Monday, 16 December 2013

Robin Chapel

Choral Evensong, Advent 3 (Gaudete), 15 December 2013, 4.30pm
Chaplain: Revd Thomas Coupar
Preacher: Very Revd Mgr Michael Regan

It was the third Sunday in Advent, and once again John the Baptist was very much to the fore, starting with a rousing rendition of On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry, which fairly raised the rafters. There were only eleven worshippers, but the thirteen choristers made a big noise in a small space.

Maybe they get more folk attending when the weather isn’t fierce and filthy, but if you’ve never been to the Robin Chapel then you’ve missed a choral treat. Built in memory of Robin Tudsbury as part of the Thistle Foundation, it is described as interdenominational but appears to be more or less Anglican. They have a super little choir who sing evensong every week, yesterday’s music list being:
  • Hymns 34, 573 (Common Praise)
  • Plainsong Preces and Responses
  • Ps. 14
  • Amner Cesar’s Service
  • Gibbons This is the record of John
  • Naylor Festal Responses 

Bit of a wobble on the final verse of the Gibbons, but it was pretty impressive. Even the collects were sung, and the order of service is from the 1929 Scottish Prayer Book, which features such charming archaisms as, “In Quires and Places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem.”

The visiting preacher, the Very Revd Mgr Michael Regan from the Metropolitan Cathedral, wins the prize for the best vestments of the year bar none. Germolene pink satin – rose pink, he called it – with elaborate floral embroidery and a befring├Ęd cope. It even surpasses the gold and yellow number worn by Jennifer Irungu at the Kingdom Church, though he might lose a point or two for not accessorising with sparkly high heels. Maybe that would have been over-egging it.

The readings were Isaiah 35 and Matthew 11:2-15, and the sermon was about preparing a way for the Lord, citing lyrics from Les Miserables and reflecting on what it means to be touched by love, when we can begin to discern what the prophets have been talking about. At just seven minutes long, it’s probably the shortest address of the year, but there was a lot of singing to get through, and having sat through some dire sermons during my mission I'm not going to complain about concision.

I’ve noted a couple of times throughout my year of churchgoing that there’s something aesthetically pleasing about the Anglican liturgy, and especially so when it’s all set to such fabulous music. Does it do anything for me spiritually? Er … no. Sorry. But maybe that’s just because I’m dead inside.

But they’re doing a Christmas carol service next Sunday at 4pm, which should have some good music. How many people they can fit in is another matter, as there’s probably only seating for thirty or so. First come, first served, I guess. 


  1. Soul searcher. I don't know who you are but thanks for the accolade. Mgr Michael regan.

  2. You're very welcome, Michael. It was a particularly splendid outfit.