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The office of Evensong (according to the Book of Common Prayer) is held every Sunday (6.30pm) evening (plus Wednesday evenings at 6.15pm during term time) at St Mary's Church, and on the second Sunday evening (5.00pm) of each month at St Peter's Church.
The origins of Evensong (or Evening Prayer) go back many centuries, and have their roots in the ancient patterns of monastic worship which are based on the regular singing of all 150 psalms and the systematic reading of the Bible. Brief services, or offices, were (and still are in many monasteries) said or sung throughout the day and night, in accordance with St Paul's instruction to 'pray without ceasing', and so that the whole of the daily routine of monks and nuns could be sanctified and offered to God. In time, and so that worship could be made more suitable for church congregations, elements from a number of the monastic offices were combined to form Matins and Evensong.
St Mary's Choir singing Evensong
The liturgy as celebrated at St Mary's and St Peter's is taken from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, often with the addition of hymns and, on Sundays, a sermon. Much of the service is sung by the choir, creating a setting of reflection, and allowing us to be open to the glimpses of the divine which can be imparted through sacred music, as well as using the serenity and calm which are characteristic of parts of the service to make one's own personal prayers to God.
If such a traditional style of worship is unfamiliar to you, try to see it as a timeless expression of humanity's offering of prayer and praise to God. The texts used in the service are drawn largely from Scripture, often with a musical setting which enhances and enriches them. Our efforts to create worship which embodies beauty and poetry are our response to the abundant goodness, blessing and love shown to us by God, which should inspire us to give back of our best to him.
The great Anglican theologian, liturgist and musician Percy Dearmer described the Book of Common Prayer as follows:
"The Divine Service is an invaluable part of the Christian life, a great safeguard against distorted ideas and weak-minded devotions, a great instrument of sobriety, peace, intelligence, and depth in religion. It is a service of quiet and thoughtful worship, of meditation, of learning, remembering, and reflection.
There is much rest in it, much time to ponder, and pray, and to relax in God from the strain of mundane life, spreading our souls out in the sunshine of heaven, drinking in the atmosphere of ancient holy deeds and thoughts, strengthening our inner life by the fellowship of the Common Prayer, and lifting up tranquil hearts in piety and thankfulness to the God of our fathers."
Everyman's History of the Prayer Book, 1912
The Order of Service for Evensong, as followed at St Peter's Church, can be found here.
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.
Monday 9am - 4.30pm
Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 4.30pm
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm
Monday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm
Monday - Saturday, 10am - 3pm
For information on service times at All Saints', St Mary's & St Peter's, visit the services page
All Saints' Church - Raleigh Street, NG7 4DP
St Mary's Church - High Pavement, NG1 1HN
St Peter's Church - St Peter's Gate, NG1 2NW
Please contact the Parish Office for details of any events or to get in touch with a member of staff.
The office is situated on the upper floor of the St Peter's Centre, on the south side of St Peter's Church and adjacent to Marks & Spencer.
0115 948 3658 (+44 115 948 3658 outside the UK)
If you wish to trace a former resident or member of the parish, please address your requests to the Nottinghamshire Archives.