Sunset in the cloisters of New College

Evensong in New College Chapel 

Welcome to Evensong in New College Chapel. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer devised this service in 1549, fusing the monastic services of Vespers and Compline into a ‘common’ form of prayer for all Christians. 

The introduction to evensong in the 1928 prayer book sums up what we are doing in this service: we offer our worship and praise and thanksgiving, we confess our sins, we pray for others and for ourselves, and we ‘ask on behalf of all men such things as their well-being doth require’. In other words, we examine in love all that we need and all that we are, setting aside the cares of the world to reflect in the calm and stillness of the chapel. May you find hope and peace in this place where prayer has been valid for more than six centuries.

The following guide includes all of the congregational responses. The full text of the service can be found in the Book of Common Prayer.

Music in today's service

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The Office of Evensong

               On WEEKDAYS the service begins with the Responses below.

On SUNDAYS an introit may be sung and the Minister says the Introduction and all respond with the General Confession:


Almighty and most merciful Father,
We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep,
We have followed too much the devices and desires
       of our own hearts.
We have offended against thy holy laws.
We have left undone those things
       which we ought to have done;
and we have done those things
       which we ought not to have done;
and there is no health in us.
But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders.
Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults.
Restore thou them that are penitent;
according to thy promises declared unto mankind
       in Christ Jesu our Lord.
And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake,
that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life,
to the glory of thy holy name. Amen.

                The Minister says the Absolution and then begins the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father

All              which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

On WEEKDAYS and SATURDAYS the service continues from this point.

The choir will sing the Opening Responses:

                   O Lord, open thou our lips.

                     And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

O God, make speed to save us.

                     O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;

                   as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Praise ye the Lord.

                   The Lord’s name be praised.


The choir sings one or more psalms. The daily psalms can be found in the Book of Common Prayer. At the end of each Psalm the choir sings the Gloria:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,

and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,

world without end. Amen.

The First Lesson from the Old Testament or the Apocrypha.

The choir sings the Magnificat (Luke 1.46-55):

                   My soul doth magnify the Lord,
  and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

                   For he hath regarded
  the lowliness of his handmaiden.

                   For behold, from henceforth
  all generations shall call me blessed.

                   For he that is mighty hath magnified me,
  and holy is his Name.

                   And his mercy is on them that fear him
  throughout all generations.

                   He hath shewed strength with his arm;
  he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

                   He hath put down the mighty from their seat
  and hath exalted the humble and meek.

                   He hath filled the hungry with good things,
  and the rich he hath sent empty away.

                   He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel,
  as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,

and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,

world without end. Amen.

The second lesson from the New Testament.

The choir sings the Nunc dimittis (Luke 2.29-32):

                   Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace
  according to thy word.

                   For mine eyes have seen thy salvation;

                   Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

                   To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,

                     and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

The Creed 

                 I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church;
the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

              The cantor and choir sing:

                The Lord be with you.

                And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

The choir sings the Lord’s Prayer, then the Responses:

O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.

     And grant us thy salvation.

O Lord, save the Queen.

     And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.

Endue thy ministers with righteousness.

     And make thy chosen people joyful.

O Lord, save thy people.

     And bless thine inheritance.

Give peace in our time, O Lord.

     Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God.

O God, make clean our hearts within us.

     And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.

The choir sings the Collects followed by the anthem. On Sundays, a sermon may follow. 


Final Blessing 

Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council (2000).