In our united benefice we have at the moment an evening service every Sunday. On the first Sunday of each month we have Evensong at Saint Giles. On the second Sunday, it is Evensong at Holloway. The Third Sunday is Evensong and Benediction at Saint Giles. The fourth Sunday is Breathing Space.
Holloway Evensong attracts a congregation of between 15 and 20. Breathing Space is about 12 to 15. Evensong and Benediction about 10. But Evensong on the first Sunday is now only ever in single figures. Sometimes 7. In July it was 4! And that included Emily, who was officiating, and Stephen, who was playing the organ.
This pattern is no longer sustainable. Not least because soon clergy will be expected to take on more parishes and churches than they have in the past. So, after discussing it at the PCC, I have decided to stop Evensong on the first Sunday of each month.
Those who like a Prayer Book service can attend Matins and Holy Communion at Dethick at 11 am on the first Sunday of each month. And, hopefully, having less Evensongs will encourage us to value the ones that we do have and people will make the effort to attend at Holloway on the second Sunday or Evensong and Benediction on the third Sunday.
On the first Sunday of each month, I have Eucharist at 8 am, Family Eucharist at 9.30 am, Matins followed by Holy Communion at 11 am at Dethick. That is four services! So cutting Evensong is good for priestly health and won’t unfortunately, it seems, be missed by very many!
With every good wish from Mark Crowther-Alwyn