Order of service

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What is Evensong?

Evensong is a combination of two of the seven offices (services) that made up the daily round of monastic prayer. These were the evening offices of Vespers and Compline which consisted of responses, psalms, canticles, readings and prayers. The liturgy of Evensong was first written down in 1549 in Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer. Several revisions to the book were made over subsequent years with the definitive version published in 1662. Widely known for the beauty and richness of its language, including Myles Coverdale’s translation of the psalms, the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer remains the official prayer book of the Church of England.   

The service of Evensong is renowned for its choral music. Several sections of the liturgy are sung by the choir though there are various ways in which everyone can participate. For example, it is an ancient custom in the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis as the choir sings the first two lines of the Gloria (‘Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost’) to make the sign of the cross and to bow one’s head in honour of God the Holy Trinity.

Ever since its foundation this church has been a house of prayer. The first recorded priest of St Mary’s Whitkirk was Paulinus who was the priest here in AD 1185. The worship we share today gives a powerful sense of connecting the present with the past and of being part of a great, and continuing, tradition. Thank you for being part of this act of worship this evening as we join our prayers and praises with those that have been offered here at St Mary’s for over eight hundred years.


The Service of Choral Evensong

Hymn

Please stand.

At the name of Jesus
Ev’ry knee shall bow,
Ev’ry tongue confess him
King of glory now;
’Tis the Father’s pleasure
We should call him Lord,
Who, from the beginning,
Was the mighty Word.

In your hearts enthrone hymn;
There let him subdue
All that is not holy,
All that is not true;
Crown him as your captain
In temptation’s hour;
Let his will enfold you
In its light and pow’r.

Truly, this Lord Jesus
Shall return again,
With his Father’s glory,
With his angel train;
For all wreaths of empire
Meet upon his brow,
And our hearts confess him
King of glory now.

Words: Caroline Maria Noel (1817-1877) alt.
Music: William Henry Monk (1823-1889)

Sentences of the Scriptures

Please remain standing.

Dearly beloved brethren,
the scripture moveth us in sundry places 
to acknowledge and confess
our manifold sins and wickedness;
and that we should not dissemble nor cloke them
before the face of Almighty God our heavenly Father;
but confess them with an humble,
lowly, penitent, and obedient heart;
to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same,
by his infinite goodness and mercy.
And although we ought at all times
humbly to acknowledge our sins before God;
yet ought we most chiefly so to do,
when we assemble and meet together
to render thanks for the great benefits
that we have received at his hands,
to set forth his most worthy praise,
to hear his most holy Word,
and to ask those things
which are requisite and necessary,
as well for the body as the soul.
Wherefore I pray and beseech you,
as many as are here present,
to accompany me with a pure heart and humble voice
unto the throne of the heavenly grace, saying after me:

General Confession

Please sit.

Almighty and most merciful Father,
We have erred and strayed
from thy ways like lost sheep,
We have followed too much
the devices and desires of our own hearts,
We have offended against thy holy laws,
We have left undone those things
which we ought to have done,
And we have done those things
which we ought not to have done,
And there is no health in us:
But thou, O Lord,
have mercy upon us miserable offenders;
Spare thou them, O God,
which confess their faults
Restore thou them that are penitent,
According to thy promises
declared unto mankind
in Christ Jesu our Lord:
And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake,
That we may hereafter
live a godly, righteous, and sober life,
To the glory of thy holy Name.
Amen.

The Absolution

Said by the Priest.

Almighty God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who desireth not the death of a sinner,
but rather that he may turn
from his wickedness and live;
and hath given power
and commandment to his Ministers,
to declare and pronounce
to his people, being penitent,
the Absolution and Remission of their sins:
He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent
and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel.
Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us
true repentance and his Holy Spirit,
that those things may please him
which we do at this present,
and that the rest of our life hereafter
may be pure and holy;
so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

The Opening Responses (or ‘Preces’)

‘Preces’ is Latin for ‘Prayers’. These opening sentences are sung alternately by the cantor and the choir.

O Lord, open thou our lips.

And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

O God, make speed to save us.

O Lord, make haste to help us.

Please stand.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son:
and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be:
world without end. Amen.

Praise ye the Lord.

The Lord’s Name be praised.

The Psalmody

Please remain standing.

The psalms are sacred poems from the Old Testament dating back over three thousand years. The music for the psalm is known as Anglican chant, a short repeating tune.

Psalm 64

Hear my voice O God in my prayer:
Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
Hide me from the gathering together of the froward:
And from the insurrection of wicked doers;
Who have whet their tongue like a sword:
And shoot out their arrows even bitter words:
That they may privily shoot at him that is perfect:
Suddenly do they hit him and fear not.
They encourage themselves in mischief:
And commune among themselves how they may lay snares
and say that no man shall see them.
They imagine wickedness and practise it:
That they keep secret among themselves
every man in the deep of his heart.
But God shall suddenly shoot at them with a swift arrow:
That they shall be wounded.
Yea their own tongues shall make them fall:
Insomuch that whoso seeth them shall laugh them to scorn.
And all men that see it shall say ‘this hath God done’:
For they shall perceive that it is his work.
The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord and put his trust in him:
And all they that are true of heart shall be glad.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son:
and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:
World without end. Amen.

Music: Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869-1941)

Old Testament Lesson

(Jeremiah 20.1-11a)

Please sit.

At the end the reader says:

Here endeth the First Lesson.

Magnificat

Please stand.

The Magnificat is the song of praise Mary sang after learning that she would give birth to Jesus, as recounted in Luke 1.46.

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded:
the lowliness of his hand-maiden.
For behold, from henceforth:
all generations shall call me blessèd.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me:
and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him:
throughout all generations.
He hath shewèd strength with his arm:
he hath scattered the proud
in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat:
and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath fillèd the hungry with good things:
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy
hath holpen his servant Israel:
as he promised to our forefathers
Abraham and his seed for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son:
and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:
World without end. Amen.

Music: Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918)

New Testament Lesson

(Romans 14.1-17)

Please sit.

At the end the reader says:

Here endeth the Second Lesson.

Nunc Dimittis

Please stand.

The Nunc Dimittis is also known as the Song of Simeon. Luke’s gospel (2.29) tells us that old Simeon, a devout Jew, had been promised that he would not die until he had seen the promised Saviour. When Jesus was presented to him at the temple in Jerusalem, he at once recognised the Messiah and uttered these words of farewell.

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace:
according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen: thy salvation;
Which thou hast prepared:
before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles:
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son:
and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:
World without end. Amen.

Music: Jonathan Battishill (1738-1801)

The Apostles’ Creed

Please remain standing.

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand
of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge
the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The holy Catholick Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting.
Amen.

The Lesser Litany

These prayers bind together themes of praise, mercy and the desire for God’s protection as night draws in. This litany is sung alternately by the cantor and the choir.

The Lord be with you.

And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Please sit.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father,

which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
Amen.

The Responses

O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.

And grant us thy salvation.

O Lord, save the Queen.

And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.

Endue thy Ministers with righteousness.

And make thy chosen people joyful. 

O Lord, save thy people.

And bless thine inheritance.

Give peace in our time, O Lord.

Because there is none other that fighteth for us,
but only thou, O God.

O God, make clean our hearts within us.

And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.

The Collect of the Day

Grant. O Lord, we beseech thee,
that the course of this world
may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance,
that thy Church may joyfully serve thee
in all godly quietness,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

The Collect for Peace

O God, from whom all holy desires,
all good counsels, and all just works do proceed:
Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give;
that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments,
and also that by thee we being defended
from the fear of our enemies
may pass our time in rest and quietness;
through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Amen.

The Collect for Aid against all Perils

Lighten our darkness,
we beseech thee, O Lord;
and by thy great mercy defend us
from all perils and dangers of this night;
for the love of thy only Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

The Anthem

Please remain seated.

‘Lord of our life, and God of our salvation’

Lord of our life, and God of our salvation,
Star of our night, and hope of every nation,
Hear and receive thy Church’s supplication,
Lord God almighty.

Peace in our hearts, our evil thoughts assuaging;
Peace in thy Church, where people are engaging;
Peace, when the world its busy war is waging:
Calm all our raging.

Grant us thy grace through trial and temptation,
Grant us thy truth, thy promise of salvation,
Grant us thy peace in every heart and nation,
And in thy heaven.

Words: Philip Pusey (1799-1855) based on the German
of Mätthaus Apelles von Löwenstern (1594-1648) alt.
Music: Sir Joseph Barnby (1838-1896)

The Sermon

Hymn

Please stand.

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be;
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.

Not for ever by still waters
Would we idly rest and stay;
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
In our wand’rings be our guide;
Through endeavour, failure, danger,
Father, be thou at our side.

Words: Maria Willis (1824-1908)
Music: Martin Shaw (1875-1958)
Hymn Tune: MARCHING

The Prayers

Please sit.

Hymn

Please stand.

Saviour, again to thy dear name we raise
With one accord our parting hymn of praise;
We stand to bless thee ere our worship cease;
Then, lowly kneeling, wait thy word of peace.

Grant us thy peace upon our homeward way;
With thee began, with thee shall end, the day:
Guard thou the lips from sin, the hearts from shame,
That in this house have called upon thy name.

Grant us thy peace, Lord, through the coming night;
Turn thou for us its darkness into light;
From harm and danger keep thy children free,
For dark and light are both alike to thee.

Grant us thy peace throughout our earthly life,
Our balm in sorrow, and our stay in strife;
Then, when thy voice shall bid our conflict cease,
Call us, O Lord, to thine eternal peace.

Words: John Ellerton (1826-1893)
Music: Edward John Hopkins (1818-1901)
Hymn Tune: ELLERS

The Blessing or The Grace

Thank you for being part of this evening’s act of worship.

Choral Evensong takes place at St Mary’s Whitkirk on the first Sunday of every month at 6.00 pm. The next service of Evensong will be on 1 August 2021.

Please do join us again. Please follow the instructions of the stewards as you leave the building and remember to clean your hands.


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Preces & Responses
© The Royal School of Church Music

Father, hear the prayer we offer
Music © J Curwen & Sons

Organ voluntary
© G H Taylor

CCL licence: 668063