DOUG 016 – Praying with a group

Benedictine Vespers by John Stephen Dwyer

Congrats to The Collect Call on making it to 100 episodes! Get all caught up at

The bulk of this episode is about starting out a daily office service in your parish. There are two big things to develop: your leadership of the ministry in general, and developing the specific skills for leading others in worship.

I talk about Licensed Lay Ministries, including Worship Leader training. The Diocese of Mississippi has a handy guide for Worship Leaders in their diocese. The Diocese of Western Michigan has a pdf document on all sorts of Licensed Lay Ministries. So does the Diocese of Minnesota.

Check out season 2 of Popping Collars Podcast. The first episode of the new season is about The Walking Dead! Listen at

I talk as well about gesture (what we do with our hands) and posture (what we do with our bodies).

Stand for:

  • the opening preces and invitatory psalm (morning prayer) or O Gracious Light (evening prayer)
  • The canticles
  • The Creed
  • for the prayers, from the Lord’s Prayer to the conclusion (or, optionally, you kneel)

Sit for:

  • the psalms
  • the readings (including the gospel reading)

Kneel for:

  • The confession (or you can stand)
  • for the prayers, from the Lord’s Prayer to the conclusion (or, optionally, you stand)

Optionally, you can make a solemn bow at the Gloria Patri, whenever we say it. A solemn bow is a bow with the whole upper body, deep enough that you’d be able to touch your knees (but don’t). You’d bow for “Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit” and then rise for the second part of the prayer.

Make the Sign of the Cross at

  • the opening preces of Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, or Compline at “O God make speed to save us”
  • the beginning of the Gospel Canticles — the Benedictus, the Magnificat, and the Nunc dimittis
  • the conclusion of the Creed
  • the concluding sentence, e.g., “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore.”
  • The opening of Morning Prayer, “Lord open our lips”, gets a special sign of the cross. You can make a small, 1″ cross on your lips with the tip of your right thumb.

Finally, this will be the last regularly scheduled episode. I’ll answer any questions, and I might put out a short episode from time to time, but, my friends, we’ve reached the end of the Offices for now! Stay in touch. There’s a form on the About page.

Image: Roman Catholic monks of the Order of Saint Benedict singing Vespers on Holy Saturday at St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown, New Jersey.  By John Stephen Dwyer [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Last episode coming this Thursday

Canterbury Cathedral – the mother church of the Anglican Communion

Well, dear listeners, we’ve reached the end of the (scheduled) road with this podcast! This Thursday, the last regularly-scheduled episode of the Daily Office User’s Guide podcast will be posted. It’ll be on two things:

  1. How to set up a daily office group, perhaps at your parish.
  2. Involving your body in prayer: gestures and postures for the daily office

This podcast will stay up, so keep pointing people towards it. Listen again from the beginning. And, while this will be the last episode I have planned, I might still do the occasional episode. Send in your questions (there’s a contact form at the bottom of the about page), and I will try to post a special episode to answer them!

I hope this has been a useful and helpful introduction to the daily office in the Episcopal Church tradition. Keep praying!

Image: By Hans Musil (Picture taken and postprocessed by Hans Musil.) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

DOUG 015 – For all the saints

The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs by Fra Angelico

Just last Sunday the church celebrated the feast of All Saints. In this episode we talk about ways to incorporate the saints into your daily prayer practice. Continue reading DOUG 015 – For all the saints

The Foreoffice: Angelus and Regina Caeli

Episode 15 mentions extra elements for the office: the Angelus and the Regina Caeli. These are not found in the prayer book, but are often used by Episcopalians and Anglicans on the catholic end of the spectrum. You may choose to add them or not, depending on your preference. (Another article talks about Marian antiphons)

“The Angelus” by Jean-François Millet

Continue reading The Foreoffice: Angelus and Regina Caeli

Marian Antiphons

Episode 15 mentions extra elements for the office, prayers which are not found in the official texts of the offices in The Book of Common Prayer, but which some Episcopalians and Anglicans include. This post includes texts for the four Marian Antiphons (another article has info on the Angelus).

Mary and the child enthroned among the Saints Theodor of Amasea and George and angels. 6th century

Continue reading Marian Antiphons

Audio for Episode 13 is fixed!

Thanks to Susan Shelton, Obl. OP, for noticing there was a problem with the audio file for Episode 13, Morning Prayer 2. It is now fixed.

Also, for those who already have either Rite Song or the accompaniment edition of The Hymnal 1982, I’ve compiled a musical setting of Compline from those resources into one file. I posted that over at And listen again to the Compline episodes of the podcast: DOUG 005 and DOUG 006

My customary in a nutshell


Episode 14 talks about crafting a customary for your daily office practice. The prayer book gives a structure for the offices, but allows plenty of options and choices. A customary is simply your way of understanding and sticking to the choices that you make for your individual practice.

Customaries don’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to write them out (although some personality types love that sort of thing). They can be as detailed as you like, even including when and where you pray, whether you light a candle or some incense, what gestures and postures you’ll use. Or they can be not very detailed at all. It’s up to you. Customaries can change and evolve with your practice, but probably it’s good advice to stick with a pattern for a while and see if the pattern of prayer needs to change, or if you are the one changing. So here is my customary in a nutshell:

Morning Prayer

  • Opening sentence picked at random, according to the season of the year.
  • No confession.
  • Opening preces and “glory to the father”.
  • Most of the time I say the Venite with the appropriate seasonal antiphon. On Sundays and major holy days, I say the Jubilate with an antiphon. In Easter season I say the Christ our Passover.
  • Psalms are from the 7 week cycle in the daily office lectionary. I use all the optional psalms and verses (those in square brackets and parentheses).
  • I use two readings, the Old Testament and Epistle. On major feasts I use the two readings specified in the daily office lectionary for Holy Days.
  • First canticle is from the table of canticles on p. 144. The second is always the Song of Zechariah, Benedictus #16.
  • Creed and Lord’s Prayer. I don’t say “The Lord be with you / And also with you” when I’m by myself.
  • Suffrages A usually. I use Suffrages B on Sundays and major feasts, because the first canticle is the Te Deum, and suffrages B historically goes with the Te Deum.
  • Collects: first collect is of the day for feasts and saints’ days, or for the preceding Sunday. Second collect is one of the seven provided in the office, one per day (i.e., “for the renewal of life” on Monday, “for peace” on Tuesday, etc.). Third collect for mission picked at random from the three listed. I will tend to use “O God you have made…” on Saturdays because Saturday has a slight emphasis on creation and Sabbath. I will tend to use “Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched…” on Fridays because of the mention of the cross.
  • I skip the General Thanksgiving and the Prayer of St. Chrysostom
  • I say the closing and pick a concluding sentence fairly randomly

Noonday Prayer

  • I say the opening preces and “glory to the father”
  • For the psalms and readings I follow the pattern laid out in Episode 4, taken from Howard Galley’s Prayer Book Office.
  • I pick one of the four collects more or less at random

Evening Prayer

  • Much the same as at Morning Prayer. Opening sentence at random.
  • No confession
  • “O gracious light” only on major feast days
  • Psalms according to the cycle in the daily office lectionary
  • One reading, the Gospel, followed by the Magnificat
  • If it’s a major feast or an eve, listed in the daily office lectionary for Holy Days (p. 996 in the BCP), there will be two readings for Evening Prayer. For this, I’ll use the Magnificat after the first, and the Song of Simeon after the second.
  • Creed, and Lord’s Prayer
  • Suffrages A or B, picked pretty much at random. I’ll often use B on a saint’s day, since there’s space to mention their names in the prayers.
  • Collects, as at morning prayer
  • No General Thanksgiving or prayer of St. Chrysostom


  • It’s pretty straightforward.
  • Always confession.
  • Psalms. I alternate between 4 & 31 one night, and 91 & 134 the next. Remember there’s a 7-day suggested cycle from the Church of England. See Episode 5’s show notes.
  • Reading and collect, I pick pretty much at random.

Image by pixabay user meineresterampe [Public Domain CC0 1.0]

DOUG 014 – A Customary

Folios from the Mayer van den Bergh Breviary

In this episode I talk about creating a customary, and about three books that you might consider to support your daily office practice.

A customary is simply how you set up your daily office practice for yourself. The BCP gives a mix of fixed structure and flexible options. The customary is the way you pick your options and stick with them. Of course, customaries change from time to time, so feel free to adapt and change! But strive for stability that lets you grow into the office and see how you change. Here’s my customary in a nutshell, as I promised in the episode.

The books I mentioned can all be found (and sometimes purchased) from the Resources pages. They are:

Image: by Unknown Miniaturist, Flemish (active early 16th century) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

DOUG 013 – Morning Prayer 2

Sunrise at Mount Hood

The second part of Morning Prayer! We cover everything from the readings & canticles through to the end. Morning Prayer is pretty similar to Evening Prayer from the Creed until the conclusion, so we race through that (and listen to Episode 11 for a refresher on the second half of Evening Prayer).

So this episode is mostly about the Canticles. Canticles are songs or hymns or poetry taken from Holy Scripture other than the Psalms. Except that there are two exceptions (of course!). In Morning Prayer we cycle through the canticles.

Here’s the table of canticles that I mention which can be found on pages 144 and 145. Yes, you can cycle through the canticles in Evening Prayer too. Yes, I didn’t mention it in Episode 10, because we are easing into these things.

The Canticles are numbered. In Rite 1 they are numbered 1-7. In Rite 2 they are numbered 8-21. All the canticles found in rite 1 are also found (in contemporary language) in rite 2. There are several found in rite 2 that are not found in rite 1.

Photo credit: “MountHood–Lake–Sunrise” by user Otebig. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikipedia.

DOUG special edition: Social Media Sunday


This is a special edition of DOUG, on Social Media Sunday. What is SMS? It’s a Sunday that highlights the opportunities to connect our faith lives with our social media lives! If you’re listening to this podcast, chances are you’ve got some sort of social media going on in your life: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, or any of the many other ways to connect online.

We can use all these tools to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and his church. Social Media Sunday is about kick-starting our awareness of the possibilities.

Social Media Sunday is October 25, 2015. Visit the Facebook page for SMS15 to find out loads of suggestions for telling your spiritual story through social media. Connect with others. Tag your Social Media Sunday shares, posts, and tweets with #SMS15. And don’t stop with one Sunday!

SMS is the brainchild of Carolyn Clement (@singingcarolyn). I got her twitter handle wrong in the audio! This particular post was planned for a little while, but it was the Easter People podcast that nudged me to actually record it.

a weekly podcast about the Daily Office