Evensong, Compline and Other Services
Approximately once monthly during the academic year, the Grace Church Choirs offer Choral Evensong on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. This service of music and scripture is a jewel of the Anglican choral tradition and is about 45 minutes in length. The choir sings a setting of the Magnificat (Song of Mary) and Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon) as well as the Psalms appointed for the evening, the Preces and Responses and an anthem. A reception follows in The Pavilion.
The ancient monastic office of Compline is sung by members from Grace Church Schola at 8:00 PM on the third Sunday of the month during the choral season. The church is made dark with candles offering the only illumination. The smoke of burning incense wafts upward through the air, representing the prayers of God’s people rising heavenward. The service is led by the officiant and choir singing a cappella, allowing the congregation to be still, reflective and prayerful in the presence of the Divine.
Lessons and Carols
During the months of December and January, in place of Choral Evensong, two services of Lessons and Carols are offered at 4:00 PM In December this service features An Advent Procession during which the choir sings from various stations throughout the church. In January, Lessons and Carols for Epiphany feature music and scripture focused on the Three Wise Men, following their discovery of the infant Jesus.
On Christmas Eve, Grace Church offers two services, A Service of Lessons & Carols for Christmas with Holy Eucharist at 5:00 PM and a Festal Choral Eucharist with a string quartet 10:00 PM. Both services feature choral and organ music. A Sung Festal Eucharist with a choral quartet and Carols takes place at 10:00 AM on Christmas Day. The First Sunday after Christmas is a Sung Eucharist with Carols.
Ash Wednesday & Lent
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the penitential season of Lent. At 12 Noon we offer a Spoken Holy Eucharist and The Choir and Choristers of Grace Church offers a Choral Eucharist at 7:00 PM that evening. During both services the Imposition of Ashes takes place and the congregation is marked with the sign of the cross on their foreheads to remind us of our mortality.
On Thursday evenings during Lent we offer a simple, contemplative Eucharist service with music and prayers from the Celtic tradition as well as a sermon by a different lay (non-ordained) person each week. Occasionally these services are followed by a brief presentation and soup dinner in The Pavilion. Each Friday in Lent at 12:00 Noon the short liturgy of The Way of the Cross (more commonly known as “The Stations of the Cross”) during which participants are welcome to walk with the cross in procession from station to station, which are set up throughout the church to commemorate Christ’s path up to Calvary.
Holy Week & the Paschal Triduum
Palm Sunday begins Holy Week and initiates the transition from Lent to Passiontide and then Easter. We offer The Office of Tenebrae on Spy Wednesday at 8:00 PM. This “service of shadows” features the Men’s Compline Choir singing Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony in a darken church with the gradual extinguishing of candles. There are many worship opportunities during the Paschal Triduum, also known as “The Three Days” leading up to Easter morning. A Choral Eucharist with the Washing of Feet and Stripping of the Altar takes place at 7:00 PM on Maundy Thursday after which those who wish to stay and pray during the “Night Watch” may do so until midnight at the Altar of Repose in The Chapel of the Messiah which is decorated to represent the Garden of Gethsemane. On Good Friday we offer two services. The first is The Solemn Liturgy of the Passion at 12 noon, during which meditations and music are offered and the Passion of Christ is sung. The second is at 6:00 PM and is a service of The Stations of The Cross with hymns sung by the congregation. On Holy Saturday (the evening before Easter morning), we have the Easter Vigil and the First Eucharist of the Resurrection at 8:00 PM followed by a festive champagne reception. On Easter Day we have our regular 8:00 AM Spoken Eucharist and at 10:00 AM a Festal Choral Eucharist with Brass, Choir, and Organ.
Other special services and feast days include The Feast of All Souls, The Feast of All Saints, The Feast of Christ the King, The Feast of the Epiphany, The Baptism of Our Lord, The Presentation of Christ in the Temple: Candlemas, The Feast of Pentecost: Whitsunday, The Feast of the Ascension, Trinity Sunday, and the annual Blessing of Animals in October.