Westminster Abbey

Thursday, 23rd June 2022

17:00

First Evensong of the Birth of St John the Baptist

Please join in saying the words and singing the hymn printed in bold type.

The church is served by a hearing loop. Users should turn their hearing aid to the setting marked T.

Photography, filming, and sound recording are not allowed in the Abbey during services. Please ensure that mobile telephones and other electronic devices are silent.

The service is sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey.


Order of Service


The choir sings the Introit

Canite tuba in Sion, quia prope est dies Domini.

Ecce venit ad salvandum nos: erunt prava in directa, et aspera in vias planas: veni Domine et noli tardare.

Sound the trumpet in Zion, for the day of the Lord is near. See, he is coming to save us: the crooked will be made straight and the rough plain. Come Lord, and do not delay.

Words: from Joel 2 and Isaiah
Music: Francisco Guerrero (1528–99)


All stand as the choir and clergy enter


All remain standing as the officiant introduces a general Confession

Beloved, we are come together in the presence of Almighty God and of the whole company of heaven to offer unto him through our Lord Jesus Christ our worship and praise and thanksgiving; to make confession of our sins; to pray, as well for others as for ourselves, that we may know more truly the greatness of God's love and show forth in our lives the fruits of his grace; and to ask on behalf of all people such things as their well-being doth require. Wherefore let us kneel and keep silence, and remember God's presence with us now.


All kneel or sit to say together

O God, our Father, we have sinned against thee in thought, word, and deed; we have not loved thee with all our heart; we have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee; cleanse us from our sins; and help us to overcome our faults; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The officiant gives the Absolution

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant unto you pardon and remission of all your sins, time for amendment of life, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


All say together the Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


All stand. The officiant and choir sing the Responses

O Lord, open thou our lips
and our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, and is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Praise ye the Lord.

Composer: Thomas Tomkins (1572–1656)


All sit. The choir sings Psalm 50

The Lord, even the most mighty God, hath spoken : and called the world, from the rising up of the sun unto the going down thereof.
Out of Sion hath God appeared : in perfect beauty.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence : there shall go before him a consuming fire, and a mighty tempest shall be stirred up round about him.
He shall call the heaven from above : and the earth, that he may judge his people.
Gather my saints together unto me : those that have made a covenant with me with sacrifice.
And the heavens shall declare his righteousness : for God is Judge himself.
Hear, O my people, and I will speak : I myself will testify against thee, O Israel; for I am God, even thy God.
I will not reprove thee because of thy sacrifices, or for thy burnt-offerings : because they were not alway before me.
I will take no bullock out of thine house : nor he-goat out of thy folds.
For all the beasts of the forest are mine : and so are the cattle upon a thousand hills.
I know all the fowls upon the mountains : and the wild beasts of the field are in my sight.
If I be hungry, I will not tell thee : for the whole world is mine, and all that is therein.
Thinkest thou that I will eat bulls' flesh : and drink the blood of goats?
Offer unto God thanksgiving : and pay thy vows unto the most Highest.
And call upon me in the time of trouble : so will I hear thee, and thou shalt praise me.
But unto the ungodly said God : Why dost thou preach my laws, and takest my covenant in thy mouth;
whereas thou hatest to be reformed : and hast cast my words behind thee?
When thou sawest a thief, thou consentedst unto him : and hast been partaker with the adulterers.
Thou hast let thy mouth speak wickedness : and with thy tongue thou hast set forth deceit.
Thou satest, and spakest against thy brother : yea, and hast slandered thine own mother's son.
These things hast thou done, and I held my tongue, and thou thoughtest wickedly, that I am even such a one as thyself : but I will reprove thee, and set before thee the things that thou hast done.
O consider this, ye that forget God : lest I pluck you away, and there be none to deliver you.
Whoso offereth me thanks and praise, he honoureth me : and to him that ordereth his conversation right will I shew the salvation of God.

All stand

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Chant: George Talbot (1875–1918)


All sit for the first Lesson, Judges 13: 2–7, 24–end

There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren, having borne no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, 'Although you are barren, having borne no children, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, or to eat anything unclean, for you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor is to come on his head, for the boy shall be a nazirite to God from birth. It is he who shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.' Then the woman came and told her husband, 'A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like that of an angel of God, most awe-inspiring; I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name; but he said to me, "You shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the boy shall be a nazirite to God from birth to the day of his death." '

The woman bore a son, and named him Samson. The boy grew, and the Lord blessed him. The spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.


All stand. The choir sings Magnificat

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his hand-maiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Evening Canticles in E, Herbert Murrill (1909–52)


All sit for the second Lesson, Luke 1: 5–25

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense-offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.' Zechariah said to the angel, 'How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.' The angel replied, 'I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.'

Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 'This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favourably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.'


All stand. The choir sings Nunc dimittis

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen : thy salvation,
which thou hast prepared : before the face of all people;
to be a light to lighten the Gentiles : and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Evening Canticles in E, Herbert Murrill


All face east to say together the Apostles' Creed

I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth:

and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.


The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

All kneel or sit. The officiant and choir sing the Lesser Litany, the Lord's Prayer, and the Responses

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us. 

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.
And grant us thy salvation.

O Lord, save The Queen.
And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.

Endue thy ministers with righteousness.
And make thy chosen people joyful.

O Lord, save thy people.
And bless thine inheritance.

Give peace in our time, O Lord.
Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God.

O God, make clean our hearts within us.
And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.


The officiant sings the Collects; of the day, for peace, and for aid against all perils

Almighty God, by whose providence thy servant John Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Saviour, by preaching and repentance; make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels and all just works do proceed: Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Lighten our darkness we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thomas Tomkins


The officiant says the Prayers; for the Royal Family, and for the Members of the Order of the Bath

Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless our most gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth, Charles Prince of Wales, and all the Royal Family: endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy heavenly grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God save our Gracious Sovereign, and all the Members of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath living and departed. Amen.


All sit. The choir sings the Anthem

This is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; and said plainly, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What art thou then? Art thou Elias? And he said, I am not. Art thou the Prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, What art thou? that we may give an answer unto them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? And he said,
I am the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
make straight the way of the Lord.

Words: John 1: 19–23a
Music: Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625), Organist of Westminster Abbey 1623–25


All kneel or remain seated for the Intercessions, at the end of which all say

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen.


All stand to sing the Hymn


On this high feast day honour we the Baptist,
greatest and last of Israel's line of prophets,
kinsman of Jesus, herald of salvation,
   chosen forerunner.

Lo, from the heavens Gabriel descending,
brings to thy father tidings of thy coming,
telling thy name, and all thy life's high calling
   duly announcing.

When Zechariah doubted what was told him,
dumbness assailed him, sealing firm the promise
till, at thy naming, lo, his voice resounded
   loud in God's praises.

Oft had the prophets in the time before thee
spoken in vision of the Daystar's coming;
but when he came, 'twas thou that didst proclaim him
   Saviour of all men.

Father eternal, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God everlasting, hear thy people's praises;
let saints on earth with all the saints in glory,
   ever adore thee. Amen.

Words: after Paul the Deacon (c 720–99)
Tune: Diva servatrix 210 NEH, Bayeux antiphoner 1739


All remain standing as the choir and clergy depart


Those who wish to may sit for the remainder of the organ voluntary


CHORISTERSHIPS AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY

Enquiries are welcomed at any time. If you have a son who enjoys singing, and would like further details of the world-renowned Abbey Choir and its unique choir school, please visit www.abbeychoirschool.org

Mr Peter Roberts, Headmaster, Westminster Abbey Choir School, Dean's Yard, London, SW1P 3NY, Tel 020 7222 6151 choirschool@westminster-abbey.org
Mr James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers, The Chapter Office, 20 Dean's Yard, London, SW1P 3PA, Tel 020 7654 4854 music@westminster-abbey.org


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Today's Services

Tuesday, 28th June 2022
St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, teacher of the faith, c 202
7.30am Morning Prayer Quire
said
8.00am Holy Communion Shrine
said
12.30pm Holy Communion Nave
said
5.00pm First Evensong of St Peter Quire
sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey

Tallis Mihi autem nimis
Byrd Responses
Weelkes Service 'for trebles'
Gibbons Almighty God, who by thy Son

View Order of Service