2017 Choral Evensong for the commemoration of Charles 1, King and Martyr
The Choral Evensong was held in the main body of St. Mary’s Church this year as the lovely Whittall Chapel was too small for the large congregation and the two joint choirs of St. John’s and St. Mary’s Churches. This was a slight disappointment to me as the work of Giles Gilbert Scott is always a joy. He is remembered as a world renowned architect whose work is established throughout the country, at Liverpool Cathedral, at Tate Modern, the converted power station, at many local Parish churches, even St. George’s in Kidderminster, and in the humble red telephone box.
The Service was led by the Team Rector, Rose Lawley and was from the Book of Common Prayer. The Headmaster of King Charles, Stephen Brownlow read the first Old Testament lesson, from Genesis Chapter 18, verses 1-15 and Old Carolians’ President Ian Sandall read the second New Testament lesson from Matthew 27, 11-26. There were 3 hymns and the joint Choirs also sang the Psalmody, the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis. The descant singing in the final verses of the hymns was particularly lovely.
Rose Lawley’s Address highlighted the connection between the reading from Matthew, where Pilate asked Jesus if he is the King of the Jews, and King Charles 1 himself. Jesus is given lots of titles, and although people of the time wanted someone to defeat the Romans, he was a sword less king, come to found a kingdom based on love, not power. We were asked to remember Charles, for whom power was essential. He was the first monarch to be brought up in the Church of England, certainly not a statesman but a firm believer in Divine Right, “ a mild and gracious prince”( Archbishop Laud ) who was wedded to his firm faith in God. Rose then moved on to comment on World Holocaust Memorial Day where the congregation was similarly asked to let go of hate, to live as one in peace and in honouring God.
Leaving into a black, cold, and wet night, those were words to remember.
OCA's Religious Affairs Correspondent: "Captain" Peter Vaughan