Christ is risen! Halleluia!
Happy Easter to you all. We have had an amazing Holy Week and Easter at St Andrew's, with lots of visitors and great singing, music and liturgies, beginning on Palm Sunday.
Our Liturgy of the Palms commenced at the memorial cross in the rear gardens and proceeded into the church. A video of part of the procession can be seen here.
On Holy Tuesday the Brighton Grammar Choral Competition took place in the church.
and the competition was won by Dixon House, which includes some of our own choristers.
In the evening we had a meditation service on the Stations of the Cross, using photos of some of the 'stations' that I had seen during a visit to the Shrine of St Augustine Church in Ramsgate England. The church was designed and highly decorated by Augustus Pugin, best known for designing the current Houses of Parliament in London.
This service was followed by a fish and chips meal provided by Fish Tank who stayed open especially to fulfil our order.
On Holy Wednesday we had a healing service using a Celtic liturgy, followed by refreshments in the Brighton Schoolhouse. Meanwhile the Brighton Grammar Easter service was held in the church.
Maundy Thursday was a busy day too, with Firbank conducting their Easter Service in the church before the church was prepared for our own evening service marking Christ's institution of the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper and his example of leadership through service in the washing of the disciples feet. The Diocesan rules prohibited foot washing and even hand washing was problematic (too many requirements), but Michelle and I managed to wash each other's hands as a symbol on behalf of all present. Following the service, when the altars and sanctuary are stripped of embellishments, the reserved sacrament found a home in the Lady Chapel - the 'chapel of repose', with some flowers representing the Garden of Gethsemane. Those who have been to Gethsemane will recognise that this bouquet comprises more actual flowers than are found in that garden, however the chapel was a very pleasant place for a vigil that evening.
Good Friday began with the Brighton Covenant Churches' Pilgrim's Walk of Witness which concludes at the St Andrew's Memorial Cross and so we offered refreshments in the cloister courtyard. It was a perfect day for this enjoyable event and it was wonderful that so many could return to that evening for our meditative service of François Couperin's 'Leçons de Tenebrae'.
And what a memorable evening that was!! Superb singing from soloists Timothy Reynolds and Chris Watson with the St Andrew's choir, accompanied by Clara Schutz on the cello and Calvin Bowman on the organ. We had a meditative visual presentation during the service.
This superb performance will be available on video shortly and the link to watch it will be in next week's Vicar's News. If you are wondering why the musicians were all at the rear of the church, this was necessitated by the fact that the nave organ console has been failing for the last decade, and it cannot produce a suitable nuanced sound to accompany soloists and cello. I know some have complained in the past that the organ is too loud, and this is why it is so. It's time we did something about it, so -
Diary date: Friday 30 April at 7pm in the Pioneer Chapel. We need to urgently raise $347,000 to restore those parts which have failed and bring our War Memorial Organ into the 21st century. Donations through the St Andrew's Music Foundation are tax deductible.
On Holy Saturday (Easter Eve) we had an evening service of the new fire of Easter with lighting of the paschal candle, prepared for us this year by Fr Jan Joustra and dedicated that evening in memory of Roger Sanderson.
We heard the creation story and events from the Old Testament read and The Exsultet (Easter Proclamation) chanted for us in the candle-light.
The final organ postlude, 'Sortie' (in E flat) by Louis James Alfred Lefébure-Wély had our younger choir members bopping in their pews. Simply a magnificent finish to Lent and a superb effort by Calvin to sustain this work, given the organ's reliability limitations. But wait, .... there's more.
On Easter Day we have two services of Choral Eucharist for the many guests visiting us on this, the most important day of the Christian calendar. Once again it was a feast of prayer, scripture and singing, and our choir continued to lead us Ian the Spirit of the resurrection of Christ.
At each service we renewed our baptism vows and, after the exhausting work of blessing everyone with holy water from our font...
It was all very tiring, so I asked for some assistance with the Great Thanksgiving Prayer and, fortunately, there were plenty of young hands willing to help....
and to loudly ask the questions about what we were doing with the bread and wine at the altar in the sanctuary...
It was a great finale to the day celebrating Christ's resurrection, made complete by a stunning performance by Calvin Bowman playing Graeme Koehne's 'Gothic Toccata'. Wow!
Many thanks to everyone who made Holy Week and Easter such a success - the St Andrew's Parents Association (SACPA) who provided meals and sustenance for the choir and musicians throughout the week, those who assisted behind the scenes in providing refreshments for all those attending the church at a variety of our services, Ken Whelan for the floral displays, photographers, video cameraperson, for our soloists, readers, welcomers and sides people, our musicians, choir and clergy.
Every best wish,