Westminster Abbey

Sunday, 17th October 2021




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, conducted by James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ is played by Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist.



On 4th December 1900, the then Mayor of the City of Westminster, His Grace The Duke of Norfolk KG, called together a meeting of all the Mayors of the Metropolitan Boroughs (the inner London Boroughs), the object being to discuss matters of ceremonial procedure with a view to uniformity being adopted by all the Mayors of the Metropolitan Boroughs. Subsequently, in early 1901, the Metropolitan Mayors' and Ex-Mayors' Association was formed by the Mayor of Westminster with the purpose of promoting discussion of general matters affecting the Metropolis and to enable Mayors and former Mayors to meet on a social basis.

In 1965 with the re-organisation of Local Government in London, the Mayors and former Mayors of all thirty-one Boroughs were entitled to join as were the Lord Mayors and former Lord Mayors of the City of London and of the City of Westminster. Under the revised constitution of the Association the Lord Mayor of Westminster is now automatically the President. A former Mayor or Lord Mayor is however elected as Chairman of the Association.

The Association comprises over 700 members and is non-party political. It arranges a variety of events throughout the year including this annual service in Westminster Abbey; a walk following the footsteps of Dick Whittington, a former Lord Mayor of London, from Highgate Hill to the Mansion House; a visit to a foreign capital city; and an Annual Dinner.

The London Mayors' Association is delighted that Kenneth Olisa OBE, Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, has agreed to read the first lesson at today's service.

More details about the London Mayors' Association can be found here.


This service is incorporated in the regular Abbey service of Evensong, which follows the custom of churches with a great choral tradition, where much of the service is sung by the choir alone. In those parts the congregation is invited to make its offering of praise by responding to the beauty of the choir's music.

After the welcome by the Sub-Dean the service continues with responses sung by the officiant and choir. The roots of the Christian faith in the Old Testament are acknowledged by the singing of a Psalm and the reading of the first lesson from the Old Testament. The choir then sings Magnificat, the song of the Virgin Mary when she had received the promise of the birth of Jesus. The second lesson is from the New Testament, to which the choir responds by singing Nunc dimittis, the Song of Simeon, when he saw the child Jesus and recognized in him the fulfilment of the promises to Israel. After an affirmation of faith in the Apostles' Creed there are further sung prayers. This ends the formal service of Evensong. There follow an anthem, prayers, and a sermon, which are more directly addressed to this particular occasion.

While this is a Christian service in the Anglican tradition, it is hoped that members of other Christian bodies, those of other faiths, and all those of good will who are dedicated to the service of their fellow citizens will feel themselves most welcome.


St Edward re-endowed the Benedictine monastery of Westminster and built a large Romanesque church for the monastic community. That building was dedicated on 28th December 1065. St Edward died shortly after the dedication.

St Edward's Romanesque church survived until the 13th century, when it was replaced by the building in which we now worship. A new shrine was constructed for the body of St Edward, and the translation of his relics to this shrine was an integral part of the liturgy of the dedication of this new church, on 13th October 1269. The October date was chosen for the dedication because it was already established as the Feast of the Translation of St Edward.

At the Abbey we keep the Feast of the Translation of St Edward on 13th October, a celebration which focuses on the life of the Saint. We keep the Feast of the Dedication on the following Sunday.

Order of Service

The Chairman of the London Mayors' Association is received at the Great West Door by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster and is conducted to his place in the Lantern. All remain seated.

Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London is received at the Great West Door and is conducted to his place in the Lantern. All remain seated.

The procession of the Mayors of the London Boroughs, together with The Lord Mayor of Westminster, enters the Abbey Church. All stand as the procession moves to places in the Lantern and Transepts, and then sit.

All stand as the choir and clergy enter

The choir sings the Introit

Locus iste a Deo factus est, inaestimabile sacramentum: irreprehensibilis est.

This place was made by God: a priceless and unblemished sign of his presence.

Words: Gradual, Mass for the dedication of a church
Music: Anton Bruckner (1824–96)

All remain standing for the Welcome by The Reverend David Stanton, Sub-Dean

The Reverend Mark Birch, Precentor, says a Sentence of Scripture

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.

Bernard Rose (1916–96)

All sit. The choir sings Psalm 48

Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised : in the city of our God, even upon his holy hill.
The hill of Sion is a fair place, and the joy of the whole earth : upon the north-side lieth the city of the great King; God is well known in her palaces as a sure refuge.
For lo, the kings of the earth : are gathered, and gone by together.
They marvelled to see such things : they were astonished, and suddenly cast down.
Fear came there upon them, and sorrow : as upon a woman in her travail.
Thou shalt break the ships of the sea : through the east-wind.
Like as we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God : God upholdeth the same for ever.
We wait for thy loving-kindness, O God : in the midst of thy temple.
O God, according to thy name, so is thy praise unto the world's end : thy right hand is full of righteousness.
Let the mount Sion rejoice, and the daughters of Judah be glad : because of thy judgements.
Walk about Sion, and go round about her : and tell the towers thereof.
Mark well her bulwarks, set up her houses : that ye may tell them that come after.
For this God is our God for ever and ever : he shall be our guide unto death.

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

All sit. The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London reads the first Lesson, Jeremiah 7: 1–11

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah, you that enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings, and let me dwell with you in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.'

For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your ancestors for ever and ever.

Here you are, trusting in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, 'We are safe!'—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the Lord.

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.

Chichester Service, William Walton (1902–83)

All sit. The Lord Mayor of Westminster reads the second Lesson, Luke 19: 29–end

When Jesus had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, 'Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, "Why are you untying it?" just say this: "The Lord needs it." ' So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, 'Why are you untying the colt?' They said, 'The Lord needs it.' Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

'Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!'

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, order your disciples to stop.' He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.'

As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, 'If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.'

Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, 'It is written,

"My house shall be a house of prayer"; but you have made it a den of robbers.'

Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.

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.

Chichester Service, William Walton

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 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

Almighty God, to whose glory we celebrate the dedication of this house of prayer; we praise thee for the many blessings thou hast given to those who worship thee here: and we pray that all who seek thee in this place may find thee, and, being filled with the Holy Spirit, may become a living temple acceptable unto thee; through Jesus Christ thy Son 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.

Bernard Rose

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

Blessed city, heavenly Salem,
Vision dear of peace and love,
Who of living stones art builded
In the height of heaven above,
And by Angel hands apparelled
As a bride dost earthward move.

Out of heaven from God descending,
New and ready to be wed
To thy Lord, whose love espoused thee,
Fair adorned shalt thou be led;
All thy gates and all thy bulwarks
Of pure gold are fashioned.

Bright thy gates of pearl are shining,
They are open evermore;
And, their well earned rest attaining
Thither faithful souls do soar,
Who for Christ's dear name in this world
Pain and tribulation bore.

Many a blow and biting sculpture
Polished well those stones elect,
In their places now compacted
By the heavenly Architect,
Nevermore to leave the Temple
Which with them the Lord hath decked.

To this Temple, where we call thee,
Come, O Lord of hosts, today;
With thy wonted loving kindness
Hear thy servants as they pray;
And thy fullest benediction
Shed within its walls alway. Amen.

Words: Urbs beata Jerusalem, c 7th century, translated by John Mason Neale (1818–66)
Music: Edward Bairstow (1874–1946)

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

All my hope on God is founded;
   he doth still my trust renew.
Me through change and chance he guideth,
   only good and only true.
      God unknown,
      he alone
   calls my heart to be his own.

Pride of man and earthly glory,
   sword and crown betray his trust;
what with care and toil he buildeth,
   tower and temple, fall to dust.
      But God's power,
      hour by hour,
   is my temple and my tower.

God's great goodness aye endureth,
   deep his wisdom, passing thought:
splendour, light, and life attend him,
   beauty springeth out of naught.
      from his store
   new-born worlds rise and adore.

Daily doth th'Almighty giver
   bounteous gifts on us bestow;
his desire our soul delighteth,
   pleasure leads us where we go.
      Love doth stand
      at his hand;
   joy doth wait on his command.

Still from man to God eternal
   sacrifice of praise be done,
high above all praises praising
   for the gift of Christ his Son.
      Christ doth call
      one and all:
   ye who follow shall not fall.

Words: Meine Hoffnung stehet feste Joachim Neander (1650–80), translated by Robert Bridges (1844–1930)
Tune: Michael 333 NEH, Herbert Howells (1892–1983) 

The Sermon by the Sub-Dean

All stand to sing the Hymn

O praise ye the Lord!
   praise him in the height;
rejoice in his word,
   ye angels of light;
ye heavens adore him
   by whom ye were made,
and worship before him,
   in brightness arrayed.

O praise ye the Lord!
   praise him upon earth,
in tuneful accord,
   ye sons of new birth;
praise him who has brought you
   his grace from above,
praise him who has taught you
   to sing of his love.

O praise ye the Lord!
   all things that give sound;
each jubilant chord,
   re-echo around;
loud organs, his glory
   forth tell in deep tone,
and, sweet harp, the story
   of what he has done.

O praise ye the Lord!
   thanksgiving and song
to him be outpoured
   all ages along:
for love in creation,
   for heaven restored,
for grace of salvation,
   O praise ye the Lord!
      Amen, amen.

Words: Henry Baker (1821–77), after Psalm 150
Tune: Laudate Dominum 427 NEH, from Hear my words, ye people Hubert Parry (1848–1918)

All remain standing. The Sub-Dean pronounces the Blessing

God has given you the citizenship of heaven, with his blessed and beloved, with Saint Edward the Confessor, and the whole company of the redeemed. Amen.

God give you the will to live each day in life eternal. Amen.

God bring you to the home that Christ prepares for all who love him. Amen.

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

All stand as the clergy depart

Music after the service

Urbs Jerusalem beata, Healey Willan (1880–1968)

Those who wish to may sit for the remainder of the organ voluntary. As you leave the church, please be sensitive to those who might wish to maintain social-distancing.

This year the Lord Mayor's Charity is WBAF Westminster Befriend a Family—supports families and young people to identify and achieve their goals, making life-changing transformations that get them where they want to be. Donations can be made online.

You can help us to improve our prototype order of service by completing a short online survey. Thank you for your support.

The Abbey is grateful for your support. Cash and contactless donations may be given as you leave via the Great West Door and will be divided equally between the work of the Abbey and charities working with disadvantaged young people. UK residents may also donate £5 or £10 to the work of the Abbey by texting respectively ABBEY5 or ABBEY10 to 70025.


Today's Services

Wednesday, 26th January 2022
St Timothy and St Titus, companions of St Paul
7.30am Morning Prayer Quire
8.00am Holy Communion Nave
12.30pm Holy Communion Nave
5.00pm Evening Prayer Quire
View Order of Service