By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The parish of Christ Church-Cobble Hill presents a Choral Evensong & Benediction on the Christian feast of Corpus Christi (this year on May 30) for all the Episcopal parishes in the Deanery of St. Mark.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Carroll Gardens hosts this year’s Corpus Christi celebration. Christ Church, situated on the corner of Clinton and Kane streets, has been closed since last July when lightning struck the tower, severely damaging the building, knocking down scaffolding and building materials, and killing passerby Richard Schwartz. The congregation has been worshiping at the neighboring Kane Street Synagogue, with special events such as the Evensongs hosted at other nearby churches.
St. Mark’s Deanery includes the Episcopal parishes along the Brooklyn waterfront and the western part of the borough, from Greenpoint to Carroll Gardens, as well as Boerum Hill, Ft. Greene, Clinton Hill and Park Slope. St. Paul’s Church is at Clinton and Carroll streets.
The Christian feast of Corpus Christi, which falls about 10 days after Pentecost, honors the Eucharist, the prayer of thanksgiving at which bread and wine become, through mystery, the Body and Blood of Christ. The feast, whose English name means Body of Christ, celebrates not only the sacrament of Holy Communion but also the people as being one in Christ.
The Choral Evensong & Benediction begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 30. Fr. Ron Lau, the dean of St. Mark’s Deanery, will be the celebrant. The Rev. Angela Askew will preach. Because of the day’s focus on the Eucharist, benediction (the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament) will immediately follow Choral Evensong.
The Cobble Hill Consort, which is the new resident choral group including members of the parish choir, the Canoni Chorale and choristers from neighboring churches in the Deanery, will sing pieces featuring double choruses. Works include an Introit: Hail Gladdening Light by Charles Wood, Evening Canticles in A major by Charles Villiers Stanford, and the Preces and Responses settings for 5 voices—from Tudor period—by William Smith. The ensemble will also sing Eucharistic motets Ave Verum Corpus (William Byrd’s setting) and O Sacrum Convivium (20th century composer Olivier Messiaen’s setting). This continues a tradition of guests singing with the choir in Christ Church Evensongs. The previous Evensong, presented during Lent 2013, welcomed the Cathedral Choir and organist Russell Jackson from Nativity Cathedral in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, which joined the Cobble Hill Consort.
Moreover, the May 30 Evensong will welcome the return two past deans of the American Guild of Organists-Brooklyn Chapter. Gregory Eaton, organist and director of music for St. Ann and the Holy Trinity, is the chapter’s immediate past dean. Mr. Eaton will play extended preludes and postlude on the St. Paul’s Church Austin organ. He will also accompany the Cobble Hill Consort in the Stanford Evening Canticles. Directing the singers is Don Barnum, also a past dean of the AGO-Brooklyn Chapter.
Following the service, there will be a cookout supper in the St. Paul’s Parish Hall for all in attendance.