We are an evangelical Anglican lay-led fellowship near the site of Sir Francis Drake’s mysterious landing at the northern tip of New Spain, often figured as Northern California. Drake’s landing ultimately purposed the extension of England’s Occidental Star– opening a course for planting the Reformed and Protestant faith in North America. So, it’s with these ends (a plantation for British-Zion) “New Albion” is considered.
Our branch, or little congregation, keeps “old pathways”, understanding such by Mr. John Wesley’s “Old Plan”. The Wesleyan Old Plan expected ‘the people called Methodists’ to remain as a leaven within the Anglican Church– that it may renewed in holiness, forming a beacon & bulwark among Britons at home and abroad. So, we welcome other households, Anglican or not, to reconnect by making similar, semi-independent societies or fellowships based on the “Old Plan”. This involves class meetings for accountability and improvement in ways of holiness. For those without a settled church, we commend using the 1928 BCP, or selections thereof, at home. As a network of homes, private chapels, and family circles grow, we’d like to form a Quarterly Conference for otherwise scattered people. More about Old Plan practice can be read here.
We are not dependent upon “numbers” but Holiness of life with a “desire to flee from the wrath to come and be saved from our sins”. Otherwise, we quietly preserve ancient landmarks of our faith the best we can given this time of great apostasy. For example, the public and private duties of Anglicanism– its daily offices, catechism, and family prayer– provide an excellent way for restoring the “green and pleasant land” of our once heavenly Jerusalem, even among the smaller cities in Northern California. Class meetings simply add accountability. Anglican Bishop, Edward Chandler, keenly observed the benefits of family-fellowships for the orderliness of towns in 1724, saying,
“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 and as they laid it down, I need not say how wickedness increased.”
The Albion Papers are a commentary and advocacy for such private duties, adding the help of class meetings. And, like the old-evangelicals from the Church of England, we commend the use of the BCP alongside a societal Rule as the surest way to recover lost blessings, even restoring a socio-religious center for American Protestantism. The founding fathers of (so-called) methodism never intended to leave the Church of England but Renew it by enabling much lay agency. The conversion and sanctification of families (the Lost Sheep of the House of the Church of England) were always centerpiece to that plan, and this remains so for future Protestant Revival. So, we imitate better days. Please contact the Bartlett family if you have questions or thoughts.
Comments on Grace: Sadly, differences between Arminianism and Calvinism repeatedly hampered unity among irregular evangelicals. In 1752 the Irish methodists had their first conference at Limerick. Wanting to check antinomianism, the Irish preachers adopted the following statement to reconcile with calvinists:
“We believe there are some persons absolutely elected; but, we believe, likewise that Christ died for all: that God willeth not the death of any man, and that thousands are saved who are not absolutely elected. We believe, further, that those who are thus elected cannot finally fall; but we believe other believers may fall: and that those who were once justified may perish everlastingly.”
Kindred Oratories: The following are semi-independent, lay-led oratories that apply Anglican Belief, formally adopting a methodistic Rule (with latitude for Whitefieldian and Woodwardian forms) for their duties. We note soteriological distinctives (Arminian/ Calvinsit) hopefully to demonstrate the unity of the Gospel. An asterisk (*) indicates ‘connexionalism’ or belonging to a circuit in Northern California.
Littlewood UE Fellowship, Fremont CA (Arminian)*
Draft Mission Statement:
Forming Chapels or Preaching-Houses
“2. We are “a network, or Society, of families and homes attending and promoting the private duties of Christian worship– neither intruding upon church hours nor the administration of gospel sacraments. In this respect, we draw upon the example of historic English, societal Protestantism. These private duties include the regular reading of holy scripture, daily family & closet prayers, catechizing of children, hymn & psalter-singing, mutual watching, & keeping Godly conversation as described by our General Rule. The society shall provide prudential advice, instruction, and occasional literature for advancing such duties among the people– e.g., householders, Sabbath-School teachers, and others. Where divine Providence prompts, brethren may draw together forming chapel(s) or preaching-houses for the United Episcopal Church, or other denomination(s) [the plural indicating cases of federated chapels], without harm or scandal to the unity of the society or our profession of brotherly love. Regardless, all chapels will charitably and reasonably permit Helpers, and other officers of this Society, to access such properties for the continuance of societal fellowship and worship””
Christian Unity is summed by Wesley’s sermon on ‘The Catholic Spirit’ (Sermon 39).
On 10/26/19, at the UE Convention for the West in Tucson AZ, our experience fellowship was formally received as a methodistic Religious Community within the UECNA Missionary District of the West. We chose the title “Primitive”to indicate our commitment to societal forms of organization against pretense or intrusion as a ‘church’, as demonstrated by Irish Primitive Methodists. But, “Primitive” may also indicate a movement toward ‘democratic’ structure as exemplified by O’Kelly’s Republican or Baily’s Reformed Methodists.
The approved Religious Society for the UECNA’s Missionary Diocese of the West can be visited HERE (Primitive Methodist Society in UECNA West).