Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Solemn Evensong and Benediction to end all Solemn Evensongs and Benedictions

I told you I wouldn't forget...

The Sunday before last was the feast of Dedication for the Church of St Mary Magdalene, transferred from October 13, the actual day the church was consecrated. Since they're nearing the end of their renovations, it seemed to good to the Holy Spirit and to them to re-dedicate the church at Solemn Evensong and Benediction. Your faithful correspondent was there, among many others - the church was packed, unusual for Evensong there.

The liturgy began with the Service of Light. I tend to make fun of SMM for this, since the BAS rubrics assume the lighting of a candle, whereas at SMM they simply switch on the electrical lights to "O gladsome light, O grace" (Nunc Dimittis). The psalms were 84 (tone I.2) and 122 (IV.6). Office hymn was "Blessed city, heavenly Salem" (Urbs beata).

The Magnificat was sung to tone I.5 and the Nunc Dimittis to tone II.1, in both cases with fauxbourdons by Willan. The motet was "Locus iste" by Brückner, which sounded to me suspiciously like the theme song from Mr Bean. I personally would have liked to hear Howells's "O pray for the peace of Jerusalem" per the second psalm. Bishop Philip Poole preached in his usual lively way before "Christ is made the sure foundation" (Westminster Abbey). As with the first hymn, I defiantly sang "consubstantial, co-eternal" during the last verse. To my dismay, the congregation did not join the singing of the Salve Regina (in Latin) and I didn't wish to be too contrary. After the Antiphon of Our Lady and its collect, we sang the Litany of the Saints, the first time I have done so in an Anglican church. Bishop Poole led a prayer of re-dedication which was followed by a Solemn Te Deum (again, to my chagrin, choir-only) in procession with Asperges. I caught a drop on the elbow. We followed with "Thou art the way, by thee alone" (St James).

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed as usual. The O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo were sung to their plainsong tunes, sandwiched around the motet "At thy great name" (Martin). The Divine Praises at SMM irritate me by leaving out the Assumption. Psalm 117 was sung with its antiphon, to tone VI.

There was a delightful reception afterward at which I got to catch up with a few people. Fr Theo sported his biretta; unfortunately the lighting did not allow me to capture him on my phone for posterity. (He appeared rather relieved by this, despite initially giving his consent). I did, of course, get to kiss the bishop's ring.

1 comment:

Tay Moss said...

I'm glad you did the play-by-play, but you forgot the part about the light coming through the newly opened West windows and casting a golden glow just at Benediction. I thought that Fr. Harold had planned it until he told me otherwise! -t