Music and Liturgy
The music at St Mary's has always meshed in a special way with the liturgy. The eight-strong professional choir, often supplemented with instruments, and supported by the fine Lewis organ, sings the praise of God week in and week out, through high day and holy day. You can find a termly music list in the resources section. The choir sing from the west-end gallery of the church and this position allows a remarkable musical presence, at once immediate but also self-effacing.
Grounded firmly in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of plainsong normally sung in English, the liturgy encompasses many styles of music, some looking towards Rome, others firmly rooted in the Anglican tradition. Where else can one hear a polyphonic Mass of the Spanish school alongside motets by Stanford and Parry? Of course, Marian music plays an important role, both as mission in the processions of our Lady and as votive offering to the dedicatee of the church. Whatever your musical tastes, there is usually something on the schedule of music that will enhance and deepen understanding of the Word.
The organ was built in 1913 by Lewis & Co, who retained some pipework from the Walker organ of 1875. In 1928 the organ was rebuilt in its present form by Henry Willis & Sons; a small chancel section was prepared for but never installed. Some further work was carried out by NP Mander in 1984. The work of 2005-6 consists of a major restoration, with releathering of the actions and wind system, renewal of the electrical equipment, and the addition of a Trumpet to the Great Organ. The organ stands in the west gallery of the church; the case, by Gambier Parry, dates from the early 20th century.
The full organ specification is available in PDF format.
The Anglo-Catholic churchmanship is reflected in all services, in accordance with received practice. The principal act of worship on Sundays and on Solemn Feast Days is a traditional High Mass (a form of the interim rite) but with significant concessions to Vatican II and using the BCP readings. It seeks to achieve spiritual excellence by combining carefully thought out and well honed ceremonial with appropriately fitting music combining traditional liturgical plain song with settings of the mass, anthems and motets from a wide range of composers, from all musical periods.
The said Mass is a form of Common Worship.
The parish upholds the instruction from the Bishop of London contained in his pastoral letter of All Saints Day 2011 to celebrate the mass according to the rites of the Church of England and only to supplement with material from the Roman rite for items for which no provision is made.
Usual Pattern of Services and Devotions
Low Masses: 9 am and 7pm
High Mass: 11 am, average number of communicants = 80
Evensong & Benediction: 6 pm with organ and cantor
Low Mass 6.30 pm
Mass: 11.30 am
Solemn Feast days and Ash Wednesday:
High Mass: 7 pm
Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction
Saturday at 5.15 pm
Monthly Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Usually held on a weekday after the Low Mass
Times as advertised weekly or arranged by appointment