Thursday, October 25, 2012


Last Sunday I attended Evensong in St Paul's Cathedral, Dunedin.

Time was, in the dim dark distant past, when Evensong or rather Evening Prayer but there was just as much if not more singing than in the Cathedral on Sunday was my main weekly time of worship.  Yet last Sunday was probably only the third time I have attended in the past 20 or more years.  I attended at St James King Street, after a lecture on the Wesleys,  I think in 2007.  Then I attended midweek at St Paul's Cathedral, London in 2010, mainly I must admit as a way of getting in for free.

Back in the 1960's, first at St Phillips Eastwood then at Holy Trinity, Concord West the church was packed. It was the main service on Sunday when the main choir sang. It was preceded by Youth Fellowship.  Generally if you were Anglican and a teenager, you went to Youth Fellowship.  There has been discussion on Liturgy regarding the stats that show Christianity is declining in the Western churches.  In the 60's most shops were closed on Sunday, so were movie houses and there was no organised sport. TV had arrived 10 years earlier but it had not yet completely taken over.  I organised the building of a coffee shop in the church hall which had real percolated coffee and was open after Evening Prayer. Also, at the request of the Rector, we began dances with live bands in the hall one Saturday each month.  There was some opposition to these from within the parish and I sometimes had to call the police to remove troublemakers.  I wonder if they were the cause of my tinnitus today.  It was much easier to attract young people to church and church activities as there was not a lot else available.

Those young people in the 1960s would now be between 55 and 65.  They are hardly crowding into the church today so in most cases their attendance back when they were young has not produced lasting results.

I attended last Sunday because our vicar was preaching and our choir was singing with the cathedral choir.  The sermon is here.   I was disappointed at how few did attend.   I guess it is much nicer to stay home with heater and TV on a cool showery night.

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