Liturgy used in Choral Services at the Abbey

Liturgy used in Choral Services at the Abbey

Sung Eucharist, or Holy Communion as it used to be called, begins at 10am and uses Order One (‘contemporary’ language version) from Common Worship (CW). The SanctusBenedictus and Agnus Dei from the Ordinary of the Communion Service are sung by us to a variety of settings ranging from Palestrina to Leighton, whilst the Gloria is sung to one of three congregational settings by How, Matthias and our own organist, Jeffrey Williams.

During Advent and Lent, however, the Gloria is replaced by unaccompanied settings of the Kyrie Eleison, again taken from the Ordinary of the Communion Service and sung by us. We perform a motet during the distribution of the Sacraments and, in addition, the boys regularly enjoy themselves with a descant to some of the more rousing Hymns sung at the Abbey from the New English Hymnal.

Evensong, at 6.30pm, uses the traditional order of service set forth in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), 1662. It begins with the General Confession and Absolution and proceeds with a Psalm, two readings, the Canticles sung according to a variety of Psalm chants, Ferial Responses and a Sermon, interspersed with Hymns. Our main contribution is an anthem, a sung ‘Amen’ in response to the Blessing and an occasional choral Introit.

Once a month, however, we sing Choral Evensong using through-composed settings of the Preces, Versicles and Responses and of the Canticles – the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis – plus a more demanding anthem. The congregation for these services is often double that for normal Evensongs!

We also lead the worship at midweek Solemn Sung Eucharists held at 7.30pm for the following feasts:

Epiphany 6 December
Ash Wednesday 40 days before Easter Day
Maundy Thursday The day before Good Friday
Ascension Day 40 days after Easter Day
St Mary 8 September
St Ethelflaeda 23 October
All Saints 1 November

These routinely involve incense, processions with banners and, on our part, choral settings of the Gloria as well as the SanctusBenedictus and Agnus Dei. All Services, with the exception of the Sung Eucharist on Maundy Thursday and unaccompanied Choral Evensong on Good Friday, conclude with an organ voluntary.

Other Sunday services at the Abbey generally comprise:

  • Holy Communion at 8am (CW Order One); and
  • Holy Communion (BCP) at 11.30am on the third Sunday of the month.

Mattins is also celebrated at 7.30am on every other day of the week except Tuesdays, whilst a said Evensong takes place at 5.30pm each evening.