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Morning Prayer


Morning Prayer (every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8 am in the Chapel) comprises the prayers and hymns of the synagogue and the church that have been sung daily for thousands of years. It includes recitation of sacred Hebrew and Christian texts, silence, chanting the divine praises, and prayers for the church and the world. We sing a capella (without organ), as people have sung from the dawn of time. 



Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk photography

During the Middle Ages, these daily services (called the Daily Office or Liturgy of the Hours) came to be largely professionalized as the preserve of monks and the clergy, but Thomas Cranmer, author of the first Book of Common Prayer, reformed and restored Morning and Evening Prayer (aka Evensong) as popular daily services. While they are often sung or led by trained choirs, especially on Sundays in cathedrals, every priest of the Church of England has been expected, for hundreds of years up to the present, to lead or attend public Morning and Evening Prayer services in church seven days a week with whatever resources s/he has at hand.  This pattern of daily services (which may be led by lay folk as well as clergy) remains at the core of Anglican spirituality, and in particular of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.

In the space of half an hour we read psalms and passages from the Old and New Testaments (systematically reading through the entire Bible) and the Great Litany (systematically praying for all sorts and conditions of men and women); and we sing biblical and other traditional canticles and hymns, using very singable forms of Gregorian chant (plainsong) and Anglican chant; chants from Russia, India, the Middle East, etc.; and popular English hymn tunes. We also keep several minutes of silence. We commemorate saints as their days arise on the church's calendar and observe major Holy Days that fall during the week. The Chapel remains open all day after Morning Prayer for private prayer.