In addition to a daily eucharist or mass, morning prayer and evening prayer are said every day in our church. Evensong is a traditional name for the service of evening prayer.
Morning and evening prayer include readings from the psalms and two lessons, from the Old and the New Testaments. There are also prayers and biblical hymns of praise, called
While our other daily prayer services use the Anglican Prayer Book for Australia, Sunday Evensong uses the Book of Common Prayer, one of the foundational texts of Anglicanism, famed for the power and beauty of its language.
As its name suggests, Evensong includes music. The prayers are chanted; the choir sings the psalms, the canticles and an anthem; the congregation joins in singing hymns. The musical settings range from early Christian times to the present. There is also a 10-minute sermon.
The term Solemn Evensong indicates that incense is burned during the service as a symbol of the honour and prayer that we are offering to God.
Following Evensong there is usually a devotional service called Benediction, which includes a blessing using the bread that has been consecrated as Christ’s body at mass in the morning. At some seasons of the church year, Benediction is replaced by the Litany, a service of prayer and penitence sung in procession around the church.
Solemn Evensong with the additional devotions lasts about 75 minutes.