Order of Service

Today's services

Westminster Abbey

Thursday, 30th May 2024


Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Communion (Corpus Christi)

Sung Eucharist

Please join in saying the words and singing the hymns printed in bold type.

The church is served by a hearing loop. Users should turn their hearing aid to the setting marked T.

Photography, filming, and sound recording are not allowed in the Abbey during services. Please ensure that mobile telephones and other electronic devices are silent.

The service is sung by the Lay Vicars of Westminster Abbey.

Setting: Missa Lauda Sion, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c 1525–94)

During the offertory hymn, a collection will be takenthe money from today's services will be divided equally between The Prince's Trust and the work of the Abbey. The Prince's Trust helps young people from disadvantaged communities and those facing the greatest adversity by supporting them to build the confidence and skills to live, learn, and earn.

Order of Service

All stand as the choir and clergy enter, and to sing the Hymn

Lord, enthroned in heav'nly splendour,
   first-begotten from the dead,
thou alone, our strong defender,
   liftest up thy people's head.
   Jesu, true and living Bread.

Here our humblest homage pay we;
   here in loving rev'rence bow;
here for Faith's discernment pray we,
   lest we fail to know thee now.
   Thou art here, we ask not how.

Though the lowliest form doth veil thee
   as of old in Bethlehem,
here as there thine angels hail thee,
   Branch and Flow'r of Jesse's stem.
   We in worship join with them.

Paschal Lamb, thine Off'ring, finished
   once for all when thou wast slain,
in its fullness undiminished
   shall for evermore remain,
   Cleansing souls from every stain.

Life-imparting heav'nly Manna,
   stricken Rock with streaming side,
heav'n and earth with loud hosanna
   worship thee, the Lamb who died,
   Ris'n, ascended, glorified!

Words: George Hugh Bourne (1840–1925)
Tune: 'St Helen' 296i NEH, probably by George Martin (1844–1916)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

All remain standing. The president introduces the Prayers of Penitence, after which all say

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.

The president gives the Absolution

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The choir sings Gloria in excelsis Deo

Gloria in excelsis Deo,

All sit

et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.

Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.

Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe; Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis; qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram; qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.

Quoniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

All stand for the Collect

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that in this wonderful sacrament you have given us the memorial of your passion: grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your body and blood that we may know within ourselves and show forth in our lives the fruits of your redemption; for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

All sit for the Reading from the Old Testament, Genesis 14: 18–20

King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. He blessed Abram and said,
'Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
   maker of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
   who has delivered your enemies into your hand!'
And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything.

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The choir sings Psalm 116: 10–end

Antiphon I will lift up the cup of salvation; and will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

How shall I repay the Lord
   for all the benefits he has given to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
   and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord
   in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
   is the death of his faithful servants.
O Lord, I am your servant,
   your servant, the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds.
I will offer to you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
   and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord
   in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
   in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

The Epistle, 1 Corinthians 11: 23–26

I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

All stand for the Procession of the Gospel. The choir sings

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

and all repeat

I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The reader announces the Gospel, John 6: 51–58

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus said, 'I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.'

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' So Jesus said to them, 'Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.'

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

The Sermon by The Right Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon in Residence

All stand to say the Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

All remain standing for the Prayers of Intercession. At the end of each petition there is said

Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

The intercession ends

Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.

The president introduces the Peace

Our Lord Jesus Christ says: If, when you are bringing your gift to the altar, you remember your brother or sister has a grievance against you, leave your gift where it lies before the altar. Go, make peace; and only then come and offer your gift.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.

All may greet one another with the words Peace be with you.

All remain standing to sing the Hymn during the Preparation of the Altar. A collection will be taken. Alternatively, cash and contactless donations may be given as you leave via the Great West Door

We pray thee, heavenly Father,
   to hear us in thy love,
and pour upon thy children
   the unction from above;
that so in love abiding,
   from all defilement free,
we may in pureness offer
   our eucharist to thee.

All that we have we offer,
   for it is all thine own,
all gifts, by thine appointment,
   in bread and cup are shown;
one thing alone we bring not,
   the wilfulness of sin,
and all we bring is nothing
   save that which is within.

Within the pure oblation,
   beneath the outward sign,
by that his operation—
   the Holy Ghost divine—
lies hid the sacred body,
   lies hid the precious blood,
once slain, now ever glorious,
   of Christ our Lord and God.

Wherefore, though all unworthy
   to offer sacrifice,
we pray that this our duty
   be pleasing in thine eyes;
for praise, and thanks, and worship,
   for mercy and for aid,
the catholic oblation
   of Jesus Christ is made.

Words: Vincent Coles (1845–1929)
Tune: 'Meirionydd' 311 NEH, later form of a melody by William Lloyd (1785–1852)

All remain standing for the Eucharistic Prayer. The president says

It is indeed right and good, our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks and praise holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Jesus Christ our great high priest. He offered himself to you as the Lamb without blemish, the acceptable gift that gives you perfect praise. At the Last Supper, seated with his apostles, he left this memorial of his passion to bring us its saving power until the end of time. In this great sacrament you feed your people and strengthen them in holiness, so that throughout the world the human family may be enlightened by one faith and drawn together in one communion of love. We come to this foretaste of your heavenly banquet to be transformed by your grace and restored in the image and likeness of the risen Christ. Therefore earth unites heaven to sing a new song of praise; we too join with angels and archangels as they proclaim your glory without end:

The choir sings Sanctus

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth, pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

The president continues the Eucharistic Prayer

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness; grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died:
Christ is risen:
Christ will come again.

The president concludes the Eucharistic Prayer

And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world; rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this memorial of our redemption. As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup and we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.

Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup, so that we, in the company of [N and] all the saints, may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.

All remain standing. The president introduces the Lord's Prayer

As we join our prayers with those of the Church Universal, so we say, each in our own language, the prayer that Jesus Christ has taught us,

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

All remain standing for the Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.

Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Blessed are those who are called to his supper.
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed.

The congregation is invited to sit as the president and other ministers begin the distribution of Holy Communion. Those wishing to receive come forward as directed by the Stewards. If you receive communion in your own church you are welcome to do so here. Gluten-free wafers are available. Please refrain from dipping the wafer in the chalice. Those who do not wish to receive communion are invited to come for a blessing; please bow your head as you approach. The minister says to each communicant

The body of Christ. Amen.

The blood of Christ. Amen.

During the giving of communion, the choir sings Agnus Dei and the Motet

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace.

'Caro mea vere est cibus: et sanguis meus vere est potus. Qui manducat meam carnem et bibit meum sanguinem in me manet, et ego in illo.'

'My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.'

Words: John 6: 55–56
Music: Francisco Guerrero (1528–99)

Let us pray.

All stand. The president says the Prayer after Communion

All praise to you, our God and Father, for you have fed us with the bread of heaven and quenched our thirst from the true vine: hear our prayer that, being grafted into Christ, we may grow together in unity and feast with him in his kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

The president pronounces the Blessing

May the Father, who fed his children with manna in the wilderness, strengthen you in your pilgrimage to the Promised Land. Amen.

May the Son, who gave his flesh for food and his blood for drink, keep you in eternal life and raise you up on the last day. Amen.

May the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth, help you discern the Lord's body and empower you to proclaim his death until he comes. Amen.

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Go in the peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

Music after the service

Toccata-Prelude on 'Pange lingua gloriosi', Edward Bairstow (1874–1946)

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Hymns covered by Christian Copyright Licensing (International) Ltd are reproduced under CCL no 1040271 and MRL no 1040288. Common Worship (Church House Publishing, 2000), material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops' Council. Scripture Readings are from the New Revised Standard Version.

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Today's Services

Friday, 14th June 2024
7.30am Morning Prayer Quire
8.00am Holy Communion St Faith's Chapel
12.30pm Holy Communion Nave
5.00pm Evensong Quire
sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey

Howells I will lift up mine eyes
Martin Responses
Victoria Magnificat primi toni
Victoria Nunc dimittis tertii toni
Byrd Prevent us, O Lord

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