We are an evangelical Anglican Oratory (or methodistic class) near the site of Sir Francis Drake’s mysterious landing at the northern-most tip of New Spain, otherwise known as Northern California. Our stake, or homestead, hearkens the cause of Athelney Abbey. The Abbey was extended by Alfred the Great to preserve English religion and law under pressures of exile. Similarly, our family keeps “old pathways” with a pattern of worship that uses both the historic Prayer Book and the foremost General Rule of old-evangelical or “methodistic” Anglicans.
We welcome other households, Anglican or not, to associate by making similar, semi-independent oratories or fellowships. We’d like to develop such into a Quarterly Conference of family circles, classes, and private chapels, especially for the coasts and hills of Northern California. 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 these ancient landmarks, and we’d like you to join us.
The public and private duties of Anglicanism provide an excellent way for restoring the “green and pleasant land” of our heavenly Jerusalem, even among the smaller cities in Northern California. Anglican Bishop, Edward Chandler, keenly observed the benefits of home-Oratories 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. 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 a former doctrinal– even cultural– center for American Protestantism. The founding fathers of (so-called) methodism never intended to leave the Church of England but Renew it. The conversion and sanctification of families were centerpiece of that plan and remained so for future Protestant Revival. It’s their plan we hope to imitate. 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 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 Chapel, Fremont CA (Arminian)*
Draft Mission Statement:
“a network, or Society, of families and homes attending and promoting the private duties of Christian worship– neither intruding upon church hours nor the public administration of sacraments– drawing from the example of historic English Protestantism. These practices mainly consist of the regular reading of holy scripture, daily family & closet prayers, catechizing of children, hymn & psalter-singing, mutual watching & frequent examination, and keeping Godly conversation as described in our General Rule. The society shall provide prudential advice, instruction, and occasional literature for advancing such private duties among Householders, Sabbath-School teachers, and others. Where divine Providence prompts, family circles may draw together forming new class(es) under the extension of the same Society. They may also establish their own denominated (or Federated) chapels without harm or scandal to the Spirit of unity among Christian brethren”
Christian Unity is summed by Wesley’s sermon on ‘The Catholic Spirit’ (Sermon 39).