When I started writing our Homely Hours weekly post, I didn’t realize that figuring out what saint to write about would be complicated. So, I’ve been very thankful to be able to use the Anglican Ordo Calendar from Whithorn Press. An Ordo Calendar – for those of us new to a liturgical tradition – is a calendar that shows the “order” of the year, with all the saints days included. Because I’ve been receiving questions about what calendar we are using, I thought I would feature it through an interview with its creator, Fr. Brian Foos. And, it seemed appropriate, as we celebrate All Saints’, to also think about how we can be following the saints throughout the year.
Fr. Brian is vicar of St. Andrew’s Church and headmaster at St. Andrew’s Academy in Lake Almanor, California, a small mountain town. He is married to Katy (who, by the way, cooks through the liturgical year – we’re hoping that she will share some of her recipes with us) and the father of 3 teenagers who can’t imagine Holy Week without crafting an Easter garden.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I’m a native Californian who grew up in a Christian home, but became an Anglican shortly after university studies. I started attending an Anglican church in 1992, and have been in pastoral work since 1998. I’ve been a traditional Anglican all along, studying at Cranmer House. I am the vicar of St. Andrew’s Church, headmaster of St. Andrew’s Academy (which is a day and boarding school). The Academy is in its 20th year, and the church is in her 8th year. We also have a monastic gap year program called Lindisfarne House.
Why did you start making the Ordo Calendar?
About fifteen years ago, the ordo calendar that was available to me was so ugly that I kept it hidden in the drawer of my desk. I had a parishioner who felt the same about the lack of beauty, and who designed an ordo calendar with a very pretty, ornate medieval image, wondering if we might use it as a Church. I thought to myself, “This is so great—bright colored and not brown!” And, of course, I immediately said yes. That year, using that calendar, I noted that people seemed more aware of the church year; they knew what was going on in our parish because they had these calendars hanging on the walls. So, those are the two main reasons we started making the Ordo calendars: for “beauty and for glory” and for a help to my parishioners in living a full-orbed Christianity.
How did you make decisions about difference between Anglican calendars?
When we decided to make the calendars, we knew that we were going to have to answer lots of questions about feast days; we knew were going to have make choices. Knowing we couldn’t please everyone, we decided to do our best so that the broadest amount of people who use the 1928 Prayer Book could use it. The following is our “rule” regarding seasons and feast days. First, we used the 1928 prayer book feast days. Then second, we add the 1662 BCP (and post-reformation Church of England calendar) days to supplement and fill it out because it’s the classic prayer book (I get a lot of questions from low churchmen about the Marian feast days that are included, and this is how I answer, since the 1662 incorporates more Marian feast days than the 1928 American book). Third, we used the 1963 publication of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. In all these things, our lead authority is Percy Dearmer’s The Parson’s Handbook.
We’ve made some choices about feast days that surprise people, but I think it’s safe to say that we’ve never made a choice recklessly. If there is a conflict, we typically go with the older tradition. For example, we celebrate St. Ignatius on October 17th instead of February 1 (as in the Lesser Feasts and Fasts), because of the conflict with St. Brigid. As we were deciding what to do, we learned that for over a thousand years, St. Ignatius had been celebrated on October 17th. So since there was no conflict there, we chose that feast day instead.
What about its design?
We’ve tried to design it so that we can keep each day relatively open for people to write in it as they might if it is their family calendar. The major prayer book feast days are in a larger font and all caps and the minor feast days are easily distinguished from that. The numbers are printed in their liturgical color. This year, we also came out with an Altar Guild version, where the boxes are filled in with each color, to make it really simple for the altar guild member. The photos of churches are from the trips we take with our St. Andrew’s Academy travel program. For the last number of years, I’ve been the main photographer. Some years it’s our St. Andrew’s students. One year we asked for contributions from parishes around the country. We’ve also had former gap year fellows who have taken the photos featured in the calendar.
What else is important to know?
I think it’s worth mentioning that we have a digital version through Google Calendar; not enough people use it. It’s also important to know that the proceeds from selling this calendar support St. Andrew’s Academy. We also, if you’re interested, make and sell beautiful 100% beeswax candles for Church and home which also benefit St. Andrew’s Academy.
The calendar is being sold now and will be shipped out in early November. So, if you’re interested, go to this link to learn more!
Beautiful and glad to see this being done.
Worth mentioning for Canadian readers that there is a publication company in Atlantic Canada that has been producing calendars that follow the Canadian 1962 Calendar for decades.
They always feature painted images of Canadian churches that use the BCP. Definitely worth checking out!
Thank you for sharing!
I just found your website and it’s awesome! I am a homeschooling mom and new Episcopal (new Christian really, for the last year) and all of this is very new to me. Can you recommend any books or Resources for learning about the faith, seasons, saints, etc (besides Common Book of Prayer of course).
Oops I meant – Book of common prayer – see if know nothing please help lol
Hi Alyson! I’m glad you like our site. I always recommend C.S. Lewis — I’m constantly rereading him and in terms of the topics you asked, I’d recommend Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce. I have also really appreciated N.T. Wright’s books — Simply Christian, After You Believe, and Surprised By Hope. Have you read any of those yet?
Hi Amanda, thanks for responding! Yes Ive heard of cs Lewis works, I’m currently working through Mere Christianity. I’ll check out the other author you mentioned. When I first started exploring Christianity I was researching Catholicism and there are so many resources for exploring their history, faith, etc. I’m struggling to find the same for the episcopal church. I just ordered book of common prayer on amazon so hopefully that will clarify some issues.
Well, that would be because as Anglicans, we would still consider most of Catholic history and faith to be part of our history and faith. We have disagreements to be sure (and different Anglican streams would disagree with different things), but still consider them our brothers and sisters. A good percentage of the Christian books I read are written by Catholics. If you’d like to discuss these things more, feel free to email at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂 I don’t have all the answers, but I do love email discussions.
Great, I’m going to get reading and send you an email with some questions if that’s ok. Thank you so much