September is a month of beginnings: Fall arrives, the weather changes (slowly, it seems),
football season is launched, and schools and colleges have already begun. The church year at
this time also contains a number of holy days that serve as markers as it moves to its conclusion
in late November. The secular world often refers to the pre-Christmas period as “the holiday
season”, but perhaps its true title should be “the Holy-day season”! Liturgically, this is a very
rich time in the church calendar, and it starts in September.
The new month is ushered in at Trinity Anglican Church with a service of Evensong, to be
held on Friday 9 September at 5:00PM. Originally a conflation of the monastic evening rituals
into one service, Evensong eventually became the most characteristic form of worship in the
Church of England, and was the most well-attended, be it on Sunday or weekday. Hearing a
fully choral Evensong in one of the great cathedrals or collegiate chapels in England, with their
superb choirs and repertoire, is truly an unforgettable experience. Our own celebration at Trinity
will be more intimate, with hymns and canticles taken from the 1940 Hymnal and full
participation of the congregation.
The many Sundays after Trinity continue from their start in June, and by September we have
reached beyond the halfway point. After the many holy days of September and October, we reach the two commemorations that serve to unofficially divide the four months between September and December, namely the feast of All Saints and commemoration of All Souls, on 31 October and 1 November respectively. Perhaps we need to keep in mind, when in the midst of Halloween preparations, that the name of the day is a contraction of All Hallow’s Eve, or the eve of All Saints! This great and exuberant feast celebrating the many historical saints of the church is contrasted with the solemn (not somber; there is a difference!) observance of the commemoration of All Souls, or all faithful departed, held on the following day. Such a dramatic contrast provides great focus as the procession towards Thanksgiving and Christmas resumes.
November is a month of great richness in our liturgical calendar. The celebrations of All Saints Day, Thanksgiving Day, and the Sunday before Advent, all serve as a fitting conclusion to the church year, as well as lending variety and focus to our worship. That, however, is a subject that will be discussed in a future music column. In the meantime, please do plan on coming to Trinity Anglican Church on Friday 9 September at 5:00 PM for Evensong, followed by snacks and fellowship.
Steven McDonald, music director