Here at Gustavus, we have many different services to help students grow in their faith and experience different faiths or types of worship they may not have seen before.
We have modern worship services, bible studies, daily chapel, and Sunday services.
Another function we have here, less frequently, is Vespers and we are lucky to have several different services put on throughout the year.
Also commonly known as Evensong, Vespers is an evening prayer service, found in many different Christian traditions including: Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran.
“Students can come to worship and experience a different kind of stupe of worship…” — Dr. Greg Aune
It traditionally takes place as dusk begins to fall and is used to give thanks for the day as well as serving as an evening sacrifice to God.
We have already had two Vespers services on campus, one in the fall and one in the spring. These have been hosted by students and featured the Vespers band.
Along with worship music they also conducted different prayer, scripture, and service stations throughout Christ Chapel.
On March 25 will have our next Vespers service, although it will be different from the ones held earlier in the year.
It will again be hosted in Christ Chapel, however, this service will be put on by the Chaplain’s office and will include music from the Gustavus Choir.
Dr. Chad Winterfeldt, the cantor of Christ Chapel, explained that this service is in the Anglican tradition, meaning, “it is a service of evening prayer with music from English composers and using the prayerbook of the Anglican church.”
Winterfeldt said this type of service is incredibly popular in England and the music performed in it is also performed in many famous collegiate chapel choirs, including Oxford and Cambridge.
Besides providing music from composers such as Stanford, William Byrd, and Herbert Howells, the ceremony will also include Bible readings and formal prayers.
It will also include a sermon by Rev. Dr. Thomas Harries from the local Episcopal church.
Another way this service is different from the other services on campus is that it is a choral service and places a high emphasis on music.
The music will be provided by the Gustavus Choir. The Gustavus Choir is the touring choir and is known for its quality performances and unique interpretations of chorale literature.
They will perform seven separate chorale works that are appropriate for the liturgy of the Anglican tradition.
Dr. Gregory Aune, conductor of the Gustavus Choir, explained that the liturgy used in the Anglican Vespers is not used here at Gustavus, so it will provide a unique experience for anyone who decides to attend.
Winterfeldt will also be accompanying on the organ as well as performing a few solo organ pieces. It is an excellent opportunity to see a service that would typically be held at English Universities and often broadcasted by BBC.
Winterfeldt encourages students to come and experience the choir and organ pieces and hear how musicians use the two in a dramatic and exciting way.
“English composers of the nineteenth century wrote many settings of the ‘Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis’ which is a central part of the Vespers service and used the voices and organ in an almost cinematic way,” Winterfeldt said.
Aune also encourages students to participate, saying “students can come to worship and experience a different kind or style of worship service than they might know, say if they are Lutheran, Methodist, Roman Catholic, etc.”
He also said that anyone who attends will have the opportunity to listen to pieces that “reflect the heritage and specific composers of the English Anglican tradition.”