Evensong – a personal reflection by Kenneth Critchley

As Saint Matthews develops its service patterns, I am pleased to have been asked to provide some thoughts regarding the Evensong service.

At Saint Matthews we are very fortunate to have a bi-weekly Evensong service supported by an evening choir, when many churches have either lost this service altogether or only retain once a month.

The Evensong service connects the congregation to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1549 and 1552 prayerbooks of Thomas Cranmer. I find a great feeling of strength and continuity in knowing I am saying and singing the same words and phrases that have been said by worshippers of the Church of England for over 450 years.

The Evensong service itself is a wonderful combination of extracts from scripture and deeply thought and expertly crafted text. I find the General Confession and its preamble in particular a deeply moving and thoughtful contemplation of one’s relationship with God.

The service structure with Psalms , the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimittis, lessons from the Bible, The Apostles Creed, the Lord’s prayer (in traditional form), the three Collects, Prayers and Responses constitute a¬† carefully structured, beautifully balanced and thoughtful form of worship.

The service is further enhanced by singing from Hymns Ancient and Modern and a Sermon able to consider some of the deeper themes to be found in the lessons for that day.

Evensong is a service that binds us to tradition whilst still remaining relevant today.

I would certainly recommend attendance at Evensong for all those who are more traditionally minded and also for those who wish to explore the deep heritage of the Church of England.

I hope these thoughts will have encouraged some of the readers to try the Evensong service over the next few weeks and months.

If you wish to attend, the Evensong Service is currently being held on the first and third Sundays of the month at 4:30 PM until the end of March 2016, when the time will be reviewed.

If you would like to join the Choir: The choir meets to practice the psalms and hymns for 30 minutes before the start of the service.

Kenneth Critchley

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