The St. Thomas of Canterbury Anglican Use Society of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia celebrated a special service of Evensong in thanksgiving for the erection of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and for the appointment of The Reverend Jeffrey N. Steenson as its first ordinary, this evening at St. Anselm's Abbey Church in Washington, DC.
My son Patrick and I joined about 25 other worshippers to fill the pews of the abbey church, and we all joined in with gusto on the processional hymn "Songs of Thankfulness and Praise".
The organist and choir of 3 men and 4 women expertly rendered the invitatory psalm 150 by Charles Villiers Stanford, followed by Psalm 42 in a double chant in A flat major and Psalm 43 in E flat major by the same composer. The Gospel Canticles, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in C, Op. 115 by Stanford, were also such that one of the monks while walking the cloisters, wistfully commented about the music he heard during the choir's afternoon rehearsal, "We used to sing like that here; it is truly beautiful."
After a short homily by Father Paul Sullins, the choir sang Stanford's "Te Deum in B flat, Op. 10" in thanksgiving for the erection of the Ordinariate and the appointment of its first ordinary, Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson.
At the end of the service, the choir and assembly joined in a rousing rendition of "As with Gladness, Men of Old" during the sanctuary party's recession. Afterwards, we gathered for a reception in one of the monastery parlors, where there was great joy and where I had the opportunity to meet with many of the wonderful people who are part of the S. Thomas of Canterbury AUS.
For more information about the St. Thomas of Canterbury Anglican Use Society, contact James Farr via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Society's website at www.stthomascanterbury.org.
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