In my short time at St. Peter’s, I have been most impressed by the sheer scope of programming our parish offers. As the new season begins, I am personally looking forward to Evensong. Evensong was the first Episcopal service I attended, about 5 years ago. I walked out of that service with an overwhelming sense of peace and quietness. I also walked out with a bulletin which included remarks from an article by Steven Hough entitled “‘Do Not Touch Me’: The Wisdom of Anglican Thresholds.”
Evensong hangs on the wall of English life like a old, familiar cloak passed through the generations. Rich with prayer and Scripture, it is nevertheless totally nonthreatening. It is a service into which all can stumble without censure – a rambling old house where everyone can find some corner to sit and think, to listen with half-attention, trailing a few absentminded fingers of faith or doubt in its passing stream. Most religious celebrations gather us around a table of some sort. They hand us a book, or a plate, or speak a word demanding a response. They want to ‘touch’ us. Choral Evensong is a liturgical expression of Christ’s Nolle me tangere – ‘Do not touch me. I have not yet ascended to my Father’ (John 20:17). It reminds us that thresholds can be powerful places of contemplation; and that leaving someone alone with their thoughts is not always denying them hospitality or welcome.
Evensong at St. Peter’s is typically offered on the second and fourth Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Choral offerings are sung by the St. Peter’s Choir, the Choir School at St. Peter’s, and the Burli Singers, directed by parishioner Rob Burlington. The 2018–2019 season is especially important for the MasterSingers as they prepare for a choral residency in July 2019, at Durham Cathedral, England. During this residency the MasterSingers will sing Evensong every day for a week, as well as Matins and Holy Eucharist on Sunday. As we delve into a new season of formation, I kindly invite you to experience Evensong for yourself. The first three opportunities are September 23, September 30, and October 14 at 5:00 p.m.
Assistant Organist and Choirmaster