May 18, 2012. The choir of St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church will present choral Evensong on Sunday, May 27, at 5 p.m. in the nave of the church on Main Street in Blowing Rock. Service music will include the “Magnificat and Nunc dimittis” by Walmsley, as well as the Smith “Preces and Responses.” The anthem will be “I Will not Leave You Comfortless” by Everett Titcomb.
The choir of St. Mary’s sings Evensong one Sunday every month from March through October, and everyone is welcome. Donations support the Choral Scholarship program at St. Mary of the Hills which provides financial support to students and budding young singers in the choir.
The service of Evensong or Evening Prayer combines elements of two services, Vespers and Compline, which were part of the seven-service daily cycle of prayer in monasteries. It is said or sung every day in the cathedrals and collegiate churches of England, as well as in this country since 1785. The service is a fragment of the worship offered to God by christian people at every hour, in every part of the world. The form of the service has changed little since the 16th Century, but the content dates back much earlier – to the Psalms, the hymnbook of the Jewish temple and the Canticles (“Magnificat and Nunc dimittis”), which are taken from the New Testament.
The service is in three parts. The first part prepares the worshipper for the story that is to follow. The second part is the narrative of God’s redeeming work, beginning with the psalm (since the recitation of the psalter is at the heart of monastic worship) and continuing with readings from the Old and New Testaments and the Canticles of Praise; this part reaches its climax in the Affirmation of Faith (the Creed). The third part is our prayerful response to the God who has been revealed in history, in Jesus Christ and in the Church. The service is a lovely, contemplative way to end the day.
For more information on this service, please contact St. Mary of the Hills at 828.295.7323.