Passiontide is upon us (hence font colour). I can only express the hope that you have all had a far more meaningful and productive Lent than I have? However….onwards with the information.
TODAY (26th March) is the Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary…well actually it was yesterday 25th March, but it being a Sunday, and a Lenten one at that, Our Lady has had to await the first of her two Feast Days…a case of “I waited patiently for the Lord”. Anyway, instead of Choral Evensong at 5:30, there will be a sung service of Holy Communion (Haydn Little Organ Mass • Ave Maria Saint Saens), to which all are warmly invited to attend and participate in.
Now for those of you who missed Canon Richard’s excellent sermon at Evensong yesterday, here follows a very brief digest of why we have the Feast of the Annunciation when we do…. Now the easy answer, but not the correct one, would be that 25th March is nine months before 25th December…Simples!! Except of course, Christmas was a rather late arrival in the early Church’s calendar. 25th March is in fact the date the early Church (Western branch) had determined as being the day upon which Our Lord had died (i.e. Good Friday AD33). There is a Judaic tradition that prophets/heroes/leaders i.e. Moses etc die on the same date of their birth or conception. So, had the early Church decided that Christ died on the anniversary of his birth…Christmas would have been yesterday, which would have saved us all from Christmas trees and kitsch cards with robins and snowmen….Bah humbug!! However it would have meant that Christmas and Easter might even overlap on occasions…Easter eggs –v- selection boxes… imagine the chaos….so with the pragmatism the early Church was famed for (something we might try today?) they pinched the Roman feast of Saturnalia…and thus by declaring that Our Lord died on the day of his conception, we arrived at a birth date of 25th December. As the eastern Churches arrived at a slightly different calculation for the date of Good Friday AD33, they fixed the date of the Annunciation as 6th April, hence the different Christmas dates. I’m sure you’d all rather await Canon Richard’s sermon text for a proper take on the subject. Happy Lady Day all the same!!
As for the rest of the week. Please continue to give up your time for Lent by joining an act of Corporate Prayer 8:30 Monday Morning Prayer, 5:30 Wednesday Evening Prayer, 12:05 Friday Holy Communion. Also Chemin Neuf Prayer group Tuesdays at 7:30. Term has ended for the School of Theology. Next term starts 18th April the term’s topic being “Faith in the World”. The next Alpha course starts 2nd May and runs until 11th July (contact Canon Richard for further details or pick up a leaflet).
Thursday’s Choral Evensong (girls and men) is a wonderful treat both music and scripture wise…but isn’t it always? I’ve singled out Thursday’s service because the anthem is the lesser known of Alessandro Lotti’s two monumental settings of the Crucifixus. Actually Lotti wrote a fair few settings of this work, but these are the two that better bread choirs tend to have in repertoire unless they’re the Sistine Chapel Choir, in which case I think they sing about six!. Thursday’s setting is in six parts, and Sunday’s (see below) is in eight. Compare and contrast as the examiners say!
There is no Choral Evensong this coming Saturday as there is a Come and Sing Stainer’s Crucifixion, which will be in rehearsal on Saturday afternoon. Evesning prayer will be in the Cahpel of the Holy Spirit. Cost is £5 and basically you turn up, do the rehearsal, and then sing in the Evening concert. Our very own Stuart Keen and Damian O’Keefe are the soloists. I understand that Sopranos are much in demand. I’m afraid I can’t resist the Sir Malcolm Sargent story: when asked “what do you think about Stainer’s Crucifixion Sir Malcolm?” pause “hmm… not before time”!
Details of the Service for Palm Sunday are as follows:
Eucharist for Palm Sunday
Preston Missa Brevis • Hosanna to the Son of David Weelkes • Crucifixus Lotti This being Palm Sunday there will be a dramatic reading of the Holy Gospel in place of a sermon
Preacher Dom Dominique Ferry (Chemin Neuf Community)
Hosanna to the Son of David Weelkes • Responses Rose • Psalm 68 verses 1 – 6
Howells Collegium Regale • Civitas Sancti Tui Byrd
I hope to get an up to date calendar of all that is happening in Holy Week to you before the end of this week. However, just a couple of forward dates for next week:
For reasons that I don’t understand, but I doubt are liturgical, the Diocesan Chrism Eucharist is taking place on the Monday of Holy week at 11 am(2nd April) rather than Maundy Thursday, as is customary. The Bishop of Liverpool is the preacher.
Bert Poole: there will be a short service of Thanksgiving for Bert 2pm Tuesday 3rd April in the Memorial Chapel, followed by the internment of his ashes in the Founder’s Plot.
Finally, latest news on the appointment process for the next Archbishop of Canterbury; who’ll have to be something pretty special to get anywhere near Dr Williams’ thoughtful and thought provoking leadership. Thankless task. Anyway, according to yesterday’s Telegraph, we’re all going to be consulted…via Twitter…. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9164900/Twitter-users-invited-to-help-choose-the-new-Archbishop-of-Canterbury.html So if you feel strongly, get yourself a twitter account now, and make your views known…if you wish to “follow” a certain Rock Badger wielding former Dean (if number of “followers” prove to be decisive ) you can do so here @bishopofdurham