Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A man was burned at the stake to bring you Sunday afternoon's program at Grace Church

Thomas Cranmer, burned at the stake for composing
The Book of Common Prayer. The book he is holding
is probably a Breviary, from which Evensong is derived.
(Portrait by Gerlach Fricke, 1545.)

A man was burned at the stake to bring you Sunday afternoon's program at Grace Church.

Thomas Cranmer, who singlehandedly compiled the text of the Book of Common Prayer, was burnt at the stake in 1556 as part of the see-saw religious struggles in England between reformers and traditionalists at the time of the Protestant Reformation.

One of the services in the book for which he was burned is Evensong, the service at the end of day in preparation for the night.

This is Cranmer's distillation of the service of Vespers, as observed by English Benedictine monks in their abbeys.

While the Vespers were intended for monks and clergy and were not easy for layfolk to follow (Latin being only one impediment), Cranmer's intent was to make it a service "understanded of the people" (that is, in the vernacular) and easy to follow.

This departure from the Catholic Breviary is one of the things that cost him his life in those turbulent times. (Ironically, this very service was sung in St. Peter's Basilica in 2017, on the fourth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis.)

The Choirs of Grace, under the direction of Andrew Kilkenny, will offer a choral version of this traditional Anglican service with responses, anthems and short scriptural readings. Mother Joyce Scheyer (who has a remarkable singing voice) will officiate.

Join us on Sunday afternoon (October 7) at 5:00 PM as evening approaches and the light through Grace's Tiffany stained glass windows shades into violet, in this quiet, reflective service which reminds us that whatever burdens and cares the day brings, rest at night is with the Lord of heaven and earth.

In an age when much religious practice seems designed to get God to give folks more stuff, Anglican worship takes a different posture.

Services at Grace Church are always open to all and free of charge. The Evensong service begins at 5:00 PM and will be followed by a reception in the Parish Hall.

Grace Church is at East 7th Street and Cleveland Avenue and is an accessible facility. Parking available on the street or in the public lot across 7th Street from the church.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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