Ecumenical Evening Prayer

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lesley wright
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:01 pm
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Ecumenical Evening Prayer

Post by lesley wright »

I need some assistance, friends. The Northumbria Area committee of the Royal School of Church Music has decided to hold its annual Festival in the RC Cathedral early in October this year (that is, assuming that the current programme of restoration is completed in time!), and to base the form of the service around the Roman Catholic Office.
As I've served on the committee for years they asked me at our meeting tonight to recommend suitable suggestions for music. It's so long since I've been to a sung RC Evening Prayer I can't even remember what should be included, and have absolutely no idea where to start (other than the Office book, obviously).
But I'm sure many of you will have much experience of this sort of thing and I'd really appreciate some suggestions - settings that have musical worth but aren't too difficult to learn.

blackthorn fairy
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:36 am
Parish / Diocese: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Wellingborough Northamptonshire

Re: Ecumenical Evening Prayer

Post by blackthorn fairy »

We follow the order in the book:
- a suitable hymn after the (sung) introduction
- the psalms of the day sung to a simple plainsong chant (Tone 2) (unacc)
- the Magnificat to Anglican chant - with organ (with plainsong antiphon - to Tone 6 - I think)
- we say the canticle (but it could be sung like the psalms to a simple chant)
- said prayers all as for the day
- a choir motet (suitable to the occasion) (whether English, Latin, plainsong, modern, accompanied, unacc - whatever we have in our repertoire that fits the day)

I prepare a service sheet for the congregation (double-sided A4 folded) with the psalms pointed and all the prayers of the day. Finally, at the beginning and the end I play some simple suitable relevant music to set the tone (max 2 mins) because, as we usually do this on a feast day, we follow it with Mass, so the whole thing is about 25 mins at most, giving a few minutes of reflection between the end of Evening Prayer and the beginning of Mass.

Hope this is of help.

Southern Comfort
Posts: 1928
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: Ecumenical Evening Prayer

Post by Southern Comfort »

You might want to think in terms of variety, also.

For example, with two office psalms and a canticle, you could vary the treatment: e.g. a simple Bevenot psalm tone for the first one, a fauxbourdon setting for the second one, a responsorial psalm type for the third one.

As for the Magnificat, well, there are plenty of settings in the standard hymnbooks. I have found Anglicans captivated by Alstott's "My soul rejoices" and its joyful simplicity, the use of a refrain, and the pealing bells effect in the verses, and by Inwood's "Great is the Lord", a modern hymn-type setting. But there are plenty of others, too.

Then there's the office hymn to think about, and the Lord's Prayer. Samples of all of these (and a format) are to be found in the Evening Prayer section at the front of Laudate.

You might want also to consider having the "Cathedral Office" form, which does not have the psalms of Evening Prayer of the Day but instead has a Lucernarium, including

a procession of a Christ Candle,
a hymn to the light while others' candles are lit from it,
an evening thanksgiving, spoken or sung,
an incense psalm (Ps 140/141 — once again, there are settings in different resources) with perhaps a large bowl of incense burning in the sanctuary, and even the opportunity for those taking part to add their own grains of incense to it during the psalm,
and a psalm of pure praise such as Holy is God.

Once again, Laudate includes these options.

Just a few random Wednesday-morning thoughts.

Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:45 pm

Re: Ecumenical Evening Prayer

Post by MaryR »

Celebrating Sunday Evening Prayer (prepared by the Liturgy Office and published by Canterbury Press) is an excellent resource. We used it to prepare for the closing EP at the SSG Annual Conference last November. It's a bit pricey for a one-off use though. This link to the relevant page on the Liturgy Office website has lots of excerpts from it that may be helpful.

lesley wright
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:01 pm
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Re: Ecumenical Evening Prayer

Post by lesley wright »

Thanks, I knew I could depend upon the SSG for useful answers!
L x

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Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:01 am
Parish / Diocese: Sion Community for Evangelism (Coventry)

Re: Ecumenical Evening Prayer

Post by FrGareth »

Excellent ideas above, and just a few more for the pot:

You can change the reading to one tailored to your ocassion.

If you don't go for the "Cathedral style", you can still solemnize the Magnificat by incensing the altar at this point.

You might consider using the ICET text of the Magnificant, since this represents an agreed ecumenical wording.

Since it's mixed company, consider which version of the Lord's Prayer to use (and maybe even a sung version).

Hope it goes well!

Revd Gareth Leyshon - Priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff (views are my own)
Personal website:

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