Monday, January 30, 2006

What's a Vesper?

The word vesper comes from the Middle English and simply refers to the evening or the evening star. Vespers and lauds (morning) are the oldest prayer rituals in Christian tradition. It is thought that vespers were originally observed by Jews who had converted to Christianity but kept their Jewish practice of evening prayer.

At First Unitarian Universalist, Richmond, we hold a thirty minute Vespers service on Tuesdays at 5:30Pm. Our Vespers service is a small, quiet, and casual service. The emphasis is on contemplation of a theme and the themes change weekly. The order of service is flexible, and the sources from which we draw are diverse . Rev. Dr. Morris Hudgins and I alternate leadership of this service. Below are two sample orders of service.

1/31/06 (This service celebrated the life of Coretta Scott King and was officiated by Rev. Hudgins.)
Opening words by Rev. Hudgins
Special music "Free at Last" Greg Greenway
Reading "Even the Stars Look Lonesome" Maya Angelou
Moments of Silence (Usually lasts at least five minutes)
Special Music "In the Name of Love" Greg Greenway
Benediction "Never to Forget" Rudy Nemser

2/7/06 (This service will be led by Rev. Alane Cameron Miles. The theme is "Rebuild and Recover.")
Opening words by Rev. Miles
Hymn "Rejoice in Love" words by Charles Lyttle
Responsive Reading "Affirmation" by Leonard Mason
Musical Response "Do you know what it means..." Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Silent Meditation
Time for Sharing
Closing Music "Yes We Can Can" by Allen Toussaint
Closing Words by Rev. Miles

(Both include the lighting and extinguishing of the chalice.)

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