The weekly Vespers service meets at 6:00 p.m. in the PCPC chapel off the sanctuary courtyard. It is a contemplative service in nature. The service utilizes scripture readings, meditation, candlelight, prayer, and is a quiet service that lasts about a half hour. Hymns are often sung a Capella. Prayer requests are received from the congregation during the service.
The Vespers service almost always includes the Sacrament of Communion, which is served by intinction. Intimate in size, the service may often involve five to fifteen worshipers. Because of the cross fountain it is a lovely service in which to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism, and families will frequently ask to have infants baptized in this service. The liturgy of the service follows the themes of the church year.
Nursery care is not provided for this service.
Written by John DeBevoise, September 2010
What’s A Vespers Service?
Last month someone who has been visiting the church was visiting with me. We were discussing different worship services and in my listing of PCPC’s worship services I mentioned The Vespers service. “I’ve seen that in the bulletin” they said “but I didn’t know what a ‘Vespers’ was, and so I wasn’t sure I was invited.” I winced. It was another example for me of how sometimes vocabulary in the church can unintentionally cause people to feel barred from an activity. I checked around and discovered two other friends had no idea what a “vespers” was either. So allow me to share the information. The word “Vespers” simply refers to an evening service. There is more etymology to it, but let’s simplify it by saying it simply typically refers to a smaller, evening service. The Vesper’s service at PCPC takes place in the chapel, off the sanctuary courtyard. It meets every Sunday, almost always at 6:00 p.m., and it is nearly always over by 6:30 (or pretty close). The chapel only holds 35 people, so its never any larger than that, and most Sunday evenings it is 10 or fewer participants. A member of the staff typically serves as the worship leader. It has a contemplative feel with candles and the beautiful cross fountain. It is a quiet service. The chapel service always includes readings of scriptures for the day, the sacrament of communion, and intercessory prayer. The practice at the Vespers service is to take prayer requests, by name, during the service, from the participants. Sometimes when people are feeling called to pray for a particular friend or family member they will come to the Vespers service so that as a group those gathering can pray by name for that person in the intercessory prayer. For better or for worse, there is not a sermon at PCPC’s Vespers service. The dress code for the Vespers can be quite informal, and although no one has been turned away for wearing a tie, many come in jeans or shorts. Because the Vespers service is authorized by the session, and open to the entire community, we are able to regularly share in baptism there, as requested. These can be scheduled through the church office.
At least five times a year the Vespers service becomes a Vespers concert. On these occasions the service meets in the sanctuary, lasts an hour, and, as the name suggests, is devoted to music across the hour. Some of these have been quite popular, and you can see the specific scheduling on the calendar on the church website, or in the bulletin. I hope you can come and pray with us some Sunday evening in the chapel, at 6:00 p.m., at The Vespers Service.
“Stay with us, Lord, for it is almost evening”
- Luke 24:29