The act of worship stands at the heart of what we do at Southwark Cathedral
Every day, morning and evening, regardless of what else is happening, the offering to God of praise, prayer and worship takes place.
The night is passed, and the day lies open before us;
Let us pray with one heart and mind.
Morning Prayer is a short (15 minute), spoken, contemporary-language service at the beginning of the day. It follows a simple shape, combining prayers, psalms and Bible passages in an offering of thanksgiving with prayer for the new day and a commitment to walk with God throughout the waking hours ahead.
Midday Prayer is an opportunity for quiet prayer and reflection at the heart of the day and is a gently-structured opportunity in which to bring before God the needs of the world in the midst of the bustling city. It lasts for no more than 10 minutes, and some people use it as a preparation for the Eucharist which follows, although there is no obligation to stay, and it is complete in itself.
Midday Prayer is usually held in the Harvard Chapel at the following time:
For many people, Choral Evensong according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is a treasure of Church of England liturgy. Its particular choral style is uniquely characteristic of the Anglican Church and draws its origins from the sung liturgies of monastic communities of the early centuries of the church’s life.
On weekdays the service lasts for about 40 minutes (on Sundays it might be 10 minutes longer, when there is a sermon). The service is enveloped by the music of organist and choir which sings verses from scripture, psalms, biblical songs (canticles) and an anthem. Our prayers are inspired and transported by the striking beauty of the words, silences and music, and we add our own voice in saying the Amens and in singing the hymn. It is an ideal way to mark the end of a busy day and the transition into the evening time.
When the Cathedral Choir is on holiday or away, visiting choirs often sing Evensong at Southwark Cathedral. It is always worth checking to see whether or not the service is being sung on the day you plan to attend.
Choral Evensong takes place at the following times when there is a choir.
Evening Prayer is the said equivalent to Choral Evensong, although it lasts for only 15 minutes and is a contemporary language service. As at Morning Prayer and Choral Evensong, it follows a recognisable shape, drawing together biblical phrases, psalms, readings and canticles, much of which are said by congregation and officiant together.
Evening Prayer may take place in the Choir or the Harvard Chapel – look for the signs in the Cathedral, or ask a Steward to point you in the right direction.
The Eucharist is the same as Holy Communion, Mass or The Lord’s Supper, which are different ways of describing the same service. We have at least one Eucharist every day at the Cathedral. It is the service in which Christians follow Jesus’ command to his disciples to share bread and wine in remembrance of him.
The service contains Bible readings and prayers, as well as the sharing of consecrated bread and wine, and everyone is sent out at the end to live and work to the praise and glory of God.
Most weekday Eucharists are said, and last for about half an hour. On Sundays the service includes a sermon, so it is about 10 minutes longer.
All are welcome at the service, and if you don’t receive communion, you may still come forward to the Celebrant for a prayer of blessing at that point of the service.
The Daily Eucharist is held in all of the various chapels around the Cathedral, and the location can vary from day to day. On Sunday, it is usually held in the retrochoir and at lunchtimes, it is usually in the Harvard Chapel but it is best to check the notices or ask a Cathedral Welcomer or Steward where to go when you arrive.
A Choral Eucharist is the same as a Eucharist, except with the addition of glorious organ music and choral pieces, hymns in which the congregation joins the singing, and a homily or sermon. This usually takes place on Sunday mornings and at other times on special festival days.
The Choral Eucharist is almost always located in the nave; the service lasts for a hour or more, depending on the choice of music and other elements of the service.
'Traditional Rite’ Choral Eucharist
The 'traditional rite' Choral Eucharist is the first in our monthly pattern of Sundays at Southwark at Six (pm). The description 'traditional’ reflects the Elizabethan language, the way that the service is staged, and the fact that the choral music is often sung in Latin (with English translation), and was often composed in the 16th and 17th centuries. The shape of the service is thoroughly contemporary, however, and the combination evokes a sense of timelessness in the worship of God’s eternity, and our connection with those who have been worshipping God in this place for many centuries.
The service lasts for about an hour and takes place in the nave of the Cathedral.
Service of Light
The Service of Light is the second in our monthly pattern of Sundays at Southwark at Six (pm).
The reflective worship is inspired by and drawn from the communities of Iona and Taize. The service brings together words, silence, a short reflection and plenty of singing with the lighting of candles. The music is led by a small music group.
The service is held in the retrochoir and lasts for about 40 minutes.
Service of Wholeness and Healing
The Service of Wholeness and Healing is the third in our monthly pattern of Sundays at Southwark at Six (pm).
It was Jesus’ ministry to bring people healing, reconciliation and wholeness, and this continues to be part of the church’s mission today. In this peaceful evening service, amidst reflective Bible reading, singing and prayer, people are invited to receive prayer, laying on of hands or anointing with the oil of healing, in the name of God. As the Holy Spirit moves among us, the service itself can be balm to the soul.
The service is held in the retrochoir and lasts for about 40 minutes.
Compline and Eucharistic Devotions
Compline and Eucharistic Devotions is the fourth in our monthly pattern of Sundays at Southwark at Six (pm).
Compline is usually led by the Cathedral's Merbecke Choir; in a dimly-lit nave by candlelight. Eucharistic Devotions, with which Compline concludes, is a short meditative period of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in which we seek God’s blessing upon us. The choir continues to sing during the Eucharistic devotions.
The service is held in the Nave and lasts for about 35 minutes.
Compline is the fifth in our monthly pattern of Sundays at Southwark at Six (pm).
On this Sunday, Compline is unaccompanied Plainsong and the congregation does all the singing (words and music are provided). The service reflects the liturgical seasons of the Church’s year and is essentially a time for quietness and contemplation before rest at the end of the day. An ideal way to end a Sunday.
The service is held in the Choir and lasts for about 20 minutes.
To view todays and forthcoming services please click here