Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church


Clergy Corner

Compline In May

On Wednesday evening, May 24th at 8:30 pm in the Nave, the Parish Choir will sing the office of Compline in observance of the Eve of the Ascension of our Lord. The Nave will be set with beautiful votive candles and low light, and the office will be preceded by 15 minutes of contemplative organ music. The liturgy itself is about 30 minutes in length, and is a quiet, elegant form with congregational participation consisting primarily of active listening.

The book “Prayer as Night Falls” by Kenneth V. Peterson states: “Compline is what monks and nun pray every day before they go to sleep. In many monasteries, after Compline they keep the Great Silence—no sounds until the early hours of the morning, when they chant `O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will proclaim your praise.’ Their silence broken, the begin the daily cycle of prayer called the `offices’ or the Divine Hours. There are as many as eight of these offices, and Compline (from the Latin word Completorium) completes the cycle.

In the 1950’s, Peter Hallock, organist/choirmaster of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, began a tradition of leading Compline each Sunday evening. For nearly 50 years now, hundreds of folks—particularly young people of high school and college age—make their way to the cathedral to connect with the Divine, finding meaning and depth in the quiet form and music of the liturgy. From that genesis, the practice of singing Compline has spread to a number of parishes around the country. It is particularly well-attended in churches which are located near institutions of higher learning, for instance Christ Church, New Haven, which is on the edge of the Yale campus, and where Compline, during the school term, is that church’s liturgy with the highest attendance.

You are invited to bask in the beauty of Compline on Wednesday, May 24th at 8:30 pm. Additionally, you are invited to explore the live webcast of Compline from St. Mark’s, Seattle any Sunday evening.


Live on Sunday evenings: http://www.king.org/?s=compline&submit=Search

Podcasts: http://complinepodcast.org/