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Sunday God

Not Just Sunday Morning

Sunday God

Rector of St. John the Evangelist, Fr Tim Schenck writes:

The weekly Saturday service at St. John the Evangelist (Hingham, MA) returns this evening at 5:00 pm. Perks include sleeping in on Sunday morning (well, for most of us), brevity, our great musician Willie Jones, Jr. doing his thing on the piano, no dressing up, no uncomfortable pews (just uncomfortable chairs), intergenerational, and pets are welcome (we’ve never had any before but why not?).

Sunday is not what it used to be. Here in NZ we were told tourists expected shops to be open on Sunday – imagine the surprise of Kiwis traveling overseas to find shops shut there on Sunday! So, many people work on Sunday. Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed: young people go to bed late and get up late.

And another thing: planning an event (“meet here at such-and-such a time on such-and-such a day”) is so last-generation! Young people, late in the evening, work out what they are going to do by texting.

Tui Bilboard

Sunday morning worship still has its place. Sure. But Roman Catholics are onto something with the Saturday evening “Vigil Mass”. What about Friday late, or Thursday night? Or Sunday very late…

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10 thoughts on “Not Just Sunday Morning”

    1. This is an important point, Peter. BCP 1662 has:

      And all Priests and Deacons are to say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer either privately or openly, not being let by sickness, or some other urgent cause.

      And the Curate [We would now say ‘Vicar’ or ‘Rector’ or ‘Parish Priest’] that ministereth in every Parish-church or Chapel, being at home, and not being otherwise reasonably hindered, shall say the same in the Parish-church or Chapel where he ministereth, and shall cause a bell to be tolled thereunto a convenient time before he begin, that the people may come to hear God’s Word, and to pray with him.

      I think expecting everyone to share in daily communal worship would be difficult in our new context. But a parish church providing a regular set of daily services at different times: Morning Prayer, Silent Meditation, Eucharist, Silent Meditation, Evening Prayer – might be surprised at its growth (numerically and spiritually).


  1. One Anglo-Catholic TEC parish in New York City is celebrating a Saturday 5 PM Vigil. Mass. I almost envy them, but my thriving Evo parish has a growing, informal Sunday night Eucharist held in our parish hall. I can sleep in, linger over my news and coffee. I try to cook a special meal on Saturday nights for my tiny household to make up for the lost tradition of Sunday suppers.

  2. The vigil Mass is not only a modern accomodation, but a recovery. The Easter vigil was the pattern that the early Church followed it to have their weekly Eucharist. Sunday after tierce became the normative time only after the Christians had no more persecution and Sunday became a non working day.

    Sunday evening is maybe pastorally the most fitted time. Living parishes, where there is a stipendiary priest, should maybe have all the three: Saturday evening, Sunday before noon, Sunday evening.

    There are, more than you can imagine, people working in night shifts. If their finish their work at 7 am or 8 am, we shouldn’t expect them to come to our Sunday “morning” Mass at 10 am or 11 am.

  3. Gillian Trewinnard

    Thanks for this. I have reposted to my own parish blogsite because I think it’s a conversation we need to have.

  4. When I worked in Washington, DC, I discovered that the Georgetown University Catholic chapel had a Sunday evening Mass at 11:00 PM. It was quite well attended.

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