St Valentine’s Eve & the Open Silence

Well, we had a lovely St Valentine’s flavoured Choral Evensong last night. (Yes, it is hard not to call it an Evensnog when its for St V). The congregation was a little busier than usual.

Since coming to St Mary’s I’ve been amazed at how Choral Evensong can still act as a magnet for people. It was not what I was expecting. Its not everyone’s cup of tea, of course, but it still attracts people across a mixed age range and folk often try out St Mary’s in the evening and then sometimes migrate to morning worship.

Someone shook my hand at the door last night and said, “Choral Evensong is getting better”. That’s good to know.

We need a range of different ways of meeting God. Choral Evensong works for people who want to chill, meditate and let it all flow over them. Its not really interactive. The choir does a lot of the work. The congregation’s involvement is to pray a prayer of presence and attention. Its not just for the thinking side of the brain. Its the antithesis of dumbed down worship too. Its for those who like their liturgy lush and languid and rich.

We’re going to be trying something else out in a couple of weeks. Almost the opposite of Evensong. A small group are organising three experimental sessions called “The Open Silence”. They will be taking place after Evensong – some folk will no doubt come to both but quite a few will just come for the silence, I guess. The idea is to offer an open space for an hour’s collective silence. Prayer for those who pray. Meditation for those who meditate. Stillness for all.

The lighting will be low. (ambient?) The building will be doing what it does best – inviting people to meet with all that is holy and all that is true.

More details are on the cathedral website.


  1. Re the plan for silence and prayer – would that not be Benediction?

  2. an hour is brave.

    out here in the provinces, we’ve just started a similar thing in the after-work slot, but it’s going to be quiet music, short reading, 30 minutes silence, and then a closing prayer.

    Ruth, when you get benediction going in Falkirk, do let us know.

    And where are we all going for Corpus Christi this year?

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