Order of Service

Today's services

Westminster Abbey

Saturday, 8th October 2022


Evensong with Presentation of Surplices and Admission of Choristers

Please join in saying the words and singing the hymn printed in bold type.

The church is served by a hearing loop. Users should turn their hearing aid to the setting marked T.

Photography, filming, and sound recording are not allowed in the Abbey during services. Please ensure that mobile telephones and other electronic devices are silent.

The service is sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey.

Order of Service

The choir sings the Introit

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may bide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth.

Words: John 14: 15–17a
Music: Thomas Tallis (c 1505–85)

All stand as the choir and clergy enter

All remain standing as the officiant introduces the Confession

Beloved, we are come together in the presence of Almighty God and of the whole company of heaven to offer unto him through our Lord Jesus Christ our worship and praise and thanksgiving; to make confession of our sins; to pray, as well for others as for ourselves, that we may know more truly the greatness of God's love and show forth in our lives the fruits of his grace; and to ask on behalf of all people such things as their well-being doth require. Wherefore let us kneel and keep silence, and remember God's presence with us now.

All kneel or sit to say together

O God, our Father, we have sinned against thee in thought, word, and deed; we have not loved thee with all our heart; we have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee; cleanse us from our sins; and help us to overcome our faults; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The officiant gives the Absolution

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant unto you pardon and remission of all your sins, time for amendment of life, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

All say together the Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

All stand. The officiant and choir sing the Responses

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.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, and is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Praise ye the Lord.

Composer: William Byrd (c 1540–1623)

All sit. The choir sings Psalm 90

Lord, thou hast been our refuge : from one generation to another.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made : thou art God from everlasting, and world without end.
Thou turnest man to destruction : again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.
For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday : seeing that is past as a watch in the night.
As soon as thou scatterest them they are even as a sleep : and fade away suddenly like the grass.
In the morning it is green, and groweth up : but in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered.
For we consume away in thy displeasure : and are afraid at thy wrathful indignation.
Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee : and our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
For when thou art angry all our days are gone : we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told.
The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years : yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone.
But who regardeth the power of thy wrath : for even thereafter as a man feareth, so is thy displeasure.
So teach us to number our days : that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Turn thee again, O Lord, at the last : and be gracious unto thy servants.
O satisfy us with thy mercy, and that soon : so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Comfort us again now after the time that thou hast plagued us : and for the years wherein we have suffered adversity.
Shew thy servants thy work : and their children thy glory.
And the glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us : prosper thou the work of our hands upon us, O prosper thou our handywork.

All 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.

Chant: Craig Lang (1891–1971)

All sit for the first Lesson, Exodus 15: 19–27

When the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his chariot drivers went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.

Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them:
'Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.'

Then Moses ordered Israel to set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went for three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. That is why it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, 'What shall we drink?' He cried out to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a piece of wood; he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There the Lord made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he put them to the test. He said, 'If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in his sight, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.'

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they camped there by the water.

Here ends the first lesson.

All stand. The choir sings Magnificat

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his hand-maiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
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 shewed strength with his arm : he 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 filled 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 forefather Abraham, and to his seed, for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, and is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Great Service, William Byrd

All sit for the second Lesson, Acts 1: 6–14

When the disciples had come together, they asked him, 'Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?' He replied, 'It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.' When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

Here ends the second lesson.

All stand. The choir sings Nunc dimittis

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen : 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, and is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Great Service, William Byrd

All face east to say together the Apostles' Creed

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 catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

All kneel or sit. The officiant and choir sing the Lesser Litany, the Lord's Prayer, and the Responses

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us. 

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.

O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.
And grant us thy salvation.

O Lord, save The King.
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 officiant sings the Collects; of the day, for peace, and for aid against all perils

Lord, we pray thee that thy grace may always prevent and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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.

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.

William Byrd

The officiant says the Prayers; for the Royal Family, and for the Members of the Order of the Bath

Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless our most gracious Sovereign Lord King Charles, Camilla the Queen Consort, William Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, and all the Royal Family: endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy heavenly grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God save our Gracious Sovereign, and all the Members of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath living and departed. Amen.

All sit. The choir sings the Anthem

O Lord God of hosts,
   how long wilt thou be angry with thy people that prayeth?
Thou feedest them with the bread of tears,
   and givest them plenteousness of tears to drink.
Thou hast made us a very strife unto our neighbours;
   and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

Turn us again, thou God of hosts;
   shew the light of thy countenance, and we shall be whole.

And so will we not go back from thee;
   O let us live, and we shall call upon thy name.

Words: Psalm 80: 4–7, 18
Music: Henry Purcell (1659–95), Organist of Westminster Abbey 1679–95

The Presentation of Surplices

Members of College stand. The Master of the Choristers leads the Singing Boys to the Dean

Mr Dean, I present to you Daniel Goga, Grisha Lomovskikh, Calvin Macaulay, Edward Scholes, and James Wilcox, who have completed their first year of training and will now begin to participate regularly in choral services.

The Dean addresses the new Singing Boys

It is the duty of the choir to lead the people of God in worship, by its conduct to set an example, and to strive to lift the hearts of all people to God. In order to achieve this, it needs members who strive for excellence in all that they do. You have now completed your initial training and are ready to begin to play an active part in the daily life of this Collegiate Church. In a moment I will present each of you with a surplice, which is a sign that you have now reached this stage of your formation as choristers, and that you understand and accept the responsibilities of this position.

Do you promise to be a faithful member of this Choir?

I do.

Do you promise to do your best at all times?

I do.

Will you accept the discipline of those set over you, and serve God with reverence and joy?

I will, with the help of God.

Surplices are presented to each Singing Boy. The Dean says

May almighty God accept the offering of your worship, and lead you in the light and obedience of Christ. Amen.

The Singing Boys are led to their stalls by the Master of the Choristers

The Admission of Choristers

The Master of the Choristers leads the new Choristers to the Dean and says

Mr Dean, I present to you Isaac Chapman, Caspar Del Mar, Barnaby Scholes, Ben Tweedie, and Thomas Wilcox, to be admitted as Choristers of this Collegiate Church.

The Dean says

The Choristers comprise the senior boys in the Choir, whose experience and leadership provide an example to the other boys, and who formally become members of the Collegiate Foundation.

With this in mind and so far as in you lies, do you promise to remain a faithful member of this Choir?

I do.

Will you continue to give of your best in all that you do within this Abbey Church?

I will, with the help of God.

Will you strive to set an example to your colleagues through your singing and your behaviour?

I will, with the help of God.

May almighty God accept the offering of your worship, and lead you in the light and obedience of Christ. Amen.

The Dean admits each Chorister, taking him by the hand and saying

N, you have promised to serve God in this Choir and to lead his people in worship and praise. I therefore admit you to this Collegiate Foundation of Saint Peter in Westminster, and we welcome you into our fellowship with a glad heart; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Dean addresses the Choristers

Take heed that what you sing with your lips you may believe in your heart, and that what you believe in your heart you may show forth in your daily life.

The Dean leads the Choristers to the stalls, then says

Let us pray.

All stand

O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: be ever present with thy servants who seek in this place through art and music to perfect the praises of thy people; and grant to them even now such glimpses of thy beauty, that they may at length be found worthy to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

All remain standing to sing the Hymn

Soldiers of Christ, arise,
   and put your armour on,
strong in the strength which God supplies
   through his eternal Son;

strong in the Lord of Hosts,
   and in his mighty power:
who in the strength of Jesus trusts
   is more than conqueror.

Stand then in his great might,
   with all his strength endued;
and take, to arm you for the fight,
   the panoply of God.

Leave no unguarded place,
   no weakness of the soul:
take every virtue, every grace,
   and fortify the whole.

From strength to strength go on,
   wrestle and fight and pray;
tread all the powers of darkness down
   and win the well-fought day.

That, having all things done,
   and all your conflicts past,
ye may o'ercome through Christ alone,
   and stand entire at last.

Words: Charles Wesley (1707–88), after Ephesians 6: 10–18
Tune: St Ethelwald 449 NEH, William Monk (1823–89)

All remain standing as the choir and clergy depart

Music after the service

Fantasia in A minor, William Byrd

Those who wish to may sit for the remainder of the organ voluntary


Enquiries are welcomed at any time. If you have a son who enjoys singing, and would like further details of the world-renowned Abbey Choir and its unique choir school, please visit www.abbeychoirschool.org

Mr Peter Roberts, Headmaster, Westminster Abbey Choir School, Dean's Yard, London, SW1P 3NY, Tel 020 7222 6151 [email protected]
Mr James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers, The Chapter Office, 20 Dean's Yard, London, SW1P 3PA, Tel 020 7654 4854 [email protected]

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