Warm welcome extended to the ‘best free concert in town’
IT may have been one of the mainstays of the Anglican church for hundreds of years, but St Mary’s Church
IT may have been one of the mainstays of the Anglican church for hundreds of years, but St Mary’s Church in Henley is now inviting newcomers to experience their monthly choral evensong this Sunday at 6pm.
Often described as the “best free concert in town”, choral evensong is the main non-eucharistic service in the church’s schedule, and gives many occasional churchgoers the chance simply to enjoy the music.
“Sometimes irregular attenders may find themselves feeling a little lost in church, but it doesn’t matter at evensong whether you are baptised and confirmed, you can still play a major part,” said the rector, Father Martyn Griffiths.
“We are very blessed with an excellent choir who give an added dimension to our worship.”
Music director Jonathan White added: “It’s ideal for the casual visitor to church or even someone who is interested in exploring their spirituality as it enables the individual to connect with the scriptures and the central ethos of Anglicanism, but outside of the more theologically-charged setting of the eucharist.”
The choir meets weekly to rehearse for Sunday services, and regularly recruits newcomers from the local schools.
“The choir is one of the leading groups in the Henley area — the standard and diversity of music they maintain is comparable to major churches in large civic settings,” said Mr White, who selects the anthem for each evensong.
“A few months ago we had a service of early 18th century English music, and this coming week it is Victorian in nature.
“I think it is important to present both the choir and congregations with a broad spectrum that represents the rich diversity of Christian music,” he added.