Today's services

Westminster Abbey

Sunday, 19th September 2021


Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

Evensong with installation of Sacrist and admission of Choristers

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.

Order of Service

All stand as the choir and clergy enter

The choir sings the Introit

Cantate Domino canticum novum; laus eius in ecclesia sanctorum.
Laetetur Israel in eo qui fecit eum; et filiae Sion exultent in rege suo.

Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in its Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.

Words: Psalm 149: 1–2
Music: Giuseppe Pitoni (1657–1743)

The officiant welcomes the congregation

All remain standing as the officiant introduces a general Confession

Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sundry places to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness; and that we should not dissemble nor cloke them before the face of almighty God our heavenly Father; but confess them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same, by his infinite goodness and mercy. And although we ought at all times humbly to acknowledge our sins before God; yet ought we most chiefly so to do, when we assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul. Wherefore I pray and beseech you, as many as are here present, to accompany me with a pure heart, and humble voice, unto the throne of the heavenly grace, saying after me;

All kneel or sit

Almighty and most merciful Father; we have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy holy name. Amen.

The officiant gives the Absolution

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power and commandment to his ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins: he pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy gospel. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him, which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure, and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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.

Philip Radcliffe (1905–86)

All sit. The choir sings Psalm 44

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us : what thou hast done in their time of old;
how thou hast driven out the heathen with thy hand, and planted them in : how thou hast destroyed the nations, and cast them out.
For they gat not the land in possession through their own sword : neither was it their own arm that helped them;
but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance : because thou hadst a favour unto them.
Thou art my King, O God : send help unto Jacob.
Through thee will we overthrow our enemies : and in thy name will we tread them under, that rise up against us.
For I will not trust in my bow : it is not my sword that shall help me;
but it is thou that savest us from our enemies : and puttest them to confusion that hate us.
We make our boast of God all day long : and will praise thy name for ever.
But now thou art far off, and puttest us to confusion : and goest not forth with our armies.
Thou makest us to turn our backs upon our enemies : so that they which hate us spoil our goods.
Thou lettest us be eaten up like sheep : and hast scattered us among the heathen.
Thou sellest thy people for nought : and takest no money for them.
Thou makest us to be rebuked of our neighbours : to be laughed to scorn,
and had in derision of them that are round about us.
Thou makest us to be a by-word among the heathen : and that the people shake their heads at us.
My confusion is daily before me : and the shame of my face hath covered me;
For the voice of the slanderer and blasphemer : for the enemy and avenger.
And though all this be come upon us, yet do we not forget thee :
nor behave ourselves frowardly in thy covenant.
Our heart is not turned back : neither our steps gone out of thy way;
No, not when thou hast smitten us into the place of dragons : and covered us with the shadow of death.
If we have forgotten the name of our God, and holden up our hands to any strange god : shall not God search it out?
For he knoweth the very secrets of the heart.
For thy sake also are we killed all the day long : and are counted as sheep appointed to be slain.
Up, Lord, why sleepest thou : awake, and be not absent from us for ever.
Wherefore hidest thou thy face : and forgettest our misery and trouble?
For our soul is brought low, even unto the dust : our belly cleaveth unto the ground.
Arise, and help us : and deliver us for thy mercy's sake.

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: James Turle (1802–82) Organist of Westminster Abbey 1831–82

The Installation

The congregation sits; Members of College remain standing. The Precentor leads the Sacrist designate to stand before the Dean, and says

Mr Dean, I present to you Robert Benedict Neil Latham, to be installed as Sacrist of this Collegiate Church.

The Dean says

Robert, as Sacrist you will share responsibility for ordering public worship in the Abbey, in Saint Margaret's Church, and in the Chapel of Saint Mary Undercroft. You will help to maintain excellence in our common worship; you will be diligent in study and in preaching the word of God; and you will share with your colleagues in ministering to the needs of those who come here. These are solemn responsibilities. Will you undertake them with diligence and enthusiasm?

I will, by the help of God.

The Dean installs The Reverend Robert Latham as Sacrist, saying

I, David Michael Hoyle, Dean of this Collegiate Church of Saint Peter in Westminster, do install you, Robert Benedict Neil Latham, as Sacrist of Westminster, to discharge the duties, and to receive the stipend attached to the said office. Amen.

Cape hanc sedem in sacris ministraturus
et laudes Dei celebraturus
in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you;
that in all your work begun, continued, and ended in him, you may give him praise and proclaim his glory. Amen.

Let us pray.

All stand

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: hear the prayer which we offer for Robert, and for all thy faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry each may serve thee in holiness and truth, to the glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

O everlasting God, with whom a thousand years are but as one day, and in whose name are treasured here the memorials of many generations: grant to those who labour in this place such measures of thy grace and wisdom, that they may neglect no part of their manifold inheritance, but so guard and use it to thy glory and the enlargement of thy Church, that the consecration of all human powers may set forward thy purpose of gathering up into one all things in Christ; through whom to thee be glory now and evermore. Amen.

Joseph Robinson (1858–1933) Dean of Westminster 1902–11

All sit for the first Lesson, Exodus 19: 10–end

The Lord said to Moses: 'Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and prepare for the third day, because on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set limits for the people all around, saying, "Be careful not to go up the mountain or to touch the edge of it. Any who touch the mountain shall be put to death. No hand shall touch them, but they shall be stoned or shot with arrows; whether animal or human being, they shall not live." When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they may go up on the mountain.' So Moses went down from the mountain to the people. He consecrated the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, 'Prepare for the third day; do not go near a woman.'

On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled. Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God. They took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended upon it in fire; the smoke went up like the smoke of a kiln, while the whole mountain shook violently. As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder. When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go down and warn the people not to break through to the Lord to look; otherwise many of them will perish. Even the priests who approach the Lord must consecrate themselves or the Lord will break out against them.' Moses said to the Lord, 'The people are not permitted to come up to Mount Sinai; for you yourself warned us, saying, "Set limits around the mountain and keep it holy." ' The Lord said to him, 'Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you; but do not let either the priests or the people break through to come up to the Lord; otherwise he will break out against them.' So Moses went down to the people and told them.

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 A, Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924)

All sit for the second Lesson, Matthew 8: 23–end

When Jesus got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A gale arose on the lake, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, 'Lord, save us! We are perishing!' And he said to them, 'Why are you afraid, you of little faith?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, 'What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?'

When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, 'What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?' Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. The demons begged him, 'If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.' And he said to them, 'Go!' So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighbourhood.

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 A, Charles Villiers Stanford

All 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 Queen.
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 Lord, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; 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.

Philip Radcliffe

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 Lady, Queen Elizabeth, Charles Prince 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 Brotherhood of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath living and departed. Amen.

All sit. The choir sings the Anthem

Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, Herr Zebaoth!
meine Seele verlanget und sehnet sich nach den Vorhöfen des Herrn;
mein Leib und Seele freuen sich in dem lebendigen Gott.
Wohl denen, die in deinem Hause wohnen: die loben dich immerdar!

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.

Words: Psalm 84: 1–2, 4
Music: Johannes Brahms (1833–97), from A German Requiem Op 45

The Presentation of Surplices

The congregation remains seated, Members of College stand. The Master of the Choristers and the Headmaster of the Choir School lead the Singing Boys to the Dean. The Headmaster says

Mr Dean, I present to you Edward Giblin, Asael Kazibwe, Joshua Kessler, Stephen Oh, James Owens, and Clevan Phelan Williams, 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 Edward Harding, Abel Phelan Williams, Sammy Soonawalla, Arthur Togneri, Gabriel Turner, and Caleb Yoo, 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, 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

Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us
   o'er the world's tempestuous sea;
guard us, guide us, keep us, feed us,
   for we have no help but thee;
yet possessing every blessing
   if our God our Father be.

Saviour, breathe forgiveness o'er us,
   all our weakness thou dost know;
thou didst tread this earth before us,
   thou didst feel its keenest woe;
lone and dreary, faint and weary,
   through the desert thou didst go.

Spirit of our God, descending,
   fill our hearts with heavenly joy;
love with every passion blending,
   pleasure that can never cloy;
thus provided, pardoned, guided,
   nothing can our peace destroy.

Words: Hymn, Written for the Children of the London Orphan Asylum, James Edmeston (1791–1867)
Tune: Mannheim 393 NEH, from Friedrich Filitz's Choralbuch 1847

The Sermon by The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster

The Blessing. All respond Amen.

All stand as the clergy depart

Music after the service

Postlude in D minor Op 105 no 6, Charles Villiers Stanford

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View Order of Service