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Source: (consider it) Thread: Backlash at Bath Abbey over no more Choral Matins
Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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Up until now, Bath Abbey has had at its 11.15 Sunday morning service, Choral Matins, most weeks according to the 1662 BCP; but I think replaced by a Choral Eucharist only once a month. But from Easter, the 11.15 Sunday service becomes Choral Eucharist every week.

I have seen this reported in the Daily Telegraph and I have looked this up on the Church website and I appreciate what the Rector Revd. Prebendary Edward Mason is saying about the reasons for making this change. Nevertheless, IMHO the 'dropping' altogether of Choral Matins is too abrupt and should have been phased out gradually, so as to take place on fewer Sundays in the month, letting Choral Euchatist take over equally gradually. Choral Matins has been phased out in this way at churches up and down the country. What I don't know is whether other Bath Churches have Matins or Morning Prayer at least on some Sundays.

I offer this topic for discussion.

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Bishops Finger
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Here's a link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/03/bath-abbey-sparks-backlash-rector-replaces-400-year-old-morning/

IJ

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Bishops Finger
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People (even the Torygraph) tend to forget that Cranmer designed Matins to be a prelude to the Eucharist, which he intended to remain the principal service of the day.

Some Cathedrals still have Choral Matins before the Sung Eucharist (ours does), and even our humble little backstreet shack says BCP Matins at 930am on Sundays, with the Parish Mass at 1030am. The usual congregation for Matins these days is just 1 or 2 (it used to be 5 or 6!).

1115am is a very civilised hour for a service, but makes the words of the Collect '..safely brought us to the beginning of this day...' ring a little ironically, seeing that it'll be nearly noon by the time it's said or sung! Definitely a service for the leisured classes...

IJ

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Spike

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The lady quoted in the Telegraph article claims that Choral Matins is attended by 300-400 people. The congregation must have grown dramatically in the last 2 years then because in the few occasions I've been there with a visiting choir, although the service has been well attended the congregation has been nowhere near that size.

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Bishops Finger
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I think it was +Michael Perham who once pointed out that not everyone's spirituality included, or was formed by, frequent attendance at the Eucharist, but that the Offices had an important part to play in the lives of those who attended.

It'll be interesting to see if the 1115am congregation diminishes or grows in numbers as a result of the change.

I wonder how the Abbey choir feels about it? Presumably their repertoire will change, if the Psalms and Canticles are no longer used (though they do have Choral Evensong as well).

IJ

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dj_ordinaire
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I imagine that much of the upset is because the Abbey is, AIUI, one of the quite rare holdouts of old-fashioned, conservative low churchpersonship who have kept Choral Mattins going.

No doubt it seems like the sun setting on something for at least some of those who attend, which is a feeling I can sympathise with even if Mattins is not my morning service of choice.

As BF says there is also a musical element to consider - settings of the morning canticles must be nearly extinct as part of the choral repertoire these days...

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Enoch
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To what extent is this any of our business unless we live in Bath and either regularly go to the Abbey, or might if the services when we got there were different from those at the moment?

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Bishops Finger
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None of our business directly, of course, but we are simply reflecting on the end of an era, as dj_ordinaire points out.

IJ

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Amos

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
To what extent is this any of our business unless we live in Bath and either regularly go to the Abbey, or might if the services when we got there were different from those at the moment?

If we all asked such questions, there would be no Ecclesiantics.

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dj_ordinaire
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quote:
Originally posted by Amos:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
To what extent is this any of our business unless we live in Bath and either regularly go to the Abbey, or might if the services when we got there were different from those at the moment?

If we all asked such questions, there would be no Ecclesiantics.
...and truth to tell, the entire Internet would also be pretty empty!

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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As the "person to blame", thanks for these constructive responses. As I see it, it is the abrupt way that 'dropping' Matins is being done. Many cathedrals and greater parish churches have painlessly reduced and even phased out Choral Matins completely. We can follow with interest, how things settle down or not at Bath Abbey.

Matins, I like as an additional service, but which I attend seldom to never, because it does not fit in with my church routine. However, I went to that service more often in younger days.

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Bishops Finger
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Quite so, and perhaps it would indeed have been more diplomatic to, say, alternate Matins with a Sung Eucharist week by week.

BTW, it looks as though the replacement Sung Eucharist is to be in 'contemporary' language (the sniffy quotation marks are of the Torygraph, not me). I wonder why they've not chosen the traditional language of Common Worship Order Two, in deference to the BCP?

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Quite so, and perhaps it would indeed have been more diplomatic to, say, alternate Matins with a Sung Eucharist week by week.

BTW, it looks as though the replacement Sung Eucharist is to be in 'contemporary' language (the sniffy quotation marks are of the Torygraph, not me). I wonder why they've not chosen the traditional language of Common Worship Order Two, in deference to the BCP?

IJ

I have noted that delicate point. What I am unsure of at the moment, is whether a traditional language choral Eucharist would have made any difference locally.

Instead of a monthly choral Eucharist as hitherto, a monthly Choral Matins would seem to have been more expedient, with choral Eucharist on other Sundays. I question it would be a good idea to have Matins and Eucharist available on alternate Sundays.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
1115am is a very civilised hour for a service, but makes the words of the Collect '..safely brought us to the beginning of this day...' ring a little ironically, seeing that it'll be nearly noon by the time it's said or sung! Definitely a service for the leisured classes...

Or those who have had a heavy night on Saturday ...
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Bishops Finger
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[Projectile]

Quite.

I'll get me coat...

IJ

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Garden Hermit
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Completely irrelevant to the thread but I want to say that Bath Abbey was my first Sunday School and where my Sister was baptised. We lived just across the road in Laura Place and therefore the Abbey was our Parish Church. I think my love of Cathedral and Abbey Choirs comes from my subconsciously hearing them every Sunday both before we were 'led out' to Sunday School and as a background to our Teaching.
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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:

BTW, it looks as though the replacement Sung Eucharist is to be in 'contemporary' language (the sniffy quotation marks are of the Torygraph, not me). I wonder why they've not chosen the traditional language of Common Worship Order Two, in deference to the BCP?

IJ

I wonder why you've not put 'traditional' in quotation marks. After all, the traditional language of the liturgy, if that word is misused to mean 'original', is Latin, if not Aramaic. If it simply means, one stage in the ongoing movement of the tradition, then Common Worship 2000 is as traditional as the Sarum Missal, 1549 or 1662,
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Bishops Finger
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Fair comment, and ISWYM. I could have said 'old-fashioned language', but I don't think that 'old-fashioned' is necessarily a Bad Thing!

IJ

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Quite so, and perhaps it would indeed have been more diplomatic to, say, alternate Matins with a Sung Eucharist week by week.


Which is what my little rural parish has done ever since we were told we'd only get a vicar 2 Sundays a month (we've got a lay reader for the other two).

Obviously now we're in a position where if you're going to have a vicar, then you might as well have Holy Communion, but the attendances for Matins are as strong as those for HC.

[ 06. April 2017, 07:06: Message edited by: betjemaniac ]

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mr cheesy
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I don't know the extent to which it has anything to do with this, but Bath Abbey's longstanding organist recently retired.

I also note that elsewhere it is said that there was a period of seven years of consultation with the congregation, who have mostly approved the change.

It seems to me that the problem here is not a change from Matins to Choral Eucharist but the change from the BCP to Common Worship as the main Sunday service. The church has determined that the majority of the congregation would prefer a service in something approaching the vernacular, and those who don't like it have 4 (count them) other services they could attend, including an 8 o'clock BCP communion.

This seems to be a news report generated by a small number of aggrieved people and given fuel by people who have nothing to do with the church and have not been involved in seven years of consultation and discussion.

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
Completely irrelevant to the thread but I want to say that Bath Abbey was my first Sunday School and where my Sister was baptised. We lived just across the road in Laura Place and therefore the Abbey was our Parish Church. I think my love of Cathedral and Abbey Choirs comes from my subconsciously hearing them every Sunday both before we were 'led out' to Sunday School and as a background to our Teaching.

Also completely irrelevant to this thread, Bath Abbey has an anticlockwise ringing peal of ten bells - very long draught without rope-guides and not for the faint-hearted! A very long climb of steps up the tower to the ringing room. I rang there once and never again!
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Stephen
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I am not myself in favour of too rapid change or change without consultation, but from what I read of the rector's letter there has been a 7 year consultation period so it isn't a question of a new rector suddenly ruling as a one man band. I think the 9.30 Service will become more informal and people who prefer a more formal Eucharist may well transfer to thee 11.15. The only reservation I have is that it might have been better to have a Choral Mattins once a month possibly. Most cathedrals and 'Greater Churches' for lack of a better term use the modern language liturgy - I do have a preference for the traditional language but perhaps that's my age and I do feel the Church should not be trapped in a timewarp of the 1950s or 1960s . Change has always occurred and will always be with us, and yes, that can be uncomfortable - very

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L'organist
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We still have full choral Matins once a month. Figures over the past three years show a steady growth in numbers (granted its a small village so actual numbers not huge) and a typical Matins now has more people than a Parish Eucharist.

It is particularly popular with people who aren't confirmed and/or are new to churchgoing: as one said, it offers a logical pattern and the music is beautiful (not boasting, really!).

Out diocesan is due to come for a Sunday which happens to be a Matins day: he hasn't queried the service and so we're assuming he'll be happy with it (Sumsion canticles, nice long anthem) - watch this space.

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leo
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I was in Bath a fortnight ago - someone who was there told me that there were people shouing out in favour of Mattins during the Eucharist

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stonespring
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
We still have full choral Matins once a month. Figures over the past three years show a steady growth in numbers (granted its a small village so actual numbers not huge) and a typical Matins now has more people than a Parish Eucharist.

It is particularly popular with people who aren't confirmed and/or are new to churchgoing: as one said, it offers a logical pattern and the music is beautiful (not boasting, really!).

Is it common for baptized but not confirmed adults in the C of E to refrain from receiving communion - or is it commonly taught that they should not?
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
Is it common for baptized but not confirmed adults in the C of E to refrain from receiving communion - or is it commonly taught that they should not?

I'd guess it might depend on which bit of the CofE you are familiar with, but in much of it communion is commonly offered to anyone who requests it, and in parts is routinely given to children, confirmed or not.

I don't think there is (often) teaching that suggests being confirmed is any barrier.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I was in Bath a fortnight ago - someone who was there told me that there were people shouing out in favour of Mattins during the Eucharist

How would that work?
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Stephen
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Well it's quite easy to disrupt a service if you really want to......

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Bishops Finger
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'The Lord be with you.'
'NO - GIVE US MATTINS!!!!'

'The Peace of the Lord be always with you.'
'ON YER BIKE - GIVE US MATTINS!!!!'

..and so on.

I jest a little, but it's hardly seemly, or edifying, if anyone does/has done it.

IJ

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I was in Bath a fortnight ago - someone who was there told me that there were people shouing out in favour of Mattins during the Eucharist

How would that work?
I wasn't there but i imagine 'What do we want?....When do we want it?.'
I quite like the thought of members of the Prayer Book Society 'disrupting divine service'.)

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Zappa
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
'The Lord be with you.'
'NO - GIVE US MATTINS!!!!'

'The Peace of the Lord be always with you.'
'ON YER BIKE - GIVE US MATTINS!!!!'

..and so on.

I jest a little, but it's hardly seemly, or edifying, if anyone does/has done it.

IJ

Get tee-shirts made up!

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Stephen
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I was just thinking it was just as well the Abbey doesn't have comfy chairs......the spirit of Jenny Geddes lives on.....!!!

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'Be still,then, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations and I will be exalted in the earth' Ps46 v10

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Enoch
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Perhaps in lieu of a stool, it would be more appropriate to throw a china tea service.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I was in Bath a fortnight ago - someone who was there told me that there were people shouing out in favour of Mattins during the Eucharist

How would that work?
I wasn't there but i imagine 'What do we want?....When do we want it?.'
I quite like the thought of members of the Prayer Book Society 'disrupting divine service'.)

I was more in liturgical geek mode wondering how you would incorporate Mattins into the Eucharistic Prayer.
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Stephen
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You could do. I think it's called Frankenmass although I don't know why - use Mattins as the Liturgy of the Word, end with the third collect, Peace,hymn and offertory and Bob's your uncle.....

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'Be still,then, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations and I will be exalted in the earth' Ps46 v10

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephen:
You could do. I think it's called Frankenmass although I don't know why - use Mattins as the Liturgy of the Word, end with the third collect, Peace,hymn and offertory and Bob's your uncle.....

Why not go the whole hog and revert to the C19 practice, Morning Prayer, followed by Litany, followed by Holy Communion, but ending before things move on to consecration if there was nobody who had notified of an intention to receive. If the sermon was less an hour people were being short-changed. I think it usually came after the Communion readings.

Best in an unheated church in winter.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Why not go the whole hog and revert to the C19 practice, Morning Prayer, followed by Litany, followed by Holy Communion, but ending before things move on to consecration if there was nobody who had notified of an intention to receive. If the sermon was less an hour people were being short-changed. I think it usually came after the Communion readings.

Best in an unheated church in winter.

Except the toffs used to have their private pews complete with fireplace, and attendant flunkeys plying them with warming alcoholic beverages.
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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Why not go the whole hog and revert to the C19 practice, Morning Prayer, followed by Litany, followed by Holy Communion, but ending before things move on to consecration if there was nobody who had notified of an intention to receive. If the sermon was less an hour people were being short-changed. I think it usually came after the Communion readings.

Best in an unheated church in winter.

Except the toffs used to have their private pews complete with fireplace, and attendant flunkeys plying them with warming alcoholic beverages.
And some would've made sure their servants brought along hot-water bottles (the old fashioned stone kind wrapped in a blanket).

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Why not go the whole hog and revert to the C19 practice, Morning Prayer, followed by Litany, followed by Holy Communion, but ending before things move on to consecration if there was nobody who had notified of an intention to receive. If the sermon was less an hour people were being short-changed. I think it usually came after the Communion readings.

Best in an unheated church in winter.

Except the toffs used to have their private pews complete with fireplace, and attendant flunkeys plying them with warming alcoholic beverages.
And some would've made sure their servants brought along hot-water bottles (the old fashioned stone kind wrapped in a blanket).
Quite apart from the hot water bottles, we are living in a different age and nowadys, I don't think there would any longer be the support for the combined three-service session.

Peoples' worshipping needs have changed and forms of service that worked in the past, would not work today, which is why Matins has largely (but not entirely) disappeared.

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Albertus
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...and yet, as we've seen on this thread and elsewhere, there are churches which report that when they have reinstated or continued with Mattins it attracts larger congregations than they had expected, and IIRC in some cases higher than for Eucharistic services. Seems that mattins may not be for everyone but that it does meet a real need for some types of worshipper in some places.

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
...and yet, as we've seen on this thread and elsewhere, there are churches which report that when they have reinstated or continued with Mattins it attracts larger congregations than they had expected, and IIRC in some cases higher than for Eucharistic services. Seems that mattins may not be for everyone but that it does meet a real need for some types of worshipper in some places.

Indeed - whisper it - maybe the weekly parish Eucharist has had its day... Having moved to a village which has 2 Mattins and 2 HC a month (from a parish with a daily 8am HC and an 8am HC, 11am High Mass and 1730 evensong on Sundays) I have been surprised a) how quickly I adapted to it, and b) how much I've actually come to appreciate the Mattins weeks and the rhythms of the service.

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Utrecht Catholic
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I have nothing against the office of Mattins,it is a good introduction to the service of word and sacrament,the Eucharist.
However it should never be the main service whether in a parish church or cathedral.
This is reversing the clock.

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Bishops Finger
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That's all very well, and, indeed, Cranmer himself intended Mattins to be the prelude to the Eucharist. However, for many years Mattins was the principal Sunday service in most churches and cathedrals, and the Eucharist remained an infrequent occurrence until the Oxford Movement, and, later on, the Parish Communion Movement.

These days, alas, the shortage of clergy means that many parishes, whether they like it or not, have to vary their liturgical diet. If it works for some as encouragingly as it does for betjemaniac's church, well and good, but it's no good getting on a high horse and decrying the practice.

IJ

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Oblatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Utrecht Catholic:
I have nothing against the office of Mattins,it is a good introduction to the service of word and sacrament,the Eucharist.
However it should never be the main service whether in a parish church or cathedral.
This is reversing the clock.

I'd love to be able to get to Westminster Abbey regularly. It's wonderful to attend a Choral Matins followed by the Abbey Eucharist, both with choir and each with its own sermon. That's the ideal, IMHO. Not possible everywhere, I know.
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Hooker's Trick

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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Quite so, and perhaps it would indeed have been more diplomatic to, say, alternate Matins with a Sung Eucharist week by week.

This is the pattern at my US parish church. When the previous rector retired one of the key priorities to come out of the discernment process was a strong preference for the maintenance of this pattern (there are 3 other communion services on Sunday, and Choral Evensong every other Sunday.

quote:
BTW, it looks as though the replacement Sung Eucharist is to be in 'contemporary' language
This is exactly what happened at Exeter Cathedral some years ago. Choral Mattins at 11.15 was summarily dropped, replaced by CW Eucharist an hour earlier.

The communion service was always much better attended than Mattins, but the latter had a healthy congregation. The burden to the choir was the official reason cited for the change.

As an Olde Language snob and an aggressively not-a-morning person, I have found a different church home when in Exeter.

I remember thinking it cold comfort at the time when the Dean wrote 'this change will no doubt be a loss to some.'

On an unrelated note, I find it ironic that Choral Mattins for years and years was sustained only by cathedral and large parishes who had the choral establishment to support it; but lately has experienced an apparent resurgence in places that cannot rely on a priest's presence weekly.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Oblatus:
quote:
Originally posted by Utrecht Catholic:
I have nothing against the office of Mattins,it is a good introduction to the service of word and sacrament,the Eucharist.
However it should never be the main service whether in a parish church or cathedral.
This is reversing the clock.

I'd love to be able to get to Westminster Abbey regularly. It's wonderful to attend a Choral Matins followed by the Abbey Eucharist, both with choir and each with its own sermon. That's the ideal, IMHO. Not possible everywhere, I know.
You must have a strong bladder!
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Bishops Finger
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Mattins in a small church setting need not (nay, should not) try to emulate the grand choral offerings of Cathedrals and Places Where They Sing.

Simple sung versicles/responses, said or metrical Psalm(s), said Creed/Collects/Prayers, well-known chants for Venite, Te Deum, and Benedictus, a couple or three of decent hymns, and there yer go!

IJ

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Zappa
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[Confession time]

Bless me fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, for I have sinned.

For much of my ministry I loathed Matins and Evensong. I was a Eucharist addict. I felt it was the only liturgy with shape, purpose, meaning.

When I was made a cathedral Dean I accepted that I must accommodate this bland historic aberration. Sigh.

I fell in love. I am a trigamist. I love all three in equal parts.

OMG what shall I do?

(PS .. not a Dean anymore, so can't go back ... close to a tripartite divorce through irreconcilable breakdown of relationship ... but happy memories remain ... tender ... nostalgic )

[/Confession time]

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Oblatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
You must have a strong bladder!

"Bladder of steel," it's been called, as I flew from Toronto to Edinburgh without leaving my window seat. And from Chicago to London. Where I had no need for the loo at the Abbey.

[Biased]

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fletcher christian

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Posted by Angloid:
quote:

You must have a strong bladder!

I thought you were breaking into an alternative form of the Urbs there.

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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