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March 5 @ 5:00 pm
On Sunday, March 5, at 5 p.m., the choir of St. Andrew’s will present
the service of choral evensong. Music will include the Magnificat
and Nunc Dimittis by Simon Linley, Preces and Responses by
Richard Shephard , and anthems by Thomas Morley and Jean Berger.
Organist Gwen Catchen will play music by Pachelbel and others. The
Rev. Kevin Barron will be the officiant.
Prior to the Reformation, prayer in the early evening or late afternoon was known as the Office of Vespers, one
of the eight Canonical Hours of the divine office of the Western church. However, in 1549, a prayer book
known as the Book of Common Prayer was adopted in the context of the English Reformation. Bishop Thomas
Cranmer established the office of Evensong using elements taken from both Vespers and Compline, generally to
be conducted in the English language, as was the case with the entire liturgy.
After a series of slight modifications, the office of Evensong took its modern form in the 1662 Book of
Common Prayer of the Church of England, a form that is followed very closely throughout the whole of the
Anglican and Episcopal Church throughout the world. This is the form used at St. Andrew’s.
Evensong, like all forms of liturgical worship, has elements of drama and ritual that nourish the spiritual life of
all of us. It is based entirely on elements of Holy Scripture, and it is scripted according to a long history,
originating in Judaic and early Christian evening worship. Evensong is traditionally mostly sung by a choir,
with the full congregation participating throughout in thoughtful prayer, allowing the music to touch us and to
draw us closer to the presence of God.