Evensong

This is from the Church Leaders website. I have shared it with quite a few people, They like the idea.

Evensong: Church of England Resurrects Tradition to Attract Millenials
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Comments

  • BabyWombatBabyWombat Shipmate
    In the late 1960’s I was a devout Catholic college student. I discovered Evensong at St. Bartholomew’s in New York City. It was bliss! Excellent music directed by a top notch organist with an equally talented choir, all in a calm and peaceful setting. I was needing to watch my pennies, and Evensong provided a peaceful, well performed concert that fed my musical soul. Now I’m a priest in TEC….. how kind of God to draw me in through music. May this “new discovery” prosper!
  • Some churches have never stopped celebrating Evensong. I don't think I've ever attended a church that didn't have at least one Evensong service a month. It's really not new, it's just been discovered by a different group of people.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    The title seems misleading, because the article doesn’t seem to be saying the tradition is being resurrected - more that it is continuing and has had a significant increase in attendance, so they’ve made a website about it to make it more widely known, and are suggesting more churches do it.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Our place does Evensong every week. Not with our choir, as such, though several choir members do attend, plus other good singers. Everyone sings the Psalms and Canticles, as well as the hymns.
    Total attendance is around 10-14.
    However we have not any new people attend for some time, and definitely no Millennials. We live in hope!
  • Hookers_TrickHookers_Trick Admin Emeritus
    Evensong is my favourite service (and I was pleased to see a favourable review from my home-from-home, Exeter Cathedral. My partner is from a different cultural and religious background and is an avowed atheist, and yet also loves evensong (although I have a niggling suspicion the wine and prawn cocktail on offer after evensong at our place may be part of the appeal).
  • Evensong has all but died out in many places. I can only think of a few parishes round here that do it, and they tend to attract people from a wide area whenever they do so, although even then the choir is often larger than the congregation.

    My guess would be that Evensong is only really flourishing in cathedral cities and where tourists make up the numbers.

    It's certainly not happening round here, nor was it in the northern city where I used to live before moving out this way.

    I can see it attracting some Millennials here and there, but not right across the board.

    At the risk of sounding like an Eeyore, like many US Christian articles, I think it paints a more upbeat picture than is actually the case.

    I wouldn't be surprised to find increasing Evensong congregations at York Minster, Ely Cathedral, Southwark Cathedral and so on.

    But at St Shuttlecodswallop on The Mire or St Michael and All Angels Lower Piddlehurst, not so much.
  • We have re-started Evensong (only once a month at the moment) at the church where I play after a gap of 30 years. The impetus to do so was partly from older members of the congregation who find our Family Service too much, partly from the choir who wanted a chance to do settings of the evening canticles and larger, extended anthems.

    The other thing that gave us the confidence to go ahead with Evensong is that we already have a flourishing Choral Matins once a month: in fact of the established services it is the one that has shown the most growth over the past 5 years.

    Our PinC was pretty anti the whole business, said we wouldn't get a congregation, etc, etc, etc. Thus far we've had 4 (May, June, July and August) and numbers are growing. We're now at 20+ in the congregation (and 20-26 in the choir).
  • The fight-back begins ... ;)
  • One of our centres was like Puzzler's, no choir and a small but faithful congregation who attended a monthly Evensong. The last three priests haven't been able to carry a tune in a handbasket, so the service has withered on the vine. Maybe we need to invite guest clergy who can sing.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    My guess would be that Evensong is only really flourishing in cathedral cities and where tourists make up the numbers.

    I'm certainly not suggesting it's making a comeback or is in use everywhere, but this city of 50,000 odd souls has Evensong at the city Anglican church once a month. I used to attend and there was a small but hardy group there. The church is known for its organ, choir and music.

    Like some above, Evensong has a great appeal to me -- the "quietness" of the service, the ending of the day, the musical selections, all seemed to combine to a service of great beauty. Great Vespers in the Orthodox Church (Saturday evening) has the same impact on me - a service attended by a hardy few that had beautiful hymns and the sense of an evening worship under the starry heaven (at least in winter), even though we were in a building.

  • Have you ever been to an Anglican Compline service, Climacus?

    That has even more of the kind of effect you describe.

    Great Vespers .. wow! Not been to one for a while. I must rectify that.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    No, I can't say I have. May have to hunt one down. I have attended Compline in a Catholic Benedictine community and recall its beauty.
  • I will admit that one of the parishes I attended was part of huge rural team, and the monthly evensong was the service that Sunday, as the service pattern tended to:
    Sunday 1 - 8am
    Sunday 2 - 10:30am
    Sunday 3 - 11am lay led Matins
    Sunday 4 - 3:30pm Evensong
    (and the minister was almost certainly providing 6pm Evensong somewhere else in one of the more populous villages.)

    It's one of the reasons my daughter didn't qualify for a local church school in this area. I attended the 10:30am and 3:30pm services, but walking 2 miles cross country with a toddler to attend didn't work well with 8am or 6pm services, so we didn't qualify on the weekly attendance criteria.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    One of our centres was like Puzzler's, no choir and a small but faithful congregation who attended a monthly Evensong. The last three priests haven't been able to carry a tune in a handbasket, so the service has withered on the vine. Maybe we need to invite guest clergy who can sing.

    Our new incumbent cannot sing,( and would probably like to close Evensong down) but one of our choir basses acts as cantor. Problem solved.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    I should add that a retired cleric, who kept Evensong going during the lengthy interregnum, and can sing, has not been invited to help.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    I recall that when the BBC said that they were thinking about axing their Choral Evensong broadcast listener numbers went up dramatically. It was years ago, hence my vague language.

    200-300 regularly attend Sung Compline at St Mark's, Seattle and another 10000+ listen to it online (including myself). The Service has been sung there since 1956 and provides a "space" in which people "of all faiths and none" can find ... whatever they find: peace, music, worship, meditation, etc.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Climacus wrote: »
    No, I can't say I have. May have to hunt one down. I have attended Compline in a Catholic Benedictine community and recall its beauty.
    If you can't find one locally, you might try Compline at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle. You can listen online or by podcast.

    Anyone know if there are there any good podcasts of Evensong?

  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    edited August 8
    The BBC website puts up their Radio 3 "live" Choral Evensong broadcast weekly.
    (And if not "live" there is an archived one broadcast and that is uploaded)
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Thanks Gallit.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    There is a site called Compline Underground which lists places that "do" Compline - mostly in the USA though
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited August 8
    There is much to be said for forms of service - whether held weekly or less often - which are accessible to all, and, perhaps, not too theologically demanding. Choral Evensong is one, and clearly works in some circumstances, and Choral Matins is another - as long as both are rendered competently and confidently. The BCP Offices can be sung congregationally, but a decent choir (even just 4 people) is a real help and blessing.

    Compline has been mentioned, though IMHO it's best offered at the very end of the day (as in monastic circles) - perhaps after an evening Bible Study/curry/fish n'chips time?

    I can think of others, such as various modern versions of the Office by Taize/Iona, or whatever. I particularly like Marty Haugen's Holden Evening Prayer (a form of Lutheran Vespers), though perhaps that's not suitable for weekly use.

    /a musing and slightly wistful tangent/

    Sadly, in this Fair City, a traditional BCP Choral Evensong is offered AFAIK by only one church - and that on the fourth Sunday of the month - apart from the Cathedral.

    Maybe we're all missing a trick here? I wonder if, perhaps, a monthly Evensong at one or other churches in our Deanery might have some appeal? It should be possible to muster a confident choir for such a service, which would have to be widely publicised, I think, and, of course, the officiant does not have to be an ordained priest...

    IJ

  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    We tried to get this going in the deanery, inviting people to form a choir for an occasional joint Evensong but had nil response, so we continue with our own weekly Evensong.
  • Yes, it's hard work sometimes (or most of the time)!
    :cry:

    IJ
  • The key factor here is proficiency. If you have the choir and musicians to "do" Evensong well, I suspect that you can get a decent attendance almost anywhere. What is more, if you do it well, word will get out and you'll probably find people travelling some distance to check you out. But if it is done badly, you'll only get the diehards attending.

    I would certainly think that it shouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility for every Anglican deanery to work together to ensure that there is at least one Evensong in the deanery at least once a month, done to a high quality.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited August 8
    In theory, yes. In practice, alas, it's rather less easy than one would hope.

    Even if one manages to get together a reasonable choir, it's rather like one of the Labours of Hercules to prise people out of their own parish, let alone go to a Sunday evening service!

    Nevertheless, it's worth the effort, if it can be done. My local parish is part of a cluster, which has a quarterly Evensong (there are other various 'cluster' services), and it's usually a well-rendered trad Evensong (no sermon!) with 40 or so attending, including the 'scratch' choir, which, in a small church, is comfortable.

    IJ
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Thanks Gallit.

    Apologies @Galilit. :anguished:
  • You may be surprised to read this, but I love a good Choral Evensong.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    There is much to be said for forms of service - whether held weekly or less often - which are accessible to all, and, perhaps, not too theologically demanding. ...
    Not sure I can remember the last time I went to a service that could legitimately be described as theologically demanding. 👺
  • You may be surprised to read this, but I love a good Choral Evensong.

    Why should that be surprising?

    I'd be more surprised if you didn't.
  • Well, not you - but perhaps some Shipmates who think that Baptists always prefer modern worship music and disdain formal liturgy,
  • Ok. I'm sure some Shippies might be surprised but I suspect most of those who are familiar with your posts wouldn't have got that impression.

    In fact, few of the Baptists who regularly post here give the impression that they are opposed to formal liturgies, even if their own churches conform to what people's expectations might be for Baptist worship.

    Yes, you'll see some Baptists here taking a pop at some elements of more sacerdotal or sacramental traditions - as one might expect - but I don't think I've seen any of the regular Baptist posters here denigrate worship styles outside their own tradition or experience.

    Several Baptist Shippies have expressed misgivings at aspects of Quaker practice, and I can understand that - Bunyan did too.

    In real life I have come across Baptists who thought that Anglicans were 'insincere' because they use set prayers - as if extemporary prayer in and of itself was a sign of sincerity.

    I had some friends in a Baptist church where several members left because the minister invited an RC priest to conduct a series of Lenten reflections.

    Overall, though, I've not found Baptists any more or any less tolerant of other people's traditions than any other Christians I've encountered.

    I've certainly come across Orthodox people who are dismissive of other people's approached but by no means all. Same with very High Anglicans. The RCs I know round here tend to be very eirenic.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited August 9
    [Slight tangent:] Sadly we are shortly to lose our very ecumenically-minded local Catholic priest, who even promotes joint Alpha courses with the "New Church" up the road. {:Ends].
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    We shall be glad when the elderly RC priest is no longer with us as he instructs his flock not to join in with ecumenical ventures, except Stations of the Cross. Of course, some ignore him, thankfully.

    We have no Baptism church locally.
    Our new incumbent might just as well be a non conformist though, as he prefers extempore prayers.
    He has shortened the CW Communion liturgy to the minimum, but still manages three or four extempore prayers, plus a quotation from one or more hymns we have sung, particularly at Evensong ( to bring us back to where this thread started).
    BCP should be left alone, surely?
  • That's the way of it, filleting the BCP until there's bugger all left and preferring the sound of one's own voice praying the same sort of thing only in one's own words ...

    With additional 'justs' of course. The just shall live by faith.

    'Lord, we really just ...'
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited August 9
    Really?

    I'll get me cassock....

    Seriously, the only major amendment I've ever made to BCP Evensong, over many years of officiating in various churches, is to omit the first Lord's Prayer (the inclusion of which I've read somewhere may have been an oversight on Cranmer's part, anyway), and, as a Reader, to substitute the Collect for Trinity 21 for the Absolution, as required by Canon law.

    The Tin Tabernacle Of My Yoof did, IIRC, use an alternative (and shorter) introduction to the service taken from the proposed 1928 BCP. This IMHO is much better than the wordy original, but YMMV....

    IJ
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Climacus wrote
    Like some above, Evensong has a great appeal to me -- the "quietness" of the service, the ending of the day, the musical selections, all seemed to combine to a service of great beauty. Great Vespers in the Orthodox Church (Saturday evening) has the same impact on me - a service attended by a hardy few that had beautiful hymns and the sense of an evening worship under the starry heaven (at least in winter), even though we were in a building.

    We do Compline, Evensong, or Holden Evening Prayers (a Vesper Service) on Wednesday Evening. We find that the participants enjoy the quiet time. We have a good mix of people coming. There have been a number of millennials attending over time, some of whom have eventually become members of the congregation.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Is Evensong the same as Vespers?
  • Evensong brings together Vespers and Compline, having both the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis. I believe the collects are also from Vespers and Compline, if my memory services. Logically, the one that begins "Lighten our darkness..." would come from Compline.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Ah, I don’t think I’ve come across that. I just know the word evensong because there was/is someone here with that screen name!
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Am I correct that Evensong is simply an alternate name, used particularly when the service is largely sung, for what the Book of Common Prayer calls Evening Prayer?
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Am I correct that Evensong is simply an alternate name, used particularly when the service is largely sung, for what the Book of Common Prayer calls Evening Prayer?
    That's my understanding. From a little research it appears to be a direct descendant of Vespers.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I know the terms Vespers and Evening Prayer, which I’ve known to be used interchangeably. I suppose they are not necessarily sung/chanted though, whereas I assume Evensong always is?
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Can't speak for the RCC but in Orthodoxy Vespers is always sung/chanted.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I was thinking of small Anglican communities, of just a couple of nuns, where they speak the offices. Not everyone does them in a church/chapel setting. Some people, monastic or lay, Anglican or Catholic, do them at home, alone, or with a couple of people. Sometimes in their heads. So I guess Evening Prayer/Vespers refers to the prayers themselves, which can be public or private, while Evensong refers to a particular way of doing them publicly.
  • Hookers_TrickHookers_Trick Admin Emeritus
    In my youth, Evensong, when not sung, was advertised as 'Said Evensong'.

  • Hookers_TrickHookers_Trick Admin Emeritus
    taken from the proposed 1928 BCP.

    Every evensong I've ever been to in the US is said according to the (US) 1928 BCP. Except for Washington Cathedral which uses the 1979 version in old language, which is quite markedly not the same. Does anywhere else use the modern/ old language offices?
  • Evensong = Evening Prayer with singing.
    Evening Prayer = Evening Prayer without singing.
    Evening Prayer is the BCP version of Vespers.

    Compline is a different service altogether - what used to be called Night Prayer.
  • BroJamesBroJames Shipmate
    But Cranmer’s order for Evening Prayer combines elements of both Vespers and Compline in the one service. (E.g the Magnificat is traditionally the Vespers Gospel Canticle, whereas the Nunc Dimittis belongs to Compline. And, IIRC, the third collect at Evening Prayer is originally from the order for Conpline)
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I’ve been to sung Evening Prayer. And sung Vespers.
  • IereusIereus Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    But Cranmer’s order for Evening Prayer combines elements of both Vespers and Compline in the one service. (E.g the Magnificat is traditionally the Vespers Gospel Canticle, whereas the Nunc Dimittis belongs to Compline. And, IIRC, the third collect at Evening Prayer is originally from the order for Conpline)

    Interestingly, Nunc Dimittis is always a Vespers hymn in Eastern Orthodoxy.
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