On February 24, 2023 at 4pm, an Evensong Service was held at the old St. Mary Magdalene Church, as the first of several monthly events planned to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Parish of St. Mary Magdalene, Picton.
The old Church is on the grounds of the Prince Edward County Museums' Macaulay Heritage Park. Rev. Macaulay was the first Rector of this Parish. He was born in Kingston, studied theology at Oxford and was ordained in London in 1818.
Reverend Macaulay was appointed Rector by Jacob Mountain, Bishop of Quebec in 1823.
A beautifully rendered Evensong was officiated by Bishop Peter Mason.
Bishop Peter introduced those who would help lead the service and gave a short history of the Parish.
The tone of the afternoon service held essentially in a museum setting, was set by Bishop Peter. He said, "Today we are going to participate in an Anglican worship service, it is not a concert, it is not a performance, it is not pretend. We shall follow the order of service called Evening Prayer or Evensong. It's form and words go back to the 1500's. It is one of the orders of service that William Macaulay would have followed in 1823. Please join us across 200 years of Anglican Church worship."
There followed a glorious uplifting service with prayers and hymns that were at once, spiritually moving and comforting.
The service and music were carefully researched and arranged by Bishop Peter, Michael Goodwin, Music Director Emeritus, and Dr. Helen Cluett. Worship was led by Bishop Peter with the assistance of Rev. Fran Langlois, Rev. David Hawkins and Lita Field. The choir was directed by Michael Goodwin.
Past choir members, Michael Default, Michael Korn and Phil Robins joined St. Mary Magdalene choristers Susan Steele, Lita Field, Helen Cluett, Carol Lashley, Janine Dunning, Josie Farrar, Jack Lashley and John Brett.
Michael Goodwin accompanied the choir on a spinet in keeping with an instrument that would have been used in 1823, while a musical prelude and postlude, were performed by Josie Farrar on the viola da gamba and Janine Dunning on harp.
The service was attended by a full house, extra seating was provided by Jessica Chase, museum curator. Those in attendance were a mix between our congregation, members of other congregations and the general public. The service was beautifully put together.
The joy of everyone who worked long and hard to make it happen was palpable and extended into the audience. Being in the physical presence of the roots of our faith may have helped us soar beyond what we could ask or imagine, just for that one afternoon.
All in all, a fine introductory to 200th Anniversary events meant to show that the Church has meaning and purpose in this community. Over the next few months everyone is welcome to come and see who we are and what we do.
- Herb Stone, St. Mary Magdalane, Picton.