Wednesday, 22 February 2017

My first ever Mattins

Last Sunday was my first attempt to take part in the morning service since the 8th January.

The Friday rehearsal was something of a shock.

We were told it was to be a Mattins rather than the usual Eucharist as there was no priest available to give Communion.

Unlike most of the other members of the choir I have no tradition of Christian worship and the Eucharist is the only service with whose music and liturgy I am familiar.

It is such a totally different piece of Anglican worship that I found myself stumbling to keep up (very good for the brain, if not for the ego) and was really rather glad when it came to an end - about 20 minutes earlier than our usual Sunday.

Talking to some of the congregation since then I found they were split into two distinct camps.  Those who are used to and happy to attend Mattins and those for whom the Eucharistic service is the only one they would choose to attend.

If this hopefully one-off Sunday has caused so much alarm and consternation i begin to see how some of the bigger divisions in the Protestant church have come about.

Never mind the differences between Baptist, Methodist Catholic and Anglican church, this is just one of the presumably many differences in just one branch of the Anglican church.

Religion is meant to unite people isn't it?

Roll on next week when Lent begins.


  1. This discussion is rather strange to me, perhaps the various forms of service is more solid in the anglican church?? The sung liturgy is always debated, and we seldom have choirs to fill in. We used to have Introitus during mass, but not any more. The priests sing most of what is liturgy, some of it is answered by the congregation. We are working and have been working for years with new music and that means that you may not recognize anything if you go to sunday mass in another parish or part of the country. But I can easily feel your nerves in this and it is unfortunate that you had to try out your lost octave on totally new music. Celebration of the eucharist is causing some serious debating in Sweden, some prefer never to celebrate or at least no more than once or twice a year. I love it, but I shout against the wind. Mattins is unknown to me, I have to look it up and see if I can find something similar. Sounds like one of the daily prayers, you know like matutin, laudes, aso. Glad you are singing again Ray, keep it up!!!!

  2. I can't be of much help to you in this Solveig, since my knowledge is pretty limited.
    Like you I prefer to take communion and that is the tradition at St.Mary's which is described as "High Church" or "Anmglo Catholic".
    I hope Mattins will not take the place of our usual Sunday worship, but if it does I fear our congregation will dwindle.
    It is good to be able to sing again but I hope there will not be too many changes to our Lent and Easter music.

  3. I grew up in my local village church in Sutton on Hull where Mattims was the Service on a Sunday morning I attended until I left home . We had a choir and sang all the canticles and psalms to Pointed Chants. Holy Communion happened once a month after this service , or at 8am with no singing . Consequently it is a familiar friend for me: I have attended the Eucharist all my married life of 44 years, my children and husband all sang in the Church Choirs affiliated to RSCM and consequently received an excellent Musical grounding , can sight read , sing in Secular Choirs and Choral Societies as adults and love anthems which define the Anglican Choral Tradition . I do too in part , but long to go to Mattins , especially of the BCP sort, but its only what one likes, and all types of Anglican services are to the Glory of God. I love our Broad Church . If I had a choice I would not take the Sacrament more than a couple of times a year, as to me its just a meal of commemoration , but my husband loves the Eucharist and where he goes I go, being thankful we share a Common faith and Practice .I am reminded of all the Christians in the world who may not worship openly , so that is one more reason too be thankful for the choices and opportunities even in a small town like Filey with a fairly Low Church, but whose main Services are the Eucharist . Evensong and Morning Prayer are available at other times, so my absolute favourite is the quiet said Morning Prayer on a Wednesday Morning , though CW it does me as a midweek boost.

    1. Well, I really must comment this, Margaret! I love the way you describe the life in your church, just as enjoy Rays posts. I live in Sweden and we don't have all that many options on churchgoing. Either you are in the swedish lutheran/evangelical church or you are in The Pentecoastal church, Baptist or Methodistchurch. Or you are catholic or orthodox. But the swedish church in a very ordinary town, holds mostly only sunday service. Not always with the Eucharist. Daily prayers are rare. Weekly mass also. In comparison I would say that the church I serve is rather poor in it's options of worship. We are more in for concerts and sunday services with musical themes like pop, jazz, dancehall or heavy metal.....I love my church, but I envy the treasure you have. Another reason for my strong longing to move! Blessings!!

  4. Wow, what a comprehensive background you have Margaret. I would like to have had even half as much.
    As you so rightly say, the style of worship is a matter of personal taste and we are indeed fortunate to have such a choice.
    Long may it continue.

  5. I loved the BCP Matins that I attended this Sunday. I do think anything you are not familiar does strike with unease in a church setting though, shows what it must be like for non church goers to attend.

  6. We have Said Eucharist at 8.00 am on Sunday and at 12.oo noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays but generally the 10.00am service on Sunday is Sung Eucharist.
    For me the balance between music and prayer and time for reflection is right. Mattins doesn't allow the same space. For the choir it is a very busy service.
    I like to feel I am taking part rather than performing.
    We'll just have to see how often it crops up.

  7. I just think how fortunate you are to have a choir and set pieces to sing. Our small congregation has a good go at the hymns but anything else is beyond us! Blessings from Dalamory

  8. Just the luck of geography Freda. Aylesbury is a fair-sized town and St Mary's is the only church in the town which has a regular choir.
    Our congregation is usually around 70 or so on a Sunday.
    I imagine churches in small far-flung villages even in Buckinghamshire are less fortunate, though I really don't know.
    Blessings to you also.