Adapted from a news release
By Monica Burden and Gary Allman
As Presiding Bishop Michael Curry encourages Episcopalians to follow the Way of Love, two of the oldest organizations in the Episcopal Church are working together to renew the spirit in The Episcopal Church, Anglican Communion, and beyond.
Founded in 1883, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew’s mission is to bring men and youth to Jesus Christ. Members of the Brotherhood follow a threefold discipline of prayer, study, and service.
The Order of the Daughters of the King was founded just two years later, with the mission of spreading the Kingdom of Christ among women and girls. Members of The Order follow a Rule of Life to support a lifelong program of prayer, service, and evangelism.
With similar missions and similar histories (both started as Sunday School classes), it is no surprise that they had a close relationship for more than a century. At the beginning of the 21st century, they drifted apart, as both organizations — like the wider church — struggled with aging populations and dwindling membership.
In recent years, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew and The Order of the Daughters of the King have been working on revitalizing their respective ministries. Now they are renewing their relationship with each other as well.
Jeff Butcher, national president of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, says that after achieving financial stability and working on their vision and mission for the future, the Brotherhood is relevant to men and the church once again. “We are ready to tackle the challenges we have before us working side by side with our sisters in the Daughters of the King, and we are ready to take our place in the Jesus Movement full throttle,” Butcher says.
- Krisita Jackson, national president of The Order of the Daughters of the King, says the rekindled friendship came about after The Order’s strategic plan, unveiled at the 2018 Triennial, came to the attention of the Brotherhood’s senior vice president, Jack Hanstein, whose wife is a Daughter.
The two organizations are looking forward to working together on two initiatives over the next few months. They had been planning a joint national day of service in late April, but because of the pandemic it has been postponed until at least July. Butcher and Jackson envision neighboring chapters working together with clergy to decide on a service project to carry out that day, and gathering together to pray and reflect on the experience afterward. The second is the National Day of Prayer on May 7, where they plan to collaborate on shared liturgies and prayer vigils.
The Brotherhood and The Order are also envisioning shared regional workshops and service projects. There are plans for a shared presence at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in 2021, including a co-sponsored 12-step recovery Eucharist.
Both groups are grounded in prayer and dedicated to service. Evangelism is core to both organizations, with their early documents using the same language, stating that members should “make an earnest effort each week to bring at least one” man or woman “within the hearing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
In 1886, the Brotherhood sponsored a resolution to General Convention to sanction the formation of The Order. The two groups often coordinated their presence at General Convention, hosting display tables, prayer vigils, and Eucharists together. Leaders regularly visited each other’s triennial conventions as well; on the occasion of The Order’s 70th birthday in 1955, the Brotherhood provided a magnificent cake! There are also many stories of local chapters working together in ministry together.
In the 1970s, the Brotherhood and The Order, along with several other faith groups, gathered together to form an umbrella organization called Pewsaction (Prayer – Evangelism – Witness – Service – Study). The group eventually grew to encompass some 22 organizations and held many successful evangelism conferences throughout the 1970s and 80s.
Both Butcher and Jackson view working together as a natural way to boost their membership and expand the impact of their service projects. “The harvest is huge and we need all the laborers we can get in the fields,” says Jackson, “Any way that we can find to work together, to serve together, we need to be addressing together.”
Monica Burden is Province I president and public relations chair for The Order of the Daughters of the King.
Gary Allman is 1st vice president communications and public relations for the Brotherhood of St. Andrew and communications director with The Diocese of West Missouri.