PEKIN — St Paul’s Episcopal Church will offer a Plainsong Choral Evensong service on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 4 p.m. The service is being offered for the occasion of the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, often referred to as “Michaelmas.” The Parish of Tazewell County, which consists of St Paul’s Church in Pekin, and All Saints’ Church in Morton, is restoring this ancient tradition, and the entire community is invited.

The tradition of Choral Evensong traces back centuries to monastic Europe, being an “even” point for prayer and contemplation between the active day and restful night. It remains popular today throughout England in cathedrals and large parish churches. Because Michaelmas falls near the autumn equinox, historically it has been associated with harvest festivals and the new cycle of farming. The Feast of St Michael and All Angels also falls when the days begin to darken earlier, and colder days are soon to come, and so is a time to offer prayers of protection and strength, with the image of St Michael defeating the dragon being a popular icon for the day.

Evensong at St Paul’s will be sung by a mixed choir of children and adults and will feature plainsong chant—a form of music that traces back at least to the 6th century A.D. Attendees of the service will also be able to newly observe the beautiful painting above the Altar thanks to recent lighting updates in the sanctuary of the historic church Father Matthew Dallman, the priest-in-charge of St Paul’s and All Saints’, will preach, and a voluntary collection will be taken to benefit maintenance of the church’s historic Hinners organ pipes, which were installed in the 1930s.

Father Dallman says, ”The Episcopal Parish of Tazewell County is delighted to revive the tradition of Evensong in Pekin. We pray that our veneration of the Holy Angels continues to empower our Christian mission in Tazewell County.”

Future choral evensong services are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 for the Feast of Candlemas, and Saturday, June 8, 2019, for the Eve of Feast of Pentecost.