This week Fr Martin Magill returned to St George’s Church of Ireland in Belfast for choral evensong with combined choirs from Coleraine and Belfast. He describes how the beauty of the singing served as an aid to prayer and worship – which seems an especially timely reminder as we move towards the season of Advent.
Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: Combined Choirs in Harmony in St George’s Church of Ireland
A few days prior to the service I had noticed some information about the Choral Evensong in St George’s and was immediately drawn to this.
The Rector, Fr Brian Stewart, welcomed the two choirs to the service: Cantemus which he told us was based in Coleraine and Cantiunculi which was based in Belfast.
After the opening hymn which we all sang, the sung responses followed. In turn this was followed by the choirs singing Ps 89: 20-30.
The lesson was read by a member of the congregation and the choirs than sang the Magnificat. Again the second reading was read by a member of the congregation.
The choirs then sang the Nunc Dimittis and an Evening Hymn. The Rector thanked the choirs and the service finished with all of us singing the final hymn. The choirs processed out on the Organ Voluntary.
As I think back on the service, I recall being struck by how beautiful the choirs sounded together, which I found aided my prayer in the church. I was delighted afterwards to discover I knew a number of people from the Cantiunculi choir including Fr Henry McCann, the parish priest of St Anthony’s Parish, Willowfield.
St George’s Church, High Street continues to be an oasis of peace and beauty in the centre of Belfast and well worth visiting for some quiet time.