Every Sunday evening presents an opportunity for prayer and worship at St. Paul’s. The liturgies of Choral Evensong and Compline rotate through the weeks, interspersed with Taizé prayer services and specific seasonal services or events. Descriptions of each kind of service are found below the list of dates. All are welcome.
Sunday evening services | Winter 2023
January 28, 5:00pm | Choral Evensong | Reception | Details and music
February 4, 7:00pm | Compline
February 11, 7:00pm | Compline
February 18, 7:00pm | Compline
February 25, 5:00pm | Taizé Prayer Service
March 3, 5:00pm | Choral Evensong | No reception | Details and Music
March 10, 7:00pm | Compline
March 17, 7:00pm | Compline
March 24, 5:00pm | Meditations on Christ’s Passion
March 31 | Easter Sunday, no evening service
April 7, 7:00pm | Compline
April 14, 5:00pm | Taizé Prayer Service
April 21, 7:00pm | Compline
April 28, 5:00pm | Choral Evensong at St. Martin in the Fields
About Choral Evensong
Evensong services begin at 5:00pm. Music is led by the choir. Links at each date will provide further details, a music list, and livestream links.
Evensong is the name for the Service of Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. This service has been the principal evening liturgy of the Anglican and Episcopal tradition since the year 1549, when Thomas Cranmer combined the two monastic services of Vespers and Compline. Typically in Choral Evensong the main elements are sung by the choir. We are blessed with an immense and rich heritage of musical settings specifically composed for this liturgy, that date from the 16th century to the present day. The congregation participates in the hymns and spoken sections of the liturgy, as well as in quiet prayer and meditation throughout the service. Many find the musical expression of the scripture and prayers to be a means of drawing nearer to the presence of God.
Compline begins at 7:00pm around a candlelit altar on the labyrinth. All are welcome to join this gathering led by lay leaders from St. Paul’s. Participants can, through this brief service of evening prayers and chant , come to a fitting end of the most sacred of days in the week.
Compline is the last of the daily offices contained in the Book of Common Prayer. The word “compline” stems from the Latin word completorium meaning completion. We owe the modern form of the Order of Compline to Saint Benedict of Nursia. St. Benedict, known as the father of western monasticism, appointed a book of precepts known as The Rule in the sixth century. Originally, compline was totally in Latin, would have been completely sung, and was known as the bedtime prayer of monks. The Episcopal Office of Compline is relatively short and often described as a contemplative service focused on individual thoughts of night, sleep and spiritual peace. It is the ideal trusting prayer: asking God for a “peaceful night and a perfect end.”
What is Taizé?
Taizé prayer services begin at 5:00pm in a candlelit church. Music is led by a small group of singers and sometimes instruments. Participants join as they feel moved.
Taizé (pronounced ta-ZAY) is a little village in the heart of the Burgundy region of France, home to an ecumenical community of brothers. It was founded in the early 1940’s by Brother Roger Schütz (1915- 2005), who had a strong call to a ministry of reconciliation between divided peoples. Today the community ministers to thousands of pilgrims who journey to Taizé each year for a time of prayer and reflection.
It was quickly seen that music is a universal language, and nowadays Taizé is best known for the accessible music that infuses its worship. By singing short songs that are repeated over and over, people are able to learn them easily and find that such meditative singing naturally leads them into prayer. The gentle and repetitive qualities of this music allows deep contemplation and prayer and becomes a way of listening to God. It allows everyone to take part in a time of prayer and to remain together in attentive waiting on God, without having a fixed length of time.