Choral Evensong usually takes place on Sundays at 4 pm and, during school term times, on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 5.15 pm. In addition, we often have visiting choirs singing the service on Saturdays at 4 pm. Please check our website calendar for more information and for details of any changes to our usual routine. The service lasts about 40 minutes (up to an hour on Sundays) and offers the opportunity to listen to some beautifully-sung choral music; to pause towards the end of a busy day; to pray to God and offer him the things we want to talk about.
Can I join the congregation?
We want you to feel at home – so here are the answers to some common questions about the service…
Yes, of course. If you’re able to stay for the whole service, it’s usually possible to sit in the seats behind the choir stalls. Or you can sit anywhere in the nave, the Cathedral’s main space.
What if I only have a few minutes?
You’re welcome to stay for as long or short a time as you like. Feel free just to sit and take it all in until you have to go.
Do I have to do or say anything?
As you’ll see in the service booklet, there are places where the congregation is invited to stand – but no-one will mind if you prefer to remain seated. You’re invited to join in the spoken words printed in bold type – but you don’t have to.
May I take photographs?
We aim to keep the atmosphere peaceful and the space safe. Because we often have children singing, you can’t take pictures during the service itself or at the rehearsal beforehand. But you’re welcome to photograph the Cathedral after the service.
What’s the aim of the service?
Choral Evensong is an opportunity to open our lives to God and experience his renewing presence in an ‘oasis of peace’. In the stillness and space of this great building, use this ‘window on heaven’ to tune into God and worship him.
What is Choral Evensong?
This form of worship has been around for hundreds of years and is unique to the Anglican Church. Think of it as dropping in on a conversation between God and human beings – a conversation which began long before we were born and will continue long after we are gone. Don’t be surprised or disturbed if there are things in the conversation you don’t immediately understand. The text of the service is drawn almost entirely from the Bible. It sets out to proclaim the amazing activity of God throughout history and especially in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It draws us to worship God, responding to him in praise, penitence and prayer.
Why does the choir do so much and the congregation so little?
The church uses music to help worship to soar, to express what we want to say about God and to God more fully and richly. Sometimes this means using music which is simple enough for everyone to join in. But at other times, the music is more elaborate, with those who are especially gifted leading the worship on behalf of everyone else.
Choral Evensong is an example of the second form. The idea is that the highly-trained skills of the choir and organist blend with the splendour of this extraordinary building in a service which sets the congregation free to meditate on the words and music and so be lifted into a fuller sense of the reality and power of God. It can take a bit of getting used to, but many people have found that this particular combination of words, music and space really helps them to discover God and open their lives to him.