Order of Service

Westminster Abbey

Thursday, 27th June 2024

17:00

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 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.

Following the service, a collection will be takenthe money from today's services will be divided equally between Christian Aid and the work of the Abbey. Christian Aid exists to create a world where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty.


Order of Service


The choir sings the Introit

Exaltabo te Domine quoniam suscepisti me
   nec delectasti inimicos meos super me.
Domine clamavi ad te
   et sanasti me.

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me. Lord, I cried to you, and you have healed me.

Words: Psalm 30: 1–2
Music: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c 1525–94)


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 sit or 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.

Music: William Byrd


All sit. The choir sings Psalms 126 and 127

When the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion : then were we like unto them that dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter : and our tongue with joy.
Then said they among the heathen : The Lord hath done great things for them.
Yea, the Lord hath done great things for us already : whereof we rejoice.
Turn our captivity, O Lord : as the rivers in the south.
They that sow in tears : shall reap in joy.
He that now goeth on his way weeping, and beareth forth good seed : shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring his sheaves with him.

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: Percy Whitlock (1903–46)

Except the Lord build the house : their labour is but lost that build it.
Except the Lord keep the city : the watchman waketh but in vain.
It is but lost labour that ye haste to rise up early, and so late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness : for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Lo, children and the fruit of the womb : are an heritage and gift that cometh of the Lord.
Like as the arrows in the hand of the giant : even so are the young children.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them : they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

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: Ernest Bullock (1890–1979) Organist of Westminster Abbey 1927–41


All sit for the first Lesson, Job 7

Job answered:

'Do not human beings have a hard service on earth,
   and are not their days like the days of a labourer?
Like a slave who longs for the shadow,
   and like labourers who look for their wages,
so I am allotted months of emptiness,
   and nights of misery are apportioned to me.
When I lie down I say, "When shall I rise?"
   But the night is long,
   and I am full of tossing until dawn.
My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt;
   my skin hardens, then breaks out again.
My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle,
   and come to their end without hope.

'Remember that my life is a breath;
   my eye will never again see good.
The eye that beholds me will see me no more;
   while your eyes are upon me, I shall be gone.
As the cloud fades and vanishes,
   so those who go down to Sheol do not come up;
they return no more to their houses,
   nor do their places know them any more.

'Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
   I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
   I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Am I the Sea, or the Dragon,
   that you set a guard over me?
When I say, "My bed will comfort me,
   my couch will ease my complaint",
then you scare me with dreams
   and terrify me with visions,
so that I would choose strangling
   and death rather than this body.
I loathe my life; I would not live for ever.
   Let me alone, for my days are a breath.
What are human beings, that you make so much of them,
   that you set your mind on them,
visit them every morning,
   test them every moment?
Will you not look away from me for a while,
   let me alone until I swallow my spittle?
If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of humanity?
   Why have you made me your target?
   Why have I become a burden to you?
Why do you not pardon my transgression
   and take away my iniquity?
For now I shall lie in the earth;
   you will seek me, but I shall not be.'

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.

Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in A flat, Edmund Rubbra (1901–86)


All sit for the second Lesson, Matthew 7: 21–29

Jesus said, 'Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord", will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?" Then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers."

'Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!'

Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

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.

Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in A flat, Edmund Rubbra


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

O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal: grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ's sake 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: William Byrd


All sit. The choir sings the Anthem

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and stand with fear and trembling, and lift itself above all earthly thought. For the King of kings and Lord of lords, Christ our God, cometh forth to be our oblation, and to be given for food to the faithful. Before him come the choirs of angels, with every principality and power, the cherubim with many eyes, and winged seraphim, who veil their faces as they shout exultingly the hymn: Alleluia!

Words: from the 'Liturgy of St James'
Music: Edward Bairstow (1874–1946)


All kneel or remain seated for the Intercessions


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 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 as the choir and clergy depart


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


CHORISTERSHIPS AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY

Enquiries are welcomed at any time. 

If you have a daughter aged 10 or 11 who would like to sing with the St Margaret's Choristers, please contact the Director of Music at St Margaret's, Greg Morris (email). Further details can be found here.

If you have a son who enjoys singing and you would like further details of the world-renowned Abbey Choir and its unique choir school, please click here.

Dr Emma Margrett, Head, Westminster Abbey Choir School, Dean's Yard, London, SW1P 3NY, 020 7222 6151 email

Mr Andrew Nethsingha, Organist and Master of the Choristers, The Chapter Office, 20 Dean's Yard, London, SW1P 3PA, 020 7654 4854 email


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Today's Services

Thursday, 25th July 2024
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7.30am Morning Prayer Quire
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8.00am Holy Communion St Faith's Chapel
said
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View Order of Service