rev. Dr. Christopher Dreisbach
The Rev. Dr. Janine Howard
The Rev. Steven Kern (Canada), in memory of Lawrence & Martha Blum
Thomas LaFrance, in memory of Don LaFrance
Deborah Lisano, in memory of Mike Lisano
The McAskill Family, in honor of John Alexander McAskill
Eric L. Miller, in memory of the Rev. Rick Rutledge; in honor of the Rev. Maggie Foote’s ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests
The Rev. Susan Negrotto, in memory of Fr. John Negrotto
The Rev. Deacon Susan Reeve
Ilia and Timothy Smith
Bishop Kirk Smith
Anna N. Walker
Lector – $100 – 249
The Rev. Joan Beck
√ Elisabeth Bourdet
Linda E. Brown, in memory of James W. Brown and Anthony D. Brown
Robert L. Buzzard
Jonathan Coffey, in memory of Hollis Hamilton Ambrose Corey
Diane (Canada), in memory of Kevin
The Rev. Mark Elliston, in honor of the Rev. Charll Kapp
Robert and Josephine R. Giannini
Cara & Michael Gordon
Hilary Greene, in honor of Josh Thomas
Barbara Griffith-Powell, in honor of Jean I. Smith
I.R. Grimm Jewelry and Art
Harvey H. Guthrie
The Rev. Jack H. Haney
Fr. Robert Hughes
Christine J. Jacobs
Jo Ann, in memory of Jesse
Brian L. MacFarland & Ian L. Bockus
√ The Rev. Julie Morris, in honor of dailyoffice.org
Yvonne Morgan, in honor of the Jacksons, Pintos and Morgans
John H. Ryan, O.C.P.
Margaret Schultz, in memory of Ron St. George
The Rev. Deacon Sallie O. Simpson
Marion W. Stodghill
The Rev. Sam Tallman
Victoria, in memory of Fitz Harvey
The Rev. Deacon Teresa Wakeen
√ Susanne Woods
The Rev. Gwynne Wright (UK)
Cantor – $250 – 499
The Rev. Andrew Durbridge
Martha E. Kelley
Love, in memory of Love, in honor of Love
The Rev. R. R. Lutz
The Rev. Warner C. White
Gospeler – $500 – 999
Denise Clauss, to the glory of God
Deacon Letha Tomes Drury
The Rev. Deacon Maria L. Evans
The Rev. Michael E. Hartney
The Rev. Anjel & Stu Scarborough
Missioner – $1000 – 2499
Tom Alloway & James Beckwith (Canada)
√ Paul H. Chervenie, in memory of John H. McClelland
Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis
The Rev. Gwen Hetler and the Rev. Jim Livingston
R. Nikolaus Merrell, in honor of Espanol Costa Rica
Peter and Beverly Van Horne
Vestrymember – $2500 – 4999
The Rev. Michael Corrigan
People’s Warden – $5000 – 9999
(your name here)
Vicar’s Warden – $10,000+
If you would like to contribute, please click here.