About worship in the Chapel
All of our Chapel services, based in the rites of the Church of England, are open to everyone – whether faith is new or familiar or totally alien to you, and whatever life-story you bring as you join us. Every person is welcome. At services of the Eucharist, Christians of all denominations are invited to receive Holy Communion, and a prayer of blessing is always offered for any preferring not to receive the bread and wine.
All services in the Chapel are open to the public.
During Full Term, services are sung by the Choir as follows:
Sunday 6.00 pm: College Evensong
Monday 6.00 pm: Choral Reflection
Tuesday 6.00 pm: Choral Evensong
Wednesday 9.00 pm: Compline (Night Prayer)
Thursday 6.00 pm: Choral Evensong, Choral Eucharist or College Communion
During Full Term, Morning Prayer is said at 8.15 am, Monday to Friday. There are typically no choral services in the University vacations (except as advertised), but Compline continues to be sung on Wednesday evenings.
About worship in the Chapel
Choral Evensong (or ‘College Evensong’ on Sundays) is traditionally a place where all might take a moment to sit with eternity. It does not require much of the worshipper except their presence. It offers calm in the midst of life’s storms, allowing each person to enter as much or as little into its conversation of worship as they might, today, manage. Led by choir and minister, with readings from the Old and New Testaments, it is a prayerful dialogue of hope and fulfilment into which we place our own daily reality. On Sundays there is a sermon, often from a visiting preacher. There is an opportunity to meet the preacher and enjoy a drink after the service. Choral Reflection is a more informal form of Evensong, taking one idea or Scripture each term and shaping a series of responses around it.
The Eucharist (also known as the Mass, or Holy Communion), seeks more participation from the worshipper. At its heart it always tells the same story, the story of God’s love in Jesus, dying on a cross, rising from a tomb. A body broken. Blood poured out. But also we are invited to find in each and every Communion not merely the story of long ago and far away: through timeless music and the prayers of the ages we discover the story of God’s love in Jesus touching the thousand deaths we die each day, and raising us up. People broken, lives poured out, and bread and wine taken so that we too might receive hope and life and forgiveness. And perhaps, as we walk away afterwards, our individual and common worlds may gently be re-tuned to a key of thankfulness.
Compline, or Night Prayer, guides us by candlelight through a collection of chanted psalms, readings, and prayers that date back to the time of St Benedict (author of the monastic Rule on which the life of our predecessor, Gloucester College, was based) to find stillness and rest at the end of the day.