Upcoming Choral Evensong Services:
It is hoped that Choral Evensong will return in the Fall 2020
Choral Evensong is held each month during the choir semester, on the second Sunday at 4:00 pm in the Church. The music is offered to the glory of God by our St. John’s Choral Scholars and Parish Choir, under the direction of Mr. Chris Brayne, our Director of Music Ministry. The service is accompanied by a different organist from surrounding churches with similar music programs in the Anglican Choral Tradition.
Choral Evensong is sung Evening Prayer, which has been a daily offering in the Anglican Church begun in England (Episcopal Church in the US) since the middle of the 16th Century. The choir will sing most of the service, giving the congregation the opportunity to sit, listen, be present with God, and pray through the music. There are two readings and two hymns in the service. The prayers are sung back and forth by the Officiant (priest) and the choir. The Canticles of Evening Prayer (Magnificat, or Song of Mary, and the Nunc dimittis, or Song of Simeon) are sung by the choir, as is the anthem. It is a service of prayer through music.
About the Service:
If you are not accustomed to our Service, which is only one among many possible ways of worship, these notes may be useful. Our aim here is to offer beauty in stone and song to God, the giver of all beauty and goodness. Based on the Services held daily in the medieval Church, Evensong as arranged in the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church has been sung regularly in our Church since the Sixteenth Century, the Tudor age in England.
Here the music is sung by the Choir on behalf of the congregation. You are asked to join silently in the Service while they sing the prayers and other music which they have practiced with care. But we all join the Choir in saying the Creed; in adding Amen to the other said prayers; and in singing Hymns. Because we maintain this tradition of Evensong, you will find that we use in this Service the old forms of the prayers and scriptural readings.
After the introduction to the Service, the Choir recites the appointed Psalms. We can think about the Psalms, the hymn book of the Temple at Jerusalem, as our Lord Jesus Christ did when he used them; the words will be found in the middle of the Prayer Book. The Lesson from the Old Testament follows. The Choir then sings Magnificat, the song of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the promises of the Old Testament came true (Luke 1). The Lesson from the New Testament proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ, and is followed by Nunc dimittis, the song of Simeon when he had seen our Lord in the Temple at Jerusalem (Luke 2).
The Service Leaflet will show you which musician composed this setting of Magnificat and Nunc dimittis. All then stand, facing the altar used at the Holy Eucharist, and other reminders of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We sing together the Apostles’ Creed, the expression of the faith of those who, generation by generation in the Christian Church, respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, crucified and alive. Prayers are then sung by the Priest and the Choir. They end with the “Collects” which collect our thoughts. A Hymn, Sermon and Anthem may follow. The Anthem is usually a meditation on a text in the Bible or in the old Prayer Books. The words of the Anthem (including a translation if the words are Latin) will be found in the Service Leaflet. Please remember to give generously when the Offering is collected, especially if you have enjoyed this opportunity of joining in the offering of beauty in worship. (Service notes adapted from St. Thomas Church, 5th Ave. NYC).