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A ‘Marvelous’ ceremony at Saint Thomas

In the hushed sanctuary, candles gleamed as singers clad in surplices and cassocks filed down the aisle raising their voices in praise.

It was Choral Evensong at Saint Thomas Episcopal Church, a service with music, prayer, and scripture combining to proclaim God’s works and to glorify His name.

Last Sunday’s Evensong, the third such event held at Saint Thomas, proved an extra-special evening for all involved.

Not only was the church celebrating its Sesquicentennial; it was also welcoming as its special guests, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend George Leonard Carey, Lord of Clifton, and his wife, Lady (Eileen) Carey.

Guitarists Steven Norman and Charles Kennedy, flautist Shanna Forbes, violinist Beth Hoener, organist Pat Richard, pianists Pat Skipper and Rhonda Bentley, recorder artists Bob Glassock and Charlie Kennedy and harmonica player Rock Killough joined with the Saint Thomas Singers (under the direction of Kennedy) to lend their talents in praise and worship.

Tremendous musical variety was found in the program, which included spirituals, Latin canticles, traditional hymns and original compositions.

Killough opened the folk spiritual “Down to the River to Pray” with a harmonica solo before breaking into a cappella solo, with the choir joining in.

Other soloists featured during Evensong were Norman, Brad Jones, Tom Payne, Lindsey Benedict, Patricia Ballew, Kennedy, Starla Jones and Gerri McGinnis.

Benedict performed her own composition, “I Am More,” while Kennedy performed on guitar to his own work, “Now the Day is Over.”

Reader Steve McGowin shared the word of the Lord during the service.

Lord Carey, who gave the sermon, pronounced St. Thomas’ Evensong “marvelous.”

“It was absolutely beautiful,” he said.

Carey shared with his audience the importance of keeping the doors of the community’s churches open to all those who need to hear the message of Christ.

“Sometimes we just don’t really want to bring in new people…but the church must be available to everyone. We must nurture our young people and get them involved,” Carey said.