Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sung Compline in Seattle attracts backpack youth

Seattle has a cathedral which most people seem to say is ugly, as it is unfinished -- just a concrete shell that got that far and no further. Still, since 1962, they have been holding a sung Compline on Sunday evenings. It's also broadcast on the radio. Still, what's interesting about all this is the kind of crowd it is now attracting.

"You can even find Compline in various degrees of gorgeousness in all kinds of other places. What makes it special at St Mark’s is the crowd. You see at St Mark’s, they get hundreds turning up. The service takes place at 9.30 pm and lasts half an hour. Most of the crowd are in place quite a while before the action begins. And those hundreds are young. The majority looked to me to be less than 25 and I’d guess that there were 500 there on Sunday evening, maybe more. Think about that. Five hundred people on a Sunday evening, mostly young.They don’t just sit either. They sprawl. They lie down. Some bring blankets. They inhabit the sanctuary and lie flat on their backs. They loll.  That’s part of the puzzle about this Compline. Who are those young people and why do they come? No-one seemed to really know. They did not strike me as being people who generally attach themselves to any other form of organised religion." -- Kelvin Holdsworth

To listen to it live, go here on Sunday evenings 9:30 pm west coast time.

Here is a short video of it.

The New Yorker Magazine looks at the Book of Common Prayer

"Suppose you find yourself, in the late afternoon, in one of the English cathedral towns—Durham, say, or York, or Salisbury, or Wells, or Norwich—or in one of the great university cities, like Oxford or Cambridge. The shadows are thickening, and you are mysteriously drawn to the enormous, ancient stone structure at the center of the city. You walk inside, and find that a service is just beginning. Through the stained glass, the violet light outside is turning to black. Inside, candles are lit; the flickering flames dance and rest, dance and rest. A precentor chants, “O Lord, open thou our lips.” A choir breaks into song: “And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” The precentor continues, “O God, make speed to save us.” And the choir replies, musically, “O Lord, make haste to help us.”
The visitor has stumbled upon a service, Evensong, whose roots stretch back at least to the tenth century, and whose liturgy has been in almost continuous use since 1549..."

The New Yorker Magazine looks at the Book of Common Prayer [1]

Interesting read :

[1] Though dating it from the 1662 revision, referring to it as 350 years old, instead of  463.