What is Evensong?

St Michael’s has a strong musical tradition with its service of Evensong. Evensong is a distinctly Anglican tradition with an attractive outreach to the wider community through its focus on the choral presentation of canticles and psalms which accompany scripture readings.

This service has historical roots prior to the reign of Henry VIII when the Church of England was still governed by the Holy See of Rome. Thomas Cranmer, the first Archbishop of the English Reformation under Henry VIII, published a revised Prayer Book in 1552 for the newly est ablished Anglican Church. He modelled the service of Evening Prayer on the old monastic services of Vespers and Compline which were sung at the close of day. Hence Evensong has become a service of communal contemplation through singing and reading of scripture, led by a priest, but possibly also by a layperson, since the sacraments are not involved.