Order of Service

Westminster Abbey

Friday, 29th September 2023

17:00

ST MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS

Sung Eucharist

Please join in saying the words and singing the hymns 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.

Setting: Mass for five voices, William Byrd (c 15401623)

During the offertory hymn a collection will be taken; the money from today's services will be divided equally between Unseen and the work of the Abbey. Unseen provides safehouses and support in the community for survivors of trafficking and modern slavery and also runs the UK Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline.


Order of Service


All stand as the choir and clergy enter, and to sing the Hymn

It came upon the midnight clear,
   that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
   to touch their harps of gold:
'Peace on the earth, good-will to men,
   from heaven's all gracious King!'
The world in solemn stillness lay
   to hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
   with peaceful wings unfurled;
and still their heavenly music floats
   o'er all the weary world;
above its sad and lowly plains
   they bend on hovering wing;
and ever o'er its Babel sounds
   the blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
   the world has suffered long;
beneath the angel-strain have rolled
   two thousand years of wrong;
and man, at war with man, hears not
   the love-song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
   and hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on,
   by prophet bards foretold,
when, with the ever-circling years,
   comes round the age of gold;
when peace shall over all the earth
   its ancient splendours fling,
and the whole world give back the song
   which now the angels sing.

Words: Edmund Sears (1810–76)
Tune: 'Noël' 29 NEH, traditional English melody adapted by Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900)


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

The Lord be with you
and also with you.


All remain standing. The president introduces the Prayers of Penitence, after which all say

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.
Amen.


The president gives the Absolution

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The choir sings Gloria in excelsis Deo

Gloria in excelsis Deo,

All sit

et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.

Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.

Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe; Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis; qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram; qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.

Quoniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


All stand for the Collect

Let us pray.

Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted the ministries of angels and mortals in a wonderful order: grant that as your holy angels always serve you in heaven, so, at your command, they may help and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


All sit for the Reading from the Old Testament, Genesis 28: 10–17

Jacob left Beer-sheba and went towards Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, 'I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.' Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!' And he was afraid, and said, 'How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.'

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.


The choir sings Psalm 103: 19–end

Antiphon Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord for ever.

The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
   and his kingdom has dominion over all.
Bless the Lord, you angels of his,
   you mighty ones who do his bidding and hearken to the voice of his word.
Bless the Lord, all you his hosts,
   you ministers of his who do his will.
Bless the Lord, all you works of his, in all places of his dominion;
   bless the Lord, O my soul.


The Reading from the New Testament, Revelation 12: 7–12

War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,
'Now have come the salvation and the power
   and the kingdom of our God
   and the authority of his Messiah,
for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
   who accuses them day and night before our God.
But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
   and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.
Rejoice then, you heavens
   and those who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
   for the devil has come down to you
with great wrath,
   because he knows that his time is short!'

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.


All stand for the Procession of the Gospel. The choir sings

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

and all repeat


Bless the Lord, all you his hosts, you ministers who do his will.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!


The reader announces the Gospel, John 1: 47–end

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
Glory to you, O Lord.

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, 'Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!' Nathanael asked him, 'Where did you come to know me?' Jesus answered, 'I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.' Nathanael replied, 'Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!' Jesus answered, 'Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.' And he said to him, 'Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.'

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.


The Sermon by The Reverend David Stanton, Sub-Dean and Canon Treasurer


All stand to say the Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.


All remain standing for the Prayers of Intercession. At the end of each petition there is said

Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

The intercession ends

Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.


The president introduces the Peace

Hear again the song of the angels: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace.'

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.

All may greet one another with the words Peace be with you.


All remain standing to sing the Hymn during the Preparation of the Altar. A collection will be taken. Alternatively, cash and contactless donations may be given as you leave via the Great West Door

Angel-voices ever singing
   round thy throne of light,
angel-harps for ever ringing,
   rest not day nor night;
thousands only live to bless thee
and confess thee
   Lord of might.

Thou who art beyond the farthest
   mortal eye can scan,
can it be that thou regardest
   songs of sinful man?
Can we know that thou art near us,
and wilt hear us?
   Yea, we can.

For we know that thou rejoicest
   o'er each work of thine;
thou didst ears and hands and voices
   for thy praise design;
craftsman's art and music's measure
for thy pleasure
   all combine.

In thy house, great God, we offer
   of thine own to thee;
and for thine acceptance proffer
   all unworthily
hearts and minds and hands and voices
in our choicest
   psalmody.

Honour, glory, might, and merit
   thine shall ever be,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
   blessèd Trinity.
Of the best which thou hast given
earth and heaven
   render thee.

Words: Francis Pott (1832–1909)
Tune: 'Angel-voices' 336 NEH, Edwin Monk (1819–1900)


All remain standing for the Eucharistic Prayer. The president says

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is indeed right and good, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. You reveal your wise purpose for the salvation of the human race by assigning to the angels and archangels the ministry of your steadfast love and protection. While they contemplate your glory, standing before you and singing your praise, they keep a faithful vigil for us, guarding us along the way that leads to life, and guiding us towards the kingdom of your light. In joyful gladness we unite our voices with theirs and sing the ageless hymn of your praise:

The choir sings Sanctus

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth, pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.


The president continues the Eucharistic Prayer

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness; grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died:
Christ is risen:
Christ will come again.


The president concludes the Eucharistic Prayer

And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world; rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this memorial of our redemption. As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup and we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.

Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup, so that we, in the company of [N and] all the saints, may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.
Amen.


All remain standing. The president introduces the Lord's Prayer

As we join our prayers with those of the Church Universal, so we say, each in our own language, the prayer that Jesus Christ has taught us,

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 remain standing for the Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.


Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Blessed are those who are called to his supper.
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed.


The congregation is invited to sit as the president and other ministers begin the distribution of Holy Communion. Those wishing to receive come forward as directed by the Stewards. If you receive communion in your own church you are welcome to do so here. Gluten-free wafers are available. Please refrain from dipping the wafer in the chalice. Those who do not wish to receive communion are invited to come for a blessing; please bow your head as you approach. The minister says to each communicant

The body of Christ. Amen.

The blood of Christ. Amen.


During the giving of communion, the choir sings Agnus Dei and the Motet

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace.


Factum est silentium in caelo dum commiteret bellum draco, et Michael pugnavit cum eo et fecit victoriam.

There was a silence in heaven as the dragon went to war, and Michael fought with him and was victorious.

Words: after Revelation 12: 7a, 8a
Music: Jacob Clemens non Papa (c 1510–c 56)


Let us pray.

All stand. The president says the Prayer after Communion

Lord of heaven, in this eucharist you have brought us near to an innumerable company of angels and to the spirits of the saints made perfect: as in this food of our earthly pilgrimage we have shared their fellowship, so may we come to share their joy in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Lord be with you
and also with you.

The president pronounces the Blessing

God keep you in the fellowship of his saints; Christ protect you by the ministry of the angels; the Spirit make you holy in God's service; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


Go in the peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.


Music after the service

Placare Christe servulis (Le Tombeau de Titelouze Op 37), Marcel Dupré (1886–1971)


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.

Mr Mark Mitchell, Acting Headmaster, 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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Hymns covered by Christian Copyright Licensing (International) Ltd are reproduced under CCL no 1040271 and MRL no 1040288. Common Worship (Church House Publishing, 2000), material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops' Council. Scripture Readings are from the New Revised Standard Version.

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View Order of Service