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 Miles 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 1185 AD. 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 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

Our worship begins at the sound of the bell, please stand as the sacred ministers enter, during which the introit hymn is sung.

Hymn

Love’s redeeming work is done;
Fought the fight, the battle won:
Lo, our Sun’s eclipse is o’er,
Lo, he sets in blood no more.

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal;
Christ has burst the gates of hell;
Death in vain forbids his rise;
Christ has opened paradise.

Lives again our glorious King;
Where, O death, is now thy sting?
Dying once, he all doth save;
Where thy victory, O grave?

Soar we now where Christ has led,
Foll’wing our exalted Head;
Made like him, like him we rise;
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.

Hail the Lord of earth and heav’n!
Praise to thee by both be giv’n;
Thee we greet triumphant now;
Hail, the Resurrection thou!

Words: C. Wesley (1707-1788)
Music: J. Wesley’s ‘Foundery Collection’ (1742)
Hymn Tune: SAVANNAH

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 kneel or 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.

Opening Responses (‘Preces’)

The ‘Preces and Responses’ 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.

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 86 verses 1-10

Bow down thine ear O Lord and hear me:
For I am poor and in misery.

Preserve thou my soul for I am holy:
My God save thy servant that putteth his trust in thee.

Be merciful unto me O Lord:
For I will call daily upon thee.

Comfort the soul of thy servant:
For unto thee O Lord do I lift up my soul.

For thou Lord art good and gracious:
And of great mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

Give ear Lord unto my prayer:
And ponder the voice of my humble desires.

In the time of my trouble I will call upon thee:
For thou hearest me.

Among the gods there is none like unto thee O Lord:
There is not one that can do as thou doest.

All nations whom thou hast made
shall come and worship thee O Lord:
And shall glorify thy Name.

For thou art great and doest wondrous things:
Thou art God alone.

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: J. Foster (1752-1822)

Old Testament Lesson

Isaiah 38.9-20

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’s gospel (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:
Hee 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: B. Rose (b. 1934)

New Testament Lesson

John 11.27-44

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 séen 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: G. A. Macfarren (1752-1822)

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. The Lesser Litany is sung alternately by the cantor and the choir.

The Lord be with you.

And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Please kneel or 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

These are sung alternately by the cantor and the choir.

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

Almighty God,
who hast given thine only Son
to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin,
and also an ensample of godly life;
Give us grace that we may always, most thankfully,
receive that his inestimable benefit,
and also daily endeavour ourselves
to follow the blessèd steps of his most holy life;
through the same 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

‘Holy Father, cheer our way’

Holy Father, cheer our way
With thy love’s perpetual ray;
Grant us every closing day
Light at evening time.

Holy Saviour, calm our fears
When earth’s brightness disappears;
Grant us in our latter years
Light at evening time.

Holy, blessèd Trinity,
Darkness is not dark with thee;
Those thou keepest always see
Light at evening time.

Words: R. H. Robinson (1842-1892)
Music: W. Parratt (1841-1924)
Hymn Tune: HUDDERSFIELD
Anthem arrangement: G. H. Taylor

The Sermon

Hymn

Please stand.

The Lord is ris’n indeed:
Now is his work performed;
Now is the mighty captive freed,
And death’s strong castle stormed.

The Lord is ris’n indeed:
Then hell has lost his prey;
With him is ris’n the ransomed seed
To reign in endless day.

The Lord is ris’n indeed:
He lives, to die no more;
He lives, the sinner’s cause to plead,
Whose curse and shame he bore.

The Lord is ris’n indeed:
Attending angels, hear!
Up to the courts of heav’n with speed
The joyful tidings bear.

Then take your golden lyres
And strike each cheerful chord;
Join, all ye bright celestial choirs,
To sing our risen Lord.

Words: T. Kelly (1769-1855)
Music: melody from J. Leisentritt’s
’Catholicum Hymnologium Germanicum’, Cologne (1584)
adapted by W. H. Havergal (1793-1870)
Hymn Tune: NARENZA

The Prayers

Please kneel or sit.

Hymn

During this hymn a collection, our financial offering in support of the work of the church both at St. Mary’s and across our diocese, is taken.

Please stand.

Thine be the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son,
Endless is the vict’ry thou o’er death hast won;
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded grave-clothes where thy body lay.

Thine be the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son,
Endless is the vict’ry thou o’er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom.
Let the Church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
For her Lord now liveth; death hath lost its sting.

Thine be the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son,
Endless is the vict’ry thou o’er death hast won.

No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life;
Life is naught without thee: aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conqu’rors, through thy deathless love:
Bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above.

Thine be the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son,
Endless is the vict’ry thou o’er death hast won.

Words: E. L. Budry (1854-1932)
translated by R. B. Hoyle (1875-1939)
Music: G. F. Handel (1685-1759)
Hymn Tune: MACCABAEUS

The Blessing or The Grace

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

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


Donations to St Mary's

St Mary’s is a charity which receives no funding from the government and is entirely dependent on donations and fees to keep operating.

If you'd like to donate to support our work you can give contactlessly as you leave the building by tapping your contactless card device against our card reader. You can also leave cash in the offering plate by the door.

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Extracts from The Book of Common Prayer, the rights in which are vested in the Crown, are reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press. BCP 1662.

CCL licence: 668063