Order of Service

Westminster Abbey

Saturday, 30th September 2023

15:00

Evensong

Welcome to Westminster Abbey. Daily prayer has been offered in this place for over a thousand years, and your participation in today's service is warmly welcomed. At choral Evensong most of the service is sung by the choir on our behalf. We participate through our presence and our listening, that the words and the music might become a prayer within us and lift us to contemplate God's beauty and glory.

The service always includes one or more psalms. These ancient prayers, taken from the Old Testament, reflect the full range of human emotions and experiences; from the depths of anger, resentment, and abandonment to the heights of ecstatic joy and praise. They were used by Jesus, and have always been at the heart of the Church's daily prayer.

The canticles Magnificat (Luke 1: 46–55) and Nunc dimittis (Luke 2: 29–32) reflect two responses to the Incarnation (God becoming fully human in Jesus Christ). Both speak of the fulfilment of God's promises, not just to 'Abraham and his seed', but also 'to be a light to lighten the Gentiles' (all nations). With their themes of fulfilment and completion, these texts have been given central place for many centuries in the Church's prayers for the evening and at the end of the day.

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 Lay Vicars.

Following the service a collection will be taken; the money from today's services will be divided equally between The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields and the work of the Abbey. The Connection works with people who are rough sleeping to move away from, and stay off, the streets of London.


Order of Service


All stand as the choir and clergy enter


The choir sings the Introit

O lux beata Trinitas,
Et principalis Unitas,
Iam sol recedit igneus,
Infunde lumen cordibus.

Te mane laudum carmine,
Te deprecemur vesperi,
Te nostra supplex gloria
Per cuncta laudet saecula.

Christum rogamus et Patrem,
Christi Patrisque Spiritum;
Unum potens per omnia,
Fove precantes, Trinitas.
   Amen.

O Trinity, O blessed light, and primal Unity: now as the fiery sun recedes, pour light into our hearts.

In the morning we praise you with song, in the evening to you we pray. Let our humble worship praise you throughout the ages.

We beseech Christ and the Father and the Spirit who is of both: O one almighty Trinity, guard those who pray to you. Amen.

Words: anonymous, 4th century
Music: plainsong


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, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Praise ye the Lord.
The Lord's name be praised.

Music: plainsong


All sit. The choir sings Psalm 50

The Lord, even the most mighty God, hath spoken : and called the world, from the rising up of the sun unto the going down thereof.
Out of Sion hath God appeared : in perfect beauty.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence : there shall go before him a consuming fire, and a mighty tempest shall be stirred up round about him.
He shall call the heaven from above : and the earth, that he may judge his people.
Gather my saints together unto me : those that have made a covenant with me with sacrifice.
And the heavens shall declare his righteousness : for God is Judge himself.
Hear, O my people, and I will speak : I myself will testify against thee, O Israel; for I am God, even thy God.
I will not reprove thee because of thy sacrifices, or for thy burnt-offerings : because they were not alway before me.
I will take no bullock out of thine house : nor he-goat out of thy folds.
For all the beasts of the forest are mine : and so are the cattle upon a thousand hills.
I know all the fowls upon the mountains : and the wild beasts of the field are in my sight.
If I be hungry, I will not tell thee : for the whole world is mine, and all that is therein.
Thinkest thou that I will eat bulls' flesh : and drink the blood of goats?
Offer unto God thanksgiving : and pay thy vows unto the most Highest.
And call upon me in the time of trouble : so will I hear thee, and thou shalt praise me.
But unto the ungodly said God : Why dost thou preach my laws, and takest my covenant in thy mouth;
whereas thou hatest to be reformed : and hast cast my words behind thee?
When thou sawest a thief, thou consentedst unto him : and hast been partaker with the adulterers.
Thou hast let thy mouth speak wickedness : and with thy tongue thou hast set forth deceit.
Thou satest, and spakest against thy brother : yea, and hast slandered thine own mother's son.
These things hast thou done, and I held my tongue, and thou thoughtest wickedly, that I am even such a one as thyself : but I will reprove thee, and set before thee the things that thou hast done.
O consider this, ye that forget God : lest I pluck you away, and there be none to deliver you.
Whoso offereth me thanks and praise, he honoureth me : and to him that ordereth his conversation right will I shew the salvation of God.

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: plainsong


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

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 hath rejoiced 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 forefathers,
   Abraham and his seed, for ever.

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.

Evening Canticles in G, Herbert Sumsion (1899–1995)


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, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Evening Canticles in G, Herbert Sumsion


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.

Music: plainsong


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, Queen Camilla, 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

Hear my prayer, O heavenly Father,
Ere I lay me down to sleep;
Bid thy angels, pure and holy,
Round my bed their vigil keep.

My sins are heavy, but thy mercy
Far outweighs them every one;
Down before the cross I cast them,
Trusting in thy help alone.

Keep me, through this night of peril,
Underneath its boundless shade;
Take me to thy rest, I pray thee,
When my pilgrimage is made.

None shall measure out thy patience
By the span of human thought;
None shall bound the tender mercies
Which thy holy Son has wrought.

Pardon all my past transgressions;
Give me strength for days to come;
Guide and guard me with thy blessing,
Till thine angels bid me home.

Words: Harriet Parr (1828–1900) from 'The Wreck of the Golden Mary'
Music: Philip Moore (b 1943)


All kneel or remain seated for the Intercessions, at the end of which all say

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.
Amen.


All stand 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 Henry Monk (1823–89)


All remain standing as the choir and clergy depart


Music after the service

Triptyque (L'Orgue Mystique Op 57 Office no 26 'In Festo Ss Trinitatis'), Charles Tournemire (1870–1939)


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


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Today's Services

Sunday, 3rd December 2023
First Sunday of Advent
8.00am Holy Communion Nave
The Book of Common Prayer; said
10.00am Morning Prayer Quire
said with hymns
View Order of Service
11.15am Sung Eucharist Quire
sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey

Vierne Messe Solennelle
arr Robinson The Truth From Above
Dupré Le monde dans l'attente du Sauveur

Preacher: The Reverend Dr James Hawkey Canon Theologian and Almoner

View Order of Service
3.00pm Evening Prayer St Faith's Chapel
said
4.00pm An Advent Liturgy Abbey
sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey

McDowall O Oriens
Byrd Rorate caeli desuper
arr Robinson The Truth From Above
Elgar Benedictus in F
Bruckner Virga Jesse floruit
Dupré Prelude and Fugue in G minor

View Order of Service
6.00pm Sung Eucharist St Margaret's Church
sung by the St Margaret's Choristers and Consort

Palestrina Missa Aeterna Christi munera
Willis I sing of a maiden
Mendelssohn arr Best Overture (St Paul)

Preacher: The Reverend Dr James Hawkey Canon Theologian and Almoner

View Order of Service