Saturday, May 1, 2010
From San Diego-
Every religious faith has traditions and touchstones that help define it. Even among different branches of a single religion, there are often practices that give a particular denomination its individual character.
Evensong is one of those practices. Unique to Anglicanism (including its American branch, Episcopalianism), evening prayer developed in England after the break with Rome by combining Vespers and Compline (evening and night prayer hours, respectively) into a single service. When put to music, the service is called Evensong.
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Del Mar holds an Evensong at 5 p.m. the first Sunday of each month. While the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul in San Diego (home of Bishop James Mathes) holds a weekly Evensong on Sundays, local Episcopalian officials said as far as they know, St. Peter's is the only parish in the diocese to hold a regularly scheduled Evensong, although others hold special Evensongs from time to time.
The Diocese of San Diego takes in San Diego and Imperial counties, as well as much of southern Riverside County and Yuma County in Arizona.
"I think people enjoy the brevity of it," said Ruben Valenzuela, director of music at St. Peter's, on the appeal of the monthly Evensong services. "In contrast to the morning service, which will typically run an hour and 20 minutes, this runs 40 minutes.