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A Service of Lessons & Anthems for Passiontide

Passion Sunday
April 7th, 2019, at 6:00 PM

Christ in the Wilderness by Ivan Kramskoy

Christ in the Wilderness, by Ivan Kramskoy (1837–1887). From Wikipedia.

This month, in lieu of Choral Evensong, we offer the Lenten equivalent of a ‘Carol Service’ on Passion Sunday, 7 April. The service will begin at the usual time of 6.00 pm and conclude within an hour.

The tradition of marking important feasts with vigils of prayers and hymns reaches back to the ancient church. Echoes of this practice are found in the monastic midnight Office of Matins, with its nocturns of psalms, lessons, and responsories (short anthems). In 1918, Eric Milner-White, Dean of King’s College, Cambridge, introduced A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols for Christmas Eve as modern variant, followed, in 1934, by A Procession with Carols upon Advent Sunday. Milner-White’s services use nine independent lessons which provide a continuing narrative illuminating the season in question.

When constructing our Passiontide Service, we considered how to structure a similar narrative for Lent. Our solution was to use the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary: the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, and finally the Crucifixion. Prefaced with the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, taken from Palm Sunday’s Liturgy of the Palms, this sequence of lessons encapsulates all of Holy Week. As Lenten carols are quite rare, we have substituted anthems of a more somber nature. But we feel we are honouring the spirit of Dean Milner-White’s services, and we hope to provide you with a suitably contemplative preparation for this last stretch of Lent.

Visitors of all faiths are always heartily welcomed to join us in prayer, and all are invited to remain for a light reception following the service. Admission is free of charge, however a freewill offering will be received in aid of the choir’s charity, the Christ Child Society of Baltimore.

Music includes the following:

ANTIPHON Hosianna dem Sonne Davids Gesius
HYMN Lift high the Cross Crucifer
ANTHEM Call to remembrance Farrant
ANTHEM Nolo mortem peccatoris Morley
ANTHEM Surely he hath born our griefs Handel
MOTET Super flumina Babylonis Palestrina
HYMN O sacred head sore wounded Passion Chorale
ANTHEM There is a green hill far away arr. Adric
ANTHEM God so loved the world Goss
RESPONSES Suffrages & Collects Bach
HYMN When I survey the wondrous Cross Rockingham
VOLUNTARY Litanies Alain

Saint Stephen’s Anglican Church
11856 Mays Chapel Rd, Timonium, MD 21093

Click here for directions to the church.

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