DENNYSVILLE — The Rev. Dr. Alan Andraeas of Holy Trinity Chapel, Dennysville, holds a new copy of Sacred House in his hands.
“The feeling is hard to describe when you see something with your name on the cover,” he said. “It has been a long time in the making and it’s so good to see it in its final version.”
For Rev. Andraeas, a priest in the Anglican Church in North America, the book began as his doctoral thesis while attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The thesis examined the validity of liturgical and sacramental house churches within the larger House Church Movement. At the time, Holy Trinity Chapel was functioning as a house church at the Andraeas’ homestead. However, in looking for resources to run their house church, he discovered that nothing had been written to support sacramental house churches in any tradition: Anglican, Roman Catholic or Orthodox.
“This lack of information surprised me,” Rev. Andraeas said. “By 2006 over 20 million adults were attending house church meetings as their primary, weekly place of religious gathering. By the numbers, then, the collective House Church Movement is our nation’s largest ‘denomination’. And of all the support material written by house church experts, nothing was written to aid the sacramental house church parish.”
This discovery fueled the topic for his thesis, “Sacra Domus: The Anglican House Church in Theology and Context.”
“Actually, the original working title was ‘Heaven at the Hearthstone,’ but a lot of people don’t know what a hearthstone is,” he said.
The layout of the thesis fell into four broad chapters. The first chapter examined the biblical record of liturgical worship. In other words, does God ask us to corporately meet Him in ritual, sacramental action? The second chapter examined the Bible’s running narrative of how the home regularly served as a valid context for sacramental worship. The third chapter traced the post-biblical history of house churches from the end of the first century to the current day. And the final chapter fused all these elements together in a supporting defense of priestly sacramental house churches within the larger, mostly non-clerical, lay-led House Church Movement.
Because of the interest shown in his work, Rev. Andraeas produced an eBook version of his thesis. He turned his manuscript over to Christian Faith Publishing. After several months of editing, typesetting, layout design, cover art, etc., he received his proof copy in the mail.
The full title is, “Sacred House: What Do You Need for a Liturgical, Sacramental House Church?”
“It’s certainly written for a very narrow market,” Rev. Andraeas said. “But I think a lot of people would benefit by it.”
If you like to read about the history of worship, if you like to study missions and church planting strategies, if you want to have a better understanding of sacramental theology, then you would appreciate this book.”
In the end, Rev. Andraeas hopes that it encourages other small Anglo-Catholic communities to start their own house church parishes.