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Archive for the ‘Liturgy’ Category


“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, o Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” (Psalms 5:3)”

A Gread Way to Start (and End) the Day

This Advent start the day off with Morning Prayer at Saint Alban’s. The office will be said at 7:30 a.m. every weekday during this holy season.  Experience the gift of prayer in the still of the day.

The service presents an inevitable process, and a satisfying progress, in accordance with what is, as it were, a natural history of worship. The great steps of the progress are five. Coming into the Presence, entering expectant into God the Father’s house, the worshiper’s first instinct of un-worthiness finds expression in the confession of sin, led up to by exhortation, and culminating in the declaration of absolution, and the Lord’s Prayer, to which the Absolution serves as a bidding. The second inevitable and natural instinct is to give thanks to the Father for his manifold gifts, and this finds expression in repeated songs of praise, in Venite or Psalms, in first and second canticles. A third instinct, or desire, upon entering the Presence is to hear the word of the Lord, and the listening soul is satisfied by the lections from Old and New Testaments which alternate with the expressions of praise. The worshipers then come, united as they are in and through their corporate experiences of confession, praise and listening, to the climax of the service, the great gateway of the Creed, the symbol of their common faith, the pledge of their unswerving loyalty, through which they enter the final part of the service, the enjoyment of communion, the untrammeled outpouring of their souls in petition, intercession and thanksgiving to the Father of all.

It is this unfaltering rightness of the order, this genius of the service, which furnishes the answer to the question which every user of the Prayer Book must ask himself–What is it which makes this service, which commands my admiration and my love, a great service? For that it is great we instinctively feel, and of this excellence which makes the service a great expression of worship we are even ready to boast. We know that it is not merely because the form is ancient, or contains much Scripture, or chances to meet our habitual moods. We see the ground of its beauty and power in the unity and progress of its structure, and in its worshipful reasonableness.

The People’s Book of Worship A Study of the Book of Common Prayer, By John Wallace Suter and Charles Morris Addison (New York: Macmillan, 1919)

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On Saturday, October 30th, the Saint Alban’s Lay Readers held their annual retreat who were joined by readers from Ss. Andrew and Margaret (Alexandria, Virginia), St. David’s (Charlottesville, Virgina); Saint Athanasius/St. Luke’s (Glen Allen, Virginia and re-opening in Goochland, Virginia, respectively) and Saint Matthews (Newport News, Virginia).  The retreatants explored improving their technical skills to improve their ministry, including those “trouble spots” in the Prayer Book rubrics and techniques for improved presentation pf pre-prepared lay readers’ sermons. (Thanks here to Canon john Hollister and Fr. Warren Shaw for providing the grist for the mil!)  As well, the program offered meditations on the deep human need for corporate worship in Christ’s Holy Catholic Church and the functions of prayer, as well as the theological underpinnings of the Daily Offices.

Because many lay readers also serve as adult acolytes, the retreatants reviewed serving basics and altar service at the Low Mass.  Copies of Some Notes on the Conduct of Corporate Worship, and Ritual Notes were on hand for purchase for those who wished to add these useful references to their personal libraries. (A few copies remain for those unable to attend.)

The readers also shared fellowship and compared notes over an excellent breakfast and lunch in the dining room of the Masonic Home of Virginia, and, most importantly, the participants joined in Morning and Evening Prayer and the Holy Communion.  The next retreat will again be open to all diocesan lay readers and, tentatively, will include training for prospective readers, serving basics at High Mass, singing and chant, and meditations on spiritual and theological themes.

Our thanks to Mr. Ed Owen of St. Alban’s and the staff of the Home for the use of the beautiful chapel, arranging a private dining room and for the warm hospitality shown the retreatants.

Pictured:  Some of the lay readers at the conclusion of the conference.

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As we aproach Advent and the relicensing of lay readers, it is the custom of the parish to sponsor an off-site lay reader’s retreat.  This year St. Alban’s will open the retreat to all interested lay readers from throughout the diocese. 

The tentative schedule is as follows:

0730 Morning Prayer

0800 Breakfast and Fellowship

0830 A Brief Meditation

0900 Conducting the Morning Prayer Service-a refresher

1000 Break

1015 Reading and assisting at Mass-including a review of serving basisc and the role of the subdeacon

1130 Break and preparation for Mass

1145 Mass

1215 Lunch and Fellowship

1300 A Brief Meditation

1330 Sermon Delivery-Techniques and Critique

1415 Break

1430 Conducting Evening Prayer/Evensong (“Fear of Chant Overcome”)

1545 Evensong

1615-Depart

Copies of “Serving Basics” and “Ritual Notes” will be ordered for those who wish at cost.  Please place orders no later than 20 October to insure delivery. 

This year, the retreat will take place in the Chapel of the Masonic Home of Virginia 4101 Nine Mile Road, Richmond, Virginia 23223-4999 http://www.mahova.com/  Breakfast and lunch will be provided at a cost of $16.00, and attendees wishing to arrive the previous evening should contact St. Alban’s at 804-262-6100.

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