Comments: opinion

Alan Wilson is spot on about Choral Evensong as is the quote from Grace Davie in her analysis of English Religion 'belonging without believing'. Evensong is a significant common theme in the 2006 collection of essays entitled 'Why I am still an Anglican'.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 1:33pm BST

It was evensong that brought me back into the fold.

After getting laid off in construction work back in the late 1980's, I got a plane ticket to England. Suffice it to say, somehow I ended up at St. John's/Cambridge where George Guest and his gang had me in a weeping mess at the end of the service.

Life hasn't been the same since.

Posted by evensongjunkie at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 6:03pm BST

Certainly the festive Evensong at Westminster Abbey, where the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury both shared in the simple worship, was an excellent example of ecumenical togetherness. The 'censing of the altar at the Magnificat was an impressive act of ritual observance performed by the Dean (who so obviously knows his liturgical proprieties) and must have informed His Holiness that the Church of England can still put on 'a good show' when called upon to do so.

Also, the post-interlude at the Tomb of Edward the (English) King Confessor, where incense was again offered - this time by the Pope and the ABC, in a moving tribute to our joint heritage among the Saints of the Church, bore mute testimony to a common devotion to a shared spirituality. Even our own 'Evensong Junkie' might have enjoyed it!

If we cannot yet share in a joint Eucharistic rite, this, at least, proved to be a distinctive mark of the Church Universal at common worship. I think both King Edward and John Henry Newman might have enjoyed the convergence.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 26 September 2010 at 7:25am BST

Would die to know what music was sung at that evensong, Fr. Smith...any takers?

Posted by evensongjunkie at Monday, 27 September 2010 at 12:48am BST

evensong junkie. Here, specially for you, is the programme of the Festival evensong attended by the Pope and the ABC in Westminster Abbey:

"The service is sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist
and Master of the Choristers.
The organ is played by Robert Quinney, Sub-Organist.

Music before the Papal Address:
James McVinnie, Assistant Organist, plays:
Ricercare à 6 from A Musical Offering Johann Sebastian Bach
BWV 1079 (1685–1750)
Fantasia BK 62 William Byrd (c 1540–1623)
Voluntary for Double Organ Henry Purcell (1659–95)
Organist of Westminster Abbey 1679–95
Allegro maestoso from Sonata in G Op 28 Edward Elgar (1857–1934)
Benedictus Max Reger (1873–1916)

The Lord Mayor of Westminster is received by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster at the Great
West Door and conducted to her place in Quire. All stand, and then sit.

Music after the Papal Address:
Robert Quinney, Sub-Organist, plays:
Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott BWV 652 Johann Sebastian Bach
Hymns covered by Christian Copyright Licensing (Europe) Ltd are reproduced under CCL no 1040271.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 1:03am BST

Nice touch with the Reger Benedictus, who hailed from the same place as the pope, Bavaria. And a Lutheran Hymn to end it(!) So it wasn't an evensong after all, was it?

Posted by evensongjunkie at Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 1:22pm BST

The full order of service is on the Abbey website

Posted by John Roch at Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 7:55pm BST

Sorry, evensongjunkie, I forgot to include the Stanford setting of the Magnificat - without which the service may not have been a Solemn Evensong with incense. Apologies.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 12:05am BST

"The full order of service is on the Abbey website"

No matter how frustrated we sometimes get with Our Holy Mother the Church of England, there are some things she does exceptionally well!

Posted by Bill Moorhead at Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 8:47pm BST

I wouldn't classify the Westminster Abbey service as choral evensong... it was a simple ecumenical service. there was no confession of sin or absolution, out of respect to the Holy Father.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 8:06pm BST

"there was no confession of sin or absolution, out of respect to the Holy Father."

I don't understand this reasoning at all. Why is omitting the Confession respecting the Pope? Isn't he a sinner, too? The problem with the Absolution is easily solved by using the form traditionally found after the Confiteor, which doesn't pretend to have anything like sacramental character.

You also seem to be saying that the lack of the General Confession and Absolution means that it's not Evensong. That doesn't make any sense to me, either. Could you explain what you mean?

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Friday, 1 October 2010 at 1:18am BST

Bill, as usual, RIW is talking through his hat. Despite having been an Anglican, he is utterly ignorant of Anglican liturgics. Despite being a Roman Catholic, he is equally ignorant of Roman theology.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 1 October 2010 at 5:06pm BST
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